2020 – 2021 Fruit Report

2020 – 2021 Fruit Report

You won’t believe how many fruit bearing plants we’ve been able to source for planting this fall! Nearly all of it is locally grown, right here in the Florida Panhandle. Using edible plants in your landscape ensures you get something back for all the hard work you put in to create and maintain the garden. Fruiting plants can be used seamlessly in front or backyards. Peaches, plums, and apples are great small trees to cast shade near the house, they never get too tall, and they flower in the spring. Bananas lend a bold tropical look. Blueberries make a 3 season hedge with flowers, then fruit, then fall color! Come explore our park-like nursery and get your orchard started now. 

We are starting the season out with over 80 varieties of edible fruit to choose from!


Citrus is the easiest fruit to grow, and consistently harvest food from in the Tallahassee area. If you are new to growing fruit we recommend you start with citrus. There are many varieties that are cold-tolerant enough to be grown outdoors. We focus on cold-hardy varieties, but we do have some tender options that should be planted in large containers so they can be moved to a safe place in hard freezes. All of our citrus varieties are self-fertile and do not require another tree for pollination. Checkout our in depth citrus growing guide by clicking HERE

Owari Satsuma– the classic, time-tested satsuma in Tallahassee, easy-to-peel skin, seedless, sweet, juicy, ripens before cold weather arrives, very cold-hardy

Silverhill Satsuma– just like ‘Owari’ but even more cold-hardy, plants grow more upright than sprawling

 

Xie Shan Satsuma- rich flavor is what this Satsuma is all about! Fruits ripen early like many Satsumas, but very few varieties can offer the full bodied flavor and sweetness of Xie Shan so early in the year. Very cold-hardy

 

Brown Select Satsuma- harvest fruits super early with this delicious Satsuma that ripens even before Owari, a compact & dense growth habit makes for a perfect front yard tree

Sugar Belle Tangerine– a relatively new variety that is being produced on farms all over Florida, fast-growing & vigorous trees produce huge crops of premium quality tangerines that are so good they’re used in the premium fresh fruit gift industry

Murcott Mandarin Orange– highly productive trees, richly colored and flavorful juice

Hamlin Orange– very productive trees produce huge crops of oranges that make excellent juice, good for fresh eating too, historically used by Tropicana 

Valencia– good juicing orange, fruit can stay sweet on the tree into summer

 

Red Navel Orange– beautiful fruits have a red blush to the flesh and juice 

 

Moro Blood Orange– darkest red flesh and juice, almost purple / burgundy, a visual treat as well as a tasty one

 

Cara Cara Navel Orange– pink fleshed oranges make pink orange juice

 

Washington Navel Orange– seedless, easy-to-peel navel oranges, old-timey variety has been around for over 100 years

 

Navel Orange– a traditional orange for all those fruit purists out there, a real classic

 

Ruby Red Grapefruit– the gold standard of pink grapefruits, juicy and sweet

 

Marsh White Grapefruit– very cold-hardy plants produce huge white-fleshed grapefruits full of perfectly tart juice

 

Pink Pummelo– huge, basketball-sized fruits taste like sweetened grapefruits, gorgeous trees have huge leaves & giant flowers, plant in protected areas like under mature oaks or pines to get this more tender plant through cold winters

 

Meyer Lemon– the classic lemon for Tallahassee gardens, cold-hardy and reliable, these lemons are huge and juicy with more flavor than those found at the store, they have the most intoxicating zest 

  

Rangpur Lime– a super cold-hardy plant, this hybrid fruit ripens orange and looks like a tangerine but the taste is 100% sour lime, a must have in trendy cocktails

 

Persian Lime– this is the classic lime in the grocery store, good quality fruits, not cold-hardy in our area, plant in a container and protect from freezes

 

Meiwa Kumquat– very cold-hardy plants, small round fruits are sweet little snacks that can be fresh eaten all day long

 

Centennial Kumquat– ornamental and tasty, the leaves and fruit are a variegated mix of creamy yellow and grey-green, fruit is larger than most kumquats and very tasty, strong plants form a dense round canopy

 

