There are many types of fruit trees that you can plant in your garden. You can plant dwarf or miniature fruit trees if you have a small garden. If you’re searching for low-maintenance fruit trees, choose self-pollinating fruit trees. These trees include varieties such as apricots, nectarines, peaches, and sour cherries.
You can also choose fast-growing fruit trees such as peaches, apples, and nectarines. Plus, you can decide to grow fruit trees in pots if they are miniature trees.
This guide will help you choose the best fruit trees to create a fabulous outdoor garden full of fruitful trees and plants.
Table of Contents
Common Fruit Trees
Apple trees are very popular because of their value as tasty, nutritious snacks. There are many species of apple trees found worldwide. They have high fiber content, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and potassium. They reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s in older people.
The high pectin content in apples is another amazing health benefit. Pectin is a fiber that promotes gut flora for easier digestion. It also helps enhance your metabolic health and immunity.
Choose a dwarf quince tree hybrid for a small garden or a limited space. The quince tree belongs to the same family as apples and pears. These pome fruits feature a distinct astringent and sour taste. The fruit from quince trees is bitter and is rarely eaten fresh. Most people turn quinces into jams or jellies. Some people say that quince looks like a cross between a sour apple and pear.
The medium-sized quince tree blossoms with pink aromatic flowers. The tree can grow up to 26 ft. high and needs a sunny location with fertile soil. Dwarf varieties of quince trees can also form attractive fruit-bearing bushes or border shrubs.
Oranges are one of the most nutritious fruits out there. Orange trees are perfect to plant in your garden. These fruit-bearing trees provide large amounts of vitamin C and potassium. They also supply vitamins such as folate and thiamine, and folate as well.
Oranges are rich in citric acid and may help prevent kidney stones.
Grapefruit trees have waxy green leaves and bear large citrus fruits that range from sour to sweet. This tropical fruit tree originating in Barbados belongs to the Rutaceae family of fruit trees.
There are many varieties of grapefruit trees, including the popular ‘Rio Red’ and ‘Ruby Red’ grapefruit trees. These trees produce large, seedless citrus fruits that are high in vitamin C and potassium. The ‘Ruby Red’ tree reaches a mature height of 20 ft. and a mature width of 10 ft.
Grapefruits need the intense summer heat to reach their brilliant color. But color doesn’t always determine ripeness. If grapefruits feel heavy on the tree, pluck one off and try it.
There are many variations of mango fruits, and they are extremely popular in the Southeast Asian region. Mangoes are a good source of vitamin C, and they also contain soluble fiber with many health benefits.
Mangoes also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that lower the chances of contracting diseases such as diabetes.
Lemons have an impressive amount of vitamin C and citric acid. These fruits help increase iron absorption, which helps prevent anemia. Lemons can also help curb nausea, improve metabolism, and improve skin conditions.
Once planted, lemon trees take at least 2-5 years to produce fruit, so choose something else if you have time constraints.
Lime trees are very sensitive to cold, so consider your climate before growing one. Not only do lime trees produce juicy fruit for cooking and cocktails, but they also have beautiful dark-green, glossy leaves.
Lime trees have many varieties, and Mexican limes are ideal for warm climates. They’re upright fruit trees that will grow up to 15 ft. tall.
If you decide to plant a pear tree garden, you may be in for a great experience. Pear trees can grow to be up to forty feet tall and are popular in many regions worldwide, including in Europe, Asia, and northern Africa.
The pear fruit tree is a wonderful addition to any garden because of its character. Plus, it can easily survive over 50 years and bears delicious fruit.
Apricot trees have blooming pink and white flowers when they’re not bearing fruit. This tree will add vibrant beauty to your garden. You may need to take proper care to ensure the fruit is healthy, but the tasty apricot yield will convince you to plant these trees.
Apricots have plenty of vitamin A and copper, which are rare vitamins in fruits. They can also help strengthen your heart and bones if consumed every day.
Coconut trees or palm trees are members of the Arecaceae family and are a great addition to any beach atmosphere. Although there are over 100 species found in over 80 countries, coconut trees can only grow in a tropical climate.
Coconuts as fruits are very beneficial to humans. They are versatile and have many uses. You can eat coconut flesh, drink its water, and make coconut oil. Coconuts provide a rich source of fatty acids, proteins, ascorbic acids, and other B vitamins. Eating coconuts every day can also help restore damaged tissues in the body.
The olive tree is one of the most widely used fruits in the world. Grown across the Mediterranean and Middle East, olives are consumed whole and converted into olive oil for cooking and medicinal uses.
Plums have many types, but the most commonly found plum is purple. They contain vitamins and minerals, in addition to antioxidants and fiber that may help reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
If the weather is not very humid, plums will stop growing and fall from plum trees while they’re unripe and green. But, if the humidity is too much, they’ll need to be harvested as soon as possible.
Nectarines are like peaches without the fuzz, and both types of trees require plenty of pruning, thinning, fertilizing, and watering. But the flavor of the homegrown fruit will make it worthwhile.
Nectarine trees thrive in colder regions and reach peak ripeness in midseason. They are almost identical to peach trees in appearance, culture, and care. They are freestone and self-fertile. The fruit is brightly colored, fragrant, sweet, and wonderful to eat fresh or used in cooking. Nectarines also contain a good amount of vitamins A and C.
Almond is a drupe fruit with an outer hull and a hard shell that has a seed. This makes almond a true fruit and not the nut inside. The twigs are green when they’re young and take on a purplish hue on the sides exposed to sunlight. The best places to grow almond trees are Mediterranean climates. Almond trees thrive in warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Their most favorable temperature is between 59 and 86 °F.
Almonds can be with or without their shell. Some researchers have developed hybridized variations of almond trees that are self-pollinated and have premium nut quality.
Indian gooseberry trees have smooth, gray-brown bark. The leaves are similar to a tamarind tree and light green. The flowers are greenish-yellow, and the fruit is round, smooth, and hard to the touch.
The berries are fully ripe in autumn and are picked by hand by harvesters as they climb to reach high branches that bear fruits. The taste of Indian gooseberry is sour and bitter, and the texture is fibrous. In India, people add red chili powder to this fruit to make it more appetizing.
Cherry trees grow in high latitude and need a cooling period each year to bear fruit. Because of this condition, no species of cherry trees can grow successfully in tropical trees.
There are many varieties of cherry trees in the Middle East, Europe, North America, and Australia. The genus has more than forty members, some of which are sweet cherry, Taiwan cherry, and bell-
A pawpaw tree is an easy-to-grow large tree that bears pawpaw fruit. Pawpaws are a tasty fruit native to North America. The flesh is sweet to eat and has a custard-like texture. Pawpaw leaves start out green and turn yellow in the fall. Pawpaw trees prefer humidity, grow in full sun, and thrive in USDA hardiness zones 6 through 9. Pawpaws have a short shelf life after they mature. And that’s why pawpaws aren’t as popular in grocery stores or at farmer’s markets. Plus, they contain neurotoxins in their skin and raw flesh that can cause stomach aches, skin irritation, or other allergic reactions.
The Morus genus has about 10–15 kinds of deciduous trees known as mulberries. Mulberries can grow in the wild and in temperate climates.
The Middle East, southern Europe, northern Africa, and the Indian subcontinent are all home to black, red, and white mulberries. You can use the ripe fruit in pies, wines, tarts, and teas. The red and the black mulberry have the strongest flavor, often described as ‘fireworks’ on the tongue.
Tangerine is a thin-skinned variety of orange species belonging to the Rutaceae family. The tangerine tree is indigenous to Southeast Asia and can grow up to 25 ft. Most tangerine trees are self-pollinating and are smaller than other orange trees. These trees bear slender twigs, glossy evergreen leaves, and fragrant white flowers.
The tangerine fruit has a tender, juicy, richly flavored pulp abundant in vitamin C. Oil extracted from the fragrant skin of tangerines is a characteristic ingredient in several flavorings and liqueurs. The fruit also has a loose orange peel that is easier to peel and less messy to eat.
