Desert Garden Fruit Trees: Fruit Trees That Grow In The Desert

Fruit Trees Growing In The Desert
Image by Leamus

Planting a backyard fruit tree is a gift to yourself that keeps on giving. You’ll have frilly blossoms in spring, homegrown fruit in summer, and sometimes a fall display. Those who live in hot, dry landscapes will find quite a few fruit trees that grow in desert conditions.

Read on for information about your best options for desert garden fruit trees, as well as tips for growing fruit trees in arid conditions.

Desert Garden Fruit Trees

If you live in a region with a hot, desert-like climate, you can still have a backyard orchard. However, you’ll have a few extra challenges to get optimum fruit production from fruit trees that grow in desert landscapes.

One immediate problem for fruit trees for desert climates is the chilling requirement. Most deciduous fruit tree varieties have “chilling requirements,” meaning that the trees must go through a certain number of hours of cool temperatures from 32 to 45 degrees F. (0-7 C.) between November 1st and February 15th. Those looking for the best fruit trees in arid conditions should choose species and cultivars that have low chill requirements.

It’s also a good idea to select desert garden fruit trees that mature early. This means that the fruits develop before the sweltering summer heat. If your region experiences late spring frosts, keep that in mind as well.

Specific areas may also have soil or wind issues to consider. In New Mexican deserts, for example, the soil is usually alkaline, limiting the possible trees you might plant. Clearly, the best desert garden fruit trees are not the same for all regions. 

Good Fruit Trees for Desert Climates

If you are looking for apple tree varieties with low chill requirements, here is a short list to get you started.

  • Anna offers sweet, crisp fruit even in the low desert and its chilling requirement is only 200 hours.
  • For an even lower chill requirement, go with Ein Shemer, a heavy bearing variety that matures in early summer and requires 100 hours.
  • This low chilling is matched by Golden Dorsett, another flavorful, early season apple.

You’ll need at least 300 chill hours for good apricot trees for desert climates. Go with Gold Kist, an excellent, heavy bearing tree with freestone fruit ready for harvest in late May or early June. 

You may be able to grow peaches with only 100 to 150 chill hours if you go for Florida Grande, which needs less than 100 hours. Eva’s Pride requires 100 to 200 hours, and Florida Prince needs 150 hours. 

Are there any fruit trees in arid conditions that don’t have chill requirements? Of course. There are dates. You can also grow almost any of the fig varieties in the desert and get a good crop. Black Mission, Brown Turkey, or White Kadota – try any of them.

Although not trees, you can also add fruits like strawberries and blackberries to your list, which love hot weather.

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