If You Could Live in Zone 9-10, What Would You Grow?

butterfly15_ca(Sunset15 USDA9b)September 17, 2005

I am wondering what you guys are wishing you could grow. Who knows, maybe you'll soon get a zone change!

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bihai(zone 9)

Same things I grow NOW except without a greenhouse....
Heliconias, torch gingers, cone gingers, orchids, bromeliads, jade vines, etc etc the list goes on and on

    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 7:34AM
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azreno(z9 AZ)

Careful there, Bihai- we get a couple of hard frosts here every year, some worse than others, and sun in the summer that is as hot and DRY as it gets. Maybe we should ammend the post to say "Z9-10 except AZ".

Tell you what- send me some and I'll see how they do in my Z9.......;-)


    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 10:38AM
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northtexasgirl(z8 FTW)

Tropicals, tropicals, tropicals. :) The ones I can't grow without my greenhouse.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 10:42AM
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What 'wouldn't' I grow would be an easier question!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 11:41AM
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I am in zone 10 so I guess I`m spoiled. I can grow many plants outside from Travellers Palms and bananas to Cherimoya and Mahogany trees, but the the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

I'd like to live in zone 12 where I could grow everything from Red Sealing Wax Palms and all kinds of Heliconias to Breadfruit and Durian trees.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2005 at 3:40PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Hmm. I live in zone 10, but I assure you, it isn't tropical. More like dry subtropical. No jade vines here, night temps are too cool. Also winters, though generally frost-free, are much too cool for many heliconias and such delicate beauties as cyrtostachys renda. Also, being on the coast, there isn't enough heat to satisfy some plants, certain palms, for instance. Yes, they grow fairly well, but you have to find the right sunny microclimate for certain palms to really thrive.

I agree with Cagary, 10 is good, but oooo, wouldn't I like zone 12!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 11:59AM
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mistiaggie(z9A Tx)

Maybe z 9-10 in Florida is a better question...

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 12:42PM
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The real difference is semi-tropical vs sub-tropical.
Southern coastal California is sub-tropical (dry and lower humidity)
South eastern and Gulf coast areas, or semi-tropical, have higher rainfall and humidity. Some areas have to contend with rare winter cold pushing down from the north.

So therein lies the promlem with USDA zones. They don't tell the whole picture. My zone 8 (Pacific NW) is much different than zone 8 (Texas).

Cheers, Barrie.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 4:34PM
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gcmastiffs(z10 Florida)

Zone 10 Florida isn't that great..Not at all.. I'm a native, have lived here all my life.

It is brutally hot for much of the year. Too hot to work outside, so the weeds take over and the mugginess encourages nasty fungal diseases. We never get the insect kil-off that cold zones get- we have pests year round. We have hurricanes, floods, hail, tornadoes, terrible lightning storms, and an endless supply of hungry squirrels.

I long for cooler zones so I can grow fruit trees that need more chill hours, like Apricots, Cherries, etc.

That said, I've been filling the property with fruiting plants to try to provide us with healthy food and make the place beautiful. It is working okay, except for the hurricanes/squirrels/blah/blah...

I have over 100 varieties of fruiting plants. Got to eat a few Apples, Peaches, Figs, Mangos, Atemoya, Citrus, Grapes, Blackberries, Mulberries, Strawberries, Plums, Nectarines, and Miracle Fruit. Fruit flies destroyed the Papayas and Guavas. Squirrels ruined the main crops of the orchard, which has 11 Apple trees and 9 Peach trees. Hurricanes ripped apart my adult citrus trees last year, but they are recovering.

So all is not easy in zone 10.. Every place has its limitations and problems.

I want SNOW!!!


    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 9:32PM
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azreno(z9 AZ)

Aahhh, so the grass is greener.....

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 9:59AM
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sonotaps(Sunset Z13, Phx)


Shhhh.....Well, keep the frost thoughts to yourself (joking) and don't let my Mango, Guava, Bananas, Pineapples, Papayas, Avocados, White Sapote, Passion Fruit, Cuban Royals Palms, Foxtail Palms, Dypsis Baronii, etc hear that. All growing OUTSIDE in NE Phoenix.

You must be in a really cold spot or something. On the new USDA zone chart, central phoenix is zone 10 now. Downtown is virtually frost-free. Sunset zones are more appropriate for us in the west. You're right azreno, 'except AZ' (or the west).

I'm not downtown and I have to protect the small stuff now and again but if you utilize microclimates it is fine. The 'silver-lining' of urbanization (if there is one - gag-gasp) is that our night temps (in the winter where frost is concerned) are staying warmer.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 11:28AM
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azreno(z9 AZ)


Yeah, radiant heat is something isn't? I am working the microclimate, and working on more. We have a large pond with an area behind it that's covered in those bamboo sheets. It stays cooler in summer (evap effect from pond helps as well the shade) but has strong filtered light, and is protected from frost as well. Haven't actually been able to plant in the ground yet (still a construction zone), but am collecting tropical plants for that purpose- they absolutely loved it out there this summer. I have a temporary greenhouse to keep them warmer this winter, since they are in pots, but I expect them to do very well back there year round when planted.