Sunrise Hardy Lime- super cold-hardy plants are said to survive down to 10℉, the fast growing plants reach 6’-10’ tall and wide, fruits can be picked green for a standard lime flavor or allowed to ripen to yellow, orange, and eventually red, more colorful fruit has a sweeter and more complex flavor, good in cooking or drinks at any stage or ripening, aka ‘Red Lime’

Variegated Pink Lemon– soft white and green leaves make a statement as a container plant, fruits are even variegated with pink flesh and juice on the inside, not fully cold-hardy in our area so plant this one in a protected location or in a pot that can be protected in hard freezes

Limequat- bushy plants are well-suited for a large container, the arching branches support large egg sized and shaped fruits that mature to a soft yellow color, each thin-skinned fruit is almost entirely juice, adding tons of tangy flavor to any drink or dish that calls for lime juice, more cold-hardy than true limes but still benefits from planting in a protected area

Calamondin- small, golf ball-sized oranges are super tart and tangy, the fruit is usually made into the most amazing marmalade or jam, upright plants are very ornamental when they’re covered in bright orange fruits

 

Ponkan Mandarin– loved for its upright shape & vigorous growth, Ponkan is one of most widely grown mandarin oranges in the entire world, easy-to-peel fruits are juicy, more sweet than tart, & delightful

 

Apples may not come to mind when you think of a southern orchard, but there are a few varieties that are well suited to our climate. Back in the pioneer days, apples were an essential part of every farm and homestead (both for food and cider). Now you can make them a part of your home too with our selection of North Florida approved apple trees. Apples are well behaved, compact trees that can fit in just about any yard. Trees rarely grow more than 12’ tall and produce stunning pink blooms each spring. Most apples require a different apple variety to be planted nearby for pollination.

Checkout this information from the University of Florida to learn more about apples in Florida:  https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg368

Annaplant with Dorsett or Tropic Sweet, red blushed fruits look like ‘Red Delicious’ but they have a far superior flavor and texture, sweet, crisp, and juicy, 250 chill hours

 

Dorsettplant with Anna or Tropic Sweet, yellow fruits with a soft pink blush look like ‘Golden Delicious’ but are much tastier, sweet firm flesh has a nice crisp bite to it, 200 chill hours

 

Tropic Sweetplant with Anna or Dorsett, sweet firm fruits are high in sugar and low in acid, 250 chill hours

 

Ein Shemerself-fertile, does not need a pollinator, a good grower in the panhandle that produces yellow fruit with a tart flavor similar to ‘Granny Smith’, 350 chill hours

 

Callaway- a self-fertile crabapple that produces clouds of fluffy white blooms in the spring followed by small red fruits that pack full-sized apple flavor, tasty fruit can be eaten fresh or cooked, trees may not flower after particularly warm winters but the show and flavor is well-worth the wait

 

Pears, pears…what do I do with all these pears? That’s what you’ll be saying once your pear trees mature. They’re a super-reliable fruit crop in our area and a single mature tree can literally produce buckets of delicious treats each fall. The spring blooms look like clouds of white covering the branches, and they even have lovely fall color in some years. Most edible pears won’t get larger than 15’-20’ tall & wide in our area.Some pears will set fruit if planted alone, but most of them produce more fruit, and produce fruit of a higher quality, if planted with a pollinator. 

Checkout this helpful information from the University of Georgia about growing pears in the deep south: https://extension.uga.edu/publications/detail.html?number=C742&title=Home%20Garden%20Pears

Flordahomeplant with Hood, Pineapple, or Baldwin, UF release hybrid, partly self-fertile, strong grower and disease resistant

 

Pineappleplant with Hood, Flordahome, or Baldwin, tough grower, very productive bearer making bushels year after year

 

Baldwinplant with Hood, Flordahome, or Pineapple, partly self-fertile, good dual purpose pears for fresh eating or cooking

 

Spalding- self-fertile trees can produce fruit when planted alone or with any other pear for our region, these fruits combine the crunchy juicy, sweetness of an Asian pear and the mellow complex flavor of a European pear, healthy & vigorous trees produce loads of medium size, round, light green/yellow fruit with white mellow flesh

 

Figs are another great beginner fruit tree. They grow happily in almost any of our local soils and require no special pruning or training. We recommend adding lots of compost around your new fig trees because they love organic matter. Be sure to keep a wide and deep ring of mulch maintained around them as well to keep the soil moist. Use any type of organic matter as mulch (like pine straw, woodchips, hay, pine bark, or leaves) because these types of material will decompose over time which builds good soil right where you need it. All our figs are self-fertile and do not require a pollinator.

