“If you want to grow tropical fruits, I have good news,” said Byron Martin, co-owner of Logee’s Tropical Plants. “You can grow tropical fruits in containers in most climates.” All you need to do is follow three simple tips.
The first tip, according to Martin, is to choose the right plant varieties. Select dwarf varieties of plants that produce fruit on smaller plants. Varieties such as Changshou Kumquat and Super Dwarf Cavendish Banana are perfect for growing in pots or containers.
Tip number two: move potted tropical plants as the seasons change. “Put the plants outdoors in the summer,” said Martin. “Exposing a plant to the outdoors helps make it stronger and healthier.” Then, when colder weather approaches, move plants indoors near a sunny window. That way, the fruit trees and plants can still get enough light and be protected against cool temperatures.
The third tip: fertilize container-grown tropical plants. A premium tropical plant fertilizer will give tropical fruiting plants the nutrients they need for plant growth and fruit production.
Here are Byron Martin’s tips to grow tropical fruits plants in pots and containers.
Banana ‘Super Dwarf Cavendish’
This wonderful variety of the Cavendish banana will produce edible fruit when the tree is only 3 feet tall. The bananas will often appear after just one year. Although the fruit is smaller than commercial bananas, these bananas are perfect for little hands and smaller appetites. Banana plants do best in full sun.
Keep your plant’s soil moist, keep the temperatures warm, and fertilize regularly for best growth and fruit production. Super Dwarf Cavendish plants are easy to grow, and they grow amazingly fast.
Your potted banana tree will grow to a height of about 3-4 feet tall. A plant in a four-inch pot sells for $24.95 from Logees.com.
Kumquats are a wonderful fruit for home growing. The Changshou Kumquat (Fortunella obovata ‘Fukushu’) is rare and hard to find in local garden centers. But this variety, known for its large juicy fruit, is available online.
The fragrant white flowers of Changshou Kumquat bloom from May to September, and the fruit ripens year-round. Changshou’s pear-shaped fruit is larger than other kumquat varieties, and it usually has five or six segments of fruit inside the sweet, thin skin. Changshou Kumquat will reach a height of 3-5 feet tall, and it prefers full sun.
“I think it’s the best kumquat we’ve ever grown in the Logee’s greenhouses, and it makes a perfect potted specimen plant,” says Byron Martin.
Many people grow a coffee tree as a beautiful indoor foliage plant that scents a room with a sweet fragrance. A Coffee Arabica plant produces red, pulpy berries on an upright shrub. The berries alone are enough reason to grow this plant. But then there are the fragrant white blooms nestled among shiny green leaves.
Place a Coffee Arabica plant in a bright window, and soon you will be harvesting your own coffee beans. (The coffee beans grow inside the plant’s coffee cherries.) A Coffee Arabica plant loves humid growing conditions—50% humidity or higher. Your potted coffee tree will grow to a height of 3-5 feet tall in the sun or partial sun.
Egyptian Yellow Guava
Most guava trees are native to Central America, South America and the Caribbean islands. But Egyptian Yellow Guava (Psidium guajava hybrid) is a very productive hybrid from Egypt that produces medium-sized fruit.
Egyptian Yellow Guava bears oblong, yellow fruit that are about 4 inches long. The white inner flesh is sweet and juicy, and it is ideal for eating fresh or preserving. The plant flowers in recurring cycles in spring and summer. It takes between 60 and 90 days for the flowers to turn into ripe fruit. This small tree grows 4-6 feet tall, and it makes a wonderful addition to any tropical fruiting plant collection. It grows best in full sun or partial sun.
American Wonder Lemon
The American Wonder Lemon (also known as Ponderosa Lemon) is a variety made famous by Logee’s Plants. In the year 1900, a Ponderosa Lemon tree growing in a Logee’s greenhouse outgrew its pot and “planted itself” in the dirt floor of the greenhouse. Today, that plant is 122 years old—and it still produces lemons. The Ponderosa Lemon trees that Logee’s sells are tissue cuttings from that original tree.
The fun in growing a Ponderosa/American Wonder Lemon plant begins with a heavy surge of fragrant white flowers each spring. Then, small lemons begin to appear. American Wonder Lemons continue to grow to enormous proportions (often up to 5 pounds each) even though the plant remains an easily manageable size. An American Wonder Lemon plant in a 4-inch pot sells for $29.95.