Tropical Fruit Information
Featuring both common and hard-to-find fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices for Southwest Florida's subtropical climate (ECHO also specializes in vegetable seeds and plants for summer gardening in southwest Florida).NURSERY HOURS: The nursery is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The nursery is closed on Sundays.
MAIL ORDERS: WE DO NOT SHIP PLANTS. For information about plants that may grow from seed, please visit our on-line seed store.
PRICES AND SUPPLY: Prices are not included in this list because changes would quickly make it out of date and misleading. We propagate some items ourselves and purchase others wholesale. We may often be out of stock on one item or another. There are so few suppliers that we can be out of a rare variety for a long time. If you want a particular item, you might wish to call to confirm that it is in the nursery.
WE WELCOME QUESTIONS. BUT PLEASE BE PATIENT. The nursery is run primarily by ECHO’s interns. Interns are recent college graduates working and learning at ECHO in preparation for overseas service, usually in regions where food production is low. Interns are paid a modest wage, roughly what a Peace Corps volunteer might receive. Obviously you will have many questions they cannot answer, but they may surprise you how quickly they learn. Your questions are part of their learning experience, because if they do not know the answer they will learn along with you as they try to find it. Our senior staff is always glad to help when they get stumped, but we spend most of our time working with ECHO's international ministry and are seldom out front.
SOME COMMENTS FROM MARTIN PRICE, Senior Agricultural Scientist and Co-Founder of ECHO
A whole new world opened to my wife Bonnie and me when we moved to SW Florida in 1981. I knew we would be working with lesser known plants. We had not begun to imagine how large was the number of fruits and vegetables that we were soon to come to know. We have often thought that our experience must have been somewhat like that of Adam and Eve as they explored the Garden of Eden.
The increasing number of visitors coming for the free ECHO tours (approximately 10,000 each year) resulted in an increasing interest within our local community in growing for themselves, in their own yards and gardens, the plants they saw at ECHO. Over the years I have left botanic gardens feeling frustrated that I could not purchase plants or seeds for the wonderful plants I had just seen. I wanted ECHO be different. Thus began ECHO's Edible Landscape Nursery in the spring of 1991 and later our on-site and web-based seed sales.
We have made much progress since then. I doubt if any nursery in Florida has as wide a selection of edible tropical and subtropical plants. I am certain none come close in SW Florida. We stock not only the herbs, trees and varieties most in demand, but also the lesser known (but sometimes superior) ones.
We realize that a sizeable number of "enthusiasts" in our area enjoy the challenge of growing the truly exotic plants that are difficult to grow in SW Florida (usually because of sensitivity to freezes). Consequently our nursery contains both the old reliable and the more challenging edibles. We identify these challenging plants by including with the description "For the enthusiast only".
If you have never taken one of the popular tours offered at ECHO, that is the place to start. (Sorry, but unescorted browsing is only permitted in the nursery and around our new office buildings.) Occasionally we offer workshops on edible landscaping and on herbs. The workshops concentrate on the special benefits and requirements of numerous plants that you can work into your landscape (rather than on principles of landscaping in general). Write or call for the date of the next workshop.
Your visit to ECHO and our Tropical Fruit Nursery will open a world of adventures in the plant kingdom. See you there!
This material is copyrighted 2007. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited. Revised May, 1996 and Sept., 1998, 1999, 2002 and summer 2007. The catalog may be purchased at ECHO (see contact information at the bottom of this page).