In recent years i exotic fruits they are increasingly becoming part of the eating habits of Italians. In most cases it is tropical fruit import, which is sold in fruit and vegetable stalls at high prices. But these fruits can become an interesting opportunity to differentiate the production of farms, thanks to the high profit margins. However, even those who do not have a company can decide to grow them in the family orchard out of pure passion. In fact, growing these plants in a healthy and natural way is also possible in Italy. This is because of the climate changes in place, which make our environment more conducive to planting of trees of tropical origin. In fact, there are already successful experiences, given that people prefer to buy exotic fruit grown in Italy.
In this article we see which are the 5 species of exotic fruits that can most easily be planted in our country.
The exotic fruits come from tropical or subtropical areas, such as South America or Southeast Asia, where the climate is particularly hot throughout the year and, in addition, some periods are very rainy and humid. In our country, the ideal regions for growing exotic fruits are the southern ones and the major islands. The first specialized orchards have in fact settled in Sicily, Puglia, Calabria and Sardinia, especially along the coasts; in practice, the area of cultivation of lemons, oranges and, in general, of the citrus fruits (that is, where there is a mild climate even in winter and frosts are increasingly rare, since it is the frost the main limit of the cultivation of exotic fruits in Italy, when these are found in open fields).
The species we will deal with cannot withstand sub-zero temperatures for long periods and need adequate water availability in summer to compensate for drought.
Exotic fruits can also be grown in the central-northern Italian regions. However, we need to be more careful. In the case of a new plant, cultivation in a heated greenhouse is certainly recommended, where winter temperatures can be mitigated. The problem with this solution is that it involves considerable management costs.
Another alternative, specific for family orchards, is the cultivation of tropical fruits in pots, so as to protect the trees when the bitter cold arrives.
In first place among the exotic fruits to be grown in Italy we certainly place theavocado, botanical name American Persea. Starting the cultivation of this tree is very simple starting from its large seed, which is partially placed in water and supported with toothpicks. However, it is more complex to bring the tree to bear fruit. It is a cross-pollinated species, and therefore needs specimens of different varieties in order to bear fruit. Very often, therefore, avocado is grown in pots as a simple medium-sized ornamental plant.
In the South, on the other hand, it is successfully cultivated intensively in Sicily and Puglia, giving farmers great satisfaction. The soft fruits ripen in our latitudes in autumn. They are usually employed in tasty recipes, the most famous of which is the guacamole sauce.
Another particularly popular exotic fruit is the mango, Mangifera indicates. Known as the king of fruits, is a species native to India. It is successfully grown on all 5 continents, and is probably the most consumed fruit in the world. In the areas of origin, the mango tree is impressive and can even exceed 40 m in height. In our latitudes, particularly in Sicily, smaller varieties are grown, which are better suited to our climate. The mango, among the exotic trees, is the most sensitive to frost, which it really does not tolerate. On the other hand, it bears the heat very well, even with temperatures reaching 50 ° C! The species is self-fertile, and therefore can also be cultivated in single specimens.
The fruit is sweet and soft and ripens from summer to autumn. It is harvested when it starts to change color and is still a bit unripe. It must not ripen too much on the plant.
Among the exotic fruits, the most valuable from an economic point of view is certainly the finger lime, Citrus australasica, also known as lemon caviar. It is a small citrus plant of Australian origin, very similar to the more Mediterranean lemon. The finger lime gives life to a small plant, which usually does not exceed 2-3 meters in height. It is therefore ideal for greenhouse or pot cultivation. Its peculiarity is in its fruits, which can reach exorbitant prices on the market. We are talking about small cylindrical and elongated citrus fruits, with different colors depending on the variety. Inside, they are composed of many small cylindrical vesicles, which are not enclosed in a film as is the case with the atria citrus fruits. They remind us of the appearance of caviar and when they are cut, the vesicles fall in cascade.
The dragon fruit, Hylocereus undatus, is known throughout the world under the name of pitaya. It is native to South America, but is now widespread everywhere. It is a kind of cactus, in some respects very similar to ours prickly pear. It gives life to a very beautiful plant from an ornamental point of view, which just like the prickly pear does easily reproduces by cutting. It resists drought very well and does not need irrigation in the open ground. Unfortunately it tolerates less frost. To understand if it can be grown in your area, look if there are already prickly pears, in which case you can take a risk. The dragon fruits are very particular, they are cylindrical and covered with scales that are reminiscent of the skin of a dragon. They are usually red, with white, soft, sweet pulp and very similar in texture to Kiwi (in fact, they can also be eaten directly with a spoon).
We close our review on the best exotic fruits to grow in Italy withAnnona cherimola. It is a very particular fruit, an example of how some species can adapt very well in our country. The annona has been cultivated for a long time in Calabria, specifically in the province of Reggio Calabria, where it is considered a typical fruit of the area. It is a rustic plant, which does not need special care and adapts well to difficult soil conditions. The fruits are very beautiful, they can easily exceed 500 g in weight and can be transformed into tasty jams. They have a white and soft pulp, which contains flat and black seeds. The plant is perfect for growing in a family orchard.
To start an amateur or professional cultivation of exotic fruits, you need to find good plants. There are nurseries specializing in tropical fruit, where you can buy guaranteed and certified tree specimens that are free from disease. It is very important to contact a good nursery, in fact, sometimes the economic outlay for a single plant can be expensive. So better not to run into scams.
At these specialized nurseries you can also find other exotic trees such as jabuticaba, tamarillo, banana, mountain banana, guava, papaya, feijoa, lychee, pecans, kumquat etc.
Organic Cultivation is a blog that was born from our desire to spread the good practices of organic farming. To do this we decided to give our knowledge to anyone who wants to get involved and create their own vegetable garden (even using a terrace or a simple balcony). Growing without the use of pesticides is possible and we want to prove it by presenting alternatives biological and effective for any type of problem linked to agriculture.
Durian, buffaloberry, aronia, loquat: an alien language that can become familiar to those who love to experience something unusual in their garden. In fact, we are talking about exotic fruits, often excellent, which are starting to be seen even in the supermarket.
The lychee, for example, it was a curiosity reserved only for those who loved Chinese cuisine, where it was served in syrup today it is not difficult to taste it even fresh, much better, and maybe grow it, since the plant is a tree that can reach 10 meters. Requires well-lit areas but not necessarily full sun, and a cold but frost-free winter season, with a not hot summer, ed high humidity, characteristics that an amateur can be able to obtain, with some attention, in the gardens of the Tyrrhenian coast and in the South.
Many others are the curious fruits that can be experienced, and not all are reserved for those who live in a warm climate. A typical case is that of cranberry or American cranberry, Vaccinium macrocarpon. It is a deep red fruit that grows wild in various areas of the United States and Canada, where it is also cultivated both for consumption as a fresh fruit, but above all for the food industry that uses it in the form of juice for drinks: Cranberry juice, in fact, drunk regularly is an excellent strategy to counter the risks of osteoporosis, because it is very rich in calcium. In Italy introduced by Livio Piumatto, a whimsical Piedmontese who in his Edelweiss nursery also offers an exceptional production of edelweiss, houseleeks and Lewisia. The cranberry is not afraid of the cold, and therefore it is ideal for the gardens of the Po Valley and hilly areas.
Equally adaptable is the chockeberry, Aronia melanocarpa: a beautiful shrub that can also be grown in mixed hedges, where its small fruit will be a very popular meal even for birds. The sour taste is pleasant, very suitable for jellies and jams in the past the indigenous Mexicans considered it a delicacy, so much so as to reserve its use in special dishes dedicated to religious occasions, and even today in the Mexican highlands, chockeberry accompanies the typical roast of Christmas holidays.
The strange fruits are now quite easily available from those nurserymen who deal with exotic and tropical plants and from collectors of ancient and minor fruits. At spring and autumn fairs (Masino, Orticola, Colorno, Landriana, Paderna.) it is easy to meet them and learn about their assortment which often also allows orders via the Internet.
Also on the Internet it is easy to find sites that ship plants from England or other European countries, but be careful to place your order in a period when you know you can plant the plant quickly.
The bravest and most capable of dealing with cultivation from seed they also find nurserymen who ship seeds on the Internet: for example www.fruitlovers.com, Hawaiian producers. The seed bank maintained by the Lucca Botanical Garden also allows you to get in touch with collectors who have seeds (http://www.comune.lucca.it/ORTO/ botanico.htm).
Before making your choice read up on the climatic characteristics required by the fruit that interests you, not only in terms of temperatures (the subtropical ones obviously require a Mediterranean-type climate) but also in terms of humidity: fruits such as mango and papaya, for example, they don't like arid climates.
