Can You Grow Mangosteen in Florida?
Due to increased pest and disease pressure and production costs, citrus growers are beginning to look into alternative crops to diversify and find new markets. Some of these alternative crops might work, while others will not because of lack of adaptability to local climate or lack of market for that specific crop. When selecting any crop, it is necessary to choose a crop that is native to a similar climate or is already adapted to local conditions.
Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) is a tropical tree, native to the equator (An equator is an imaginary line around the middle of a planet or other celestial body). Because the tree is cold-sensitive, the best region to grow mangosteen is south Florida especially Miami Dade (USDA 11a). It has been reported that mangosteen was first planted in Miami in 1977. Mangosteen grows in rich soil with a lot of organic material so the alkaline soil of south Florida is not suitable for mangosteen. Mangosteen originates from the southeast of Asia and is cultivated in Thailand, Vietnam, Burma, the Philippines, and southwestern India.
Mangosteen grows slowly and it is an upright tree growing to between 20-82 feet in height with a pyramid-shaped crown. Mangosteen is generally propagated from seed as the plants are genetically identical to the parent tree. Grafted trees are rarely used for commercial production due to their low vigor. As it was mentioned before, mangosteen needs rich organic soil, humid weather, and annual rainfall of at least 50 inches with no drought. So, if you live in the Miami Dade area and you have rich organic soil, you can probably grow mangosteen in your garden, otherwise, it is recommended to plant mangosteen in the pot.