By: Susan Albert, Freelance Garden Writer
Growing fruit trees in the home garden is an increasingly popular hobby in the South. Plucking lush, ripe fruits from a tree in the backyard is very satisfying. However, the project should not be taken lightly. Growing fruit trees requires careful planning, preparation, and execution. The plan should include a regularly scheduled fertilizing, spraying, irrigating, and pruning program. Those who choose not to spend the time on fruit tree care will be disappointed in the harvest.
Site selection is critical to the success of fruit tree production. Fruit trees require full sun but will tolerate part shade; however, fruit quality will be diminished.
Deep, sandy loam soils that drain well are best. For heavy soils, plant fruit trees in raised beds or on berms built up to improve drainage. For those with a limited garden area, small sized fruit trees can be planted amongst ornamentals.
Eradicate weeds in the planting area the year before time to plant trees. Perennial weeds such as Bermuda grass and Johnson grass compete for nutrients and moisture with young fruit trees. Keep weeds at bay, especially the first few years, as trees become established.
Choosing fruit trees for South Central states also takes some planning. Determine the kind of fruit you want and how many cultivars and quantities of each you will need. Many fruit tree flowers need pollen from a second cultivar of the type of fruit you are growing in order for pollination to occur. This is called cross-pollination. Some fruit cultivars are self-fertile, which means they produce the pollen on their own trees to set fruit.
It’s also important in the South to be aware of chilling requirements for the fruit you would like to grow. Fruits need a certain number of cold winter hours between 32- and 45-degrees F. (0-7 C.) for sufficient dormancy.
Choose disease resistant varieties as well as heat tolerant. Southern fruit tree varieties for the South-Central states of Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas that have been researched and tested for the home garden are listed below.
In Arkansas, it’s recommended to grow apples and pears. Stone fruits such as peaches, nectarines, and plums are more difficult because of their susceptibility to pests.
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When members upload photos into our database, they have the option to include the location where that photo was taken. Well, using this information, we can create a report of the most popular trees in various regions of the country!
So, which trees have the most photos submitted in the North? Or the South? I compiled the report by looking at all the photos of trees, and for photos south of 37.6° they went into the South, otherwise they went into the North. Without further ado, I present to you the report of the most popular trees in the South:
@Sharon says, "This is a lovely early spring bloom in Kentucky. They dot the hillsides with their deep rosy color. The black seedpods of fall create quite a show too, and you'll need to watch out for multiple seedlings if the pods are left where they fall.
Cercis species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species."
@Sharon says, "I started this plant from seed. A few years ago I had a huge fully mature Magnolia growing too close to my house and the wet soil from heavy spring rains tilted it to about a 45 degree angle. The tree had to go, but I saved one of the seed pods. I knew nothing about growing Magnolias from seed, but pretended to be a bird and dropped a few of the seeds in some select places in my flower garden. The following spring, I had two seedlings. I gave one of them away and kept this one, but moved it to my back garden. It is now about 12 feet tall and produced its first bloom this year.
Two or three years later, another seedling appeared in one of the places I'd planted those seeds. Now I have another that is about 3 feet tall. Amazing how that happens. Nature's surprises."
@SCButtercup says, "I winter-sowed this from seed in February and I now have a small plant that is thriving in a container in part shade. The plan is to transplant it in the fall with some protective leaf mulch when my zone 7/8 cools down and weather gets rainy. Will post more info in spring."
@Katie says, "This is a very pretty plant, but it attracts stink bugs. The stink bugs cause the seed pods to prematurely dry."
@Trish added, "Yellow flowers with red stamens.
Low water needs once established.
@Sharon says, "The red cedar tree has a tremendous history, both legendary as well as medicinal. Our Native American ancestors used teas made from it as various cures for ailments, but the cedar chippings themselves with their aromatic scent were used as well. In Appalachia, a mixture of nuts, leaves, and cedar twigs is often still boiled and inhaled as a treatment for bronchitis.
Sources tell me that cedarwood oil is used in insect repellants, perfumes and soaps. Cedar chips have been used as moth repellants. The oil also shows up in furniture polish. These are some of the same uses that I grew up with in the southern Appalachians. We also used cedar chips as bedding for our dogs.
It was also considered to be a revered tree, holy, because the souls of ancestors resided within the tree. Legend has it that it remains evergreen because of those souls. It's a beautiful tree with an unusual history. Where it grows wild, seedlings sprout nearby in abundance."
