Thursday, March 13, 2014

Growing apples in Florida

Photo credit (cc license)

Can you grow apples in Florida? The answer is yes - and not just the type you think might grow here. Since I'm on an apple kick right now... today I'm posting some more tantalizing info... this time on growing apples in the tropics.

The article below was pointed out to me by several folks and is definitely worth sharing:

It is a shock to many people that yes, apples can be grown in a tropical climate, and have been grown by the millions for many years.  

This goes against the conventional wisdom that apples need between 800-1,000 hours below 7° C. (45° F.) in order to break dormancy and set fruit.  But experience has shown that using tropic apple culture methods can fool the tree into thinking that it's chilling-hour needs- whatever they may be- have been satisfied and it will then blossom and fruit.  You still must be choosy about which varieties to plant, and the tree will act much different than in a cold climate, but the end result is crisp, juicy, tasty apples.

It was then assumed that apples could be grown only in the highland tropic areas that receive quite a bit of cold weather, but not down in the lowlands with the heat and humidity. 

However a three-year study¹ in Nigeria and Southwest Cameroon proved that this was wrong. In that study 18 localities in Nigeria and 8 in Southwest Cameroon comprising both cool highlands and hot tropic lowlands were selected and planted with the apple variety Anna and a pollinator.  Several different cultural methods such as planting density and irrigation were employed at each location and an evaluation of the fruit pack-out was done at the completion... (KEEP READING)

Before I "retired" as a Master Gardener, I was taught that you can basically only grow Anna, Dorsett, Ein Shemer and Tropic Sweet apples in Florida... yet I'm discovering that apples are apparently a lot more tolerant of our climate than previously suspected. Even some of the classic "northern" varieties can be managed in Florida with a little adjustment.

The more you think you know...


At March 13, 2014 at 3:14 PM , Blogger Joe Moraca said...

Another great article. this list is crazy who would guess there where so many "warm weather" apples.

At March 13, 2014 at 7:32 PM , Blogger George G said...

Yes Kevin Hauser from Kuffelcreek helped inspire me to try growing apples here.
I have read through his list many times.
It surprised me that Fuji and Granny Smith are fantastic warm climate apples if left to ripen fully on the tree.
Some more good research from the Uni Of California on warm climate varieties here :

At March 14, 2014 at 8:50 AM , Blogger jean said...

I would love to try growing apples here where we live. I was told of some on the island that grows one apple tree but, don't know if it produces for him. Will have to find something out about that. Like I don't have enough fruits to eat already : )

At March 14, 2014 at 12:53 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

"Anna" is a variety developed in the Bahamas. If I get any apples off mine this year, I'll mail you the seeds. You can plant them all and you'll likely get a variety worth growing and eating.

If you could manage apples at your place, you'd make no end of profit.

At March 14, 2014 at 12:53 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

Very cool - thank you for the link.

At March 14, 2014 at 12:54 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

I know. Seriously. This is why we keep trying... nothing is totally set in stone.


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