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Messages - fourseasonsflorida

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Citrus General Discussion / Re: Citrus in Miracle Grow Garden Soil
« on: November 09, 2016, 02:34:50 PM »
My experience with MGGS in Florida is that it is very heavy, dark, with no wood chips either.  I would not think it would be a good potting medium.  For years, I had been using Miracle Grow Potting Soil for my potted plants, but a year ago switched to Jungle Growth because it is cheaper, lighter, with more pine bark, etc.  Not so sure how well it is working for citrus.

I'm growing a tangerine tree in a 15 gallon pot.  Bought it in a 5 gallon and now it's 5 feet high.  Was growing well at first, but now after a year in the 15g pot, it is struggling: lots of branches are dying, leaves yellowing, new growth small and stunted.  I took it out of the pot recently and the roots didn't seem to have expanded to fill the pot.  I think I originally used MGPS and I repotted in the same pot now with Jungle Growth.  Not sure if it will make a difference.

Should I use some other potting medium?  I'm trying to grow everything organic, so what fertilizer/spray would you all recommend?

Since the OP was asking what is fastest growing tropical in a pot:

  • Starfruit/carambola - this is hands-down my fastest grower and best producer in a pot.  I have Dwarf Hawaiian in a 25 gallon pot and I get 100 fruit or more each year.  It is likely very root bound because it's 7 ft and I've cut it back many times.  I keep a large plastic saucer underneath it from Lowes.  The "saucer" is about 6 inches deep and actually meant as a water feature in a garden.  Costs about $10 and works great for 25g pots, very sturdy.
  • Jamaican Cherry - I have one in a 25 g that is 6 feet or so and only a couple years old from tiny plant.  It would be much bigger if it were in the ground.  Very productive if it gets enough water.  Also keep a large saucer under it.
  • Papaya - generally fast growing, but in my experience does not do particularly well in pots.  The most effective method of planting is straight in the ground from seed.  They get a large taproot going straight down and many lateral roots in every direction.  Pots really stunt growth.
  • Banana - fast growing with enough nutrients and water, but they suffer the same issue as papaya - they do not like to be in pots.  I'm renting my house, so I have most of my plants in pots.  One of the few things I have in the ground are my bananas because they grow 1000% better in the ground!  They will take much longer to fruit and not produce as many pups in a pot.

I hear pitangatuba likes full sun and apparently organic fertilizer.  Other than that, what are optimal cultural requirements as to:

Potting medium
Any other nutritional needs?

I've had one for about 7 months now and it appears to be very slow growing so far. 

Carrie is particularly lemony, especially when not fully ripe.  When it's ripe, it has a zesty citrus sweet flavor.  It's one of my favorites and also a favorite of many others I know.  Also fairly dwarf which is nice.

Also love NDM as it has a distinctive spicy undertone and complex flavor.  The taste is quite different if you eat it more or less ripe.  It turns yellow when ripe, but if it gets really ripe, it will have a pink tinge on the top.

I've been getting mega mango loads from Merritt Island, FL over the past month and figuring out which ones I like best.  Other great ones are Glenn, Keitt, and Kent - which all probably fall into the typical mango flavor.  Valencia Pride is awesome, but not sure how to categorize the taste.

Kari (sometimes spelled Kary) is my favorite carambola as far as taste and very productive.  New Orleans is definitely a marginal area for starfruit.  In Central Florida, carambolas will lose all or most leaves unless the winter is very mild.  They also hate wind, especially cold wind so if you can protect it from the wind with other screening plants, that would be advantageous. 

2009 in FL was a really bad winter and my carambola was loaded with fruit.  The tree was about 8 ft.  I built a frame around it with 2x4s and covered with plastic while keeping the south side open a bit at times to allow it to breathe.  I was able to keep all the fruit and the leaves stayed too.  When the tree gets bigger, just concentrate on at least protecting the trunk if weather gets below 28F.

Re: flowering; my carambola always flower a little when they put out new leaves in the spring in March/April but none of those flowers develop fruit.  Maybe it's possible to enhance bloom with added phosphorus in the spring so some of the flowers will develop fruit?  Something to test.

