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Rio Red Grapefruit Overview
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Rio Red Grapefruit

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Best-Selling Pink Grapefruit

If you can only grow one citrus tree, Rio Red should be it! This huge, heat loving grapefruit has an amazing sweet taste that is almost addicting. Eat it fresh for breakfast or as a dessert. Bake it in a tart. Toss it in a salad. Stir it in a sangria. Squeeze it for juice – you won’t even need to add sugar. Rio Red is the gold standard in pink grapefruit.

The pretty trees are easy to care for and attractive in the landscape. It is naturally dwarf, so it will fit into even the smallest garden. It is a strong grower and the healthy three-year-old trees Nature Hills ships are garden ready.

The leaves are green year-round. The fruit turns from green to yellow and gets a sweet pink blush when the fruit ripens.

Rio Red should be in every garden in places that are citrus friendly. In cold winter areas, grow this sweet dwarf in pots. Put a few around your patio and bring them in to a sunny room in the winter.

You will have so much fruit you’ll have a kitchen full and still be sharing it with family and friends. Order your today!

* Exceptionally sweet fruit
* Heavy yield
* Naturally dwarf


Worldwide Red Grapefruit Favorite

The red Grapefruits of Texas are big, just like everything else in Texas. The marketplace is big, too, red Grapefruits are the leading citrus crop grown in Texas. In fact, in 1993 Texas named the red Grapefruit as its official state fruit. Reds are climate proven in Texas, and the Rio Red is the best of the best.

John H. Shary is known as the 'Father of the Texas Citrus Industry'. Upon his arrival in Texas from Omaha, Nebraska, he was inspired by how well the white and pink varieties of Grapefruit grew in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Shary felt that there was a future in farming this special fruit, and in 1914 he cleared 16,000 acres and began planting white Grapefruit.

In 1920, Grapefruits began shipping commercially and around 1929, the productive orchards of the Rio Grande began to produce red sports on limbs of white and pink varieties.

The red blush on these odd outcroppings were noticeable. Upon cutting the fruit open, it was discovered that the interior flesh was red. Darker red selections were discovered until finally it was decided to market these unique fruits under one name. Hence, the Ruby Grapefruit brand was born.

Record winter freezes in 1949, 1951 and 1962 killed back most of the older white and pink selections. Red selections proved to be a bit more winter hardy, but not enough to avoid major damage in these recurring freezes.

The research to breed a hardier red variety took on a higher priority after the 1962 freeze. Dr. Richard A. Hensz of the Texas A&I Citrus Center, now part of Texas A&M, began working with the Brookhaven National Laboratories to stimulate the development of sports, a process done more randomly in nature.

In 1965, Dr. Hensz introduced the Star Ruby, which was of fine quality and fairly hardy. However, unfortunately it sets irregularly so the Star was not widely planted in commercial orchards.

Then in 1976, Dr. Hensz discovered the Rio Red limb sport growing on a tree produced from Ruby Red seed. It was released to commercial growers in 1984.

Rio Red has all the qualities that the growers are looking for, which include superior hardiness, great flavor with high sugar and deep red flesh. Rio Red Grapefruit also grows well on alkaline soils, a problem so common for Florida and Texas growers. Over time, the Rio Red Grapefruit has become the preferred red Grapefruit throughout the world in both the commercial and the home garden markets.

A fast grower, the Rio Red begins production almost immediately and should be pruned to keep it below 10 feet. Once established in suitable climate conditions the Rio Red can be picked almost year-round, often holding two crops on the tree at one time.


Rio Red Grapefruit Is Suited to Grow in Zones 9-10 (Patio 4-10)
Growing Zones 9-10 (Patio 4-10)
More Information
Brand Nature Hills Nursery
Botanical Name Citrus x 'Rio Red'
Foliage Green
Mature Height 8 - 12 feet
Mature Spread 4 - 8 feet
Soil Type Well Drained
Moisture Moderate
Sun Exposure Full Sun
Growth Rate Medium
Flower Color White