@jmorth says, "One cool tree. Autumn brings yellow-copper hue to leaves before dropped (1 of only a few conifer trees w/ deciduous habit). Tree is well suited to wet conditions (though conversely, is drought tolerant when established). Fast growth rate (2'/yr), can reach 60' in less than 25 years. Often utilized in landscaping. Native to the US.
When in standing water, often sends up large root projections called knees above surface of earth or water (note pics from Ft Worth)."
@SongofJoy says, "Numerous species of birds feed on the red ripe fruit of Dogwood trees, swallowing the entire berry. The seeds inside the fruit are undamaged and softened in the digestive process. They are then passed in bird droppings to be scattered and "planted" many places. Other animals such as squirrels eat and destroy the seeds from the center of the fruit and leave the surrounding meat of the fruit untouched."
@Gymgirl says, "Careful when reaching in to harvest seeds from a female plant blossom, as some people can (unknowingly) have an allergic reaction to the blossom. Always wear long sleeves and gloves to avoid an itchy, burning, sensation along your arms. It's very similar to a what you experience after laying fiberglass insulation!"
@Dutchlady1 says, "In my region of Southwest Florida this plant can indeed become invasive. However, its cheerful yellow flowers are such a splash of sunshine that it is worth growing anyway. For me this blooms from spring to late fall."
@CarolineScott added, "On researching this plant: It is the national flower of the Bahamas.
The plant has one problem: It attracts bees, but the honey will be contaminated by an alkaloid, which is in the pollen."
The fruits we eat genuinely seem like a gift from nature. A small bowl of pineapple, for example, fulfill 131% of our daily requirement for vitamin C, and 76% for manganese. Grapefruits are known for their ability to reduce insulin levels in the blood while balancing your cholesterol and preventing kidney stones.
Avocados consist mainly of healthy fats but are also packed with loads of potassium and magnesium. All of these nutrients are known to promote heart health. Blueberries, on the other hand, are rich in antioxidants that reduce the risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s while giving the immune system a boost. Pomegranates have anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the risk of cancer.
Besides these, there are many other fruits that are a source of dietary fiber, rare vitamins, enzymes, and antioxidants which makes them an indispensable part of the human diet.
Order and purchase Florida grown fruit trees, plants and vines that have been sold by Ty Ty Nursery, tytyga.com, to Florida internet customers for many years, simply because numerous nut trees, such as pecan trees, chestnut trees and almond trees. The Elliott pecan tree is an excellent papershell pecan that was developed in Florida. The American chestnut tree has been re-introduced into Florida as a bright resistant chestnut that grows into a huge shade tree. Find the best FL Fruit tree and grapevines that can be grown like evergreens that don't enter dormancy all year at Florida locations - USDA zones, 8-9-10 and 11. Not only do Florida nurseries grow tropical fruit trees and Florida extensive lists of top nursery plants for resale to other nurseries, but non-tropical fruit, berry and nut trees are grown by nurseries for you as Florida home gardeners. Southern apple trees, such as the Anna Apple tree and the Golden Dorsett apple trees, were imported from Israel 40 years ago, where these low chill apple trees have a similar climate as Israel and a wide array of plants are perfect to grow for delicious fruit in much of Florida when these fruit trees are pollinated correctly.
Another non-tropical Florida Fruit tree that freely fruits is the Florida Home, (Flordahome), Pear tree. An extensive list of Florida nurseries have shipped bearing size fruit trees to States like Ca, La, Ms, Ga and Al where low chill temperatures are necessary for the fruit to mature. The most popular low chill Florida Peaches are Flordaking, Flordaprince, and Flordacrest, that are often erroneously called Florida King Peach (Flordaking), Florida Prince Peach trees and Florida Queen Peach Trees. The evergreen loquat, often called the Japanese Plum tree, thrives and grows a heavy fruit crop in Florida during the spring. Florida is famous for its large loquat trees that reliably produce bushels of fruit. Most fruiting Plum tree varieties will fruit well in Northern Florida, producing large plump plums in brilliant colors of red, yellow, green, purple, orange and blue.
Get Nectarine Trees that will fruit best in Northern Florida very well, as will new hybrid cultivars of Quince trees. Both European Strawberry trees and Chinese Strawberry trees will flourish and fruit in Florida Gardens. Fruiting Mayhaw trees can be found growing wild in the Florida lowlands as a Florida native plant. The Guava tree is widely dispersed in Central and Southern Florida as a semi-wild plant or fruit tree. Tourist roadside shops along the I-10 and I-75 and US-1, Florida highways are saturated with gifts and souvenir selections, places where you can buy jars of Guava jelly and many other Guava treats as reminders of your vacation, Florida beach visits.
