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Florida Prince Peach: tree care

Florida Prince Peach

(Prunus persica)


Florida Prince Peach tree overview:

The Florida Prince Peach is one of a select group of peaches that does very well in Southern California.  This is a precocious very early-season peach.

Beauty peach

Florida Prince Peach: ready to pick

Fruit appearance: 

The Florida Prince Peach tree produces beautiful aromatic fruit.  The skin has a wonderful red blush with faint red stripes that covers most of the skin with a background splash of yellow/orange. The flesh is golden and semi-freestone.  The fruit is a bit smaller than your typical grocery store peach.


Fruit taste: 

So far the taste is a bit variable; some of the fruit is really awesome and other fruit picked at the same time is a bit on the bland side.  I am not sure why the taste is so inconsistent, perhaps it is the young age of the trees I currently have.  Overall, there seems to be a narrow window of ripeness.  So you have to kindof keep an eye on them and pick them when they are just slightly soft to the touch.  They don’t seem to keep well, so you have to eat them right away.

Like any peach, you have to pick out/remove a lot of the developing fruit from the branches while they are still small.  If you don’t aggressively thin out the young fruit, you will be left with a tree full of tiny fruit instead of larger more desirable fruit. For more information about thinning peach fruit, check out my short article titled “It’s time to thin developing peach fruit”  http://tastylandscape.com/2013/04/23/25/

Fruit Season: 

  • May to early June.
  • The tree is precocious: It is not uncommon for the Florida Prince to bear fruit in the second year of life.


Landscaping use:  

  • The Florida Prince Peach is a small but fast growing tree which can reach up to 15ft in height.
  • I planted small bare root whips about 1.5 years ago and they have grown 4x the original size.
  • For best success, plant bare root trees in the fall or winter.
  • The tree needs dedicated pruning which is best done Dec-Feb.



The tree does best with rich-loamy, slightly acidic, well draining soil.  The more organic composted soil you use the better. The typical alkaline native California and Florida soil will result in numerous micronutrient deficiencies such as iron and zinc.

Click here to see my 6/9/13 post on the best planting technique to avoid transplantation shock. 



Peaches need regular deep watering.  Aggressive mulching helps retain soil moisture.  However, when mulching any tree, leave a few inches of space at the base of the trunk free from much.






  • Complete fertilizer at bud break (sometime around March)


  • This is an ideal peach for mild winter areas. It only requires 150 chill hours (total hours per winter below 45 degrees).  I have read that the tree will be injured in the dry desert heat.
  • Another great low chill choice for Southern California is the Red Baron Peach.  Here is a link to an article I recently wrote about that peach. http://tastylandscape.com/2013/04/24/red-baron-peach/


Tree Pruning:



  • A major pest for any peach tree is peach leaf curl. This is a fungus that makes the leaves look warty and disfigured.  This results in a less-healthy and less-productive tree.  It can also damage adjacent fruit making the fruit shriveled up and small.
  • To combat peach leaf curl, apply antifungal spray just before bud break and at leaf drop.  I use copper antifungal spray, but there are other alternatives.
  • Peach leaf curl is a bigger problem in damp areas or in areas with a very rainy spring.  Some gardeners have trained their trees in a thin fan-shape along a south facing wall/under an eve to promote dry leaves and reduce the incidence of peach leaf curl infection.
  • Reapplying sprays may be necessary in areas with frequent rainfall during bud break.
  • Adding horticultural oil to the antifungal spray helps the antifungal meds to stay on the leaves in particularly rainy areas/time of the year.  The oil in the spray mix will also help also combat other pests such as scale.
  • For some additional information about dealing with peach leaf curl, check out my post “Peach Leaf Curl: A complete treatment plan” http://tastylandscape.com/2013/04/24/how-to-treat-peach-leaf-curl/
A bit of leaf curl seen in the top left corner of the image

A bit of leaf curl seen in the top left corner of the image

Small wrinkled shriveled peach fruit

Peach fruit damaged by fungus.  This branch was missed by the dormant season antifungal spray.

