When we think of exotic fruits, it's usually limited to mangoes, pineapples, and bananas. So it's high time you are introduced to more exotic fruits you'd surely be interested to know. Go beyond your bananas and mangoes and discover new exotic fruits. Who knows you'll love one and make an addition of it in your garden!
Discover New Plants In These Interesting Exotic Fruits
Any true blue gardener will agree, one of the joys and excitements of gardening is discovering new plants. Others will go to great lengths to try to grow plants not native to their area. It's just the sense of pride in the accomplishment of growing a plant other will think impossible. Growing my passion fruit over my iron pergola gave me exactly that feeling of accomplishment and pride. Now I'm enjoying the shade, flowers, and fruits of this tropical fruit vine. You too can find an unusual fruit you can challenge yourself to grow with any of these exotic fruits!
You've probably heard about this tropical fruit but has no idea how it looks. It has been widely used as an ingredient in food supplements and skin care products for its anti-oxidant properties. This sweet, tangy, citrusy, unusual fruit is quite fussy to grow. It grows well in riverbanks but it can be challenging even in your tropical garden since it only propagates through seeds.
2. Snake Fruit
At first sight, this exotic fruit will freak you out. It has a scaly reddish brown surface that looks like snake’s skin. But gently squeeze and peel off the fruit and a white pulp will surprise you with its pineapple-like taste. Forget about growing this plant even in your tropical garden. The snake fruit comes from the palm family, which grows somewhat wildly.
3. Cape Gooseberry Or Inca Berry
You can prepare this exotic fruit much like how you would tomatoes. It looks like it too, only wrapped in what seems like a thin leaf. Physalis propagates quite easily growing abundantly when seeds are scattered by birds and animals. If you live in a warm area, you can plant it in your garden and won't require much of your attention.
4. Buddha’s Hand
I'm seriously looking on how to grow this curious tree with fruits you can high five. This unusual fruit does look like fingers earning it the name of the fingered citron. But it's highlight is the exquisite fragrance and aroma. It is therefore widely used in perfumes and as a natural food flavoring. You can grow this fruit tree in hardiness zones 10-11 in a well-draining and loamy soil.
Although this is technically an unusual fruit, it has become quite common in a lot of supermarkets. Apparently, it has become quite a favorite among fruit lovers. You're garden landscape sure could use this plant with lovely flowering vines growing in trellis or over arbors. You can easily grow this fruit from cuttings.
6. African Cucumber
In a plant family with thousands of plant varieties, it's no longer a surprise, something as bizarre as the Kiwano will emerge. It's got a taste which is a mix of cucumber, banana, and lemon. It may be difficult to germinate this unusual fruit since it requires shade to grow, very unlike its relatives which love the sun.
This exotic fruit is a cross between a melon and an artichoke with a taste of banana, strawberry, and pear. You won’t often see this fruit in grocery stores because it has a short shelf life. But you can grow your own Cherimoya tree for your own fresh supply. You can even propagate cherimoyas from the fresh seeds taken from the fruit.
If you've come across lychee before, rambutans are not so different except for the outer covering and the signature lychee aroma. It has a weird-looking outer cover which you might imagine to be thorns but they're not. In fact, they're soft like hair. Rambutans are heat lovers and they grow best in warm regions such as Florida or areas of California.
If you can't take Durian, then you can try its less evil smelling relative. This unusual fruit has seeds and sweet flesh you can both eat. It's got a strong aroma but not as strong and foul as the Durian. You can easily grow this evergreen tree as it is very low maintenance. Fruits can grow even from the base of the tree so you won't have a hard time harvesting. Weighing as much as 80 pounds, making it the largest and heaviest of all fruits.
Native to Southeast Asia, this exotic fruit, also called langsat, bears fruit in bunches like grapes. The fruit contains a translucent flesh divided into five segments. It has a sweet to tangy taste with bitter seeds within. The tree, though resilient, won't grow well in flooded areas. Growing this exotic fruit tree will need patience as it can take eight to twelve years before they bear fruits.
