How to Choose Fruit Plants for Your Garden

Gardeners can be somewhat reluctant to include fruit-bearing trees and shrubs in the garden. Fruit trees can be testy and require plenty of space. But if you choose the right fruit trees or plants for your garden, you will enjoy fresh seasonal fruits in the comfort of your yard.

What to Consider When Choosing Fruit Plants

Not every fruit tree or shrub is going to thrive in every garden environment. It pays to do a little research into the fruit trees you are interested in before heading out to the nursery to make your selection.

The first thing to do will be to consider the conditions of your garden and then decide on the plant that will thrive there. Here are some points to consider:

1. Space

Because of the reputation fruit trees have, you may think that you need extensive space if you will have a fruit tree in your garden. But this is not so, there are many fruit shrubs and vines that can be comfortably housed in a smallish living space. For example, strawberries, melons, and raspberries won’t take up much room in the garden

Furthermore, consider the dwarf varieties of your favorite fruits. Almost every fruit tree from cherries to lemons has a dwarf version available that is perfect for space-saving.

2. Sun

Fruit trees will need ample sunlight as this is what they use to create the natural sugars that make fruits so delicious. The sweeter the fruit, like mangos, the more sun it will need. If you have a sunny garden, no problem at all. But if you have a shady garden, don’t worry! Think of fruits that are not especially sugary, like sour cherries, blackberries, or plums — all of which will thrive in a shady or partially shady environment.

3. Temperature

Different fruits are native to different parts of the world and will grow best in specific temperatures. When choosing your plants, make sure they will be able to stand the cold of winter or the blazing heat of summer. Different varieties can withstand colder temperatures. Furthermore, there are special cultivars of your favorite fruits like crab apples, plums, cherries, and pears that are designed to survive tough winters.

If you live in a region that has especially harsh winters, with temperatures that drop below 0°F (-17.7°C), consider growing your fruit in pots that can be relocated indoors in bad weather.

4. Soil

Fruit trees need the right soil to thrive. If the soil doesn’t drain well your trees will suffer “wet feet” and this can thwart their fruit production and even cause them to die. To keep your fruity shrubs and trees from root rot, make sure you have planted them in well-draining soil.

Take the time to learn about the soil your intended fruit shrubs will be happiest. Most plants will be fine with a bit of mulch or composting, but raspberries will require slightly more acidic soil.

5. Pollination

Pollination is the process through which fruit trees will begin to produce fruit — without pollination, no fruit! Pollination methods are very different from fruit tree to fruit tree and even different varieties of the same fruit will require different methods of pollination. The easiest type of fruit tree is those that self-pollinate. There are also “self-fruiting” and “self-fertile” plants. This means they do not need the presence of another plant to begin fruit production. If you will be using a plant that is not “self-pollinating” you will need to pick two different plants to ensure that your fruit tree is properly fertilized.

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