This is my second round germinating red jaboticaba seeds so I'll share my experience with the first vs. second.

First time
Time of year: Dec-Jan 2015
Germinated indoors with light from South and West facing windows
Temps: 75 - 80F range
First plant emerged after only 3 weeks from sowing seeds
Germination success: almost 100%
Unfortunately, I exposed most of my seedlings to too much direct sun outdoors after they came up and they were killed.  I still have 6 that made it after I moved them to a location under trees with filtered light.

Second time
Time of year: April-June 2016
Germinated outdoors under trees with filtered light
Temps: 65 - 95F range (now range is more like 75 - 95F)
First plant emerged after 6 weeks and only 2 plants have emerged so far
Germination success: only about 5% so far
I think there are a number of factors that have hindered germination this time:

higher degree of fluctuation in temperatures
higher overall temperatures
pots have been inundated; flooded with water on occasions
more direct and strong light may be detrimental even though they are under oak trees

The first time around, I used regular miracle grow potting mix and had good success.
The second time around, I mixed more vermiculite in with the potting mix.  Not sure what effect that had, if any, based on the other factors involved.

Also, observations with the 6 seedlings that survived from the first round:
I have had them in filtered light under trees for a few months and they are doing ok, but growing really slowly.  Recently, they all began losing all their leaves.  The leaf tips turned brown and dry, then leaves fell off.  4 of the plants got new leaves that look very healthy while 2 plants are completely bare and the tiny stems look dead, although I am waiting to see if they put out new leaves. 

Not sure if this kind of leaf drop is normal with small seedlings or not.  I'm also interested in what kind of techniques others use with seedlings once they have sprouted to keep them going healthy and develop past the stage of being tiny plants.  They seem very sensitive to too much heat and sun.  They seemed to grow much better indoors during the winter than they are doing outdoors now.  Lower (and more constant) temps the first time around were definitely conducive to better germination.  I would say a more constant temp of about 80F during germination and even initial growth for small plants is optimal.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Yellow Grumichama
« on: June 01, 2016, 02:33:11 PM »
Mike, can you mail me some seeds?  I live in Maitland, FL.  Let me know and I could pay via PayPal.


Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Jaboticabaholics Anonymous
« on: February 05, 2016, 04:56:02 PM »
Thanks, buddy - called Urban Sunshine and they have both HP and BX.  Sounds like Pro Mix is considered a "soil-less" medium and doesn't really have any nutritional value in it.  So, if I go with it, I will need to fertilize right off the bat.  Suspect chelated Fe is the key here as Adam suggests.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Jaboticabaholics Anonymous
« on: February 05, 2016, 03:22:09 PM »
Put it in a 25 gallon pot full of ProMix and watch it take off. Use Diamond-R 8-4-8 fertilizer with micronutrients also with the iron. Your soil may be way too alkaline for the hybrid.

LOL! It's only in a one gallon pot at the moment and isn't ready to pot up, but I'll keep an eye out for Pro Mix.  Anyone in the Orlando area know where I can get Pro Mix around here?  Walmart and Lowes have it online, but not in any stores in my area.  Also will see if I can find Diamond-R.  Thanks!

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Jaboticabaholics Anonymous
« on: February 05, 2016, 03:00:23 PM »
Similar question:
I have a small potted Coronata that had a couple nice flushes of leaves over the past few months.  New leaves are twice the size as the old ones and it seems happy overall.  However, the new leaves are a lighter green with pronounced dark green veins. 

What do you all think?  Chelated Iron? Micros? Nitrogen? More acidic soil? A little of everything?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Fwang Tung Carmbola Star Fruit Tree
« on: January 26, 2016, 03:44:52 PM »
If FT is so irresistible for rodents, I'm steering clear of it.  I've had enough rodents attack my Dwarf Hawaiian!  I don't recall rodents attacking my Kari from my old house.  I'm planning on growing it again, so it will be interesting to see which variety they go after more.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Your favorite local seedling Avocado?
« on: January 19, 2016, 05:43:26 PM »
It's amazing how many great seedling avocados there are.  Most of the avocado trees around here are grown from seed and I haven't tasted one that was bad.  I think part of it is that, regardless of the avocado type, if its homegrown, you can let them fall off the tree - then you know they have reached the right stage.  Vast majority of the named varieties grown commercially are picked too early and even when "ripe", do not taste right.