There are dozens of species of banana and plantain trees. While these tropical plants are commonly referred to as trees, they’re technically large herbaceous plants, meaning they don’t have a woody stem. Instead, they have upright stalks from which large, bright green leaves grow. Flowers appear in the spring, giving way to the fleshy, green, or yellow fruit.
No matter the size of your yard, there is a banana tree to fit. Plus, they can make great houseplants with enough light. Banana trees have a fast growth rate and are self-pollinating. If you’re a space-conscious gardener, consider planting a banana tree.
This one is another deciduous tree from the Northwestern Chinese region. The edible juicy fruit is also extensively cultivated in modern-day Iran.
Peaches require a specific type of climate to thrive. They need a dry, continental, or temperate climate because tropical climates cannot satisfy or help them grow.
Fig is an important crop that can yield a lot of revenue if grown commercially. It is native to western Asia and the Middle East. Fig trees are now cultivated globally for their fruit and ornamental value.
Fig trees can grow wild in areas that are sunny and dry, with fresh soil. You may also find figs in rocky areas at sea level up to 1,600 meters. This type of tree favors light soil and can easily grow in poor nutritional conditions.
The persimmon tree is native to the southeastern United States and comes in two varieties: astringent fruit and non-astringent fruit. Astringent persimmon fruits are like peppers and are ideal for baking, while non-astringent fruits are like tomatoes and are best for raw consumption. Persimmon trees grow in USDA hardiness zones 3–11, thrive in full sun conditions, and flourish in acidic soil.
This small tree bears bright red fruit full of nutrients. Pomegranate trees grow best in USDA hardiness zones 6–12, thrive in full sun conditions, and grow best in loamy soil with good drainage. You can eat the nutrient-rich seeds of this fruit. These seeds are crunchy with a distinct sweet and tart flavor.
Pomegranate translates to seeded apple in Latin. Early Romans observed that pomegranate looked like an apple from the outside but had many edible seeds inside.
Chances are you’ve never heard of this fruit tree. It grows in tropical and sub-tropical regions and bears nutrient-rich fruits. Because moringa trees prefer warmer climates, you can grow them in containers and bring them inside during winter.
The seed pods, leaves, and beans are edible parts of moringa trees. You can add moringa leaves in soups or dry them for a delicious tea blend. The pods are very similar to green beans.
The best thing about growing moringa is that it’s a fast-growing fruit tree. It can grow up to 15-20 ft in a single season.
Loquats are trees that produce small, pear-shaped fruits. These fruits are sweet and have white or yellow juicy flesh with an orange-blushed peel. Loquats are tasty when eaten fresh, or you can freeze the fruit for later use. They make excellent jams, jellies, preserves, cobblers, or pies.
Loquats are easy to grow and are popular ornamental plants in Bay Area gardens. These trees have boldly textured foliage and bear subtropical fruit. The tree structure has a rounded crown, a short trunk, and woolly twigs. It can grow 20—30 ft and blooms in early winter.
You can grow Loquats in hot, citrus-friendly regions. These trees are sensitive to cold weather, and temperatures below 27 F (-3 C.) can kill the flowers and fruit. Some loquat varieties are self-pollinating, and you can get a high yield from just one tree. When planting a loquat tree, make sure it is a self-fertile type. This fruit tree prefers loamy, well-draining soil. It’s a great choice for an espaliered tree if it’s clipped frequently to maintain shape. It’s also resistant to most diseases and insect damage.
Pluots are a new addition to the stone fruit family. This fruit tree is a great option to consider for any Bay Area garden.
The pluot tree is small and reaches about 20 ft. It has growth requirements similar to plum trees, including well-draining soil and full sun. Plus, pluot trees need less water and perform best with organic mulch to conserve moisture and prevent weeds.
Pluots have a striking appearance and come in many varieties and colors, ranging from red, green, and black. Pluot varieties have interesting names, like Dinosaur Egg, Flavor Grenade, Flavorglo, and Dapple Dandy. The fruit has the juicy texture and smooth skin of a plum and the sweet flavors of apricot. If you’ve never tried a pluot, you’re in for a treat! It is intensely flavorful and full of nutrients.
Types of Fruits that Grow on Trees
Let’s look at the kinds of fruits that grow on fruit trees.