  • I have also discovered snails to be a problem for the fruit.  Snails usually come in at night and eat the skin off of ripening fruit.  Pruning to keep the branches strong and upright (away from the ground) will definitely help.
Snail damage on peach fruit

Snail damage on peach fruit


  • Like many living in California, I am surrounded by gophers.  Therefore, I cage tree roots at planting.

Food uses: 

Anything you would use any other peach for.  Enjoy them out of hand, in pies, tarts, jam, etc.


  • It took over 45 years for researchers at the University of Florida (with the help of local Florida growers) to create this warm climate peach.
  • It can be grown all the way down to Miami.
  • AKA: FlordaPrince and Prince Peach.

About Thomas Osborne, MD

Dr. Osborne is a Harvard trained Radiologist and Neuroradiologist who loves to share his insight about medicine and gardening.


  1. Enjoyed reading your article on Florida Prince. Mine is prolific but I should have thinned more and sprayed earlier against Peach Leaf curl. Better this year. Also grow Babcock, Desert Gold, Strawberry, Gold Dust, Early Elberta, JH Hale, Red Baron, El Grande. Love peaches. Also grow Apricots: Gold Kist, Gold Cot, El Grande. Also grow Apples: Ein Schemer, Granny Smith, Fuji, Gala, Jonagold, McIntosh, Golden Delicious. Also grow Plums: Santa Rosa. Also grow: Pakistani and Persian Mulberries. Also grow Pomegranate Wonderful. Also grow Oranges: Washington, Navel, Lemons: Eureka, Meyer, Lisbon. Lime: Key Lime. Mandarins, Kiwis, Grapes, and Cherries: Stella, Bing, Black Tartarin, Rainier, Van. Figs: Mission. All this in a tiny ONE acre backyard in San Jose. I will be happy to trade photos with you. Oh BTW over 100 Roses.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Thanks Sateesh!
      It sounds like we have very similar taste.
      It also sounds like you have a wonderful home orchard

      • Yes Tom, gardening is my passion and hobby for unwinding now that I am semi-retired. Will trade more stories with you as time goes on. Just planted another Red Baron Peach and will plant another Black Tartarian this weekend. Am worried about the drought because we conserve so much water already.

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          Yea, my passion too.
          Good choice on the Red Baron Peach. It puts on a great flower show in the spring and the peaches are awesome.
          I dont have experience with Black Tartarian (too much chill requirement for down here in SD). But would like to hear how it goes.

          • Good news to report! I had worried about the impending drought email but I am happy to report that we had 4 days of showers with another heavier downpour expected in the coming week. So if it keeps this up for a month, we should avoid water rationing 😉
            Happy to report that my Florida Prince is already in full bloom. Second only to my Desert Gold. The Babcock Peach has just started blooming and surprise surprise, my JH Hale and El Grande have budded about to burst forth into bloom. They are at least a month early but it must have been the early Spring and rain that have sparked them into life. So I have made a mental note to start spraying again with Copper Sulphate since the rain has washed away my previous efforts. Will keep you posted. Bye.

          • Thomas Osborne, MD

            Hey Sateesh , thanks for the note.

            It is great news. I think most of CA got a good shower a few days back. However, at least down here, we are still behind on our water reserve.

            Yea, the warm winter really got the trees blooming early. My Florida Prince Peach and Tropic Snow Peaches are always early bloomers, but this year is rather extreme. My Satsuma Plum’s, Inca Plum’s, mango’s and pomegranate’s are also flowering early. My apples haven’t stopped flowering all year. My Rubaiyat and Pink Parfait apples never even lost their leaves this year. Very strange… and not necessarily a good thing, these trees need to have a rest period or they will decline in health.

            I totally agree with the spraying idea this time of year after a heavy rain. However, it will probably only work for the buds that haven’t opened yet. It seems that once the leaves are out, then the damage is done… spraying for peach leaf curl after that doesn’t seem to do much. However, the oil will def help keep the bugs under control.


