Breadfruit question

gcmastiffs(z10 Florida)August 1, 2006

I have a Breadfruit tree that is astounding in its growth, and that has endeared itself to me in a very short time. I saw some mature versions at the nursery I bought it from, that had quite a bit of damage from the hurricanes the past few years. Yet they survived.

I read that Breadfruit trees in Florida usually succumb to dehydration. Would setting up a tall misting "cage" be of any use? I water mine daily, and mist the whole tree, but it is still a reasonable size. I really don't ever expect any fruit, but I do like the appearance of the tree.

Anyone else in Palm Beach County, Florida growing one?

I'd love some advice from others who have raised them successfully for several years, if possible.


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patusho25(z11 Mexico)

Hi Lisa,

I have some 1.5 years old "breadnuts" (I guess they are very similar in theirs needs) and this is my experience (in the dry tropic): they can handle 20% humidity and 44ªC temps if in shadow (they need lots of water though) and at 7ªC the leaves are damaged.

misters in florida? breadnuts don`t need misters even in here and we get 40% humidity most of the year, unless you want it for something else?

I guess if you put them in shadow they wont need the mister, perhaps you want it in the sun? they do reasonable well in the shadow here in almost desert conditions (except the min low is 8ªC in here).


    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 10:44PM
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gcmastiffs(z10 Florida)

Hi Patusho,

I am new to Breadfruit ownership, so was going by what I read about them. Supposedly they do not do very well in Florida, because it is not humid enough or wet enough. That is why I was thinking about a mist system to spray the foliage. My tree seems to really enjoy lots of water and daily "baths."

"The breadfruit is ultra-tropical, much tenderer than the mango tree. It has been reported that it requires a temperature range of 60° to 100°F (15.56°-37.78°C), an annual rainfall of 80 to 100 in (203-254 cm), and a relative humidity of 70 to 80%."

The nursery here that has large ones, grows them outdoors, except for winter, when they are moved into the greenhouse. They warned me that I should not expect fruit from my tree because conditions here are not ideal for the plant to thrive.

I like the appearance and vigor of the tree. It think it is worth growing for its beauty and history.

How large are your 1.5 year olds? I am amazed that my youngster puts out a new leaf every week- like a Banana!


Here is a link that might be useful: Breadfruit article

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 8:28AM
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patusho25(z11 Mexico)

my breadnut trees are 53" tall and are very healthy (as long as I keep them in the shadow); well, the biger one gets some direct weak afternoon (7-8pm) sun but it must get daily watering or else, but sure they can handle some direct sunlight (if well watered).

I forgot to mention that all my trees are in 45 cm deep black plastic bags (I`m moving in september to a new brand house) so everything is ready to be transplanted (I don`t think the breadnuts can grow much more in these bags). I guess if they were in the ground they should have handled much beter the "cold"; as a mater of fact, I do know of one breadnut or breadfruit tree here in my town (can`t tell any difference but the fruit) which is in the ground, it`s about 3m tall and got just minor leaf damage this past winter (mine got 60% leaf damage). It just get dapled sunlight, no misters, bad soil, 44ªC, 20-40% humidity most of the year (right now is 70% because of rainfall).

Hope breadfruit is as easy growing as breadnut (and you just have to worry about the cold). I remember reading you can make airlayers in breadfruit, not in breadnuts.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 1:01PM
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ohiojay(z6 OH)

Bill Whitman is growing one on his estate and it has been fruiting for years. His has survived many freezes. That's not to say that there was no damage! But it always came back. I believe if you were able to keep it well protected or find a good "microclimate" in which to plant, you should be able to do well. Florida has the humidity and if you wish, misting will certainly help. It may need some protection from full sun if still small. As for fruiting? I believe you can if can manage the care properly. We have a fruiting breadfruit tree at our conservatory here in Ohio. I also believe that if you practice aggresive pruning techniques, you can more successfully manage your tree. If folks like you didn't try, none of us would be enjoying the plants we have now. Good luck! J

