Pomegranates: Beautiful Fruit that is Easy to Grow

The sale is now just 3 days away and we're getting down to the last few varieties. Today we're talking about pomegranates, an easy to grow, beautiful, and ancient fruit.

Pomegranate: This is a luscious jewel of a fruit. Its skin is a beautiful, bright red when ripe. Packed inside are hundreds of ruby-red arils (sweet, tart, gem-like juice sacs). The edible fruit is between the size of a lemon and grapefruit, and can have between 100 and 1400 arials. It is prized for its sweet tart taste and its high nutritional value, filled with both vitamin C and antioxidants. It also has many culinary uses. The arils is eaten whole, seed and all, and can be added to salads or other dishes. The tree is very easy to grow in Houston and is self-fruitful. Maintain the tree at any height with summer pruning. It also produces beautiful red flowers.

The Garnet Sash variety is a vigorous tree that sets big crops of large, dark red fruit with deep-red arials. This variety can be grown as a shrub or tree, maintained by summer pruning, depending on your yard.

The Red Silk variety is a heavy bearer of large fruit with red juice and a delicious grenadine flavor. It has a pleasing balance of acid and sweetness and its skin is bright red. This is a California variety and requires 150 to 200 chill hours.

The Desertnyi is a soft-seeded variety that imparts a unique orange flavor. The rind is terra cotta colored while the arials are dark red. Desertnyi means “dessert” in English and the flavor is a balance of sweetness and acidity. 

Why buy local? The fruit trees that we sell at our sales are grafted onto root stock that do well in our unique soil conditions and that are acclimated to the environment of the Gulf Coast Region. Before you buy a fruit tree anywhere, always ask to make sure that it is right for your area.

Citrus, Part 2: Mandarin and Satsuma

These citrus varieties are loved here in Houston because they grow to be a moderate size and produce small, sweet, beautiful bright orange fruits. They are also fairly easy to maintain. Plant early, mid, and late ripening varieties to have citrus throughout the season.  

Mandarin fruits are sweet and juicy with a very mild acid content. The fruit is easy to peel and section and the rind tends to be bright orange. The Clementine variety has been made famous commercially as “Cuties” or “Halos” because they can fit in the palm of your hand, are easy to peel, are seedless, and of course very delicious. This is an early season mandarin producing sweet, juicy, fine flavored fruit that will hold on the tree for months. The tree can grow to moderate height, 10 to 12 feet tall, but can be clipped shorter. The tree is almost entirely thornless and fairly freeze tolerance, but should be protected in hard freezes.

Satsumas are a variety of tangerine. All satsumas are cold tolerant up to 26 degrees or lower, but should be protected from hard freezes. The tree is moderately-sized and grows in a weeping posture. It can grow up to 10’ tall and 10’ wide. All varieties are seedless or nearly seedless and their flesh separates easily from the rind.

The Owari satsuma is the original satsuma and it is hard to beat. It has sweet flavor, low acidity, and a very delicate fruit. The fruit is almost entirely seedless. The tree is slow-growing and is medium-small in stature. It has a spreading and drooping growth pattern and is very productive. It is a mid-season variety, ripening in December.

The Miho satsuma is an early maturing, high quality dwarf satsuma. The tree itself will stay small, but will produce beautiful, large fruit. The limbs are more upright than most satsumas and the harvest is ready around Thanksgiving.  

Citrus, Part 1: Grapefruits and Oranges

Citrus grows well in Houston and we encourage everyone to take advantage of our climate and grow a citrus tree! Today we are learning about two classic citrus trees, the grapefruit and the orange. These trees can get to be quite large and are therefore excellent shade trees. They are also relatively low maintenance, especially once established. The two varieties we have on sale on March 8th are cold hardy during mild freezes, but should be protected during hard freezes, which are not typical for the Houston area.

Grapefruit: Grapefruits have a more acidic taste than oranges or tangerines. The Bloomsweet grapefruit is believed to be a pummelo-sour orange cross. The unique flavor makes this the sweetest tasting grapefruit, with very mild acidity. It is a hefty yellow grapefruit that is pear-shaped with thin skin that is easy to peel. The fruit ripens throughout November and December. It has good moderate freeze tolerance.