  2. Forgot to mention that my Strawberry Peach is also about to bloom. These are all late bloomers but the weather has been accelerated with only a short winter and now lots of rain in San Jose. BTW my Gold Kot, Gold Kist, El Grande Apricot and my Santa Rosa Plums are in full bloom but the sight to behold is my line of mature Purple Plums which are doubles Bleirerana – will send you some photos when it stops raining 😉

    • Thomas Osborne, MD


      • Always great to hear from you, my friend and fellow gardener. Here in San Jose, there is talk of “voluntary” water rationing of 10% – 20%. Only talk so far. I hate to think how I will cope if it actually happens since my water bill is $800/mth even though we conserve water to the max(flushing toilets, etc). We pray that the rain this past week, continues for the next month. So far 50/50% chance. Will keep you posted Tom. Best regards, Sateesh

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          Thank you Sateesh. I feel the same.

          Now about your water situation:
          That is a huge water bill!
          We need to figure out how we can cut that down to size.

          My water story:
          I have close to 2 acres and when we moved in the water bill was totally out of control.
          The prev owners had set up an extensive network of exposed PVC pipe and sprinklers to water the rocky hillside.
          The weeds did ok, but not much else grew.

          Work to change:
          I spent a lot of time fixing and converting the sprinkler irrigation system to drip.
          I terraced the heck out of the steep rocky slopes.
          I broke piles of shovels and destroyed 1 jack hammer
          I planted almost everything with rich moisture retaining compost/growmulch.
          If an area was too steep for fruit trees, I planted drought tolerant plants like lavender and rosemary.
          I literally bought and moved tons of mulch.

          After all of that work, the water bill was cut to 1/5 of what it was!
          I have almost 2 acres with tons of plants and the water bill for the last month was around $100.
          And water is no joke expensive in Southern California.
          Yea, crazy.
          And on top of that, now there are hundreds of fruit trees that couldn’t grow here before.

          A lot more plants/fruit for a lot less water/cost.

          So long story short, I would be happy to help you out if I can.
          Perhaps I should be writing about some of these water conserving techniques in some dedicated articles.


          • Yes, I need to cut my water bill by 50%. I have lots of sprinklers but also some drip irrigation. The sprinklers in the lawn I will leave in place but I will cut back drastically on the time. The drip irrigation is for the Fruit trees mainly. If the water situation continues to deteriorate I will sacrifice the lawns. They will always recover once we get decent rain. In fact I am going to experiment by turning off the sprinkler system altogether and see what my water bill is then. At least that gives me a datum from which to work. Thanks Tom you got me thinking.

          • Thomas Osborne, MD

            Hey Sateesh
            Yea, it is a hard thing to watch your lawn die of thirst.
            But then again, the typical lawn is such a water suck.
            On the plus side, this may give you additional options for landscaping creativity and… most importantly, more fruit trees!

  3. I had peaches yesterday and this am all were gone I live in Daytona beach florida and my tree is 2 years old and 10 feet high I fertilized starting in march just after the blooms started 1/4 cup of 10/10/10these peaches were the size of golf balls we have had 4 inches of rain in 2 days and I thought it might be the rain Bruce

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Bruce

      Wow, your peaches disappeared overnight!
      My first thought is that it has something to do with the Bermuda Triangle.
      But since Daytona outside of this zone ill have to consider something else.

      Good thought about the rain:
      yea, I would think that a heavy rainstorm could knock off some fruit.. but probably not all of them.
      We just had a major windstorm here in Southern California and it knocked off some fruit… mostly the ripe ones that were ready to be picked anyways.
      However, the fruit was all lying around the base of the tree, and I would expect the same outcome if a rain storm was responsible for knocking off your fruit.

      If all of your fruit is gone and there is no trace of them.
      A leading possibility is that they are in the belly of some local animal.
      Ground squirrels are a major problem here in Southern California.
      However, any omnivore is a potential suspect.
      For example, I have heard that roof rats are a big problem in Florida.
      Other nocturnal critters such as raccoons, opossums etc, may also be to blame.
      Each one of these options would be dealt with differently.

      A motion activated animal camera might be a way to figure out what is causing the problem.
      I just found this one on Amazon that also takes night pictures has a lot of very good reviews (see below).

      Primos Truth Cam 35 Camera


  4. I have a Florida prince peach tree living here in citrus county Florida. The tree is now 3 years old and produced over 200 peaches this season. I notice older and some small newer leaves turning yellow and falling off. New growth is prolific. I keep the tree V shaped so it gets plenty of sun and air circulation. I’ve read it could be iron or nitrogen deficiency. I have always use a 10/10/10 slow release regularly. I also give a weekly DEEP soaking of water. I followed a recommended spray of a chelated iron spray to foliage but problem seems to be getting worse. I also spray with a neem oil solution regularly to ward off any fungus. There are no signs of fungus or leaf shot. Dark green leaves slowly turn yellow and drop off. Is this normal or what?

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Humm… Interesting issue Billy

      Yellow leaves always brings up an issue of Nitrogen deficiency.
      However, as you mentioned, deficiencies of other nutrients may also be at play.

      Nitrogen but still yellow:
      Sometimes your tree can show signs of nutrient deficiency even when you give it the required fertilizer.
      How you ask?
      Well, over watering is a major possibility in these cases.
      If the roots are constantly too wet, they loose their ability to take up nutrients and the tree will look like it needs nitrogen even if there is plenty in the soil.

      Some trees are more prone to these problems than others.
      Obviously mangrove trees have been able to work around the problem.
      But other trees may not be as adapted to being waterlogged.

      Florida specifically:
      Too much water is an issue that many gardeners in Florida battle due to the naturally wet nature of the climate.
      On the flip side, you are able to grow a lot of tropical plants in Florida that wont grow as well in California for the same reasons.

      Florida Prince water needs:
      In general, I have noticed that my Florida Prince peaches do pretty darn good with a moderate watering schedule.
      They also do very good with much less water that I had expected.
      Its hard to tell for sure.. but too much water could be the issue for you.
      Check out the soil, evaluate where water collects after a storm… and consider moving to a dryer (higher/mounded) location if this is a concern for you.

      A fungal consideration:
      I have noticed that an occasional leaf (5 to 10) will turn somewhat yellow with a bit of red and brown blotches.
      They then sometimes fall off.
      This usually happens to young leaves at the bottom or inside of the tree.
      I strongly suspect that this is fungus that I missed because these young leaves popped out after my usual dormant fungal spray timing.

      This issue does not really bother me because it is a very isolated/limited in scope and scale.
      However, if it is fungal… which I suspect it is. Then it would be a much bigger problem in Florida where is it a lot wetter and humid than Southern California.

      Side note on fungal sprays:
      The key to fungal sprays for peaches is that you need to hit the leaves with the fungal spray at the bud stage.
      If you spray them later, after the leaves emerge, then it really doesn’t matter how much fungal spray you use, it wont do a whole lot.
      In fact, over spraying (any product) can be taxing on your tree and the environment around the tree.

      Hope that helped.


  5. i live in jacksonville fl NE Fl have a florida prince planted last year had edible fruit on it when purchased yellow leaves if not widespread might be normal at dormancy time but if serious might be bacterial not fungal. this will be first winter for this tree in planted environment. don’t know if covering for cold is needed? i will be covering my new guava(barbie pink) and my brown turkey fig also new last year. any thoughts will be appreciated.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Thanks for the note Roger.
      Regarding your questions.

      Florida Prince Peach:
      No need to protect your peach tree from frost.
      In fact, all peach trees are deciduous and therefore they need a chilling period.
      The chilling period for Florida Prince is about the lowest of all peach trees, but allowing them to have more cold in the Florida winter is not a problem.
      The idea is to get them cold enough so all the leaves turn yellow and fall off in the winter.
      If deciduous trees are not able to go through this normal part of their seasonal life cycle, they will decline in health.
      Spray the buds for fungal disease prevention in the late winter/spring as outlined in the article.

      Guava on the other hand may not like the cold that much… they are typically subtropical plants.
      Some varieties are more tolerant of the cold than others.
      However, all newly planted and young plants tend to be more sensitive to cold than others.
      I would err on the side of caution and cover your guava.

