Florida Guide: How to Grow Fruit in your Backyard

  • By: Cheli Scott
  • Date: Jan 04 2023

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Florida Guide: How to grow fruit in your backyard

Florida’s temperate weather make it an ideal place to grow almost anything, so we’ve put together a guide on how to grow fruit in your backyard.

There is a long list of fruit plants that can be successfully grown in Florida, depending on whether you live in the northern or southern region. While northern gardeners can benefit from the cold weather in winter to grow fruit trees like peaches and nectarines, southern gardeners can enjoy tropical fruits like guava and avocado due to the warm temperature.

orange fruit tree in a backyard

Why grow fruits in Florida?

Growing fruit is a fun project for you and your family. Fruit trees add value to your property, prevent soil erosion, and are great for the environment. Planting fruit trees or growing a fruit garden is one simple way you can become food independent or is just fun to do as a hobby.

strawberry fruit

Preparing your backyard for fruit plants

You don’t need an enormous garden to grow fruit. Even some fruit trees like apples and citrus can be grown in pots on a back patio and berries like strawberry plants and raspberries can also be grown in containers.

Where to plant

To grow fruit you will need a sunny location and soil enriched with organic matter, whether you choose to grow in containers or in the ground. Fruit plants appreciate some protection from high wind, as well, to encourage pollination.

Preparing soil

Aerate your soil before you plant to give your plants a fluffy medium for nutrients and moisture to reach roots. When we design landscapes we always get a soil test before planting from your local extension office to determine the pH and mineral content of your yard. This will help you determine if additional soil amendments are necessary and what kinds of plants will grow well in your conditions.

Protection from wildlife

Delicious fruits are attractive to animals, so you will need to develop some protection methods from birds and other wildlife. Chicken wire fencing around bushes and trees will stop deer from grazing on plants, while netting stretched around berry bushes will stop birds from stealing all of your crop.

Protection from weeds

Be sure to mulch your garden and around trees to prevent weeds from popping up. If you do find yourself with weeds do not use toxic herbicides to kill them off as you do not want chemicals getting on your produce fruit. Don’t put weed matter in your compost bin to then be used in your garden, this is a guaranteed way to get more weeds in your beds.

Fruit trees

Choosing fruit trees

When choosing what fruit you grow, your main concern should be growing what you like to eat. A fruit tree is a long term investment and will take years to mature. Choose fruits you will love!


Next on your list is choosing the appropriate size. If you are growing potted trees or fruit trees in a small backyard you will want to choose dwarf varieties that grow no larger than 10 feet.

Even in a larger yard, you may want to choose dwarf trees as they take up a quarter of the space of a full sized variety and produce earlier. You will want to be aware of the maximum height of your trees as some fruit trees can get very large, like mangos, which can grow to be 100 feet tall.

Growing fruit trees

Fruit trees require more maintenance than some other ornamental trees, but even a beginner gardener can have success with them with a bit of background knowledge.

“Chill Hours”

Many fruit trees are required to go through a cold period in the winter in order to bear fruit. When choosing a tree be sure to check what temperature and how many hours your tree needs to reach to fulfill this requirement. Some fruit trees have cultivars that allow them to be grown much further south than their counterparts.

Cross pollination

Fruit trees must be pollinated in order to produce crops. A few fruit trees, like peaches, are self pollinating and will produce fruit when one variety is planted together. Other fruit trees require cross pollination.

This will require you to plant different varieties together to encourage fruit production. Before you choose a tree investigate whether it is self pollinating, partially self pollinating, or requires cross pollination.

Apple tree

It is possible to grow apple trees in northern Florida. These trees need around 350 hours of temperatures below 45 degrees to produce fruit. Varieties like Anna and Dorsett Golden can be grown together to cross-pollinate, as they bloom together.

apple tree in a backyard

Citrus trees

Citrus trees are a Florida staple. There is so much variety in citrus tree fruits to choose from. Lemons and limes grow well in pots, while oranges and tangerines make beautiful and fruitful garden trees. The University of Florida recommends only buying citrus trees from nurseries certified in the state of Florida.

