Gardening & Time: Plant Origins (Part 1 of 5)

Most of the food crops we grow in Florida originated in lands far away. If we understand where these crops originated it can help us to grow them more effectively.

Generally, plants that originated from a latitude that Florida shares are more likely to be naturally adapted to our local conditions. Latitude can significantly affect temperature, rainfall and duration of sunlight throughout the year. While looking for plants that share a similar latitude is a good start, there are many other details that can help a grower select plants that are well-adapted to their specific location.

Within a latitude, the regional climate can vary dramatically, and even within a regional climate there can be great variation. Understanding the specific conditions plants originated from can further refine the selection process for plants that are compatible with local conditions. Variables to consider include soil type, frequency of rainfall, temperature extremes, access to direct sunlight, presence of nearby plants or trees, and proximity to bodies of water. Once these variables are understood, selecting the right plant or food crop for local conditions can greatly improve the likelihood of success.

The objective of any grower should be to grow their crops as effectively and sustainably as possible. Choosing well-adapted plants or crops can help to improve sustainability of growing them. Doing so can lead to improved efficiency and reduced costs by reducing inputs, such as pesticides and fertilizers. Once a plant’s needs are consistently met, a grower is much more likely to harvest fruit and an abundant crop in the future.

Well-adapted non-native plants include loquats, Asian persimmons, various mulberries, sweet potatoes, cassava, figs, and pineapple guava. To grow each of these as abundantly as possible, take some time to consider the conditions they originated in and choose the plants that will grow best within the conditions available.


Avatar photo
Posted: July 8, 2022

Category: Agribusiness, Agriculture, Crops, Fruits & Vegetables, Horticulture, Pests & Disease
Tags: Agriculture, Food, Fruit, Gardening, Organic, Sustainability, Vegetable

Subscribe For More Great Content

IFAS Blogs Categories