"Plant dwarf trees in containers for attractive patio plants that will also provide a sweet harvest."
Fruit trees are surprisingly cost effective, plus they add visual interest, boast fragrant blooms and produce a harvest. The Home Depot works with local nurseries to find the varieties that will grow best in your region and offers the healthiest, widest assortment at your local store. If you're starting a garden from scratch or want to add a fruit tree to your landscape that offers long-lasting value, consider these top favorites.
Fruit-tree care tips
Site requirements: Plant in a sunny location with good soil drainage. Standard-size trees need 15-20 feet to spread out, while dwarf trees only need 10 feet. There are dwarf, semi-dwarf and full-size trees, so read plant labels carefully to choose the size that will best fit your site. If you have a small yard, plant dwarf trees in containers for attractive patio plants that will also produce a sweet harvest.
Watering: Keep new trees well watered while they are getting established but be careful not to overwater them. The ground should be moist but not soaking wet. After planting, apply a 2-3-inch layer of organic mulch in a ring around the tree, leaving a gap of several inches so it doesn't touch the trunk. (Mulch can rot the base of the trunk and encourage disease.)
Fertilizing: Allow your tree to become established before applying fertilizer. If you're planting your fruit tree in the fall, add fertilizer in the spring. Select a feed that is specifically made for fruit trees from brands such as Miracle-Gro and Vigoro. Follow the directions on the label for application rates. The Home Depot is dedicated to providing the highest-quality, locally selected live goods grown just for you. If you buy a perennial plant and have problems with it during the first year, bring it back to your local The Home Depot store along with your receipt and it will be replaced at no charge.
Pollination: When selecting a tree, it's important to figure out whether it needs a partner for cross-pollination or if it's self-fertile. For cross-pollinating varieties, plant the 2 trees at least 20-30 feet apart or 10 feet apart for dwarf trees. A self-fertile fruit tree will make fruit and seeds on its own, so you only need 1. Some trees are grafted to bear multiple varieties of fruit, for instance, 2-4 types of apple on 1 tree, commonly referred to as a fruit salad tree. For more on how to keep your fruit trees healthy, read our helpful guide or ask a Certified Nursery Consultant at The Home Depot for assistance.
One sure sign of spring is the scent and beauty of apple blossoms in the air. Plant apple trees this fall, and within a couple of years you can enjoy homemade apple pies you've created from the ground up.
Height: 10-20 feet
Thrives best in: Both North and South. From Granny Smith to Fuji, there's a variety for most climates, with the exception of tropical regions.
Pollination: Most apple trees require cross-pollinating. Plant 2 or more different varieties that bloom at the same time and don't use pesticides, which could harm the bees needed for pollination.*
Expert tip: In areas with mild winters, look for varieties called "low chill."
Why pay high prices for cherries at the grocery store when it's easy and inexpensive to grow your own? Their deep-red fruit will add color to your landscape while attracting insect-eating birds to your garden.
Height: 12-25 feet
Thrives best in: Both Northern and Southern regions, depending on the variety. In general, tart cherries thrive in Zones 4-8 and sweet cherries in Zones 5-8.
Pollination: Sour cherries are usually self-pollinating. Sweet cherries generally need cross-pollination and should be planted near a compatible variety.*
Expert tip: Choose the variety based on your needs. Sweet cherries are good for eating fresh, sour or tart cherries (sometimes called pie cherries) are good for cooking and ornamental cherry trees produce spectacular blooms but little fruit.
While there are more than 3,000 varieties of pears, only a few are grown and sold commercially, depending on where you live and the time of year. Pear trees can usually be grown wherever apple trees do well and require minimal pruning. Some pear trees, notably the Bradford variety, are grown for their flowers and bear little to no fruit, so read plant tags carefully.
Height: 15-30 feet
Thrives best in: Northern and Southern regions that don't have extreme heat or cold. Most pears are hardy in Zones 5-9.
Pollination: Like apples, pears need another tree to cross-pollinate.*
Expert tip: While fruit color varies from golden yellow to red, most pears should be harvested while still green, then placed in a cool dry spot to ripen. If you wait to pick them after the skin color has changed, the inside of the fruit will become mushy.