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 2:21PM
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Hi Lisa,
I had a breadfruit tree (Artocarpus Altilis) in the ground for almost 3 years. It needs FULL sun, plenty of water (but can easily survive on less), heat and high humidity. A mister will help it very much, but only between April to November.If you plan to enclose it in a heated structure you will also need to use the mister or a big bowl of water on the heater for humidity. It will become "sad" in November and it will die in January-February in Jupiter Farms, almost for sure. Bill Whitmann's tree is in Aventura,Miami Dade County, a much warmer spot than Palm Beach County, very close to the Ocean and it never experienced a frost, just low temps, but probably never below 40*F.Mine died last winter after being badly damaged by 3 hurricanes in 2 years. A healthy, well fed plant will probably survive a warm winter in Palm Beach County, near the coast or in Boca Raton. The mister shouldn't be use when the plant is not growing because will help the development of the fungus which will kill the tree.I live in western Lake Worth,PBC, 8 miles inland and my tree grew from 20 inches to about 15 ft. in 4 years.It will never fruit here but you can keep it alive by maintaining a temp of at least 55*F at night and 75*F during the day and humidity (in the winter). It loves full sun.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 10:03PM
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vireyafl(710 FL)

The only Breadfruit tree I have seen growing in Florida was at Fairchild Tropical Gardens in south Miami where it was growing in the Rare Plant House in order for it to receive protection from the cold temperatures in winter. I think the low winter temperatures in South Florida are the problem rather than the humidity. They grow very luxuriantly on the Caribbean Islands where the humidity is lower than South Florida.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 10:50PM
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eric_9b(z9b Orlando)

I planted a small one out this summer here at Leu Gardens in Orlando. I am curious how root hardy they are. I know it won't grow tall or fruit here but the big lobed leaves are attractive. I want to see if it can be grown as a dieback shrub. It is in a very protected location, an area where a Ficus benghalensis and a Artocarpus heterophyllus (Jakfruit) are growing well.

I was at a palm society meeting several years ago. We were at a man's house who lived just a block or so north of Fairchild. He had a Breadfruit in his back yard near the house. He said it died down almost every winter but came back in spring and would grow 6-7 ft tall. He said it usually died back once temperatures got down near 40F.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2006 at 8:50AM
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ohiojay(z6 OH)

Hi Lisa...yes indeed, Bill Whitman has experienced freezes(temps below 40) at Bal Harbor. During the nights of December 23 & 24, 1989, they had consecutive temps at 32 degrees. By noon it reached 40 and 44 the next day. He suffered loss to some and damage to many other trees. His breadfruit defoliated 100% and didn't recover until around April when it started to leaf out at the base. It was 23 feet tall at the time. I saw his tree last year and it is magnificent. He had two of the largest groups of staghorn ferns hanging from it by heavy chain. They had to be 5 feet in diameter. I have a cutting from it! :)

If it's any consolation, it must be the come-back king of trees. Not only did he nearly lose it to freezes, but several huricanes nearly done it in as well. I can't remember how many times the tree has started from a stump. He now has a huge railroad track rail inserted into the ground next to it for support against hurricane winds! So protect that tree of yours. Good luck! J

    Bookmark   August 3, 2006 at 8:48PM
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You may be right regarding the frost back in 1989. I didn't know though the tree is that old.
I'm currently trying an Artocarpus Odoratissimus that I just received as a gift 2 weeks ago. It's about 5 ft. tall, looks just like a bare stick, but I want to keep it in a pot until next Spring when I'll plant it out in the ground.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 12:49PM
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ohiojay(z6 OH)

Are there a lot of varieties of breadfruit? I'd love to grow one because it is a very beautiful tree. Alas..there will be no room in the greenhouse for such a specimen! Arad & Lisa, got any pics you can share of your breadfruit trees?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2006 at 10:29PM
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Eggo(z10soCal LBC)

yeah where's the pics? hehe

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 11:16PM
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gcmastiffs(z10 Florida)

I took a few of my little tree, then the camera batteries gave out. I'll download them and post later tonight.

I should have taken pictures of the big ones at Excalibur Nursery...


    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 12:32PM
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gcmastiffs(z10 Florida)

Here's my baby tree.

