Exotic Fruits

Which seldom-grown fruits are worth growing? Garden Web
From Drew Demler’s Fruit Tree list (Central Texas):


“Aronia” is not really an exotic species, but a native shrub, also known as choke berry. Hopefully some cultivated varieties are not as acrid as the original native varieties. Growing Zones 3-7

Learn more: Grow Your Own Antioxidants with Aronia Berry Bushes

Anthocyanins give berries their dark rich color, and the darker and richer the color is, the higher the anthocyanin content. In a ground breaking study from the USDA, varieties of Aronia berries, blackberries, blueberries, red currants, gooseberries, and elderberries were evaluated to determine their anthocyanin concentrations.

Aronia berries had the highest total anthocyanin concentration (1480 mg/100g fresh weight). Blueberries displayed an antioxidant level less than a third that of Aronia berries (486 mg/100g fresh weight). The lowest concentration was found in one of the gooseberry varieties. Some of the gooseberries contained no anthocyanins at all. Total proanthocyanin concentrations ranged from Aronia berries (664mg/100g) down to elderberries (23mg/100g). Aroniaberries also displayed the highest lipophilic and hydrophilic antioxidant capabilities. Total amounts of phenols underscored the outstanding nature of the antioxidants in Aronia berries.

Mix with other berries, such as blueberries or Juneberries for more flavor.

Source: http://www.blueberrycroft.com/cms/varieties/50-aronia

Comparison of Red and Black Aronia/Choke Cherry

Red Chokeberry, Choke-pear, Dogberry

Aronia arbutifolia (Pyrus arbutifolia) Zone 4
Is native to all of Texas. (See map)

Red Chokeberry is a small, slender multistemmed shrub which prefers the wet woods and swamps of East Texas and ranges far and wide through Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and Florida to New York, Nova Scotia, Michigan, Missouri and Minnesota. Its loosely ascending branches are open and rounded on top and become leggy with age, as most of the foliage is on the upper half of the plant. It spreads by underground offsets, forming a colony. The 1 1/2 inch corymbs or flower clusters are at the end of the stem and by fall provide its most ornamental asset: globular, long persistent and glossy brilliant red fruit. In autumn the medium green to dark green leaves turn red, crimson or reddish-purple with some yellow, and they remain for quite some time before falling. Image of Aronia arbutifoliaOrnamentally, red chokeberry might be best used in groups to promote the mass of red fruit in fall and winter and compensate for its ragged winter habit. This plant tolerates city smoke, although it is somewhat subject to blight and borer attacks. It has been in cultivation since 1700, and there are many named varieties and cultivars. Although very astringent, the fruit is valuable to a number of birds: bobwhite, quail, ruffled grouse, ringneck pheasant, and cedar waxwing.
Once established the Aronia is highly drought tolerant.

Black Aronia/Black chokeberry

Photinia melanocarpa/ Photinia melanocarpa (Michx.) K.R. Robertson & Phipps

Rosaceae (Rose Family) Synonym(s): Aronia arbutifolia var. nigra, Aronia melanocarpa, Aronia nigra, Pyrus arbutifolia var. nigra, Pyrus melanocarpa, Sorbus melanocarpa

A small, mound-shaped shrub with slender, multiple stems and reddish-brown bark. Glossy, dark green foliage turns crimson-red in fall. Flat-topped clusters of white, five-petaled flowers with pink anthers are followed by persisent, blackish-purple berries. 3-12 ft. tall. Blooms in May.
Grows in lowlands and bogs in nature. Likes moist, acid soil. Adaptable to dry soils when established. Not native to Texas.

Autumn Magic Aronia Berry @ Stark Bros
Nero Aronia Berry
Viking is a larger, less astringent cultivar.


Purple Aronia

Aronia prunifolia – hybrid with better fall color than Black Aroni. (Hybrid of red and black aronia.)


Pineapple Banana – Unique Flavor! @JustFruits

Pineapple banana is a mutated sport of Raja Puri that fruits easily in more northern areas. Pineapple is a finger banana with a rich pineapple sherbet flavor. Thin-skinned, 5-inch long fruit. Tree grows 8-12 foot. Very unusual.  Zones 8A-10.

Raji Puri Banana – Dwarf Grower Cold Hardy Banana! @JustFruits

If you only want one variety of banana, get Raji Puri. It is the strongest grower, and easiest to fruit. This native of India rarely exceeds 8 feet in height. The tough trunks are cold, wind and disease resistant. The ‘bunch’ of bananas is large up to 30 to 40 pounds, and each fruit in the ‘hand’ is 5-6 inches. Raji Puri flavor is excellent. Its dwarf size makes it an excellent container plant for colder climates. Zones 8A-10.

Basjoo Banana – Super Cold Hardy! @JustFruits

Super cold hardy, snow banana! Basjoo banana will survive to zone 7. In our area it is the only banana that has never had the trunk frozen back. Each spring the trees sprout back from the tops of the trunks. This allows us to keep a tall growing stand of banana year round. Beautiful lush green leaves, ornamental white bloom. Reaches 12 feet. Zones 7-10.

