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Temps in the 80’s Again Today – Time To Get To The Tropical Garden

Posted on Monday, March 02, 2015

pineapple classic drawing

(you might not know pineapples grow from plants not trees!)

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful couple from Boston at one of our home showings yesterday. They marveled at the weather and I was careful to “lay low” on the topic. I don’t mean to make people feel bad about weather this morning but it is March and this is the time to start gardening here in Naples.  Let’s talk about tropical and sub-tropical gardening in Naples, Florida again for our once a month blog feature.

Naples is at 26 degrees latitude and just inside the tropical zone.  Anything within 26 degrees of the equator is fair game in our tropical garden from the US, South America, Asia – wherever.  We are trying to grow health, edible organic fruit and have some fun.

Most feeding regimens mark March 1 as the time to wake up the garden. Avocados look to flower about now and look for some rain. The Mangos may flower a second time about now and hope it stays dry. The Fig starts to sprout leaves and look a live again. Ah, new life and a new season in the Florida sunshine.

dragonfly eating bugs in the garden

(look carefully and you can see this giant dragonfly at work keeping the mosquito population down)

This week, other than the big food start-up I am looking forward to planting my coffee plants grown from beans. These one year olds will join their two-year old counterparts in the garden this year. Hopefully flowers and beans will appear on the older plants next year and I can drink a cup of homemade organic “Joe” while I am writing the blog!

Gardening is a one of the many Naples lifestyles available to all. Inexpensive, relaxing and it keep you in the great Florida outdoors. Should I live a long life (I hope so!) perhaps gardening will be one of things I can still enjoy (not so sure about tennis and long distance cycling!).

Let’s take a look at gardening here in Naples this morning and see what is going on.

Well by now my cleansing lemon drink each morning is going to have to come from the store as my Meyer Lemon is done providing fruit and has gone on to flower and start making fruit for next year.


(there are lots of ways to chase away destructive insects – without spraying)

My loquat, after years of tender care, is now in full fruit and close to offering up its first effort. These yellow, golf ball size fruits have blessed the orient for thousands of years and I ma interested to see how they taste.

My garden is all organic. No herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, or for that matter no anything-a-cides. Good for you and all in your back yard. In the dead of winter. Naples is a tropical gardening paradise.

Part of the Naples lifestyle is the enjoyment of our surrounding tropical world. Oranges, lemons, mangos, avocado, loquat, Surinam and Brazilian cherries, bananas, lychee, pineapples, passion fruit and figs – all growing outside my office door in my yard and I knew nothing of gardening before moving here. You could do it too. It is not difficult and you improve your diet and mental health in the process. Not bad.

Also in town we have the Naples Botanical Garden.  They are the real pros.  The garden  opened up its doors after a multi-month renovation this past Fall and wow what an upgrade. We are supporters of the garden and encourage all of you year round residents and seasonal visitors to take a look at the new garden. With 100,000+ visitors last year you will be in good company.

orange-barred sulfur butterfly

(you really should see the butterfly house at the Botanical Garden)

Larger than Fairchild and Sarasota, the Naples Botanical Garden is the relatively new kid on the street with some early big results and big dreams to follow. Florida Gulf Coast already co-locates here and the on site research is amazing. I encourage you to go on the garden’s web site at and take it all in ( It will brighten up your winter day!
In terms of your own garden you have all the makings of success right here in town in your backyard. On-water Naples living has never seen a hard freeze so you are good year round for outdoor plants. After several years of experimentation let me show you a few easy plants and trees to start with.

pineapple 2010

(yes you can grow your own pineapples here)
I think the easiest plant to grow here is the pineapple. My twelve plants produce three to four pound fruit each year and people seem to love them. You can start with store-bought fruit and propagate them or you can purchase plants from the Botanical Garden. They do not need much food. Give them a little water in the dry season and in summer they are fine on their own. Bring them in to the Lanai for final fruiting to keep them away from the animals.


(my Springfield Mango flowering up to make some delicious fruit for the July festival)
Mangos are the next easiest. Plant one of these and have fruit for years. They last for years and years, are pest resistant, and require modest amounts of care. Go to the Mango festival in July and sample all the different types of fruit then order the variety you like. A mature tree can easily produce fifty mangos or so.


(you can grow huge Avocado’s here rich in omega-3 oils – a two-pound Guatemalan here)
For the third easiest I would say the Avocado. I got off to a slow start with mine (plan them in the right place and away from other plants and tress) and you will enjoy lots of avocados for years to come. There are three main varieties so research them for taste, size, care and health benefits (some have a lot more omega-3 than others). Get ready of delicious salads and home-made guacamole.
Now for the harder varieties. As it turns out all citrus trees are tough to grow.  Who knew?  In Florida?  Due to a disease called “greening” we are witnessing the demise of the citrus industry. With out intervention and I hate to say it but probably without new GMO varieties we may not make it. Florida is seeing less and less fruiting juice and now the disease has moved to California. I would hold off planting new citrus varieties until this gets worked out.

I would also add the tropical peach to the difficult list. Birds (even with netting) their ugly deciduous nature and just lack of production caused me to give up here. When the tree was good enough to make it for me was outstanding.
One last note on care I am pleased fertilizer restrictions near the water are tough. The Marco Eagle reported on this recently at aI am for a balance of environmental and human concerns and keeping fertilizer use down near the water makes a lot of sense.
That is it on the gardening notes this morning. If you cannot make it there today take in some of our tropical gardening images on Pinterest and enjoy the views.

I hope you have an opportunity to visit or live in Naples or Marco Island.  If you would like to know more about living here just give us a call at 239.595.3921.

Please also consider reading our book “Understanding Naples Real Estate” to get you started on a real estate search or just give us a call about things to do here.

We look forward to meeting and talking with you soon,

Mark Goebel PA, Nan Goebel PA and David Goebel, PA
Co-Founders of the Naples Best Addresses Team

Coldwell Banker
Mark Goebel, PA and Nan Goebel, PA
REALTOR Coldwell Banker 5th Avenue South
Mobile: 239.595.3921 239.595.3920
Facebook: NaplesBestAddresses

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No legal, investment, or tax advice is being given in this Blog.  Consult with legal, financial and tax professionals before acting on any real estate transaction.  Actual real estate price and sales results are subject to market forces and are not completely predictable. The writings of this Blog are intended for the sole use of our clients.
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Mark Goebel, PA is a REALTOR with Coldwell Banker on 5th avenue in Naples, Florida with 35+ years of visiting and living in Naples. After 25 years at Accenture, Mark retired as a managing director and spends his time helping non profits and building a Naples real estate team with his wife Nan. Talk to Mark and Nan about life in Naples and why they chose this place to live full-time over all others and enjoy Naples real estate.
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