Cherries

Can Cherries Grow In Florida?

Cherry trees that bear fruit are not suitable for Florida as they need cold weather and chilling hours to flower and fruit.

However, there are some cherry tree varieties that can grow in Florida, such as Barbados, Taiwan, Okame, Kawanzan, and black cherry. Black cherry is a native North American fruit tree that can grow in areas of Florida north of Lake Okeechobee.

Barbados cherry is a small tree that fruits from May to November with an edible crop used fresh or juiced, or made into jams and pies.

When grown in central Florida and northward, Barbados cherry should be grown in protected locations and in well-drained sites.

It is important to note that insufficient winter chilling can cause cherry trees to develop poor bud-burst, flowering, floral abnormalities, and poor fruit set.

Are There Any Specific Care Requirements For Cherry Trees Grown In Florida?

Traditional cherry trees of the genus Prunus, with their distinctive, small fleshy fruits, require cold temperatures and more chilling hours than the Florida climate provides.

However, there are other trees and shrubs commonly called “cherries” that can grow in Florida, such as the Ornamental Prunus species.

Here are some tips for growing cherry trees in Florida:

  • Choose cherry trees that are suitable for the Florida climate, such as the Ornamental Prunus species.
  • Provide well-drained soils for the cherry trees to grow in.
  • Grow cherry trees in part shade, part sun, or full sun.
  • Water cherry trees regularly, especially during dry periods.
  • Fertilize cherry trees with a balanced fertilizer in the spring.
  • Prune cherry trees in the winter to remove dead or diseased wood and to shape the tree.
  • Protect cherry trees from pests and diseases, such as aphids, spider mites, and brown rot.

It is also worth noting that black cherry (Prunus serotina) can grow in Florida and has high drought tolerance.

Carolina laurel cherry or cherry-laurel (Prunus caroliniana) is another cherry-like tree that can grow in Florida.

What Are The Typical Chilling Hour Requirements For Cherry Trees, And How Does It Compare To The Climate In Florida?

Cherry Trees

Here is what I found regarding the typical chilling hour requirements for cherry trees and how it compares to the climate in Florida:

  • Cherry trees require a certain number of chilling hours during the winter to produce fruit.The number of chilling hours required varies depending on the cultivar.
  • Some cherry cultivars, like Lapin, need between 400 to 450 chilling hours, while Kordia will not flower unless they get between 700 to 750 hours of cold temperatures.
  • Other cherry cultivars, like Royal Lee and Minnie Royal, require approximately 250 chill hours to bloom.
  • Cherry cold requirements are generally between 800 and 1,200 hours.
  • Low-chill peaches, plums, and nectarines need just 100 to 525 chilling hours per year, making them better suited for mild winters like those in Florida.
  • Cherry trees cannot grow in warm zones like Florida because they require a lot of chilling hours.
  • Stella semi-dwarf cherry trees need 400 chill hours, which is well below the 600 chill hours in Bonifay, Florida.

Besides Black Cherry And Barbados Cherry, Are There Any Other Cherry Tree Varieties That Can Tolerate The Florida Climate?

Traditional cherry trees that bear fruit are not suitable for Florida as they need cold weather and chilling hours to flower and fruit.

However, there are several cherry tree varieties that can tolerate the Florida climate, including:

  1. Barbados cherry (Malpighia glabra)
  2. Taiwan cherry (Prunus campanulata)
  3. Okame cherry (Prunus x incamp ‘Okame’)
  4. Kawanzan cherry (Prunus serrulata ‘Kanzan’)

In addition, black cherry (Prunus serotina) and Carolina laurel cherry or cherry-laurel (Prunus caroliniana) can also grow in Florida.

However, it’s important to note that some of these varieties may be more suitable for ornamental purposes rather than fruit production.

Can Cherry Trees Be Successfully Grown In Southern Parts Of Florida, Such As Below Lake Okeechobee?

Cherry trees can be grown in Florida, but it depends on the type of cherry tree and the location.

Here are some key points:

  • Taiwan cherry (Prunus campanulata) is a Florida-friendly tree that can grow up to 20 feet tall and equally as wide.It is native to Southern China and is the most heat-tolerant of the flowering cherry trees.

    It is planted throughout the deep south, in USDA plant hardiness zones 7b-9a.

  • The black cherry (Prunus serotina) and Carolina laurel cherry or cherry-laurel (Prunus caroliniana) are two types of cherry trees that can be grown in Florida.However, they are not the same ones that produce the cherries we eat.
  • ‘Okame’ cherry is a hybrid version that is commonly available and has lighter pink flowers.This tree is best suited for areas of North and Central Florida.

    It is heat tolerant and does exceptionally well in the hot, humid, drought-prone southern climate.

  • ‘Yoshino’ cherry trees will reach a mature size of about 35 feet tall and wide and produce clouds of pinkish-white blooms each spring before the branches leaf out.They are easy-to-grow and perfectly fill all sorts of spaces.

    Very heat and cold tolerant, ‘Okame’ grows and blooms well as far south as Central Florida.

What Alternatives Can Florida Residents Consider For Fruit Trees That Thrive In The Warm Climate If Cherry Trees Are Not Suitable?

  1. Lychee trees: Lychees are a tropical fruit tree that can produce fruit from May to July.They require full sun and well-draining soil.
  2. Guava trees: Guavas are a popular fruit tree in Florida and can produce fruit from September to December.They require full sun and well-draining soil.
  3. Pomegranate trees: Pomegranates are a deciduous fruit tree that can produce fruit from September to November.They require full sun and well-draining soil.
  4. Persimmon trees: Persimmons are a deciduous fruit tree that can produce fruit from September to November.They require full sun and well-draining soil.
  5. Loquat trees: Loquats are a subtropical fruit tree that can produce fruit from March to May.They require full sun and well-draining soil.
  6. Tamarind trees: Tamarinds are a tropical fruit tree that can produce fruit from May to July.They require full sun and well-draining soil.
  7. Mulberry trees: Mulberries are a deciduous fruit tree that can produce fruit from May to June.They require full sun and well-draining soil.

Florida residents should consider the unique climate range in their area when selecting fruit trees to grow.

Some fruit trees may be easier to grow in the north, while others may be easier to grow in the south.

Chris is a Midwest Transplant that has lived in South Florida since 1999. While he likes to remain active and is an avid sports enthusiast, he's become our go-to provider of reviews of any establishment serving food and booze!

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