Also at GardensOyVey $24.00
Musa basjoo Native to the Ryukyu Archipelago which lies between Japan and Taiwan,  is also very common in parts of China.
This banana will survive temperatures as low as -20 degrees F. Full sun with lots of water & fertilizer to achieve the amazing growth rate, but it will do fine in light shade as well.
Beautiful deep green clump can grow up to 18′ tall or more, and really gives a tropical warm sunny feeling. Great for any place in the garden, especially great around pools or patios, courtyards and wonderful in a border with other colorful perennials & grasses.
Fruit will set from white flowers if the tree can achieve over 25-35 leaves in one season, leaves can grow 2’x 6′!!!. Mix with fine and medium textured plants for variety.

* Cornelian Cherries

Need 2 varieties for good crop


Pineapple Guava

  • Is supposed to grow in Zone 8

Mammoth Pineapple Guave at Justfruits

Weighing up to 8oz and 2-4 inches in length, Mammoth has the largest fruit of all the pineapple guava varieties. Sweet, tasty and tangy with a hint of pineapple. These are cutting grown plants, so will fruit within 2-3 years. Considered self fertile but will bear largest fruit with a pollinator, use seedlings for cross pollinator. Hardy to 15F pineapple guava can fruit with as little as 50 chill hours. Fruit ripens in September/October. Zones 8-10a. Needs pollinator.


Nikita pineapple guava is prized for its tasty, large fruit and compact growing habit – mature height is only 5-6 foot tall! Found at the Nikita Botanical Gardens in Yalta, Ukraine. Fruit ripens in October.  Hardy to 5-10F pineapple guava can fruit with as little as 50 chill hours. Needs another variety of pineapple guava for pollination. Zones 7b-10a



Originates from Russia. It is a large red fruit with reddish arils. Taste is typically sweet with just a hint of tartness. It has good cold hardiness and ripens in mid October. This variety is also called Sal and/or Russian 8. Womack

Tree Form: Bush
Pollination: Self-pollinating
Bears: August-October often only 2-3 years
Soil type: Well-drained pH 5.5-7.0
Pruning: Keep pruned 3 to 6 main trunks
Hardiness Zone: 6
Good price on pomegranates at ChestnutHillFarm

Dr. Chris Inhulsen, Montezuma, Ga., tested Russian pomegranates and found they survived winters where the popular “Wonderful” variety killed to the ground. The plants were reported to take -6 degrees F once, and at Montezuma, GA., 8 degrees F. Salavatski was his first choice for hardy, dependable, high quality fruit. The fruits as large as the store-bought “Wonderful” variety, and are orange-red in skin and red arils. Like “Wonderful” it is a hard seeded variety. According to Dr. Levin, the originator of the variety, the hard seeded varieties can withstand colder temperatures by a few degrees than the soft seeded varieties. We can thank Dr. Levin for the many pomegranate varieties.He has given us a new fruit for our area that is beautiful and easy to grow. At our nursery in Virginia, Salavatski has fruited yearly without winter damage to the plant. Space 8′ to 10′ circle. It’s best to plant out of the winter winds. More protection and less in the open helps especially with younger plants. Salavatski has ripened in Lancaster, PA(Zone 6) planted on the south side of a home. Zones 7-10.
Good deer resistance. Good pest resistance. EdibleLandscaping.com


Satsuma Orange

How to Grow Tasty Citrus Outside in Zone 7+ (Tangerines, Grapefruit, Oranges, & More) Advice would probably work for other equally frost-tender crops, such as Avocados.

Satsuma Orange Frost

“Orange Frost”, a new cold hardy citrus

“This Texas Superstar should expand the planting zone for citrus in the ground moving as far north as U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 8, which means even parts of the Hill Country,” said Dr. Larry Stein, AgriLife Extension horticulturist, Uvalde, and another Texas Superstar Board member.

“Some protection will still be required in the establishment phase,” Rodriguez said. “Orange Frost is a true crossed variety, and not a graft onto sour orange rootstock as are many cold-tolerant oranges and mandarins. This means trees with a well-established root system will eventually come back true even if  (http://today.agrilife.org/2014/06/04/satsuma-orange-frost-texas-superstar/)frozen back.”

The fruit is very sweet, easy to peel, and only has one or two seeds per fruit.

More importantly, the tree has more cold hardiness than satsuma, so once established, it will tolerate more cold, meaning that it can be planted in the landscape a bit further north than other citrus.

‘Orange Frost’ has proven to be reliably hardy in zone 8, which includes Central Texas. But for the first few years, when the tree is young and getting established, you’ll need to protect it during the winter.

‘Orange Frost’ needs full-day sun to perform and fruit well. And it gets only 8 to 10 feet tall, making the fruit easy to harvest. But it can also get 8 to 10 feet wide, so be sure to give it plenty of space to spread out. Be sure that the soil has good drainage. And don’t plant until after ALL danger of frost has passed. For good growth and a bountiful harvest, water regularly and fertilize monthly during the growing season.

As with other citrus trees, ‘Orange Frost’ satsuma is evergreen, and if it DOES get bitten by the cold, the good news is that it isn’t grafted, meaning that it will come back true if it has to regrow from the roots. (http://www.klru.org/ctg/resource/satsuma/)

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