Checkout this information from the University of Florida to learn more about figs in Florida: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg214

Brown Turkey– this is the traditional fig of North Florida, incredibly reliable, sweet & tasty, very productive, this should be the first fig you plant if you’re just getting started, fruit is bronze with a red interior

 

Celeste– think of this like ‘Brown Turkey’ plus, very productive trees are similar to the classic but with fruit that is a bit sweeter and a bit larger, bronze fruit with amber interior

 

Black Mission– big round figs are exceptionally sweet, dark purple figs have a red interior

 

Olympian– very cold-hardy plants work even in the lowest and coldest parts of our region, very large fruits are dark purple with red flesh

 

Little Miss Figgy– a dwarf fig tree that produces deliciously sweet fruits, plants grow just 4’-6’ tall and wide, provide a spot with plenty of sun and good airflow to avoid foliage disease problems

 

Peaches make us all think of our neighbors to the north, but we can do peaches too! A fresh picked peach is a million times better than the sad, dry, flavorless lumps you’ll find in the grocery store these days. Peaches also grow super-fast and produce a gorgeous display of pink flowers each spring. Peach tree care is more involved than other fruits, so we consider them to be of intermediate to advanced difficulty. Only try to grow peaches in wide open areas that get lots of sunshine and plenty of airflow, close quarter just won’t do.. Peaches are self-fertile and do not need to be planted with a pollinator.

We think peach trees are pretty enough to grow for their ornamental value alone, however, if you want to harvest fruit take a look at these resources from the University of Florida for growing information: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_peaches_and_nectarines

Flordaking– semi-cling stone pits, large fruits with yellow flesh, ripens in May, 450 chill hours, this is a really solid peach for most Tallahassee areas

Tropic Beauty- this low-chill peach is a great choice for yards in urban and suburban areas that stay warmer than average through the winter, medium sized fruits have red skin & yellow interiors, soft melting flesh surrounds a semi-freestone pit

Rio Grande– freestone pits, extra-large fruits with yellow flesh, very juicy and tasty fruits, ripens in June, 400 chill hours, this is one of our best tasting peaches

Sunglo Nectarine– very hardy plants grow fast, very productive trees make large crops, 300 chill hours 

Gulf King– large yellow flesh has a sweet flavor and maintains a firm texture longer than most peaches, clingstone pit, ripens in early may

Suwanee– this gorgeous, tasty peach has proven productive in our climate for decades, the large firm fruits are yellow & red blushed with a freestone pit, fruit ripens late June into July

Plums have much the same care and maintenance needs of peaches. They require proper siting, pruning, pest management, and disease management to expect good fruit production. That being said, they are beautifully ornamental small trees even without fruit. They produce masses of delicate white flowers in late winter that feed hungry bees, and even poor quality fruit offers a snack for wildlife. Most plums require pollination from a different variety to make fruit. Sadly, due to our erratic winter weather, plums often do not bloom on their expected schedules. The more different varieties of plums you can mix in a planting, the greater your chances of pollination become, as it is hard to predict which varieties will bloom at the same year to year.

