There are few pleasures sweeter than picking ripe fruit off your own tree. Growing fruit trees in your home garden can be challenging but one of the most rewarding achievements. When choosing these trees for your garden, there are a few factors to consider.
For instance, which trees are the hardiest in your zone? How difficult are they to grow? Is the tree self-fertile? And of course, how soon can you harvest the fruits? Find out which ones tick these boxes and a few others.
This golden oldie that was once an American and British favorite for jams and jellies is making a comeback. It’s in the same Rosaceae family as pears and apples, and bears fruits in fall.
Quince trees grow best in zones five through nine. Although the fruit is extremely tart, it is tasty in the aforementioned preserves, as well as pies, stews, sauces, and even homemade cider. Barbara Ghazarian known as the “Queen of Quince” and a cookbook author, has dubbed the fruit, “the quintessential slow food.”
Quinces are small trees with quirky shapes that aren’t difficult to grow. They are self-pollinating, so you don’t need more than one for it to fruit. They do well in a sunny spot with fertile, well-drained soil.
There’s not much waiting around for these citrus trees to bear fruit from their perfumed white flowers that pop up in spring. Some of them will fruit in the first year, while others might take up to three years to offer up their bounty.
Fit for outdoor growth in zones nine to 11, these fruit trees can stand as tall as 25 feet. However, pruning stunts their growth. You can grow clementine trees in pots and take them indoors during winter. Fruits typically ripen between November and February.
Another benefit of clementine orange trees is they are pest-resistant. They need at least six hours of sunlight and slightly acidic, sandy, well-drained soil.
If it’s a competition for the easiest fruit tree to grow, figs might just take the prize. They tolerate heat well and yet are hardy down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Fig trees are self-pollinating and resistant to diseases.
They grow quickly and will produce fruit three to five years after you plant them. Some young trees might produce fruit, but once picked they will not ripen. So, it’s best to wait it out.
Fig trees are self-pollinators and will grow as tall as 35 feet, so dwarf varieties are best if your garden is small. You can also grow them in pots. Most of them do well in zones eight to 10. If you live in zones six and seven, choose a cold-hardy variety such as Celeste, Hardy Chicago, or Petite Negra.
All fruit trees are part of the genus Prunus, which contains about 430 species. Whether you plant a titan like the Montmorency that grows to 15 feet or a semi-dwarf variety like the North Star which reaches five to eight feet tall, you will reap a tasty crop.
These self-fertile trees bear fruit between four and six years after planting, compared to seven to 10 years for sweet cherry trees. The uber-popular Montmorency also produces beautiful white flowers in spring.
Sour cherry trees are hardy in zones four to nine and don’t require cross-pollination. Keep them cheery in direct sunlight and rich, well-drained soil.
Persimmons (Diospyros virginiana) are some of the easiest fruit trees to grow. But you will need some space in your garden because these fall-season fruiters can grow up to 60 feet tall and 35 feet wide. Before they offer up their silky, mildly sweet orange fruit, they blossom fragrant off-white or pale-yellow flowers with curled back petals.
Persimmon trees are dioecious, which means they have either a female or male flower. You will need at least one of each to produce fruits or at least one of the opposite sex in the neighborhood.
These fruit trees are hardy down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. Once planted, keep them right where they are because they are finicky about being transplanted. They thrives in moist, well-drained soil and full sun in zones four through nine.
Avocados have reached superstar status in recent years. If you live in California, Florida, or Hawaii, you’re lucky to be able to grow these trees in your home garden.
Avocado trees are self-pollinating, but you’ll kick their fruiting prowess up a notch if they are cross-pollinated with other avocado trees. They revel in hot, humid climates and reveal their smooth or crinkled-skin fruit in purple and green colors three to four years after planting.
Be warned, avocado trees require more work than some other fruit trees. They are thirsty plants, so you’ll need to water them regularly. On the flip side, they don’t need to be pruned and are suitable candidates for greenhouses.
The humble lime — a fixture in drinks and a certain pie — hails from an attractive, easygoing tree you can grow outdoors or indoors. Lime trees also have attractive deep green, robust leaves that are edible.
Mexican lime, also known as the key lime, is the most popular variety found in grocery stores. This self-pollinator can soar to 15 feet high and live over 50 years. If you take proper care of the plant, it could live for over 100 years. It blooms stunning, fragrant white flowers.
Planted outdoors, lime trees do best in zones eight to 11. In zones seven and lower, keep them indoors in winter and move them outside in summer. They flourish in temperatures ranging from 55 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. They will need full sunlight and protection from chilly winds.
Whether blueberries grow on trees or bushes is debatable. But no list of fruit-bearing plants would be complete without the blueberry. It’s a great choice if you are a beginner gardener. Best of all, for little effort, you will have delicious, nutrient-packed fruits that have been dubbed superfoods. These fruits start off as clusters of small, white, bell-shaped flowers in spring and are dazzling features in your garden.
Another appealing reason to grow blueberries is they produce a lot of fruits for you to harvest. The only downside is you will have to wait at least two to three years, possibly longer, to savor their bounty. The blueberry tree is self-fertile, however, plant a few varieties for a better, healthier harvest each season.
Blueberry trees prefer the temperate climates of zones three to eight. However, they will do well in other zones if they get full sun and live in acidic, well-draining soil. Cover your trees with netting if the birds are feasting on them before you have a chance to do so.
In spring, Japanese plum (Prunus salicina) trees produce white or pink five-petaled flowers that pop against green, serrated leaves. In summer, they are laden with fruits — technically, drupes — that ripen to a bright yellow with a hint of pink.
Japanese plum (also called Chinese plum) is not self-fertile, so plant more than one to ensure you get those juicy fruits. These trees do well in zones five to eight in loamy soil and full sun or partial shade. They can spread out quite a bit, so it’s best to prune them in early spring.
Also, thinning out branches in summer can help to improve the fruit crop. Because they are not as hardy as European plums, you will need to protect them from Japanese Plums from cold and windy conditions.
CHERRY-PICK YOUR FIRST FRUIT TREES
Growing fruit trees can be daunting if you have never done so before. It’s best to start with the ones listed here that are the easiest to grow for your zone. Also, learn as much as you can about how to care for them so you can reap what you have sown with delight instead of disappointment.
Didn’t see your favorite fruit tree to grow on the list? Let us know in the comments.