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Mangos growing in Greece and related thoughts on sub-tropical fruit cultivation in Mediterranean micro-climates

January 1, 2012

Below I’ve posted a few photos of a Mango tree I photographed (with a phone) on the Greek island Kefalonia, in the Ionian Sea.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been taking mental note of the fruit and nut trees I see growing in small orchards and yards around the island. The most common trees are your typical Mediterranean species, olives, almonds, fig, pomegranate, quince, wine and table grapes, loquat, and all kinds of citrus. Apricots also do very well, as do persimmons, peaches, plums, apples, pistachios, and walnuts. Kiwis do pretty well too. Last summer I saw a number of relatively healthy bananas, some with immature racks of fruit. Some varieties of Avocado also apparently grow well here and produce a lot of fruit. Then I saw this Mango tree, grown from a seed brought over from Zaire fifteen years ago. The owner of the tree says it produces good fruit in September, which he’s been eating for years. He gave me some seeds which appear to still be viable.

Needless to say, I was excited to make this discovery, it’s helping me reconsider what is possible in terms of cultivation of sub-tropical species in Mediterranean micro-climates. I’m germinating seeds of the seedling Zaire mango with the intention of grafting it in a year or so. I’m also pondering ways to get some White Sapote (Casimiroa edulis), sub-tropical guava species and Passiflora spp. over here. If any readers have insight or experience to offer along these lines I’d be very interested. Would Macadamia be worth trying? Others that come to mind are Ziziphus spp.,  Jaboticaba (Myrciaria cauliflora), Chico Sapote (Manilkara sapota), and Atemoya (Anona x atemoya).

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. January 1, 2012 10:08:11 pm

    If a mango grows and fruits well over there , macadamia will also…
    The tree in your pics looks small for a 15 year old.

    • January 1, 2012 10:08:39 pm

      Hi Luc. Yeah, I was also thinking it looked a bit small for 15 years, especially for a seedling. The owner of the tree mentioned that it had been set back a few times from frost. Maybe that’s stunted it a bit. Either that or he was exaggerating the age a bit (entirely possible). I’m curious to try the fruit, maybe I’ll catch it in the right season sometime.

  2. January 2, 2012 10:08:39 am

    Macadamias will take a fair bit of climate variation and will grow in Melbourne. We are going to try some here and I am attempting to source some raw cashew seeds to give them a go here as well (Tasmania). We have lots of Pistacia chinensis rootstock but haven’t yet been able to source the scion. We figure our propety would be perfect for Mango’s, pistachio’s and cashews due to our climate and microclimate that exists on our property. Please keep us posted on the mango grafts, we are very interested to see how that pans out.

  3. January 2, 2012 10:08:22 pm

    I wouldn’t expose any area to the highly invasive properties of guava without great trepidation. In Florida, Psidium guava and Psidium cattleianum have proved to be very invasive, and although sturdy, useful and high in vitamin C, very difficult to eradicate. How about Moringa oleifera? That would be a good fit, I think.

    • January 3, 2012 10:08:59 am

      Hi Barrystock, I tried growing Moringa oleifera from seed and it simply refused to germinate. I tried twice so figured that the seed left something to be desired. Thats the drumstick tree isn’t it? Very useful for an edible food forest and something that we will keep trying to grow :o)

      • January 3, 2012 10:08:00 am

        In my experience the seeds need to be quite fresh in order to germinate, but when they are they germinate quickly. Moringa also grows from big woody cuttings. The tree has a huge number of uses. All parts (leaf, flower, seed, root) are edible and highly nutritious. Also good bee forage. When you have a lot of seeds you can seed them as a vegetable and eat the small tuber like a radish. There’s an entry in the archives on this site with some additional info.

      • January 6, 2012 10:08:04 am

        Two things: Moringa seed doesn’t have to be super fresh to be viable, so it might have been quite old. Give it another try, EBay sources abound. It’s dead easy if the seed is good. Second: the leaves are very nutritious, and the seeds are full of excellent oil, but the roots do contain cyanotoxins and should probably be avoided. The English used it as a horseradish substitute, but AFAIK the indians avoid the roots except for famine.

        • January 6, 2012 10:08:08 am

          I’ve read a bit about uses of root in smaller quantities for a number of medicinal applications, is this also discouraged.

    • January 4, 2012 10:08:50 am


      A good point about the Guava. Moringa could do well, can it withstand fairly cold winter (no freezing). I imagine if it got too cold the Moringa would die back and then re-sprout. Let me know if you think of any other boarder-line Mediterranean/Sub-tropical species that would be worth trying out.

  4. January 6, 2012 10:08:04 am

    Moringa regrows from the root quite readily.

  5. June 15, 2012 10:08:33 pm

    Have you heard about Ambani family planting 130,000+ mango trees in an arid part of India? It was a total success story.

  6. June 20, 2012 10:08:11 pm

    Hi Anthropogen,

    I just wrote an article on the Ambani’s and the mango trees. You could see it from there:

  7. Pramod permalink
    November 7, 2013 10:08:08 pm

    Hey can we grow peaches of any variety in the pot

  8. Michael permalink
    December 12, 2021 10:08:46 am

    Interestingly information- thank you for sharing! I wanted to ask you how everything is going with growing tropical varieties in the Ionian Islands. I’m on the island of Kérkyra interested in planting coconuts since I know there is a subtropical microclimate. I’m starting different permaculture projects on the island as well as bartering seeds, so it would be great to connect with you through email to share some ideas. Let me know your thoughts!


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