Called as the king of fruits in the Southeast Asian region, this fruit is known for its very distinct yet foul odor. However, its taste, as described by naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, is “a rich custard highly flavored with almonds”. This tree has been planted in the Americas but is confined to Botanical Gardens. You wouldn't want this in your garden anyway not only for its foul odor. Its thorn-covered husk can actually cause serious accidents.
12. Star Apple
The name is probably derived from the fruit's crisscross segment when it is cut in half resembling a star. But it's also called Milk fruit for the milky juices found inside. This unusual fruit when ripe is usually deep purple in color but some remains green until ready for picking. Star Apples grow abundantly in the Southeast Asia and Central Americas. But it's possible to grow Star Apple in any frost-free areas of the world.
13. Guava Fruit
You've probably seen guavas before in tropical fruit drink labels. It's one of the four fruits in the tropical drink four seasons. But you would surely want to try the actual fruit when it's got four times the amount of vitamin C in oranges. Guava can be grown from seeds but it will take months to germinate. Growing them from grafted cuttings will yield fruits in a matter of time.
14. Wood Apple
Among the exotic fruits, the wood apple is one of the most weird-looking ones. It looks nothing like an apple but probably for a bit of its grainy texture. The insides of the fruit look like pudding and taste of raisins mixed with sour tamarind. You would probably seldom see this fruit outside of India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and the Indochinese regions.
15. Star Fruit
We try to cut fruits into heart shapes for our kids when this one is an instant star after sliced across. It tastes of green apples when firm and green and becomes sweeter with hints of pear and citrus when ripe. Growing this unusual fruit would be ideal in a sheltered area with tall trees to shield it from winds. The soft branches of these trees are prone to breakage.
16. Dimocarpus Longan Berry
The fruit is eaten fresh and is used in Asian desserts and snacks. Although the longan tree is somewhat sensitive to frost, it can withstand temperature as low as −2 °C (28 °F). Sadly, this tree has been listed by the IUCN as one of the near-disappearing fruit tree species in the world.
17. Santol Fruit
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The English name for this exotic fruit is cotton fruit, probably for its cottony and white pulp. It is also called wild mangosteen which looks exactly like the fruit from the inside. They're both consumed the same way by sucking the juices from the seeds, then dispose of the seeds after. You can easily grow santol from seeds in the ideal tropical climate.
18. Ciku Fruit
Try this tropical fruit and you will observe an aftertaste of wine or beer. This is due to the sweet and malty flavor of the ripe fruits. It does grow and thrive in temperate regions being a tropical fruit. But in the ideal environment, this tree will make good ornamental trees.
19. Water Apple
This tropical fruit is also called the wax jambu, java apple, and rose apple although it looks nothing like an apple. It's probably attributed only to its crimson color. Regardless, it's got pleasantly fragrant leaves and flowers you may love. Although this plant is common in the tropics, you can also grow this exotic fruit in subtropical regions and the tropical Mediterranean.
20. Soursop Fruit
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Soursop is now widely used as an alternative for treating cancer. Although no medical evidence supports this claim, food supplements use this fruit as an ingredient. Soursop grows in tropical areas of the world with high humidity. It does not tolerate or grow in temperature below 5 °C (41 °F). You can grow this exotic fruit from the fresh seed harvested from the fruit in the ideal temperature and climate.
21. Miracle Fruit
A plain lemon will magically taste like lemonade after you eat this fruit. With the recent interest developed in this tropical fruit, gardeners are looking into growing it in their garden. You can grow this exotic fruit from seeds you've harvested after eating the fruit. Local nurseries in areas of Florida, Texas, and California may have available seedlings.
Care to know how to grow the dragon fruit? This video from can help:
We may not always grow every plant no matter how we love it. But our curiosity in these green and growing things is innate–we just love plants whether we are growing them or not. Exotic fruits are no exception, and our curiosity is all the more heightened when they're so interesting. Wouldn’t it be a thrill to have exotic fruits planted in your garden?
Which among the weird-looking and unusual exotic fruits are you more interested in? Let me know by posting it in the comments section below.
Are you particular to growing fruits? Try this garden season guide to growing strawberries indoors.
This post was originally published in November 2016 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.