These resources from the University of Florida can help you along the way: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_peaches_and_nectarines

Flatwoodsuse as an ornamental or as a pollinator for other edible plums, one of our wild native plum species, plants are lovely, small ornamental trees that feed pollinators and wildlife, fruits are too small to be of much edible use but the trees make wonderful pollinators for most edible varieties

 

Bruceplant with Flatwoods, Segundo, Robusto, Gold, or Chickasaw, a very good choice for our area, this hybrid of Japanese and Native Chickasaw Plum has resulted in a very strong and productive plum for North Florida, red fruits, ~500 chill hours

 

Scarlet Beautyself-fertile, does not need a pollinator, very low chill of only ~150 chill hours, flowers very early in the season, a great choice for warmer protected areas like neighborhoods and urban gardens, red skin with amber flesh, heavy bearing 

 

Methley- self-fertile, does not need a pollinator, a tried and true variety for North Florida, this vigorous upright tree produces heavy crops of juicy, sweet, dark red to purple fruits, good for fresh eating or making jelly too

 

Santa Rosaself-fertile, does not need a pollinator, medium to large fruit has crimson red skin and rich yellow flesh, sweet fruit is juicy yet firm

 

Excelsior- plant with Guthrie, Bruce, Chickasaw, or Flatwoods for pollination, an edible selection of native plum tree, yellow fruits are golden inside & out, highly disease resistant trees produce large crops of small but delicious 2” fruits

 

Grape vines are strong, durable, and long-lived fruiting plants. We have a very interesting mix of grapes available this year. The local Muscadine grapes are still available, and as strong as ever, but there are new hybrids that offer a sweeter fruit on equally vigorous plants. Grape vines require a little work upfront to install the proper supports for them. You also need to learn how to prune (anyone can do it), but after that they are easy, easy, easy to care for. You need only look at the massive wild grape vines growing on the side of the road to see how vigorous these plants are. Grapes are a fantastic addition to any edible landscape that will provide food for years to come. Some grapes require a pollinator and others do not, be sure you have what you need before you get to planting. 

Checkout these resources about growing and pruning grapes in the deep south: 


Read the Extension Office Muscadine Grape Article – HERE
Read the Extension Office Bunch Grape Article – HERE
Read Muscadine Grape Breeding Article – HERE

Blanc du Boisself-fertile grape does not require a pollinator, this is one of the rare bunch grapes that thrive in Florida, white (light green) fruits are borne in large clusters, grapes are sweet and tasty as table grapes but are most treasured for wine-making, ripens in July

 

Southern Jewelself-fertile grape does not require a pollinator, muscadine grape released by the University of Florida that is high-yielding, disease-resistant, large black fruit produced in bunches of 6 to 12 berries that hold strong to the vine, excellent taste and a crisp texture with a palatable skin, good for fresh eating or wine

 

Razzmatazzself-fertile grape does not require a pollinator, this is really something new, vigorous vines are everbearing (they can produce fruit from spring-fall), they create clusters of small grapes that are rich in flavor, sweetness, thin-skinned, and seedless, no need to prune this vine in any particular way, just let it grow and try to keep up with harvesting the fruit, this is the best choice for smaller areas as it can be pruned back anytime of the year without hurting fruit production, we recommend Razzmatazz to any novice fruit grower, so easy to grow and reap rewards. This plant needs continual applications of fertilizer to keep the growth and fruit coming, be sure to feed every 6 weeks to 2 months from spring through fall.

 

Delicious- self-fertile, this amazing black muscadine is high yielding, has excellent taste and texture that make it perfect for fresh eating, has good disease resistance and potential for wine production

 

Welder- self-fertile, a smaller bronze grape, but vines are high yielding, the juicy grapes have a high sugar content & make excellent grape juice or wine, good disease resistance makes for easy home cultivation

 

Noble- self-fertile, highly productive vines produce masses of juicy black grapes that make the best red wine, plant noble for grape juice or wine making, highly disease resistant vines are easy to grow

 

Higgins- requires pollination from any self-fertile variety of muscadine grape, an old-fashioned grape vine that has proven productive for decades, the large bronze fruits have a pink blush & combine large size with good fresh eating quality

 

Alachua- self-fertile, rich & tasty muscadine flavor with strong disease resistance make this vine ideal for home productions, the black grapes are average size and they ripen late in the season 

 

Blueberries are a real crowd pleaser. Blueberry bushes are welcome in the garden as they don’t need much space or fancy care to produce fruit. It is, however, very important that blueberry bushes get the basic care essentials for the first few years. Fertilizer, water, and mulch are all very easy to supply, but new blueberry plants cannot go without them. We carry numerous varieties of Rabbiteye Blueberries that are improved versions of wild growing bushes from the southeast. They all produce big, pretty, sweet fruits. Plant at least 3 different varieties of Rabbiteye Blueberries together for good cross pollination and fruit set. 

Follow the recommendations in our own blueberry growing guide for big, beautiful plants and berries:

Blueberries: The Panhandle Guide Click HERE to read our Blueberry Guide

Tifblueplant with other Rabbiteye varieties, old-fashioned variety is proven in North Florida, productive, vigorous, upright plants, fruit ripens late June – early July

 

Powder Blueplant with other Rabbiteye varieties, strong plants, sweet fruits ripen late June – July

 

Premierplant with other Rabbiteye varieties, good quality berries ripen late May into June

 

Alapahaplant with other Rabbiteye varieties, this early ripening variety produces medium sized berries that are firm, flavorful, & dark blue

 

Brightwellplant with other Rabbiteye varieties, this early ripening variety produces medium to large berries that are firm, flavorful, & pretty

 

Austinplant with other Rabbiteye varieties, this early ripening variety produces medium to large fruits with deliciously sweet berries 

 

Titanplant with other Rabbiteye varieties, this early ripening variety produces huge berries, up to the size of a quarter, the firm sweet fruits grow on narrowly upright plants

 

Blackberries are a wonderful crop for our hot hot climate. These plants thrive in summer heat, soaking up all the rain and sunshine so they can produce deliciously juicy berries. Blackberries require a support structure to help hold them up, like a chain link fence or even an ornamental trellis. They are a great crop for beginners because they can produce fruit in their first year, which is just so exciting!Our blackberries are self-fertile and do not need to be planted with a pollinator. 

Checkout this resource from UF for more information: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/hs104   

Prime Ark Freedom– a newer variety that can produce fruit on the current year’s growth as well as last year’s growth, VERY disease resistant, we have seen this variety fight off diseases that would have killed other blackberries, large juicy fruits

Bananas have always been an option for a few protected gardens in North Florida, but our increasingly warm winters have meant that more and more gardeners can expect to harvest fresh, delicious fruits from these bold plants. It’s widely believed that the bananas we get at the store (‘Cavendish’) are the least tasty variety of all edible bananas, but they ship and store well so we are stuck with them. However, we can grow dessert quality, creamy, rich, sweet varieties right in our own yards. The timing and weather have to work out just right for most bananas to produce ripe fruit in our climate, but healthy & vigorous patches do produce fairly often. Just don’t expect to get fruit from every single trunk that grows. As a clump of bananas gets larger and produces more trunks, it becomes more likely one or two of those trunks will fruit in any given year. The key is to maintain healthy plants and be patient. Bananas love lots of sun, lots of fertilizer, and lots of water. The more you give them, the more they’ll give back. All our edible bananas are self-fertile.

 

Checkout some extra info from the University of Florida: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg040

 

Kokopo- a new variety that can ripen fruit in half the time of conventional varieties, 2’-3’ tall plants installed in spring can produce ripe fruit the same year before frost arrives, slender & graceful trunks grow only 6’-8’ tall, fruit has a good texture and tropical aroma 

 

Veinte Cohol- a new variety that can ripen fruit in half the time of conventional varieties, 2’-3’ tall plants installed in spring can produce ripe fruit the same year before frost arrives, dessert quality fruit is sweet and creamy, dwarf plants grow 6’-8’ tall

 

Praying Hands– produces fruit like you’ve never seen before, adjacent rows of fruit are fused together, just like interlaced fingers, these cold-hardy plants are as ornamental as they are tasty, fruit is tastiest when cooked like plantains, this traditional banana requires 2+ years to produce fruit, 12’-15’ tall

 

Pisang Ceylon– one of the best tasting lady finger bananas in the world, fruit keeps well after being picked, this traditional banana requires 2+ years to produce fruit, 12’-15’ tall, cold-hardy plants return from the roots even if the top freezes

 

 

Loquat Seedlings– a really good beginner fruit tree for Tallahassee, trees are very easy to grow and require only the basic care of water, fertilizer, & mulch, plants are considered self-fertile but more fruit and better quality fruit is produced when 2 or more plants are near each other, fruit ripen in late winter to early spring and ranges from yellow to orange in color, most trees produce juicy fruits of roughly 1”+ across that have a sweet and tart flavor combination, great for fresh eating or making into jam, jelly, or fruit leather

