8 Edible Nut Trees You Can Grow in Florida

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Written By Kenique Ivery

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Home » Florida » 8 Edible Nut Trees You Can Grow in Florida

Nuts are a delicious and healthy snack. But for some people, they are far too expensive. A great option is to plant nut trees in your yard. 

In Florida, you have a wide range of nut tree choices – tropical and temperate nut trees. With just a little effort, you can plant anything from cashew trees to walnuts

Those in central Florida can plant any of these nut trees. But if you are not in this region, you should check your local Florida hardiness zone to see if your nut tree of choice will thrive there.  

8 Tasty Nut Trees to Plant in Florida

1. Chandler Walnut Tree (Julgans regia ‘Chandler’)

This incredibly popular walnut tree produces plenty of walnuts throughout Florida – even in zone 10. The flavor is more savory than sweet. 

Chandler walnut is known for producing many nuts. It is a vigorous grower, and 90% of its later branches have fruit. 

In Florida, pests can be a problem with growing walnuts because of the humid climate with plenty of bugs. But the Chandler variety has better pest resistance than most. 

This fast-growing tree does not get as big as other walnut trees, capping at 40 feet. To get the most nuts, you should plant them in full sun. 

USDA Growing Zones: 6 – 10

Average Size at Maturity: 40 feet tall with a spread of 15 feet

Harvest Season: June to October

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees

2. Macadamia Nut Tree (Macadamia integrifolia)

Macadamia (Macadamia integrifolia) Tree, Flowers and Nuts
Macadamia Tree, Flowers & Nut – Photos by Fern Berg for Tree Vitalize

Did you know that Florida has one of the best climates for growing this tasty and exotic tropical nut? In fact, the University of Florida encourages planting macadamia nut trees as an alternative crop. 

Macadamia trees offer beautiful, lush dark green evergreen foliage. It is worth planting even without the nuts. 

This ornamental nut tree also features large clusters of cream-colored flowers, which gives the landscape a lush tropical feel

One great reason for planting a macadamia nut tree is that each tree produces 60 – 150 pounds yearly. Such production is remarkable because macadamia nuts are notorious for being expensive. 

For maximum production, you should plant the trees in full sun. 

USDA Growing Zones: 9 – 11

Average Size at Maturity: 10 – 40 feet tall with a spread of 10 – 30 feet

Harvest Season: July through November

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees

3. Cashew Tree (Anacardium occidentale)

Cashew Fruit & Raw Nuts
Cashew fruit and raw nuts – Images by Steven dosRemedios and abcdz2000 via Flickr

Like the macadamia nut, the cashew tree is another tropical nut tree that thrives in parts of Florida. The small tropical tree has a dense and spreading canopy. 

An exciting feature of cashew trees is their red to yellow pear-shaped, edible fruit. Right under the fruits are smooth, grayish-green, kidney-shaped appendages with the nut inside. The fruit shell has a thick, poisonous oil, so you should be careful when opening them.  

Overall, I recommend cashew trees for those in the extreme southern countries of Florida, such as Miami-Dade, Broward, and Munroe counties. This area has a tropical climate similar to the tree’s natural habitat in Northeastern Brazil and Southeastern Venezuela

USDA Growing Zones: 9 – 11

Average Size at Maturity: 12 feet tall with a spread of 15 feet

Harvest Season: November through January

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees

4. Elliot Pecan Tree (Carya illinoinensis ‘Elliot’)

Elliot Pecan Tree & Nuts
Elliot pecan tree and nut – Images via Fast-Growing-Trees

Elliot pecan trees are popular because of their reliable crops of large and plump pecans. The flavor is sweet and savory with a buttery flavor. Also, they are easy to open because of their thin shells.

Elliot pecan trees are drought and heat tolerant. Thanks to their attractive, lush, green canopies, these trees make excellent shade trees also. But it is better to plant them in a spot with plenty of space as this tree can get up to 100 feet tall!

This pecan tree has a moderate growth rate. It would help to provide them with at least six hours of direct sunlight each year for the trees to thrive.

USDA Growing Zones: 6 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 70 – 100 feet tall with a spread of 60 – 70 feet

Harvest Season: October

Available at: Nature Hills & Fast-Growing-Trees

5. Chinese Chestnut Tree (Castanea mollissima)

Chinese Chestnut tree flowering and also the chestnuts
Chinese Chestnut fruits and nuts – Images by F.D. Richards and David Ohmer via Flickr

Chinese chestnuts are both ornamental and delicious nut trees. They feature fragrant white and yellow flowers during the spring. Also, the foliage sometimes features radiant fall colors, even in North Florida.

