University of Florida

Propagating Fruits in Florida

Many people love the taste of fresh fruit, and some gardeners even decide to grow their own fruit at home. Most people pick out plants from a nursery that can go straight into the ground and begin producing fruits, but you can propagate your own fruit plants.

UF/IFAS has a publication on the specifics of propagating the various temperate, subtropical, and tropical fruits in Florida: Propagating Fruit Plants in Florida. It includes in-depth information on various propagation techniques and full color photographs. (The guide covers temperate, subtropical, and tropical fruits, including stonefruits, blueberries, avocados, citrus, mango, and more.)

Methods

You can grow fruit plants one of two ways, either from seed or vegetatively.

Growing fruit from seed can be done, but some fruit seeds may require cold-treatment to trigger germination (called “seed stratification”). There are two main drawbacks to starting fruits from seed:

  • The plant and fruit may not be the same as its parent plant (not genetically true-to-type).
  • Plants grown from seed take longer to produce fruit.

Vegetative propagation includes grafting and budding, taking cuttings, layering, and using offshoots or crowns. While these techniques may seem difficult, with guidance, anyone can do it.

The main benefits of growing fruit vegetatively include the following:

  • The plant is genetically identical to the plant you took the vegetative material (scion) from.
  • The plant will be larger and fruit sooner than a plant grown from seed.
  • You can produce the variety of fruit you want on a seperate variety of rootstock that has a particular disease resistance, soil condition adaptation, dwarfing ability, or cold hardiness.

However, because there is little genetic variation in vegetatively propagated plants, they can be particularly susceptible to disease or pest outbreaks.

Resources

To learn more about propagating dooryard fruits, refer to the following UF/IFAS resources:

For in-person information on growing your own fruit at home, contact your local Extension office.

Adapted and excerpted from:

M. Olmstead, et al, Propagating Fruits in Florida (SP 171), Horticultural Sciences Department.

Peaches on a tree

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