A few doors down, a neighbor has an avocado tree with a few limbs actually hanging over the street.  It's dropping fruit right now.  Some of it ends up at the curb or in the grass by the road.  Some of it splits a bit upon hitting the ground.  But, they ripen in a couple days and are still plenty edible.  I walk down the street every day and there's usually one or two laying there.  The people don't even eat them and there's rotting fruit laying on the ground - so I don't feel the least bit guilty!  Here's what they look like... about 4 inch diameter, almost spherical.  Any ideas of what the parent may be?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: taking a chance on 9b -Mango
« on: January 19, 2016, 12:12:55 PM »

The 2012 USDA zone revisions pushed everything into a warmer zone, but it's still average temps, not actual observed lows.

I'm in 9b Central Florida and I wouldn't plant mango unless I had a really protected location to create a micro-climate.  That said, I have seen people around here with large mango trees even in what is technically zone 9a (Larry in Winter Garden comes to mind).  If you plant on the south side of a large structure and have other large trees around for protection it is possible. 

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Historical weather info
« on: January 13, 2016, 10:50:36 AM »
Thanks - looks pretty good although it's not as granular as I would like.  For instance, I can only choose certain FL cities instead of searching by zip code.  Not sure exactly where they are pulling their data, but at least historical data is there.  Today, I was only able to see data from Dec. 1 2015 backwards, but it's better than nothing!

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Historical weather info
« on: January 13, 2016, 10:27:55 AM »
Put your zipcode and go to monthly
JF, I tried that the other day and it didn't load a monthly calendar.  Today, when I do the same thing, it tries to load a calendar (say if I choose Dec 15) but then shows an error: "We're sorry.  Historical weather information is not available for this timeframe and earlier."  Looks like TWC is more interested in posting asinine videos than ensuring that basic, useful functionality actually works.   >:(

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Historical weather info
« on: January 12, 2016, 01:53:41 PM »
The Weather Channel online used to have a way to see what the highs/lows were for every day in the past month or two.  I don't see that feature anymore.

Is there another site that gives this ability to see on a calendar view what the observed highs/lows were in the past for a given area?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Possible Frost/Freeze Central FL
« on: January 12, 2016, 01:11:35 PM »
I'm in Maitland, FL and the thermometer was reading 42F at about 7:30am this morning.

BTW, the Weather Channel used to have a way to see what the highs/lows were for every day in the past month.  I don't see that feature anymore.

Is there another site that gives this ability to see on a calendar view what the observed highs/lows were in the past?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Warm winter in 9b Florida with pics
« on: January 08, 2016, 05:24:03 PM »
Hmmm... so after doing some sleuthing, it looks like it may just be a tall Namwah.  Apparently, a lot of FL nurseries have sold the tall Namwah as "Blue Java" or "Ice Cream" for years.  Dang it, now I want "the real Blue Java" even more!

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Warm winter in 9b Florida with pics
« on: January 08, 2016, 05:05:38 PM »
If you look at the pic at
my fruit looks exactly like that.  Slight blue tinge to it, but not as much as the Blue Java that is really blue.  I stuck a blue and green piece of paper down next to the fruit I just cut off today and took a pic.  The fruit has a slight blue tinge, but not as blue as the Blue Java you sometimes see.

BTW, does anyone in Central Florida have a pup of the "really Blue Java"?  I would be interested in getting one to compare with what I have.

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Warm winter in 9b Florida with pics
« on: January 08, 2016, 04:56:54 PM »
Do you have a pic of your tall Namwah with fruit?  How big does it get when it flowers?