Dwarf Everbearing Mulberry self-fertile, a relatively dwarf tree that grows 12’-15’ tall, produces masses of small, sweet, black berries with a nice sweet tart flavor, we find this to be a very useful tree as a small growing shade tree, an edible fruit tree, &/or feed wildlife, trees can be pruned hard if they grow too large, they will resprout readily from even hard cutting, self-fertile tree does not need a pollinator, this is a great beginner fruit tree, very easy to grow 

Pakistan Mulberry-  self-fertile, this fast-growing tree produces a huge canopy, adorned with massive crops of long, 4” long fruits, the juicy, super-sweet berries look like elongated blackberries, plant in protected areas to avoid freeze damage

Christina Pomegranate self-fertile, dark red skin with pale pink seeds and juice, this cold-hardy variety bears heavy crops of fruit in our humid climate, found decades ago, growing in Port St. Joe, Florida, hardy to 15-20°

Salavatski Pomegranate self-fertile, a cold-hardy russian type, very large red fruits with red arils and sweet tart juice, can grow up to 15’ tall, pomegranate trees need as much hot sun as they can get and well-drained soil, do not plant in heavy soil or wet areas

Afganski Pomegranate-  self-fertile, large red fruit is sweet tart with a robust flavor, pomegranate trees need as much hot sun as they can get and well-drained soil, do not plant in heavy soil or wet areas

Arbequina Olive–  self-fertile plants do not require a pollinator, similar to pomegranates olives need hot hot hot conditions and very well-drained soil, sand and rocks are better than clay, well-suited to containers in sunny spots, the silvery gray foliage is truly beautiful even if you never saw an olive, olives are never eaten fresh from the tree but must be cured in salty brine first, olives in our area often require strong staking to support them

Fuyu Persimmonself-fertile plants do not require a pollinator, the most popular and sought after persimmon on the market, very flavorful fruits are non-astringent which means they can be eaten when crisp or soft, persimmons have a unique flavor that  is often compared to pumpkin pie 

Deer Magnet Persimmon- a self-fertile female selection, produces seedless fruits if no male trees are nearby, this native persimmon can form a large tree of 30’ tall or more, expect massive crops of small 1.5” fruits that stay on the tree until early winter when they become super-sweet, this astringent type should only be eaten once the fruit is fully ripe (soft and mushy), great for wildlife and people

Amling Pecan– type 1 pecan, excellent disease-resistance, superior home orchard variety, plant with Elliott for good pollination

Elliott Pecan– type 2 Pecan, highly disease-resistant, high-quality nut, best home orchards, plant with Amling for good pollination

Dunstan Chestnut– vigorous plants produce high quality nuts, very easy crop to grow in North Florida, considered a sustainable edible crop for our region, Dunstan Chestnuts are seedlings from superior Chinese x American Chestnut crosses, plant at least 2 or more Dunstan Chestnuts together for cross-pollination

Growing food is not the easiest thing to do with your garden, but it is one of the most rewarding things you can do with your garden.

If you are new to growing fruit do some research before you buy plants, try to pick the best choice for your conditions and your skill level, but then just have fun with it. We believe gardening is best learned through trial and error. Just like parenting, you’ll never truly be ready for your new fruit tree babies, but you will learn from each one and you’ll get better and better each year. Keep in mind that patience is a virtue when it comes to growing fruit. Some trees take an average of 5-7 years to produce good crops, but then you get decades of fresh, delicious, nutritious, & home-grown food. The best time to plant a fruit tree is always the same…10 years ago. But the second best time to plant a fruit tree is right now!

*all stocking information is accurate as of 09.16.2020. Shop early while we have the best selection

This article was written by Jonathan Burns (Tallahassee Nurseries Outdoor Manager, FNGLA Florida Certified Horticulture Professional) using information from years of personal observations gardening in the Tallahassee area, as well as advice from a well respected, local, fruit tree grower.

 



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