Fruit trees that thrive in the low desert of Arizona

Growing Fruit Trees in Phoenix, Arizona

In this article I talk about which fruit trees grow well in Arizona.

The first thing I’ll do is crush your dreams of growing tropical trees. I’ve seen it done, but the effort far outweighs the reward. If you want a mango or avocado tree in your garden, I highly recommend moving to Hawaii, because that’s not the kind of climate we live in. Those who have some success growing tropical fruit trees in the Phoenix area have to do their best to combat frost. They should cover the trees at night and place lights under them to help them survive the winter. They also have to do everything they can to beat the heat. I say forget it and grow something that wants to be here unless tropical trees are simply your passion.

Although Phoenix has a lot of cold weather, it is not cold enough for many stone fruits. Most stone fruits require a certain number of chilling hours to produce fruit. It could bore you with a lengthy explanation about cold hours or simply tell you not to buy anything that requires more than 400 cold hours. This rules out cold-loving plants like cherries and lots of apples.

The apples that grow well here are more than I consider “cook-safe” apples. Some people claim to be successful with Fuji apples, but it all depends on having a cold year. Growing apples in the Phoenix desert isn’t much different from tropical apples as far as I’m concerned – it’s not worth it, except for hobbyists.

Let’s focus now on the trees that thrive in Arizona:

Pecans work incredibly well here and I’d say it’s one of the best trees to plant as it can give good food and shade and good wood for cooking. It is a tree that gives a lot and only needs water and some occasional pruning to beat the wind to the branches. A good arborist does a much better job clearing a walnut than the wind.

Blackberries are prolific in Phoenix and highly undervalued. The most widely planted variety rarely bears good fruit, so the reputation of the mulberry tree is not as good. Personally, I am a huge fan of the Oscar and Pakistani blackberry varieties with a nod of delight that comes slightly closer to the Oscar. These trees grow fast too and apart from water consumption I can’t think of anything I don’t like about them.

There are several varieties of peaches that work well in Phoenix and I have never met a peach that I did not like. I would recommend planting several different types together. For the sake of garden space, you can prune them to keep the trees small (I’ll show you how). With the various types of peaches naturally ripening at slightly different times, you will have a longer peach season than in a specialized single variety orchard. This is sure to prolong its life as everyone knows that a long peach season equates to a long life.

I’ve seen a lot of success with plums here, although I’m not sure which varieties are the best to choose. The plums that I have planted myself have not done so well, but there are definitely some varieties of plums that seem to work very well here. I would plant several and stick with the ones that produce and taste better.

There is a fruit tree that is not technically a tree, but produces a fruit that in some countries is considered the supreme delicacy: it is the date palm. Dates are the opposite of pecans in that it takes a lot of work to produce a good harvest of dates. They grow well in Phoenix, but they need quite a bit of water to thrive. If you imagine an oasis in the desert, that is where the dates would be found. Commercial date growers will climb their palms 6 times or more each year to pollinate, thin, and ultimately harvest the dates. If you really want to have date crops, you can, but it is definitely a labor of love. One thing to remember is that dates will only reproduce “true” if they are planted from a scion of a recognized fruit-producing variety. You can plant a date seed and get a date palm, but it will not normally produce edible fruit. That being said, Date’s famous Black Sphinx variety comes from a seedling planted in Phoenix many years ago.

So now something really cool: the medlar. This rare fruit tree is indigenous to southern China, which apparently has a similar climate to Phoenix. These trees thrive here and produce incredible fruit. It’s such a quirky fruit and alien to the average person, so I’m not sure how to describe it. You just have to take my word for it that these trees are worth trying. It may take about five years for the tree to produce fruit, but after that it should have enough.

The grenade is doing very well in Phoenix. Sometimes it can be difficult to bring the fruit to full maturity, with the beautiful ruby ​​red we expect. This can often be resolved by placing a clear plastic cloth over the plant during the day during the hottest months. This causes a large temperature difference between night and day and can trigger the ripening process. Pomegranates also tend to spread quickly from sucker growth and need constant pruning to keep them confined to their original space.

All kinds of citrus grow here and I’ll mention a few names that I think are often overlooked but shouldn’t be: Kumquats, Oroblanco Pomelo, Mandarins, and Yellow Limes. These are all pretty rare, but they taste amazing and I wish more people knew about them.

The best advice I can offer is to buy small trees, buy many, and remember to be patient. Before you know it, you will have so much fruit that you won’t know what to do with it. If you are looking for more information, I would recommend that you visit the Arizona Rare Fruit Growers Club and the various permaculture sites dedicated to growing in the Phoenix area.

Good luck.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *