Fruiting trees for various sea regions


I have read through TSI’s archived topics and I have not found a single topic talking about fruiting trees for planting at sea. The only ones I’ve found are about vertical farming and other typical stuff, meant to grow leafy vegetables. While most designs consider space at a premium, I don’t see why these same designs can’t benefit from fruit trees which will not only provide shade but also aesthetics and supplement the local food supply.

Of course, very few fruit trees can be grown using salt water. Therefore, let us assume that these fruit trees will be grown where salt water will be less likely to touch it, such as the top deck of a converted oil tanker, the public park at the center of a small acre-sized seastead and the roof of apartments at sea. We shall also assume that there is enough soil under the tree to support it and allow it to prosper.

The only variables that will be considered would be climate, rain distribution, wind intensity, pollination options and sunlight. We shall separate these trees into these categories and I will update them if the input from other members sounds plausible for that region.

Northern Pacific

Southern Pacific
Dwarf Coconut (Chowghat Orange Dwarf or Green Dwarf)
Grape (Thompson Seedless) but will most likely will need to be cultivated in a greenhouse as they require dry climate.

Indian Ocean
Dwarf Coconut (Chowghat Orange Dwarf or Green Dwarf)
Grape (Thompson Seedless) but will most likely will need to be cultivated in a greenhouse as they require dry climate.

North Atlantic
Various varieties of grapes.
Olive Tree

South Atlantic

This page gives information about salt-resistant plants, but I don’t see many fruit trees in it and of the fruit trees listed, I don’t know which climate they are optimal for.

*Coconuts are good trees because not only do they provide coconuts, they also provide sugar from their bark. In Malaysia, we have a type of sugar called ‘gula merah’ (red sugar) made from coconut bark. It is very sweet without the bitterness of sugar beets. This can reduce dependence on sugar import from land.
**I’m assuming apples are multi-climate fruit tree, but I do not know enough about apples to add it myself.

(Matias Volco) #2

Ai consider making the greenhouse and the public square the same ambient.

It’s not just grapes that need some dry air - our skin and breathing does too from time to time - and a or many semi open climate controlled atrium/a would become necessary for residents too if they are to live by the sea breeze year round.
Apples for instance are native to the most inland valleys in the world (SE Kazakstan - NW xinjiang) and prefer colder climates). Any microclimate can be replicated when room and weight is not an issue. Alternatively we can modify our crops to tolerate different conditions. The dance between these two opposite approaches can solve virtually any human challenge (see algae fuel deep water pyrolisis)

Consider that top deck of an oiler might also be too sunny.

Semi open dome or tubular structure

Protected Inner Garden (impluvium)

Intensive floating agriculture (light dome as in ramform or heavier compression vessel like an ocean sphere)

(.) #3

In an ocean environment:
A seaweed farm would be easier than an apple orchard.
Abalone would be easier than beef cattle.
Rowing would be easier than mountain climbing.
Ducks would do better than chicken.


Look into dwarf columnar fruit tree cultivars.

(Larry G) #5

The only true columnar varieties so far are apples. The others have a narrow upright growth habit, but don’t have the columnar mutation.

Apples are great. I love apples. But they’re not really good choices for the subtropics and tropics, even where you can make them grow, especially given the wide variety of fruits that actually do grow well in the tropics.

IMO, we’ve got to get the world away from a paradigm of cultivating a spare handful of Northern-European-derived food crops and livestock all over the world, no matter how poorly suited to the climate or how much ecological damage it does to try to force it to work.


The site shows apples, pears, plums and cherries as columnar types.

(Matias Volco) #7

In My ideal seastead (probably yours too) that would be the case and the part about fish and algae no one denies. But we like to sail

Adapting oneself to the environment is human.
Adapting the environment to oneself is colonization


True, but seaweed farm, abalone farming (impossible in my model) and ducks are what you’d expect to see if you’re by the seaside. But you’re going to live here, your family will live here and maybe even your children and their children’s children will live here. Looking at the same things over and over and over again is a quick and easy way of going insane. Soon enough, you’ll feel like your life is meaningless and you couldn’t get away from that place soon enough, eventhough this is what you’ve always wanted.