A hand grabbing an orange from a tree

Fig tree

Another tree that you can successfully grow in northern and central Florida are figs. Figs are rare in the grocery store, so if you like them, they are a fun easy tree to grow at home. They tolerate cold winters and do well in containers. They also only require around 100 hours of cold weather to produce.

fig on a fig tree in a backyard

Banana tree

Banana trees are interesting with beautiful, tropical foliage. Ornamental non-edible varieties can be grown in north Florida. While edible varieties will survive, they may produce smaller crops after frost damage.

Southern Floridians can enjoy several edible varieties of this fruit, as they grow well in the warm weather. These plants appreciate rich, moist soil and full sun.

banana tree in a backyard

Mango tree

Mangos are a delicious, sweet treat and make an interesting investment in your home garden. Dwarf varieties can be grown in pots. Be careful to check your new trees specifications carefully, some mango varieties can grow as wide as 50 feet!

mango tree in a backyard

Olive tree

Olive trees grow well in Florida and are drought resistant. It is worth noting that olives are an “alternate bearing” species, meaning they produce fruit heavily one year and a much lighter crop the next.

Olives are low maintenance trees that are not susceptible to many diseases or pests, making them an easy beginner tree. Be sure to check if the olives you are growing are best for preserving and eating or pressing for oil.

olive on a branch

Peach tree

Yellow peaches grow best in Florida and can be grown in the northern and central areas. Gardeners interested in peach trees need to pay special attention to the number of “chill hours” needed for the trees to bear fruit.

Many peaches require 400-500 hours, which you will not get in Florida. Be sure to choose a variety that requires closer to 300 hours.

A peach tree needs a bit more maintenance than other trees. You will need to prune them twice a year and be careful of how you prune to prevent sun damage. Also pay special attention to fungus and disease. Florida’s humid climate makes these trees more prone to fungal infection.

peaches on a backyard tree

Tropical fruit trees

Southern Florida gardeners are in for a treat because they can grow several different kinds of sweet tropical fruit plants. Avocado, guava, lychee, and star fruit can all be grown in Florida, amongst other fruits.

If you live in north Florida and would still like to try a tropical fruit, choose a variety that is bred for containers that can be carried inside during freezing weather.

lychee on a tree

Fruit trees to avoid in Florida

Any fruit tree that requires long “chill hours” is not a good tree for Florida. Some varieties of apples, peaches, pears, and cherries will not produce fruit in Florida because it does not get cold long enough.

You will also want to make sure the trees you choose tolerate humid conditions without becoming overrun with fungus and disease.

Produce fruit

Planting a fruit garden

Trees aren’t the only way to bring fruit plants into your garden. Berries, melons, and grapes are all produce you can grow with proper sunlight and rich soil.

a woman picking apples in her garden


Many berries can be grown in Florida. Young plants can be purchased at garden centers to be planted in the fall and winter. Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries can all be grown in Florida. You can plant strawberries in containers for an easy home garden fruit.


Honeydew, Watermelon, and Cantaloupe all grow well in Florida in well drained soil. Melons need room to spread on vines so they do best in a garden bed and should be planted in spring.


Muscadine are delicious grapes that are native to Florida. There are self fertile varieties of these grapes available if you are dealing with small space.

Grapes require you to build a trellis for them to grow on, but simple directions can be found online and made out of wire and wood. You can also incorporate grapes into your landscaping by growing them up an arbor.


Pineapples are incredibly slow growing, but are a fun home garden project that can be started from a store bought pineapple. They don’t tolerate freezing temperatures, but do well in a large container to be brought inside.

A smaller container will result in small fruits. Choose something at least 7 gallons. Fruits can take more than a year to grow, so they require a bit of patience but make an interesting experiment.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Growing fruits plants, especially trees, can seem overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from an experienced landscaper who can help you plan your garden, choose appropriate plants for your area, mulch, and prune trees, like the ones at bhild.com. Call us today, or fill out our form here for a free estimate on lawn services!

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