Florida landscapes are often planted with the Florida native plant, Red Mulberry Tree ( Morus rubra) trees. White mulberry trees and black mulberry Persian hybrid trees also produce excellent quantities and flavors of berries. Several Mulberry cultivar selections are available for you to buy online with a flavor that pleases avid Florida gardeners.
Many Floridians want to grow fruit on Cherry trees and Apricot trees, but even though these high quality fruit trees will grow in Florida, Find Apricots and Cherry fruit trees that will not normally mature edible fruit in Florida with the exception of a very few cultivars, because the trees are not chilled enough to form fruit, except, perhaps, in Northern Florida during some winters.
Most Fig Tree cultivars will freely fruit a basketful of tasty figs in Florida, and the numerous figs will develop a high quality, if the heat and humidity are controlled. Fig trees planted in Tampa are very fast growing and also an excellent shade trees in the hot Florida sunshine.The Patrick's Super Giant Fig can weight up to one-half pound each, but should picked off the tree daily, so as to avoid limb breakage. The Black Mission Fig tree, the Nero Caesar Fig trees and the Kadota figs are all very productive and delicious to eat. There are many other fig tree cultivars available to purchase on tytyga.com.
Many banana Tree cultivars are found growing almost everywhere in Florida, and the banana fruit develops an excellent flavor when grown on practically all types of soil profiles, especially in sandy soil that is very common to Floridians. Banana trees show promise as a profitable, commercial fruit tree product in South Florida in the future for venturous gardeners.
Olive Trees are being planted near Clearwater, Florida orchards to test the possibilities for growing as a viable cash commercial crop. The production of olive oil, and planting olive trees to grow as a fresh olive fruit tree crop has worked economically in Europe for centuries and Florida Agriculture could welcome the income of olive fruit trees to replace the doomed citrus orchards.
The Pomegranate tree, an exotic and rare fruit tree introduced into Florida, and was once planted around most Florida Farm homesteads, and new, recent, hybrid, pomegranate trees offer the fruit tree grower new choices of flavor of high quality and new hybrid pomegranate tree selections will expand new pomegranate harvest dates.
Japanese Persimmon trees were introduced into Florida fruit tree gardens by Professor Hume, at the University the University of Florida in the early 1900's, where the Japanese persimmon, grafted hybrid persimmons were quickly accepted and eagerly planted by the Florida homeowners and now are being planted in many American orchards.
The rare and exotic fruits of the Medlar tree, Paw Paw tree and the Jujube fruit trees are easy to grow and popular fruit trees to buy for Fl. Gardens, and many new grafted trees of these Fl. fruit trees can be bought online at TyTyGa.com Nursery.
Florida Blueberry Plants are probably the best of the berry plants that are recommended to grow in Florida, and many low chill cultivars of the blueberry plant have been hybridized by the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. that produce large size blueberries with a very sweet flavor and the seed are very small. Muscadine grapevines grow well in Florida vineyards, as well as the Scuppernong Grape Vines, and the high yields and delicious flavor make them a grocery store favorite when the Muscadines ripen in August. It is important to plant a male muscadine grape vine with a female scuppernong grapevine to get the correct pollination. Discover the best Florida tips for growing Fruit trees, grape vines and berry plant tip information and reviews on the Ty Ty Nursery website, tytyga.com
You will reduce your electric power bill, reduce erosion in your landscape and increase the value of your real estate. Not all shade trees will grow well in Florida, because of the excessive heat, the high humidity and the playground for abundant insects and disease. Florida Live Oak trees are famous shade growers that live for hundreds of years and shade houses and landscapes. Live Oak trees are basically evergreen trees and producers of abundant quantities of acorns that feed many wildlife animals like deer and game birds. Red Maple trees are native to Florida and produce lots of cooling shade in the summertime, and the Red maple tree prefers damp soil profile, but can sustain periodic droughts. Longleaf Pine trees are native to Florida and are long lived and form excellent shade year round, The Slash Pine trees and Loblolly Pine trees are fast growing trees that will provide excellent shade to your home and landscape,, and when planted in close together will form an excellent privacy barrier to outline your property. Bald Cypress trees and Pond Cypress trees grow into excellent shade trees, and the Pond Cypress tree prefers to grow in wet areas, which Florida has plenty of. The Sassafras tree, Sweet Gum tree, and the Swamp Tupelo trees are all good shade trees that grow well in wet soil mixtures.