      Brown Turkey Fig:
      Almost all figs are also deciduous.
      However, many dont seem to like a deep prolonged freeze.
      Some fig varieties are more tolerant of prolonged cold than others… many figs being grown by friends of mine unprotected in Boston.
      I think your fig should be fine in Florida unprotected.

      Hope this helps,

    • I have the same tree over here in Crystal River, Fla.. Just across the state from you. Let it freeze, let it freeze, let it freeze. I harvested over 200 peaches in 2014, the first year here. The tree just went dormant lost all its leaves. I might suggest you spray it with Neem oil occasionally during wet winter months.
      I think you will be surprised.

  6. Tom,

    Since you are into the Florida line of peach varieties (used to be ‘Florda’), there is a standout – Florida Home, with big, double flowers (25 petals), PINK, and giving medium-sized white peaches with a nutty flavor. I have given them to friends, actually sold a few hundred, along with Red Baron – it’s red equivalent (cousin to Scarlet Robe and Chelena) to several Houston nurseries – as the only two flowering/fruiting peach varieties – both knockouts. I used to have a Florida Home in my front yard – full bloom in February when every other plant except Daffodils is still asleep. People commonly stopped to ask what the heck it was, and it sure livened up those nurseries in the early spring.
    You are a peach interested person; I am a certified nut, papers to prove it. I have had a Florida Prince, many years ago when I reached having 46 peach varieties, mostly low chill, in may back yard. Now I have 16 varieties – Early Amber, Early Grande and Florida King being the most prolific; along with 30 fig bushes – many varieties, several citrus (rough here) and 40 banana plants – mostly from Houston yards where I saw them fruiting, and after some walk up conversation, people always offered me a pup.
    My wife’s front yard just out of Bogota, Colombia at 6000′ in the mountains, had two Cherimoya trees – a good variety (unlike the $4.00 California ones in the stores) – yes, the queen of all fruits.
    Now what did those last five cold nights do to everything I have, all those flowering peach trees, all those bananas with a new green shoot up the middle? Of course, we could still have a hard freeze which would screw them all up, not kill anything, just knock out the fruit. Climate is just no sure thing in Houston.

    Cheers, Dave

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Thanks for all the great info Dave.
      What a great collection and experience you have.
      Thanks for sharing.

    • Dave, can you tell me more about the Florida Home Peach? My local nursery has bare root Florida Home trees available and I have never heard of them nor is there a lot of information about them online.

      • Thomas Osborne, MD

        Hi Kevin
        Thanks for the note.
        Did you have a specific question not covered in the article?

        • No, I just wanted more information on the Florida Home peach since there is very little information about it online. The description of the flowers sounds great and I wanted to know more about chill hours and how it tastes.

          • Thomas Osborne, MD

            Ok Kevin, no problem.
            However, the article does specifically talk about the taste of the fruit and chill hours.
            Perhaps we are not looking at the same article.
            I can cut and paste the info here if you like.

          • Thanks Thomas. Your article refers to the Florida Prince peach. I wanted info on the Florida Home peach that was commented on Feb 27, 2015 by Dave Landau.

          • Thomas Osborne, MD

            lol, sorry about that Kevin. I guess I am a bit dense sometimes.
            Anyhow, I dont have any personal experience with the “Florida Home” Peach variety.
            I just tried to look it up in a few of my go to books and I dont see anything in them either.
            Hopefully Dave, or someone else can add some insight.
            Thanks for your patience.

  7. My Florida Prince disappointed me this year, spring 2015, with only 20 peaches. it had an early, august 2014, complete leaf drop after a phenomenal spring 2014 harvest. Now here it is again , August 2015, and my Prince has dropped all it’s leaves again in a matter of a week. 🙁
    I took some of the fallen leaves to the local Ag. extension. They don’t have a clue what’s wrong. They were large perfectly green and then turned an olive green to yellow and then fall off. No fungus, leaf curl, or leaf shot. New growth has been vigorous this year.
    I have problems with nematodes in my vegetable garden. Now I’m wondering if they are causing the problem with my Prince. Any thoughts or suggestions.?