Pomes are fleshy fruits that contain a number of seeds. Examples of pome fruits are quinces, apples, and pears, and these are some of the most popular fruit trees for small gardens. These fruits have a fleshy area surrounding a core that contains seeds.
Drupes are succulent fleshy fruits that have one large seed in the middle of the fruit. Some types of drupes are apricots, cherries, peaches, and nectarines.
Hesperidia are citrus fruits and are a kind of modified berry. These fruits have a thick rind and sectioned pulp inside, such as oranges, lemons, and limes. Citrus trees such as lemons, limes, and grapefruit are popular types of fruit trees in warmer climates.
Berries are sweet or sour fruits that don’t have a pit, such as raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. They are fleshy fruits formed from the ovary of one flower with seeds embedded in the flesh.
Pepo fruits have multiple seeds throughout the flesh. Melons are among some of the largest kinds of pepo fruits. This category includes various fruits, from large watermelons to tiny cucamelons.
Tropical fruits include bananas, mangoes, pineapples, papayas, and guavas.
Common Sizes of Fruit Trees
Common sizes of fruit trees are dwarf, semi-dwarf, and standard.
Dwarf trees are perfect for small spaces and can do well in a 10 ft diameter plot. They are very easy to prune and harvest because they can’t grow tall. The fruit is average size, but the actual yield is less because of the smaller tree size. Dwarf fruit trees are not as long-lived as larger fruit trees. Most dwarf fruit trees begin bearing fruit in two to four years.
Semi-dwarf trees require a growing area of about 15 ft in diameter and can range in height from 8 to 16 ft. These fruit trees need seasonal pruning to keep the height down and the shape balanced. This size tree is very productive and can produce a high yield of delicious fruits. Occasionally, semi-dwarf trees will take a year off and produce little fruit. Most fruit trees planted today are semi-dwarf because they are a manageable size for pruning and harvesting.
Standard fruit trees require more space and are a big hassle to prune and harvest. They can grow up to 30 ft or taller if left unpruned. If you want a huge tree that the kids can climb in and swing from, consider getting a standard. These fruit trees take many years to reach full size. However, they begin bearing fruit in three to five years.
You should consider maintenance tasks, such as pruning and yard work, before choosing tree size. Smaller fruit trees yield crops of manageable size and are much easier to spray, prune, net, and harvest than larger trees. And, it’s possible to plant a greater number of smaller trees, which can offer more types of fruit and a longer fruit season.
Interesting Facts About Fruit Trees
Not From America
Habitat and Geographical Occurrence
Deciduous Versus Evergreens
If you’re planting this season, let us know in the comments!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Fruit Trees?
What are the most common fruit trees for gardens?
What would be a nice planting site for fruit trees?
What’s a popular tree to grow in a container?
Dwarf citrus is a popular fruit tree to grow in containers or pots.
Can species of fruit trees bear nuts or berries?
Yes, species of fruit trees can also include trees that produce nuts or berries. This is because fruits from flowering trees are the ripened ovaries of flowers that contain at least seeds. So botanically speaking, fruit could be any seed-bearing structure. And this means tomatoes, nuts, eggplants, peas, beans, and berries are all different types of fruits.
How old are fruit trees purchased from nurseries?
Fruit trees purchased from garden centers and nurseries are usually 1- to 2-year-old plants. The length of time from planting to fruit-bearing may vary between fruit species.
How soon will a newly planted fruit tree begin to bear fruit?
Trees grown on dwarf rootstocks will bear fruits much earlier than trees grown on standard rootstocks.
Here’s the average bearing age of fruit trees:
- Apple – 4 to 5 years
- Plum – 3 to 5 years
- Pear – 4 to 6 years
- Sour or tart cherry – 2 to 5 years
Which fruit trees can be grown in Iowa?
Apples and pears possess winter hardiness and can be grown throughout Iowa. Sour cherry, plum, and apricot cultivars can be grown throughout the state. Peaches and sweet cherries perform best in southern Iowa.
When do I prune fruit trees?
We recommend pruning your fruit trees while they are dormant. There are many different ways of pruning fruit trees. YouTube is a great resource for how to prune your fruit trees.