Growing Jackfruit in North Florida?

Growing_Jackfruit_In_South_Florida

After my post on Growing Jackfruit in South Florida, I received an email from a regular reader requesting a post on growing jackfruit in North Florida.

He also sent me a link on the power of jackfruit as a superfood which also fights diabetes – check this out:

“One of the most powerful health benefits associated with jackfruit is its ability to fight diabetes. This potential of the fruit is just beginning to be fully explored, in part because the best way to use jackfruit for diabetes is to consume the unripe fruit, which is not a common practice outside of the regions where it is grown.”

growing jackfruit in north florida?

 

 

It would be quite tough to pull off growing jackfruit in North Florida since it’s definitely a tropical tree, but I’ll give you my suggestions.

Is it Possible to Grow Jackfruit in North Florida?

Yes, if you have an almost impossibly good microclimate or a greenhouse with some SERIOUS headroom!

You can grow them the same way I postulated you could grow coconut palms outside their range. I know this because my friend Craig grew a jackfruit tree inside his greenhouse-over-a-pit in Citra, Florida.

Something like this:

Plant right in the ground, though, and prune like mad.

Jackfruit aren’t a small tree and they don’t like being constrained in pots… however, they really are easy to start from seed, so you don’t have to spend much of anything if you want to experiment with growing them outside their range. Only fresh jackfruit seeds will germinate. They look like a large bean. Throw some in your compost pile and they’re likely to come up all on their own, as my friend Amanda discovered.

She sent me these pictures of seedling jackfruit a little while back:

jackfruit growing in north florida grow jackfruit in north florida - a seedling

Another possibility is to be really clever with your south-facing wall. I grew coffee, key limes, guava, black pepper and lemons next to my south wall in North Florida. Judicious pruning, tying down branches and keeping the trees tight to the wall could help you grow jackfruit in North Florida… but still, those trees get big! I’ve never heard of anyone espaliering a jackfruit – you could be the first to do so!

I might start the tree from seed, letting it grow straight up, planted towards one end of the wall, then bend it sideways as far as I could once it got big. Or start it in a big pot, then plant it way bent over along the ground. Weighting it down with cinder blocks might work, too.

The book Agricultural Options for Small-Scale Farmers has a report on page 202 that reads:

“‘The… jackfruit usually bears its large fruit (up to 80 cm in length) on the trunk and main branches, high up in the tree. In the Songkhla Province of Thailand, the young jackfruit is planted over a large stone or metallic plate, thus blocking the growth of the tree’s tap root.’ As a result, fruits grow in clusters around the base of the trunk.”

This would be very helpful in a small space!

Once a tree reaches up past the edge of the roof, that part is going to freeze off on a cold night. Your goal is to dwarf the tree and keep it from getting that tall.

Another possibility might be to grow a jackfruit tree on an island in the middle of a pond. Or on a big raft in your swimming pool. The radiant heat overnight could keep it alive. Maybe.

I planted a jackfruit seedling in my North Florida food forest once and it froze to the ground. The next year it came back from the roots, then froze down again that winter and failed to return.

Growing jackfruit in North Florida is a serious challenge. I’d never recommend it to a beginner, but it’s totally something I would try myself until I pulled it off.

If anyone tries it, please let me know what happens!

Related posts:

David-the-good-books-revised

14 comments

  • Hi David, I really like your blog. I live in drought stricken So. CA. On the other edge, of the continent.
    Would Jack fruit grow in my climate? It seldom freezes on the West coast here. Does it need lots of water? We do not have a humid climate. The air is more dry. This would be my other question? What will do well, in my climate?

    On another topic, if I may ask. I am interested in keeping Bees, on my lands. Do you know anything about beekeeping?

    • Thanks for the kind words.

      You can probably grow it there but you’ll likely need to irrigate to keep it somewhat happy. I’m betting lots of compost and mulch will help a lot.

      In your climate, I’d go for dates, figs, pomegranates, pistachios, citrus, olives, loquats and Japanese persimmons first, then branch out and try mulberries, mangoes, low-chill peaches, tropical apple varieties and fun things like that.

    • David The Good

      …as for beekeeping, a beekeeping friend and I have almost finished a short book on beekeeping in the South. I do know some but I’m not an expert. If you’re not close to commercial agriculture that’s being sprayed with chemicals, and you’re not close to commercial beekeeping operations, and if you have plenty of flowers/trees in your area, plus a source of water, keeping bees is quite possible.

  • Thanks David! I was thinking of keeping it potted, being concerned about tree roots being close to the house foundation (especially with such a large tree). Interesting idea about blocking the tap root. I would expect that keeping it potted would accomplish the same thing. Maybe a very large pot… I’ll keep you posted.

  • David The Good

    That’s the ticket!

  • @David, an interesting experiment if that person tried to go the espaliering route would be to grow it in a pot at the start. Once the tree gets to the height where the person wants to start espaliering the jackfruit laterally, have them lay the pot on its side almost at a 90 degree angle. The tree should start bending its branches upward toward the sun, creating a tree shape that has about a 90 degree angle. When it has, turn the pot back upright and then tie the sideways branches in place so that they don’t readjust to the new sun angle, and then plant the tree in the ground. That should at least get the initial lateral growth that avoids having the tree grow too high. I saw a YouTube channel where a guy did this for his tomato plants (mhpgardener). Pretty interesting.

  • Hey thanks Shane! I will try it!

  • Gotta be honest, didn’t know there was such a thing as ‘jackfruit’ before reading this

  • Pingback: Open a Jackfruit the Easy Way: an Illustrated How-to Guide to Opening a Jackfruit - The Survival Gardener

  • Hi Dave – concerning gardening in NF, I have a bunch of citrus trees growing. I just put them in the ground (they were in pots on my back porch for a couple years). Now they will be exposed to north winds this winter. Can you recommend a wind break to help protect them? I was thinking since lemon grass is evergreen I could surround the tree trunks with a couple of those? Any suggestions would be most appreciated.

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