Chinese chestnuts have a sweet flavor and have less fat than other chestnuts. You can enjoy them raw, baked, roasted, or in a wide range of dishes.

For best results, Chinese chestnuts need full sun and well-draining soil. While they adapt well to a wide range of soils but will suffer in heavy clay or wet soil.

USDA Growing Zones: 4 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 40 – 60 feet tall with a spread of 40 – 60 feet

Harvest Season: September – October

Available at: Nature Hills & Fast-Growing-Trees

6. American Hazelnut Filbert (Corylus americana)

American hazelnut is a native tree that grows wild in the woodlands and prairies of the eastern United States. The edible nuts are an infamous food source for squirrels, deer, woodpeckers, pheasants, turkeys, and many other animals.

American hazelnut filbert has a richly sweet and earthy flavor. These nuts are good for nut flour and fit in a wide range of savory and sweet dishes.

According to many growers, this is one of the easiest nut trees to grow. They require little to no effort, especially in north Florida.

I recommend growing this nut tree in partial or complete shade in Florida. As an understory tree, some shade protects it from the state’s hot summer sunshine.

Other Common Names: American hazel

USDA Growing Zones: 4 – 9

Average Size at Maturity:  15 – 18 feet tall with a spread of 10 – 12 feet

Harvest Season: August – October

Available at: Nature Hills & Fast-Growing-Trees

7. Pawnee Pecan Tree (Carya illinoinensis)

Pawnee Pecan Tree and Nuts
Pawnee pecan tree and nuts – Images via Fast-Growing-Trees

Like Elliot, Pawnee is one of the best pecan varieties in Florida. Pawnee pecan nuts are known to be large, meaty, and sweet. 

Pawnee pecan trees do not grow as large as other cultivars. So, it is an excellent choice for smaller landscapes. But you will have to plant at least two to bear nuts because these trees are not self-fertile. 

Pawnee pecan trees do best in full sun and grow at a moderate rate. Though drought-tolerant, you should keep the soil moist but not too saturated. 

USDA Growing Zones: 6 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 20 – 30 feet tall with a spread of 15 – 25 feet

Harvest Season: October

Available at: Nature Hills & Fast-Growing-Trees

8. Pistachio Tree (Pistachio vera)

Pistachio Tree and Pistachio Nuts
Pistachio fruits and nuts – Images by Brad Spry and Rosana Prada via Flickr

Growing pistachio trees in Florida is a bit tricky but possible. Interestingly, pistachios are members of the cashew family, Anacardiaceae

However, unlike cashew trees, these trees prefer dry heat over humid heat and benefit from a chilly winter. In these conditions, the trees produce lots of nuts. 

For these reasons, I do not recommend them for south Florida. They do better in central and north Florida, especially in central and northeast Florida, where there is a long dry season from October through May. 

Another issue with growing pistachio trees in Florida is the risk of fungal diseases from the humid climate. So, you will probably need regular fungicide treatment. 

I recommend growing this nut tree for more experienced nut tree growers in Florida. Or for those who want to experiment. In any case, you will end up with a beautiful shade tree.

USDA Growing Zones: 7 – 10

Average Size at Maturity: 20 – 30 feet tall with a spread of 20 feet

Harvest Season: Late fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees

Choosing the Right Nut Tree for your Region

Growing your nut trees is an excellent idea if you are a nut lover with some space. Some nut trees do better in some regions of the state than others. 

I recommend the tropical macadamia nut and cashew nut trees for south Florida. These are heat and humidity-loving trees. 

 I recommend Elliot or Pawnee pecan from central Florida north, chandler walnutAmerican hazelnut filbert, or Chinese chestnut. These nut trees do not have long chilling requirements and will thrive in this region’s subtropical climate. 

If you are up for a challenge in north or central Florida, I recommend planting the humidity-shy pistachio tree

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Kenique Ivery

Global Green Thumb

Kenique grew up in Florida and currently lives in southern China. Before China, he spent many years in Portugal and the Caribbean. He studied economics and is a teacher, entrepreneur, and writer. Since he was knee-high, he has been gardening and was an active member of FFA (Future Farmers of America). He is his best self in a densely wooded forest or park. Depending on the day, you can find him reading, hiking, traveling, exercising, sipping lots of tea, or eating everything in sight.

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