All unusual small fruits like tayberry, loganberry and the like are suitable for cool climates and do not give great results in the Po Valley if they are not placed in a cool and shady area in summer, but still bright, many of them do not like limestone and must be cultivated in an acid substrate, such as that for azaleas.
(By Lorena Lombroso - Published on Gardening 4/2010)
Avocado is the berry produced by the American Persea, a small tree native to Central America, cultivated to produce the fruit also in Asia, Africa and Europe. Evergreen trees produce numerous pear-shaped fruits, depending on the variety of the plant these fruits can have green, brown, or even purple skin, smooth or covered with wrinkles and lumps. The ripeness of the fruit is felt when the pulp is slightly yielding an excessively hard fruit is still unripe, while if our avocado is soft to the touch we can also throw it away.
It is eaten raw, in small pieces or smoothed in general пїЅ a fruit that is consumed with the addition of salt, as a base for sauces such as guacamole, or in salads. The pulp, greenish or yellowish in color, is creamy and contains a lot of oil.
To eat an avocado it is necessary to cut it on the side and, taking it with both hands, divide it in two, revealing the large central seed at this point if the fruit is very ripe we can dig it with a spoon and use the blended pula if instead it is less ripe we can peel it with a small knife and cut it into slices for a salad.
Avocado pulp tends to oxidize quickly if left in the air, so it is generally used with citrus juice, which prevents oxidation.
Annona belongs to the Annonaceae family and Annona is the genus of numerous similar plants, all tropical.
Under the name of the genus annona there are about sixty species, some of which produce large fruits more or less like a melon with a soft and tasty pulp.
The most important cultivated species of annona are: annona squamosa, annona muricata (the famous Graviola that came to the fore for its anticancer properties), annona reticulata and annona cherimola, one of the best known and cultivated.
In this chapter I will describe the annona cherimola.
The annona cherimola plant looks like a small erect tree with open canopy, a maximum of 7 meters high, with long grayish and hairy branches.
The leaves are alternate, simple, elliptical, with prominent veins, 10 to 15 cm long and 7 to 10 cm wide, have a dull green color on the upper side and are hairy on the underside.
The roots of the annona plant they develop from a short taproot and the root system is superficial, thin and rather delicate and this is why young annona cherimola trees need a stake that holds the trunk firmly and reaches the crown.
This tropical plant is evergreen in its natural habitat while if the temperatures drop it behaves like deciduous.
The flowers appear on small hairy twigs that form along the branches and are solitary or in clusters of two or three.
If the climate is tropical, they bloom at different times from spring to mid-summer, while in areas where temperatures are more different, such as in Calabria and Sicily, annona cherimonia begins to bloom from the month of May and flowering continues for a few months.
The flowers are small, they have 3 long and fleshy petals, white internally and greenish on the surface, they are very fragrant and last for about 3 days.
They are protogynous or a female phase, which lasts about two days, is followed by another male phase which lasts about 12 hours.
Furthermore, all the flowers of that given annona plant are synchronous when they are open they are all in the male or female phase.
This complex mechanism does not allow the self-fertilization of the flowers and is a precaution that the annona plants have developed to increase the genetic heritage of the seeds and thus strengthen the species.
Due to this particular system, pollination in annona plants is difficult and often, especially where this plant is grown intensively, manual pollination is used.
Even at an amateur level, if the flowers are pollinated manually, the quantity of fruits produced by the plant increases, and the number of small or deformed fruits is also reduced.
In practice, it involves collecting the pollen from male flowers with a brush and then immediately transferring it to the flowers of another annona plant cherimola that are in the female stage.
It is possible to keep this male pollen in the refrigerator but not more than one night.
In its natural habitat it is suspected that small insects of the beetle or hemiptera genus attracted by the sweet scent of the flowers of the annona plant take charge of pollinating them.
Bees do not do well because their bodies are too large to penetrate between the tight, fleshy female petals that only fully open in their male phase.
What exactly the pollinator of annona cherimola flowers is remains a jealously guarded secret of those forests that make up its natural habitat.
After 5-8 months of pollination, the fruits ripen which are actually an infructescence consisting of 60-70 fruits.
Each of which contains a brown seed wrapped in a white, aromatic pulp, the consistency of butter with a sweet flavor similar to pineapple and banana.