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Warm winter in 9b Florida with pics
« on: January 08, 2016, 04:16:53 PM »
That's a beautiful backyard paradise you have there.
Thanks guys - I'm just renting this place, but it's enough to grow some bananas and the rest in pots.  I've got a contract on a beautiful 5 acre property in St. Cloud.  If that works out (hoping and praying), it's gonna be like a mini Fruit and Spice Park in Central Florida.  :D

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Warm winter in 9b Florida with pics
« on: January 08, 2016, 02:20:37 PM »
I'm up here in ocala and am hoping to not have to put up the greenhouse this winter. Last year I only had to have it for 2 days. Last weekend is pretty much the only time I've needed to turn the heaters on even for the ultra tropicals in the permanent greenhouse. Been perfect weather for my lychees so far this winter.
You have the lychee in the permanent greenhouse, right?  Can't imagine it would survive in Ocala out in the open during a typical winter up there.  I tried to grow lychee in ground in Palm Bay many years ago and we had two disastrous winters in a row - froze to the ground both times.  That was my first and last time growing lychee.  I plan on trying longan next as it seems to be easier to grow.  There are conflicting reports on its cold tolerance compared to lychee, but it seems to me that it's probably at least a little bit more cold tolerant than lychee. 

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Warm winter in 9b Florida with pics
« on: January 08, 2016, 02:14:14 PM »
Are you sure that is an actual Ice Cream banana?   Possibly a Namwa?
Yep - I'm obsessed with knowing exactly what all my bananas are.  If you are on, you will have seen discussions about Ice Cream over time.  There is the "Blue Java" that actually looks blue-green.  There is also this Ice Cream variation that has a slight bluish hue to it, but is mostly green.  They grow and fruit the same as far as I have heard.  Maybe this variation is a sport that lost most of the blue coloring.  Do you have "Florida's Best Fruiting Plants" book by Boning?  If so, check out the profile for bananas on page 37.  He has a picture of Ice Cream and it is not blue at all.
I have a dwarf Namwah.  The D. Namwah gets about 7-8ft when it flowers.  The Ice Cream gets about 10-12ft when it flowers.  Looks much different as it grows, too.  All my banana varieties:

Ice Cream
Praying Hands
Dwarf Namwah
Raja Puri
Apple (Manzano)

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Warm winter in 9b Florida with pics
« on: January 08, 2016, 10:23:51 AM »
Generally, this has been a very warm winter - the warmest I can remember so far in Central Florida - knock on wood!

I've still got starfruit hanging on the tree in January, which is very unusual.  Typically, we have a freeze by now and all the leaves and fruit are gone.  This winter, I don't think the temps have dipped below 45F or so at my house.  I'm also on the south side of a lake, so it's definitely a microclimate.

Here are some pics:

The dwarf Hawaiian carambola is nice, not as sweet as some of the others, but a mild sweetness, somewhat pearlike.  The fruit doesn't turn orange when ripe, rather a washed out yellow.

Praying hands bananas are always interesting and tasty.

Ice Cream bananas - this is the largest bunch I think I have ever got: 200 bananas!  This is the different form of "ice cream" (for all you banana snobs).  Unlike the "true Blue Java" the fruit does not turn as blue.  But, it is by far the most productive of all banana varieties I have grown over the past 10 years in Central Florida.  Good cold tolerance, heavy production, very vigorous.


Red hybrid jaboticaba and coronata flushing out with new growth.

Brogdon avocado in 5g pot flowering.  I just started growing this.  Is it normal for Brogdon to flower at this time of year???

Grumichama about 3.5ft high in a pot.  It was suffering from some sort of deficiency (as you can see with the older growth).  Not sure if it needs more acidic soil, more nitrogen, or what.  Gave it "Bougain" bougainvillea fertilizer a few months ago, which seems to help based on what I see on the new growth.

Sabara jabo about 5.5ft in a 25g pot.  I bought this thing in a 3g about 1.5 years ago and it has grown quite a bit for a "slow growing jabo"!

Holding area for all kinds of stuff on the south side of the house.

My favorite spot in the backyard...

Tropical Fruit Discussion / Re: Jaboticabaholics Anonymous
« on: January 06, 2016, 03:56:47 PM »
Thanks, xshen.  The blog on airlayering is particularly interesting.  It looks like 4-6 months should be a sufficient time period to establish roots in properly airlayered jaboticaba.  I'm going to try that method next on a sabara I have - going for a 2cm branch.  I recently tried to grow a cutting of sabara about 1cm at the base with no roots forming after 4 months (on a different thread).  But, I probably should have left it there for a year to know for sure if it ever would have rooted!

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