You haven't really tasted a peach until you've eaten a freshly picked, tree-ripened one. America produces about 20 percent of the world's peaches and celebrates this fruit each year at the Georgia Peach Festival.
Height: 4-30 feet
Thrives best in: Both North and South regions with mild temperatures. Most varieties are hardy in Zones 5-8; some are hardy to Zone 4.
Pollination: Most varieties of peach fruit trees can self-pollinate. This is great for those who want a fruit tree in their yard but don't have room for more than 1.*
Expert tip: Peaches are classified as either freestone or clingstone, depending upon whether or not the flesh easily separates from the pit.
This delectable fruit, which many believe originated near the Caspian Sea, has been cultivated for years in North America, most notably in California. When planting plum trees, do not add any fertilizer until the tree is established in early spring. Get affordable quality feed from brands such as Vigoro, exclusive to The Home Depot. Best of all, plums are relatively pest free, which makes caring for them easy.
Height: 10-25 feet
Thrives best in: Both Northern and Southern regions, depending on variety. Japanese plums bloom early and are suited to warm climates; American plums are hardier and better for regions with colder winters.
Pollination: For a bountiful harvest, plant plum trees in pairs with a second variety for cross-pollination. A well-established tree will yield up to 2 bushels of plums.*
Expert tip: Plums come in a wide range of fruit colors to complement any landscape, including purple, red, black, blue, yellow and green. Their flavor ranges from tart to sweet.
Spanish settlers first introduced nectarines to America. Today, California grows more than 95 percent of the nation's nectarine crops. Nectarine trees should be planted in an area with sandy loam soil and full sun.
Height: 4-20 feet
Thrives best in: Both North and South regions with mild temperatures. Like peaches, most nectarine varieties are hardy in Zones 5-8; some are hardy to Zone 4.
Pollination: Also like peaches, nectarines are self-fertile and can set crops with their own pollen.*
Expert tip: For young trees, consider adding plant supports to ensure healthy growth. To find the right one for you, ask a Certified Nursery Consultant at The Home Depot for assistance.
Pomegranate trees, which thrive in a location with full sun and well-drained soil, are relatively pest free. In cold climates grow dwarf varieties in containers so you can move them to a sheltered place in the winter.
Height: 12-30 feet
Thrives best in: Southern regions. Hardy in Zones 7-10. Pomegranates grow well in regions with hot sunny summers and mild winters, where temperatures don't drop below 15 F.
Pollination: The pomegranate is both self-pollinated and cross-pollinated by insects. For best results, plant at least 2 trees.*
Expert tip: The sweet/tart taste of pomegranate is most popular when freshly picked but can also improve in storage, becoming juicier and more flavorful. The clusters of the deep-red juice sacs make an attractive garnish when sprinkled on both sweet and savory dishes.
Mandarin Orange (Citrus)
Young mandarin fruit bearing trees thrive in areas with full sun and well-drained, frequently watered neutral soil. Bring container-planted dwarf trees inside over the winter so you can enjoy their beautiful foliage and fragrant flowers.
Height: 8-25 feet
Thrives best in: Southern regions, Zones 8-11.
Pollination: They come in both self-fertile and cross-pollinating varieties. Research the type you prefer and ask a Certified Nursery Consultant at The Home Depot for assistance.*
Expert tip: These ornamental evergreen trees are generally hardier than oranges and produce juicy fruit that's wonderful for eating on its own and adding to salads and stir-fries. Three flavorful favorites are Page, Encore and Honey.
Nothing compares to the scent of lemon trees, which wafts from the flowers, foliage and fruit. Citrus trees are evergreen and can produce both flowers and fruit at the same time. Plant fruit trees such as lemon in a sunny spot away from all possible frosts.
Height: 4-30 feet
Thrives best in: Southern regions. True lemon trees are damaged when temperatures drop below freezing. Meyer lemons, which are a cross between lemons and mandarin oranges, are hardy in Zones 8-10.
Pollination: While most citrus trees are self-pollinating, lemons, like oranges, come in both self-fertile and cross-pollinating varieties.*
Expert tip: In all but the warmest climates, plan to take dwarf varieties in when nighttime temperatures drop to 50 F.
* Pollination requirements may vary depending on specific fruit tree variety. Consult the plant tag details or ask a Certified Nursery Consultant for more details.