Yep – you can grow jackfruit in Florida.
When I was down in Ft. Lauderdale a few weeks ago, I got to talk with my long-time friends Chuck and Sarah – and found out they had planted a Jackfruit tree in their yard a few years back.
After I got home, I asked Chuck if he’d send a few pictures – which he did, along with a few notes on his tree.
Chuck wrote, “I’m sending you several pictures of our tree, though I don’t know much about jackfruit. We planted the tree 4-5 years ago. It was 6 feet tall then. Now it a good 20 feet high. The fruit grows to about the size of watermelons. It is real sticky. The Jamaican women in our church all like it, so we divide the spoils among them. They tell us you need to oil up your hands before cutting in to it. It was too much for Sarah & I, but the tree offers a lot of great shade.”
Therein lies a wonderful truth about fruit trees: if you plant something edible, even if you don’t like it, you’ll still be able to share the bounty with others. Can you say that about an oak or a magnolia or a pine? Nope. The Jamaican ladies at Chuck’s church are getting their socks blessed off them because Chuck and Sarah decided to plant a fruit tree.
I do have some serious growing zone envy looking at these pictures, though. Jackfruit is a completely tropical tree; Ft. Lauderdale is basically the very top of its potential range. When people complain that “nothing grows in Florida,” I want to break their lying teeth (metaphorically speaking, of course). Just because you can’t grow cherries or apples like you had back home… it doesn’t mean NOTHING will grow. Dip into the bounty of the tropics if you’re in zone 10 – it’s a truly abundant vein to mine.