It caught my eyes as I was being driven rapidly by in a golf cart through a huge greenhouse. It has a proud way of standing, and the foliage is beautiful. It is prettier in person, than it appears in photos.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 6:59PM
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Eggo(z10soCal LBC)

very cool plant indeed. cutting? grafted?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2006 at 1:06AM
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hi lisa

how's your breadfruit tree now? i'm from the Philippines and for three years now i have been working on breadfruit/breadnut. I am always happy to note other people's interest ( and love!) for these beautiful and useful trees..

I love your tree; i hope it has done fine through the years...?

debbie enarle
iloilo city, philippines

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 12:26AM
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I planted mine on east side of my home about 1 1/2 years ago. It's now 6 feet tall! Took 2 of south floridas winters in years. Yes I protected it with an old blanket. But bounced back very fast, it's still is putting off new leaves as we speak. I also have a Lipstick palm same age on south side of home, gets tons of water and loving life. It grew 1 foot this year alone. It's now about 3 feet tall and very red. Yes protection as well, took both winters, I almost cried thinking I was going to loose it! But nope, barley burned. Now you can't tell at all.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 4:21PM
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I live in Orlando FL and I almost accidentally killed my breadfruit tree. I couldn't figure out what was wrong. Leaves were turning brown, then falling off! Then I found it it likes to be misted 2-3 times a day. I heard that when they are young, they need more babying, so maybe that is why there is the need for all of the misting. It is potted now, over 6 ft and I hope one day to have a conservatory and get it to fruit. One can dream.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 4:13PM
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Carlincooling(fl 10b)

I have one in a 25 gallon pot that is about 6-7 ft tall. I also have about 6 of them I air layered. I plan on putting in the ground and taking some protective measures in the winter. By spring it should be pushing 10 ft. By then it should be putting out fruit. I I love the shape of the leaves.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 12:47PM
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I love breadfruit and although I can buy it a the supermarket, I want to experience picking and roasting them as I did as a child in St. Ann, Jamaica. Despite the reported bad experiences of others on this website, I am determined to grow my own. I found this plant at a nearby nursery and although it was not very well cared for I bought it. I planted it in April this year when it was about 3' tall. l planted it in an area facing the east where it gets full sun for about 10 hours per day, I water it every other day except when it rains. After 4 months it has doubled in height to over 6'. I plan to straddle it with a ladder and then drape it over with plastic or canvas sheets if it gets too cold. I'll let you know how it fares!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 4:28PM
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gardencraze(9b Groveland FL.)

All this talk about Breadfruit is making me hungry, I grew up with these guys and ate the fruit every day.
In Puerto Rico these trees grow 3 stories high, I have never seen a tree smaller then 20-30 feet bear fruit. I buy the fruit at the spanish store and we eat boiled like tators. People in other places
like Columbia wait til it's ripe and mushy and eat raw.
I wish I could grow here in Orlando.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2014 at 8:24PM
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Not far from me someone is growing them commercially. All their trees are about 3 metres tall and full of fruit last I looked. Strangely enough, I've never seen any in any of the shops here. Durian in the supermarkets, Jackfruit in the markets but never Breadfruit. The locally produced stuff must be exported. But height a tree starts bearing fruit might depend on variety. Hope mine fruits well before it get to 3 storeys high.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2014 at 8:45PM
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I have alot of them here in jamaica, and ive been to florida they will produce fruit ive seen a few on my aunts trees and they are very drought tolerant if planted outside in the ground but be warned they get huge in no time

    Bookmark   October 1, 2014 at 8:31PM
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Just got some good advice on how to protect my breadfruit tree from the Miami winter chill. I constructed a cage with 11/2" PVC pipe; don't glue the pipe to the elbow joints, just push the pipe into the joints so it can be easily disassembled and stored when the weather is warm. (my cage is L 8'x W 8' X H 10'). Wrap the cage with clear tarp (available in many sizes on Amazon). Use f adhesive-backed Velcro tape to fasten (also available on Amazon). You can also use "U" shaped iron pins to anchor the base of the cage to the ground to protect it against wind. Now I just have to make sure I prune the tree (it is now 7' tall and about 5' wide) to make sure it doesn't outgrow the cage.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2014 at 1:29PM
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