Orange: Oranges have a classic look and flavor that everyone loves and Houstonians are lucky enough to be able to grow. While there are a wide variety of oranges that do well in the Houston area, we are selling a very special Cara Cara Pink Navel Orange. This is a striking fruit, with beautiful pink flesh that contrasts beautifully with its orange skin. The fruit is sweet and juicy, typical of all navel orange varieties.

Tropical Delight: Avocados, Dragonfruit, and Miracle Fruit

Tropical varieties of fruit trees can grow well in Houston as long as they are cared for properly. All tropical trees must be protected during freezes, need well-draining soils, and balanced organic fertilizers must be used instead of chemical fertilizers.  

Avocado: Houston gardeners who have been waiting for cold tolerant avocados can rejoice! Mexican Avocados are beautiful trees in the landscape. Their large, glossy leaves and naturally pyramidal shape are distinctly favorable attributes. Clusters or pale green, unremarkable flowers appear in February and the fruit ripens in the fall. Avocados require full sun, adequate moisture, and good drainage. Additionally, the trees need protection from damaging winds, sunburn, and frost for the first few years. Once established, avocados are fairly tough trees and will tolerate a normal Houston winter. However, many avocados fail during the first 12 months due to poor soil drainage, sunburn or improper irrigation habits.

We will have 7-gallon Pancho avocados for sale on March 8. This tree should be planted the first week in April in well-draining soil. The foliage of the Pancho avocado has a licorice scent when crushed. Its fruit is medium-sized with slick green skin. Its delicious taste is rich and smooth. The fruit matures early, sometimes as early as mid-August.

Dragon Fruit are dramatic looking, fruit bearing members of the cactus family. It has snaking limbs that that can be trained to grow on a trellis, arbor, pole, fence, or even up a tree. The dazzling, giant white flowers are fragrant night bloomers. The plant is self-fruitful and experiences multiple fruiting cycles within a season, producing one of the most nutritious exotic fruits with a mouthwatering, light sweet taste. The flesh of the American Beauty variety is white or red with black seeds while the skin is highly ornamental with dramatic scales. Each fruit weighs up to one pound! This plant will grow in full sun or light shade and needs to be well drained. It can also be grown in large containers. The fruit is excellent eaten fresh or in frozen drinks.

NOTE: All dragon fruit need protection from hard freezes, especially when young, and from prolonged frosts or freezes when mature.

Miracle Fruits are aptly named: when the fruit is eaten, a miracle occurs. For about 30 minutes after eating the fruits, even the sourest, most bitter foods will taste sweet! This is an evergreen bush or tree that grows to be about 5 feet. Its leaves are dark and elongated and its flowers are white and bloom throughout the year. The berries contain a single seed and are small and bright red.

This tree grows well inside, in full to partial sun with high humidity. In fact, misting the leaves and maintaining an even moisture level helps growth. Miracle fruits will produce after 3 to 4 years or when the plant is two feet tall.

Why buy local? The fruit trees that we sell at our sales are grafted onto root stock that do well in our unique soil conditions and that are acclimated to the environment of the Gulf Coast Region. Before you buy a fruit tree anywhere, always ask to make sure that it is right for your area.

Blueberries, an easy fruit to try

We have just one week left before the Fruit Tree Sale on March 8th. Today, we're featuring an easy fruit for first-time buyers and a great option to incorporate into hedgerows.

Blueberries are exceptionally easy to grow in the Houston area. The fruits are sweetest two or three days after they turn blue and they freeze easily.

All of the varieties we have for sale are Southern Highbush. Southern Highbush varieties are all self-fruitful; however, as with most fruits, their production increases considerably in the presence of two or three other varieties.

Emerald blueberries produce an abundant crop of the largest Southern Highbush berries. The berries are mild and sweet while the bush itself is rounded and spreading making it a great landscape plant. It has a low chill requirement of just 250 hours.

Jewel blueberries ripen early in the season producing large, light blue fruit that are slightly tart. The bush is spreading, highly vigorous, and highly productive. This variety requires just 200 chill hours.

Palmetto blueberries ripen early in May with excellent tasting fruit. The plant is vigorous, creating an open, spreading bush. It requires 350 to 450 chill hours.

NOTE: This is the LAST SALE at which we will have blueberries available.

Why buy local? The fruit trees that we sell at our sales are grafted onto root stock that do well in our unique soil conditions and that are acclimated to the environment of the Gulf Coast Region. Before you buy a fruit tree anywhere, always ask to make sure that it is right for your area.

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