Zone 10? Nope, I'm gonna have to say we still have a couple good hard frosts every year (some worse than others) in Mesa.

Hope to see you around!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 12:34PM
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sonotaps(Sunset Z13, Phx)

Lynn in Mesa!

I know of two people that grow things in East Mesa and one gets really brutal frost (and has a huge greenhouse where he grows lots of amazing things) while the other is pretty much frost free and grows the most amazing things outside! It just depends on where you are I guess! It's crazy, isn't it?

Good Mesa weather site and data:



Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 5:55PM
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azreno(z9 AZ)


It certainly does depend on where you live! No way did it get to 107 today.

You're really into your fruits, huh? That's a nice website. We're not too much into fruits. I'm planning to grow my first edible anything next spring- caigua, it's a peruvian vine that has a fruit/ veggie with lots of health benefits. Now to get DH to eat them! Supposed to taste like cucumber, shouldn't be too hard if I throw it in a salad.

Do you happen to grow any of the passion vines for the fruit? Are they tasty?


    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 6:55PM
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sonotaps(Sunset Z13, Phx)

I grow Passiflora Edulus 'Frederick' and the fruit is very good. I use the juice for drinks, ice cream, etc. It freezes pretty well too.

Good luck with DH to eat caigua (never heard of it but I like cucumbers!) I'm not a picky eater at all and like to try new things but I know people who are picky and you may have a tough battle.

Hope the info helps.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 7:43PM
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gardenalive(Galveston, z9b)

I can grow pretty much alot. Some of my papaya trees are about 12 feet tall and are bearing fruits heavily this year. First time I ever see this many fruits in a year!! They lose some leaves last year but weren't killed by the hundred year snow event.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2005 at 9:19PM
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meilie(z7 MD)

A Hayden mango would be my first planting (Fond memories of grandma's tree in Hawaii.), Lychee, Loquat, Avocado, Pineapple, Guava, Lilikoi (passionfruit), Apple Banana (firm, tart flesh, very different), Pamalo (Chinese grapefruit), Mamo Sopato, and more if I could think straight and stop drooling.

My Dream House would have a greenhouse atrium in the center to allow me to grow my mango trees.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2005 at 6:56PM
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jshine(z4, Minnesota)

Oh, lots of bamboos -- the big stuff (Moso, Vivax -- lots from the Phyllostachys genus).

Actually, many of those only require zone 7 or so, but here in lovely Minnesota (4a), zone 7 may as well be zone 9 or 10.

Also some palms; a coconut palm would be wonderful, but I'm not sure just how tropical those are...

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 8:47AM
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Coconut palms are too tropical for Southern California unless located in a very warm microclimate; I've heard of one that has survived several years in Santa Monica - surrounded by a sidewalk and against a south wall - but very slowly growing. If I were in a more tropical zone (presumably the wet tropics?) I would likely grow Mangosteen, sealing wax palm, jade vine and other extreme tropicals.


    Bookmark   April 30, 2006 at 11:53AM
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sonotaps(Sunset Z13, Phx)

Coconut Palm in Newport Beach.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 1:32PM
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nbutler5(z9 Indian Rocks, FL)

Z9 west central gulf coast FL - everything thrives that loves heat & humidity, it's like living in an outdoor greenhouse for 6 months. Portability is key for me, a few cold windy nights, hurricanes, & strong storms make it necessary for me to be able to move every plant either inside or near shelter of some sort. I have about 50 orchids & 100 assorted other tropicals, palms, cycads, succulents, etc . . .

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 9:48AM
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I live in Southern California. The raining season here is from January through May. Last December, I bought a 24" box Loquat tree with fruit on it. Just recently noticed that all the leaves are wilted and burned on the edges. Even the new leaf sprouts look the same. Can anyone tell me the possible cause? Is it too much watering or too little? Fireblight??

Please help.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2006 at 1:20AM
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According to this map, I am in zone 11, which seems accurate, since I've never known it to get below 42° here, but I could not successfully grow a coconut palm. I do, however, have heliconia, ginger, mango, and many citrus trees. I used to have a dwarf avocado tree, but it got bad infestations of white flies. I also had papaya and passionfruit, but both of those attracted possums, and so I got rid of both. The passionfruit made way too much fruit. I do like my bougainvillea, however, and my ex-roommate grew many kinds of orchids successfully outside here. I have a tropical waterlily in the pond, which blooms until January.

Never plant bamboo in zone 9-10 -- it becomes a huge pest, like many other plants that can take over when not killed back by frost. I'm battling several such pests myself now.

Shawn, you might have a problem with fertilizer - either too much or not enough. Take a sample of a leaf to the nursery where you bought it.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2006 at 2:35PM
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I live in zone 9.

I'm growing lots of Cannas, Heliconias, some Gingers, several bananas, Bougainvillea, pink mandevilla, elephant ears, Castor Bean, Root Beer plants, and others.

I've only been here 2 years. What surprised me more than anything, in growing tropicals, is how many of these plants want shade.

When starting a garden from scratch, there is no shade, and my garden design is centered around shade-producing plants.

The other problem is that it's HOT here. It's difficult to work in the garden during the day. I get out in the morning, before it really heats up, and in the evening, before the mosquitos come out.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2006 at 7:30AM
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