The shape of the fruit is slightly elongated oval, it is 10 to 20 cm long, with a gray-green skin when ripe, thin and smooth with more or less pronounced protuberances.
The pulp easily detaches from the seeds which are large, shiny, smooth and black in color.
When ripe, a well-formed fruit weighs from 200 to 400 g but in some varieties and in favorable conditions the fruits of this tropical plant can reach a kilogram in weight.
The ripening has occurred because the ripe fruit gives off a sweet, pleasant scent and the skin is soft and gives slightly at the touch of the fingers.
The fruits of the annona plant cherimola ripen gradually from October to November while the fruits that formed with the last flowering in late summer ripen in the following spring.
Cultivated in Europe since the 16th century, in hundreds of varieties that have been lost over time, the raspberry (Rubus idaeus) is the most loved among the small fruits cultivable with ease in the garden and on the edge of the vegetable garden.
Color is usually red, but there are also varieties with yellow fruit, less flavorful, and American fruit varieties black (R. occidentalis) or Violet (R. neglectus).
The plant is a bush formed from biennial shoots, which develop every year ensuring a continuous renewal of the shrub. Each branch produces the fruits, only once in the second year (uniform variety) or twice (double variety): the first bear fruit in June-July, the biferae between September and October the first year and between June and July the second, guaranteeing two harvesting periods thanks to the simultaneous presence of one and two year old shoots.
To be able to develop well, the raspberry plant first needs a certain altitude (800-1000 m of altitude), because it wants a cold climate: low winter temperatures determine the production of flowers and therefore of fruits.
It needs a ground fresh and light, neither clayey nor calcareous (if anything, it is better if it is a little acidic), fertile and well drained (it tolerates a certain humidity, however) but not dry, and of a shady location: it comes in fact from the mountain and hilly undergrowth.
Practically impossible to attempt cultivation in the South, with the exception of the mountains over 1000 m, where it should still be placed in the shade. By respecting these conditions, it will be more difficult for the plant to get sick.
Whether it's the red or yellow variety, the raspberry shrub goes fertilized every year in autumn, especially with abundant organic and nitrogen fertilizer.
In the summer, however, it needs an irrigation regular: about 30 liters per month for each specimen, provided it does not rain, between June and August. However, avoid excesses: it is a shrub sensitive to root asphyxiation. Mulch the foot of the shrubs, in autumn, with a layer of fallen leaves or organic matter.
In winter, all the shoots that fructified the previous summer are pruned at ground level, because in any case they dry up once their function is exhausted, those of remontant varieties are an exception. Cut off the branch above the last bud of the production that took place. Leave the robust castings of the previous year intact: they will produce fruits which, in non-repeat flowering varieties, will appear only in the second year of life. In the remontant varieties, on the other hand, the first production takes place already in the first year, both in June and in September.
It should be done every year, and it is important to keep in mind which cultivar you are dealing with in order to have the best results in the harvest phase.
The variety unifera it must be pruned in two stages: initially the apical part is removed, to facilitate its binding, subsequently the sucker will be cut at the base, in order to favor the development of new suckers, which will bear fruit the following year.
In the case of remontant, it is necessary to cut the part of the previous production: in this way a second fruiting will be obtained in the hottest months of the year. The peculiarity of the remontant raspberry varieties is precisely that they are grown both as such and as unifere: what changes is the pruning, which allows one or two harvests to be obtained within 12 months.
There removal of the entire sucker obviously, the fruit will not develop in spring, while the removal of the apical part alone will allow the plant to bear fruit again in a short time.
Among the varieties of raspberry to keep in mind there are 'Polka' is 'Himbo Top' the yellow and unusual ones are also interesting 'Golden Bliss' and 'Poranna'.
The tayberry, similar to raspberry, is a hybrid of Scottish origin. Vigorous and productive plant, quite rustic, easy to grow, it begins to produce from July until the end of summer. Forms an elongated fruit, of intense red color, bright and with a pleasant flavor. Berries are great for making spirits, juices and jellies, but they're also good for fresh or frozen consumption.
Even the boysenberry it is a blackberry-raspberry hybrid, it produces a large, soft, fragrant, very aromatic fruit, with a great ornamental effect and easy to cultivate. Excellent for syrups, jams and juices.
