A tropical garden design isn’t complete without a few choice and well positioned fruit trees.
What better way of starting the day than ambling around the garden and picking fresh fruit straight from your own trees.
The fruit trees you choose for your tropical garden will depend on the size of your garden and if they intended as a feature tree, provide shade, act as wind break or simply block out a nosey neighbour.
Below are my top five fruit trees for any tropical garden. All the trees mentioned are easy to grow in the tropics, need little maintenance, and provide fruit throughout the year.
The starfruit tree is also known as Carambola and is a native to South East Asia. It’s an attractive tree that produces clusters of small pink flowers and yellow star shaped fruit.
The fruit is a little sour for many people and if you have kidney issues, it may be best avoided. However, once the tree starts to produce fruit, you’ll have more than you know what to do with. Fruit that is, not kidney issues!
Barbados Cherry Tree
The Barbados cherry tree is more akin to a bush as when left unattended will be very dense. It’s a great tree to create shade beneath and also use as a hedge or wind break.
The flowers are pink and the fruit when ripe is, well… cherry red. The birds will flock to your cherry tree and annoyingly peck at each and every fruit. The trick is to harvest your cherries just as they are turning from green with the first flush of red. Leave them a fruit bowl over-night and eat the next day, superb!
Don’t forget to leave some cherries at the top of the trees for the birds to eat. You’ll have more than enough and after all, sharing is caring!
The fruit of the papaya (paw paw) can be eaten when green in a spicy Thai salad (Som Tum) or after they have ripened and turned from green to yellow.
We get around this issue by cutting the trees down to around 3 or four feet in height. This encourages the plant to produce side branches. Each of these branches will soon be laden with fruit and it makes picking papaya a breeze.
Also to note, the young leaves of the papaya tree are edible as are the seeds found in the hollow of the fruit. Both are highly nutritious and delicious.
The moringa tree is known by many names; horseradish tree, drumstick tree and tree of life to name but three. In Thailand it is also known as malum.
Every part of the tree can be used and eaten. It has incredible high health benefits with pound for pound; 7 times more vitamin C than oranges, 3 times more potassium than bananas and more 4 times vitamin A then carrots. It also has all the essential Amino Acids your body needs to grow and stay healthy.
The best way to eat this superfood is to cut morninga branches off on a regular basis (this encourages more growth). Dry the leaves and then pop them in a blender to make moringa powder. Take one or two teaspoons per day as a tea (hot or cold) add to smoothies or sprinkle over a salad.
Moringa trees can be planted close together to form a hedge. It can be grown from seed or from a cutting. Simply take your branch, dig a hole and pop it in. Boom! You have another tree. You now know why it’s called the miracle tree.
My number one fruit tree to grow in a tropical garden isn’t actually a tree at all. The banana is an herb. But let’s not worry too much about the details here, bananas are absolutely amazing!
The banana plant although a heavy feeder, grows at a pretty fast rate. It produces a large single flower on an extended stem that we cut off after the fledgling rack of bananas has formed. But don’t throw it away, the flower is one of the essential ingredients to Khao Tom Gai, a delicious Thai chicken and coconut soup.
We harvest the racks of bananas just before they ripen on the tree to prevent the birds from eating them all. We then chop the plant down as it will not produce another crop.
Fortunately they always produce ‘pups’ so as one plant is chopped and dropped, one or more of her babies are ready to take its place.
So what do you think? Are these the top five fruit trees in your tropical garden? Let us know in the comments below.
5 Fruit Trees to Grow in a Tropical Garden