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Bill
      What a bummer story.
      So sorry to hear about your Florida Prince Peach.
      The leaf problem you described does sound like a systemic problem that points to the roots.
      Your idea of it being related to nematodes is an excellent one… (unfortunately).
      Nematode infection is a serious problem.

      As it turns out, there are several different types of nematodes that can cause serious problems… and each may result in somewhat different tree symptoms. In addition, each type of nematode may be addressed somewhat differently as well. Therefore, it is helpful to know the specific type of nematode you re dealing with.

      Anyhow, these two articles (below) provide a lot of good info to help you confirm the problem and then develop an action plan.

      Please keep us updated on your progress.


      • Good day,
        as you remember I said my Fl. Prince completely defoliated itself. Well I took some advice
        that it might have been caused by nitrogen deficiency and gave it a healthy dose of
        milorganite considering it to be the safest form available. Well. within a week the tree started
        showing new leaves and within a month it has completely refoliated itself. Amazing !
        However, it’s acting crazy now and actually budding and BLOOMING. This is mid summer
        here in Florida. This is weird to say the least. I have been pinching the buds as they appear
        for fear it will ruin this years “new wood” chances to produce fruit next spring. I don’t know what
        else to do. Just wait I guess. Have you ever heard of this happening?

        • Thomas Osborne, MD

          Hey Bill

          Thats great news.

          As far as the buds…
          It might be that these plants are programmed to put out flower buds with a total new flush of leaves.
          If it was me, I would let the leaves and branches grow. However, this late in the season, take off all of the flower buds and fruit.


  8. I planted a Florda peach tree last year and it has 4 peaches on it. But, it is June 11th and the fruits are so green and far away from ripening in June. Do you know why? It is in Nashville TN. Thanks.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Salih
      Well that is rather strange… as you know, Florida prince peaches are very early.

      Its hard for me to guess exactly whats going on from here.
      However, I have a few ideas.
      If your area (Nashville) has had a particularly cool spring, it will delay flowering and ripening.
      Likewise, if you have your tree in a cool part of your yard (low depression that collects cool air or shaded part of yard), that will also slow things down.
      There is always the possibility of disease in its many forms.
      If this is a very young tree and this is the first year you have fruit… I suppose it could have something to do with maturity of the tree.

      How does the tree look otherwise?


    • Hey Salih,
      Sounds like your tree is still young and not yet established to its surroundings. Give it this year to establish a strong root system and adjust itself. My Florida Prince produced about 100 peaches this year.
      It was not a very good harvest compared to the 200 peaches last year. Our winter started slow and then warmed up causing my prince to awake and start budding too early. Then it got cold again and it went back to sleep.
      That same “new wood” that budded early and dropped did not bud again. Peaches only produce on new wood. I think that is why my harvest was only half of last years. Remember, the Florida Prince was developed for Florida type climates. Good luck with your Prince.

  9. I purchased a Florida peach tree in march and planted it in the ground. (I live on the east central coast of Florida). It seems to be doing okay but the leaves started getting holes in them. I believe something was munching on them. I stripped the holey leaves and sprayed the tree with 3 in 1 organic insecticide. Its been about 5 weeks and the holes are back. I just did the same thing as I did last time. The inner parts of the limbs are now bare. The limbs seem healthy but have a brown coloring on them. How care I care for this tree? I am a Floridian and only recently found out about Florida peach trees. I am thrilled to think that I could have fresh peaches.
    Any advice would be appreciated. Dora

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Dora
      The Florida Peach is a great tree… esp in warmer regions.
      Not sure what your leaf challenge might be.

      My first two thoughts are bug larva, that grow up and go away by the time you see the damage.
      A fungal infection.

      Many areas have a government sponsored department of agriculture which will do free plant material testing.
      However, being government agencies, they dont tend to advertise well.
      I would do a specific google search for you area.
      Call them up, find out their requirements, and bring them some samples to evaluate for you.
      This is often a free service.

      This Florida website might help get you started.
      (1-800-435-7352) – [Mon. – Fri. 8am – 5pm EST]

      Please let us know what you find out.

    • It sounds like leaf shot fungus. My 6yo prince gets it now and then. Try neem oil.

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