Now you have a home and property or even a lot ready to build, and want to plant some flowers and fruit trees. This is one of the best aspects of living in such a tropical environment, you can usually literally cut off a branch and stick it in the ground and it will grow. You will notice driving down the road though out the country, some of the fence posts have started growing branches and become trees again! It really is amazing how easy it is to have a green thumb here and fun to watch your plantings grow. Everyone wants their own garden and most of all their own fruit trees.
It is a good idea to plant your fruit trees as soon as possible, as they can take years to fruit. Planting a seed or cutting it can take over 2 years for a pineapple, 5 years for a mango tree, and 6 years or more for an avocado tree. However, there are grafted trees of almost everything you can buy for $3 to $10 depending on type and size and they can fruit in 3 years and sometimes less. I have even seen mini orange and lemon trees with fruit already on them! Also have seen a mango tree with 3 different types of mangos grafted on the same tree!! This is the way to go to guarantee the quality of fruit and shorter time period for your first harvest or “cosecha”.
The best time to plant in the Southern Zone is May through August. May is when the rains start and you want plenty of water for the trees to grow string healthy roots. August is not too late, but still best to plant earlier in the rainy season. If you can easily water the trees, then you can even plant in the dry season. Make sure you pick a spot with plenty of sunshine and space for them to grow. It is recommended at least 5 meters or 15 feet apart so they can grow unobstructed and do not fight for the sun light. Sometimes the grafted trees do not grow as tall or wide as trees from seed, but if you have enough land it is best to give each tree its proper space.
There is basically every kind of tropical fruit here available and even some exotic fruits not so common in the States, Canada, or Europe. The common fruits of mangos, avocados, oranges, lemons, bananas, platanos, papaya, pineapple, watermelon, and cantaloupe are everywhere and readily available.
Some more exotic fruits you can find at “viveros” or nurseries are:
Guanabana – Big green fruit with little soft spikes and white fleshy fruit inside that is really sweet and great for smoothies.
Guava – What they call guava here grows in a pod on a tree and has a hard husk, inside are black seeds covered in a white fruit that tastes like a cotton ball dipped in sugar water.
Guayaba – This is what we call guava in the States and is the fruit they make jellies and jams out of and here locals eat it like an apple straight off the tree.
Mangostien – This is th slowest growing tree of all and can take 15 years to fruit for the first time. The fruit turns dark purple when ripe and is a white snotty looking fruit inside, but is actually sweet and tasty.
Momones – Red and yellow golf ball size fruits with soft spiked peel and inside is a white/clearish fruit with the consistency of a grape around a small pit. These are some of my favorites and they sell them in bags along the road when in season from July to October.
Zapote – This one I have not tried, but it is an orange fruit inside and some people really like it. Will have to try it next time it is in season.
Cashews – I had never seen a cashew on a tree until moving here and they grow on top of an apple looking fruit and you have to roast the seed and then crack it and get out the part out you eat. The seed shell secretes oil that can chemically burn your skin. It is very hard to get even a bag full and now I know why this nut is so expensive around the World!
If you do not have a place to plant, we can help you find the right home or property to plant your fruit orchard. If you already have a home or land, we can even recommend where to purchase the best grafted fruit trees and help you get them planted as one of our property management services. Get started planting your favorite trees and enjoy the satisfying feeling of eating your own freshly picked fruit!!
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Do grapefruit (US type, not toronjas) trees grow in Costa Rica? Can I buy real grapefruit anywhere in the Central Valley?
I believe so, as I have seen grapefruit trees around this area including my neighbor’s house. However, do not know if they were real grapefruit or Toronjas (I always thought this was the Spanish word for Grapefruit and they were the same fruit). As for Central Valley I do not know, check your local farmer’s market….
where can i purchase good growing soil from?
Any “vivero” or plant nursery should have good soil. Often times you will see “abono organico” which is organic soil.