The Florida,Catalpa, shade tree is also an excellent flowering tree, and the giant leaves are home to the fish bait worms that are prized by fishermen, and commonly planted as lakeside trees near the home of the fish: bream, shell crackers and bass. Other excellent wildlife fruit trees are the wildlife pear tree, the native crabapple tree and the American persimmon trees that ripen their aromatic fruit in the fall. Earlier bearing wildlife food trees are the Chickasaw plum tree that is native to the woodlands and the red and black mulberry trees. Many wildlife animals like white tailed deer and game birds are attracted to seedling pecan trees in the fall, and these animals also are attracted to chestnut trees and hickory nut trees for fall nut gathering when other fruit is scarce. Elderberry native plants and strawberry bushes create scents that draw all wildlife animals and birds, and the blackberry plants and dewberry plants are thorny and provide protection from predators and juicy berries to eat. The native autumn olive trees and the swamp Ogeechee lime trees ripen their fruit in late summer. Wildlife animals love acorns, and the sawtooth oak tree can produce lots of acorn food in only 5 years. The Turkey oak tree and the gobbler oak tree acorns are small and a perfect bite-size for turkey and other game birds. The white oak tree is slow to mature, but produces a bountiful crop of acorns that last for a long time after falling on the ground.
The Lombardy poplar tree is a FL fast growing shade tree that can exceed 8 feet of growth the first season, and the Lombardy poplar tree grows into a dense privacy screen, and the bright yellow fall leaf color is dramatic, like the bright leaves of the Sour Wood tree.
Planting shade trees and Flowering trees like the Miami Pink Crape Myrtle Tree in the State of Florida, where the sunshine heats up your rooftop to critical mass It is very important to keep your home cooled during July and August, by selecting the proper shade tree on the East or West side of your house. The best North Florida Flowering trees are distinctive from those that are planted in South Florida mainly because of the lack of sufficient temperatures that are necessary for the best Florida flowering trees as they do in North Florida. The Southern Magnolia tree, Magnolia grandiflora, is native to Florida and grows as one of the longest living and massive providers of shade for homes and property. The Southern Magnolia's also are covered with giant white flowers with a wonderful fragrance. The Little Gem Magnolia trees is a dwarf version of the Southern Magnolia, and the smaller tree grows half size flowers, but more of them flower over a longer period of time. The Japanese flowering Magnolia tree is not only a good shade tree, but this deciduous FL flowering tree is covered in earliest spring with huge flowers of lavender, white or pink, and the very rare colors yellow or red are new to the market place. Crape myrtle shrubs (dwarf) and trees that grow to 20 or more favorite have become a favorite choice to plant at Gainesville, Tallahassee, and Jacksonville, FL. Crape myrtle favorite colors are red, white Natchez and pink Miami Crape Myrtles. Many new, superior, striking colors have been introduced, including the "True Blue" crape myrtle, "Black Diamond" Crape myrtle shrub and "Midnight Magic" crape myrtle trees, and other shrub-leaf-colors of "Black Cow" and red. Many Nursery garden centers claim that the crape myrtle tree has become the South's most popular flowering tree. The Guava tree or shrub, Feijoa sellowiana, glows in the spring with spectacular blooms and then forms a delicious guava fruit. The Vitex tree blooms several times during the summer in colors of purple, blue and white. Popular deciduous flowering trees for Florida are dogwood tree, Japanese flowering cherry tree, and Redbud tree that is a native tree, along with the Grancy Greybeard tree. White flowering pear trees begin blooming in early spring along with the peppermint flowering peach tree, also in colors of red, white and pink. For the gardeners who like the yellow colored flowers the Cassia tree and the Golden Rain Tree are brightly colored. Some gardeners prefer to plant a fast growing tree that flowers, and those would include the Mimosa tree, the Purple Locust tree and the Empress trees. The Florida Red Buckeye tree is rare to find at a plant nursery, but the red dramatic flower spikes that are produced in the summer are beautiful and sought out by butterflies and hummingbird lovers. Another beautiful Florida Flowering tree is the White and the Purple Wisteria tree that blooms in early spring. The Oleander tree has become extensively established in Florida coastal areas where it thrives in full sun, drought conditions and is salt water tolerant. Firestarter red is the most popular color along with the pink oleander tree and the white oleanders. The dwarf apricot oleander tree only grows to 6 feet maximum height, whereas the rare yellow and purple oleander trees can grow to 25 feet tall.
