Growing Tropical Fruit Indoors

I LOVE the smell of citrus blossoms, especially in my house, in the winter. And I love tropical fruit. When I lived in South Florida I had three kinds of Brazilian cherries growing in my yard- the Grumichama (my favorite), the Cherry of the Rio Grande, and a Jabuticaba. I also had a Barbados Cherry. Did I mention, I love cherries? (and mangos, and avocados, sugar apples, bananas, and citrus- the list goes on and on.)

So, you might expect that it would be difficult for me to leave a yard full of all these amazing fruiting plants and move to zone 6b (-5 to 0 degrees Fahrenheit). Well yes…, and no. I miss my amazing tropical fruit but I have a growing list of potted fruit trees that over-winter indoors and it gets longer each year.

Here are some of my favorites. At the top is the Meyer Lemon, a sweet and fragrant lemon. It’s said to be a cross between a lemon and a mandarin or an orange. Meyer Lemons are hearty potted plants. I’ve seen one on a balcony in Paris and another at Legoland in Denmark (of course you have to bring them inside in winter).

I adore my Bearss Lime. It is a prolific little producer. Originally looking for a Key Lime, I stumbled on this one instead. It’s thought to be a cross between a Key Lime and a lemon.

I love the essence of lime in Thai cooking, so I added a Kaffir Lime to my citrus collection. I cook with the fresh leaves, but you can also dry and store them first.

To round out my potted citrus collection, I added an orange tree this year. I wasn’t planning on it, but I saw it in one of those big box stores looking lonely, so I bought it and took it home. Surprise, surprise, I’ve got little oranges growing this year.

There is also a banana and some lemongrass by the window. My banana looks beautiful, but hasn’t produced any fruit yet.  I know from experience in Florida that it requires a lot of fertilizer to fruit. Bananas need rich soil and more nutrients than my worm compost can provide. So in my container garden, the banana is there for conversation.

What’s ahead? Possibly an avocado. Stay tuned…


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