Imagine an island. You were born there, you’ve lived there all your life and it’s home. There’s no other place you’d want to be but there. You love climbing for coconuts, fishing for dinner, as well as sunbathing naked on the beach. But there’s this special place that you always go to when you’re feeling down. And that is the secret apple grove in the middle of the island. You don’t need the apple tree, it doesn’t even make fruit, but you still want to go there. Why? Because it’s different. It’s different from what you normally see. Eventhough it doesn’t bear fruit, it gives a different scenery, a different perspective. It gives the illusion that you’re not stuck on this backwater island, as if your world is bigger.

I approach ocean colonization in a similar way as I would approach space colonization. If you just give the colonizers only what they need to survive, that project will not work. At some point someone would snap and somebody would get hurt. It’s simply psychology. You can’t just ‘make do’ for long periods of time, you need a distraction. You’re going to live here, probably for the rest of your life.

I don’t do stuff because it’s easy, I do stuff because I want to do it. Having fruit trees lining the road as I go back and forth from home to work and back home is what I want to do. I want to stand by the side of the road, pick an apple or pear and keep walking while munching on the fruit in my hand. I’m sure a lot of people want to do that too.

Not sure what you mean here. Are you saying we should plant anything we want regardless of whether or not it’s suited for our location? Sorry my English isn’t all that good.

(Larry G) #9

Inaccurate marketing hype.

(Larry G) #10

Quite the opposite. Already, the world’s agriculture relies too heavily upon a very few types of produce and livestock. Most of it based upon varietals improved for shelf life, not for nutrition or taste (although out improved varietals generally have more nutrition than wild varietals, with the exception of tree fruit, which is improved for higher sugar content, generally).

We need to diversify and use more of that which grows natively in different climates. And for seasteaders, that means mostly halophyte plants.

I have just started the Wiki page on halophytes. If you want to keep up with the additions (I have an extensive library of documentation on the subject that I am adding to the Wiki) then make sure you click the “watch” tab at the top of the page.

I am also working with @frabrunelle about looking into upgrading and improving the Wiki function overall.

(Matias Volco) #11

Seaweed grows naturally at sea. Halophytes are found in coastal environments.

Mangroves are interesting and Rosemary might be good to grow in a protected balcony outside but both plants completely miss the point which is the difference between exploration and settlement:

(Larry G) #12

Indeed, and I would never understate the importance of aquaculture which I think is how growing seaweed is generally categorized. Anything you build that floats will basically have a “coastal environment”, no?

(Matias Volco) #13

Not necessarily. Anything beyond a baystead or a ramform would have to be primarily enclosed to withstand year round open sea conditions even in the most benevolent lattitudes like 0.

(Larry G) #14

Well, the alternative to halophytes is lots and lots of energy spent on desalination and purification to drinking water standards for watering ‘house plants’. Wasteful.


As has been suggested time and again…

(Matias Volco) #17

Halophytes can tolerate some salt spray, some can use brackish water. The energy to grow an under achieving or plain undesireable crop is wasteful.
But let’s not veer off topic which is growing fruit bearing trees at sea.

(Larry G) #18

Same topic. Check the link to halophytic plants. I started the Wiki page with links mostly to fruit-bearing trees that fit the mediterranean to tropic range and tolerate salt to various degrees. Since the forum is organized well for discussions but not for articles, we can take various snippets of awesomeness and edit them into a coherent Wiki page.

(.) #19

May be I can write a novel about me for myself; it is called sef-determination.
I do not want to be a royalty, but I am OK with you being royalty,
just not on what I build for myself.

Anyways there is nothing being built right now. Mote point.


No, I’m not writing a novel about anyone for now. I’ve drafted a novel about Risenia and unless I’m dead for any reason, it will be released about 5 years before we feel like we can go public with Risenia proper. It’s meant as a sort of early promotional material to get people interested and teach people the Risenian value. That’s the biggest reason why I’m second in line to the throne eventhough the amount I contribute to the project is miniscule compared to the other ‘lords’.

It’s important to know what to plant now, because this is the period for testing whether it’s suited or not for the climate we’re going to use. These testing don’t just run for a period of a few weeks, it runs for years, which is why we need to start testing as soon as we can. If after 2 years we consider a particular tree to be hopeless, that’s no problem, we have 8 more years to test the other groups of trees. Unlike big companies, we can’t test everything at the same time, our research budget is very small after all and depends on volunteer workforce who are attracted by Risenia’s ideals.

(.) #21

Perfect. I wish you good luck with that.
Please let us know how that works for you.