CHERRY OF THE RIO GRANDE
Cherry of the Rio Grande -- best cherry tree to plant if you live in zone 9 or 10 and crave the taste of fresh cherries!
A sweet, tart cherry fruit that looks like you'd expect a cherry to look!
- can be used for cooking or eaten right off the tree;
- grown as a hardy shrub in zone 9a or 9b,
- can be kept trimmed to 6' tall at maturity;
- can grow as tall as 10 to 25', depending on soil conditions;
What's the flavor?
Depends on who you ask.
Young trees are more like a cross with a Surinam cherry: a little more tart than sweet, but juicy. Mature trees are closer to a real northern cherry -- sweeter with a little tart, depending on the soil.
But some cherry tasting connoisseurs will dispute just how much it resembles a Bing. Still, it's the closest us Floridians will get to growing cherries in the backyard!
The Cherry of the Rio Grande is native to Surinam and northern South America. It is not the same as the Surinam cherry. It is widely grown in central and south Florida;
Established trees are cold tolerant down to 20-22° F
Allegedly, there's one growing on UF campus since the 1980's, surviving the frost year after year; but protect young trees below 28°F until they are well established.
photo attribution: Photos taken from flickr here:
used with permission from this license:
trees currently 3-4' tall / 3gal / $39