One of the most important plant fast growing privacy screens in either Jacksonville, Tampa or Orlando Florida, bamboo plants, is very fast growing into dense clumps where it is often used to outline property fairway boundaries. The bamboo culms (canes, poles, stalks) are thickly matted with leaves and effectively block out the noises from nearby automobiles and the toxic fumes of carbon dioxide are transformed into breathable oxygen, and unwanted visitors will be denied entrance to your property. The bamboo canes are beautifully colored on the exterior in colors of waxy green, yellow or shiny blue-black, and the leaves and stems are often variegated. Florida bamboo plants are very desirable for planting at the numerous golf courses in the State, where tourism creates a valuable income, and the bamboo fences that outline the golf fairways can prevent wind interference with teeing off at the greens. You can order your living bamboo barrier that will be immediately be shipped by UPS directly to your house or business by Ty Ty bamboo nursery, tytyga.com ., at any time during the year.
There is good news for plant lovers and plant collectors in Florida, agave plants, yucca trees and aloe plants will survive in most gardens during the winter cold temperatures. The agave plants are armed with thorny fleshy leaves that have edges of leaves outfitted with prickly spines and a sharp spike at the leaf terminal. Many people plant an agave plant beneath a window to burglar proof their house. Many of these xeriscopic plants are desert plants that required no attention to survive tough droughts since the leaves are storehouses of water and required no fertilization or maintenance. The Agave americana also called a, Century Plant, is a thick leaved plant that is native to the US, and the mutation, Agave americana 'Marginata' plant is variegated and decorated with beautiful vibrant striping on the leaves. The Agave angustifolia 'Marginata' unlike the other variegated form has stiff, hard woody leaves placed at right angles with the stem. The Agave tequilana is filled with a sweet juice that is fermented into a popular alcohol drink called tequila. The Agave attenuata is a spineless plant with no teeth at leaf edges or a terminal shape spike. The Agave vilmoriniana "Octopus" is aptly named because it is armed with curvy leaf tentacles and the unearthly and uncanny appearance of an octopus. These plants are long lived and at maturity will send up a gigantic flower stalk with an impressive inflorescence of white blooms as the top. The Agave Manfreda is called the rattlesnake aloe in Virginia, where it grows as a native plant with a strange exotic form. The Spanish Dagger, Yucca gloriosa, is a native tree to Florida that can grow 16 feet in height with gigantic flowers of white in the spring that look like lilies. This yucca tree has long hard spikes at the leaf terminals that can be very dangerous. The yucca plants signal a fair warning to beware of the prickly spines on leaves with doubly sharp terminal spikes. The Joshua trees, Yucca brevifolia, the Yucca rostrata and the Yucca filamentosa 'Color Guard' all are stunning ornamentals in the landscape. The red yucca, Hesperaloe parviflora sends up a 3 foot tall flower stalk in the summer with orange flowers, and the leaves of the red yucca plant turn red during the winter. The Aloe vera is a well known flowering aloe plant that has intricately mottled leaves thick and juicy with a fluid that will cure stings of fire ants, bees and wasps, and also heals burns, and skin wounds.
If you are in an area with less than 500 chill hours per year (zone 8-10), then these apple varieties are your best options for growing your own apple trees!
All of these apple trees are available through Fast Growing Trees online nursery. Though you may also be able to find them locally!
The Anna Apple tree is self-fertile and tastes like a Granny Smith apple early in the harvest stages. However, after it fully ripens the Anna Apple is even sweeter and tastes much like a Red Delicious apple!
Stores for up to 2 months and is well suited to hot, southern climates.
CHILL HOURS: 200-300
DROUGHT TOLERANCE: Good
HARVEST TIME: June - July
Very similar to the sweet, crisp taste of the Golden Delicious apple, this summer apple is a wonderful addition to any southern homestead!
Produces large apples early in the season with up to 2 additional annual harvests in warmer climates.
CHILL HOURS: Less than 100
DROUGHT TOLERANCE: Good
HARVEST TIME: June - July
POLLINATORS: Anna, Pink Lady®
Fuji Apple are a favorite in our home! Crisp, sweet, and HUGE, these apples are perfect for eating fresh or making pies, applesauce, and more!
Harvest in the Southern climates during September/October.
CHILL HOURS: 200-400
DROUGHT TOLERANCE: Good
HARVEST TIME: September - October
POLLINATORS: Pink Lady®, Pixie Crunch, Red Columnar
Small spaces? Not a problem for this compact apple tree! It grows vertically and produces full sized apples in abundance!
