If you’ve ever fantasized about growing a fruit tree, it’s entirely possible, even if you don’t have acres of land. A small backyard or even a pot on a balcony will do.
There’s nothing sweeter than fruit grown from your very own tree. In fact, many varieties are simple to grow and maintain, and in addition to bearing fruit, most will produce lovely flowers and attract helpful pollinators to your garden.
When you’re buying a fruit tree, ask whether it’s self-pollinating or needs a pollinator. And bear in mind that arborists can often graft trees that require a pollinator to trees that self-pollinate, essentially making the tree self-pollinating.
It’s also important to make sure the species you want can actually thrive in your growing zone and fit your space. Larger areas can accommodate standard-size trees, while pots and smaller spaces are suitable for dwarf-size trees. Keep in mind that it may take a couple of years (or longer) for the tree to actually start producing fruit.
Let’s take a look at some low-maintenance fruit trees that are available to the home gardener.
Easy Fruit Trees to Grow
If you’re new to growing fruit trees, fig trees may be your best bet. They grow quickly, tolerate both heat and cold, resist disease well, and don’t require pruning. Plus, even small potted fig trees will produce full-size fruit. The Brown Turkey variety is a popular choice for its reliable hardiness.
Plum trees are also easy to raise, with little pruning necessary, although they don’t do well with too much frost or wind. The biggest problem with these trees is that they tend to overproduce, requiring you to thin the branches and fruit—or they’ll stop producing completely. The Greengage plum is a hardy variety that’s ideal for beginner tree growers.
Another relatively painless choice for gardening novices, cherry trees need little to no pruning and tend to be disease-free. They do, however, like to drink a lot, so they may need extra watering, and mulch to trap in the moisture. You’ll be rewarded with beautiful flowers in the spring, followed by edible fruit in the summer. Just make sure you’re choosing a breed that does produce fruit and isn’t purely ornamental.
Peach and Apricot Trees
Peach and apricot trees are popular to grow at home because the freshly picked versions of the fruit are so superior to the stored, shipped, and potentially bruised ones at the market. These trees require diligent pruning and good drainage, and the flowers are sensitive to frost, so the tree should be protected or brought inside during the early spring. Popular varieties to grow at home include the Bonanza (peach) and the Pix Zee (apricot).
There are many varieties of pear trees; choose one that will survive in your growing zone. Asian pears tend to be hardier and more resistant to most diseases (fire blight is a common exception), although some European kinds, such as the Kieffer, generally do well across the U.S. Keep in mind that pear trees require annual pruning and don’t take well to transplanting.
Apple, orange, and lemon trees are also popular options for the home gardener, but they can be more challenging to raise. If you’re looking for easy fruit trees to grow, stick with the suggestions above.