(taken from "The raspberry and its strange friends", by L. Lombroso, Gardening n. 6 2011)
I have never ventured into banana cultivation but a dear Sicilian friend of mine who lives near Catania has in a corner of her wonderful garden a nice tuft of this exotic plant that in Sicily has naturalized so well that it has become part of the Sicilian landscape for at least in certain areas.
Growing bananas for oneself and for friends is really a satisfaction and I, who have had the opportunity to taste those small and fragrant Sicilian delicacies, are always generous with more than deserved compliments with her.
Conosco alcuni appassionati che coltivano grosse piante di banano al Nord in vaso e che riescono, custodendole in una veranda riscaldata o in una serra, a gustare i loro frutti che però non hanno il profumo di quelle coltivate al caldo sole della Sicilia.
Un’ultima cosa mi sento di dire e che ancora non ho detto: la pianta di banano per fruttificare deve essere adulta quindi è necessario che prima si sviluppi completamente.
La sua altezza supera i due metri e ha un certo ingombro a causa delle sue larghe foglie quindi il riparo invernale occorre che sia di altezza e larghezza adeguata per contenerla.
Certo che gustare banane coltivate da te è una rara soddisfazione che anch’io prima o poi voglio provare.
THE frutti esotici li amiamo per il gusto particolare, ma spesso sono difficili da trovare, vengono da luoghi lontani e il loro prezzo non è sempre conveniente. Perché allora non coltivarli nel proprio giardino?
Vediamo insieme quali piante si possono adattare alla nostra nazione e come prenderci cura di queste piante poco conosciute.
Per trovare i semi dei frutti esotici ti consigliamo di contattare i vivai più forniti o acquistarli nel web. Prima però è bene documentarsi sulle caratteristiche climatiche che le singole tipologie di piante predilogono: temperatura e umidità sono i due fattori che fanno la differenza.
The meridione e alcune regioni in particolare, come la Sicilia, si adattano bene ad alcune tipologie di frutta esotica: diverse aziende hanno iniziato la coltivazione di litchis, maracuja, frutto della passione, platani, ananas e banane.
Nel centro Italia nascono bene invece i kiwi e la feijoa mentre i piccoli frutti si adattano alle temperature più fresche e ombreggiate del nord Italia.
Ma vediamo insieme le 5 piante che suggeriamo di provare a far crescere nel vostro giardino.
I litchi vengono serviti spesso nei ristoranti cinesi, ma purtroppo arrivano in Italia raramente freschi, nella maggior parte delle volte sono sciroppati in barattolo.
L’albero di grandi dimensioni richiede zone ben illuminate e temperature fresche. In Italia sono nate coltivazioni in Sicilia, Calabria e Sardegna, ma qui raramente gli alberi superano i 5 metri. Puoi provare a coltivarlo in un vaso: per i primi 2 anni di vita è bene, soprattutto in estate, ombreggiarlo, poi con il tempo devi continuare a proteggerlo dal freddo e dal vento, ma esponendolo al sole. Quando le temperature sono molte calde è importante fornirgli irrigazioni regolari.
Dai frutti dolci e succosi, è un albero poco ingombrante e sempre verde, può essere piantato anche in giardino vicino ai muri delle case. Le sue foglie lo fanno resistere bene anche quando le temperature sono molto calde, ma riesce a crescere anche nelle zone fredde del nord Italia. Altro lato positivo è che non necessita di potature, basterà eliminare i rami secchi dopo la raccolta dei frutti.
È una pianta di origine asiatica, ma cresce bene al centro e nel nord Italia. Il suo frutto, ricco di vitamina C, può essere coltivato facilmente: ha bisogno di un’innaffiatura regolare soprattutto in estate. Basterà fornirgli un terreno ben drenato e questa pianta, molto resistente, tenderà a spargersi per tutto il terreno e a prolificare facilmente.
La pianta della carambola si adatta bene alle temperature dell’Italia meridionale. La sua polpa gialla è ricca di vitamine C e cresce bene in zone riparate. In Sicilia, dove le temperature sono molto elevane, fruttifica bene perché la pianta necessita di un’esposizione soleggiata e prolungata. Le temperature molto basse invece compromettono la nascita dei frutti o persino provocano la morte della pianta.
La pianta del durian, che arriva facilmente a 40 metri di altezza, ama le temperature alte e le precipitazioni abbondanti, tipiche del clima tropicale. Preferisce terreni fertili e profondi. Unico grande difetto è il suo forte odore sconsigliamo quindi di piantarlo vicino casa.