Heat tolerant to well over 100 degrees makes this a top pick for Southern growing zones!
CHILL HOURS: 400
DROUGHT TOLERANCE: Good
HARVEST TIME: September
POLLINATORS: Red Columnar
A favorite among bakers, grow this cold-hardy, heat-resistant apple tree in your own backyard! Crisp texture and a sweet flavor, Pink Lady® apples never disappoint!
With a beautiful fall color and long shelf-life, these are a wonderful apple tree to grow in warm climates!
CHILL HOURS: 200-400
DROUGHT TOLERANCE: Great
HARVEST TIME: October
POLLINATORS: Fuji, Pixie Crunch
Even sweeter than the popular Honeycrisp apples, with a dense crisp texture, the Pixie Crunch Apple is the best possible apple for eating fresh in the early fall!
Perfect for pies, great disease resistance, and has a high yield of 200 to 400 pounds on a mature tree! Grow your own Southern apple orchard with these prolific trees!
CHILL HOURS: Less than 200
DROUGHT TOLERANCE: Good
HARVEST TIME: September
POLLINATORS: Fuji, Pink Lady®
Also known as the Scarlett Sentinel Columnar Apple Tree, this vertical apple tree is perfect for small spaces and tight areas.
Can withstand temperatures of over 100 degrees and produces healthy harvests as soon as the first year!
CHILL HOURS: 500
DROUGHT TOLERANCE: Good
HARVEST TIME: September
POLLINATORS: Green Columnar Apple Tree
For a delicious taste of the season, you can't beat homegrown fruit. Here are our top picks for beginners.
There are several good reasons to grow fruit yourself. First, store-bought fruits are often picked, shipped, and sold before they fully ripen. Second, stores generally stock selections that look the prettiest but are not necessarily the best tasting. Finally, some fruits, such as blueberries and figs, make outstanding ornamental plants.
Given plenty of sun, apple trees grow in almost any well-drained soil and take summer drought without batting an eye. You can buy three different sizes: standard (matures at 20 to 25 feet tall and wide), semi-dwarf (10 to 20 feet), and dwarf (5 to 8 feet). Dwarf and semi-dwarf are good choices for most people they take up less room and bear fruit at a young age.
Self-pollinating selections, such as 'Golden Delicious' and 'Grimes Golden,' will bear fruit without having another apple tree around. But most selections need cross-pollination with a different selection to bear fruit.
With their tropical-looking leaves and stout trunks, fig trees make picturesque additions to the yard. Even better, they require very little attention.
Figs are self-pollinating, so you need only one to get fruit. Most selections bear a small crop of fruit in June or July and a larger one August to October. If you live in the Upper South, grow fig trees in containers and bring them indoors for winter. In the Middle South, fig trees may die to the ground following cold winters, but will then resprout. They are fully hardy in the Lower, Coastal, and Tropical South.
These handsome shrubs sport dainty, white flowers in early spring, followed by leaves that turn orange and scarlet in fall. The berries ripen over several weeks, generally beginning in June. Pick only fully colored berries leave pink ones until they turn blue.
Blueberries need plenty of sun and moist, well-drained soil. The soil must be quite acid (pH 4.5-5.5) and contain lots of organic matter. If you live in the Upper and Middle South, try selections of highbush blueberries ( Vaccinium corymbosum) such as 'Bluejay' and 'Bluecrop.' If you live in the Lower and Coastal South, plant selections of heat-tolerant rabbiteye blueberries ( V. ashei), such as 'Beckyblue' and 'Delite.'
Blackberries and Raspberries
Plant these sprawling shrubs in a sunny spot like you would a hedge, spacing plants 2 to 3 feet apart. A single row 30 to 40 feet long should supply more than enough berries for the average family.
If you don't want to bother with tying rambling blackberry canes to a trellis, choose self-supporting, upright selections, such as 'Arapaho' and 'Navaho.' These two selections are also thornless.
You can grow all types of raspberries in the Upper and Middle South. Elsewhere, plant heat-tolerant selections. 'Heritage' and 'Autumn Bliss' do fine in the Lower South. In the Coastal South, try 'Dorman Red' or 'Redwing.' In the Tropical South, plant Mysore raspberry. Give all types full sun and fertile, well-drained soil.
"Five Easy Fruits to Grow in Your Backyard" is from the June 2005 issue of Southern Living.