Fruit trees are a great choice to add ornamental interest, structure height and even soft privacy to an outdoor space. Single specimens can also be used to create a shady focal point in the center of a sunny lawn. As well as providing lots of ornamental interest, and a food source for bees and pollinators, these plants are also a good source of fresh fruit.
This article will not only highlight 25 types of fruit trees that you can grow in your garden, we will also briefly look at how and why so many types of these productive specimens are beneficial. Many of the suggestions on our list are ideal for a range of growing conditions, some are also suitable for smaller positions and container gardens.
The blossom of many types of fruit trees is a reliable food source for many insects and pollinators.
What are Fruit Trees?
Developing during the Devonian period, around 430 million years ago, these productive specimens are one of the oldest living things on planet earth. Constantly evolving and adapting, recently with the aid of human intervention these specimens have provided a steady and reliable source of food and nutrients for many living creatures.
As well as benefiting pollinators, birds and humans, these attractive specimens are also a good source of photosynthesis, converting sunlight into food for secondary members of the food chain. This means that they play a key role in the ecosystem.
Today many types of fruit trees can be found in almost every climate on earth. From dense tropical forests to arid deserts wherever they are, these useful specimens have evolved to thrive and support the life that exists around them.
Most types of fruit trees can be classified into one of two groups: Pomes and Stones.
Pome types of fruit trees belong to the Rosaceae family. These fruits have a tough, fleshy skin, which is edible and covers the central seed core.
Common pomes include:
The produce of most pome plants is harvested from midsummer until late fall.
Stone or drupe types of fruit trees are indehiscent. This means that they have an outer fleshy skin which surrounds the central shell. Inside the shell are the seeds.
Common drupes include:
Now that we’ve explored briefly what they are, here are 25 of the best types of fruit trees to grow in your garden.
One of the most commonly grown types of fruit trees, apples are a popular snack. Rich in vitamins C and k as well as fiber, apples are even thought to reduce the risk of serious diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
Once established the plants are also easy to grow. As long as you select the right variety and place it in a favorable position these specimens continue to grow and produce apples for many years to come with little need for any ongoing or regular care. If you want to add an apple to your garden, this guide will help you select the right variety for you as well as providing you with all you need to know.
In the right position, apples are pleasingly easy and productive to grow.
Fragrant and attractive, for some growers such is the ornamental delight that the fresh oranges of the orange tree are merely an added bonus. Pleasingly easy to grow, these productive specimens can also be grown in pots. Gardeners in cooler climates can even try growing them indoors. Another low maintenance inclusion on our types of fruit trees list, ensure that the plants get lots of light and water and they will quickly start to thrive.
Keeping conditions favorable and constant also helps to encourage and prolong flowers. While outdoor specimens rarely require any help, if you want your indoor plant to produce oranges you will need to hand pollinate the plant yourself.
Oranges are rich in Vitamin C and potassium, they can also help to keep you hydrated. Pleasingly the plants are also one of the easiest types of fruit trees to grow.
Productive orange plants can also be cultivated in containers.
Ripe, juicy mangoes are prized for their rich tropical aroma. One of the warm weather loving inclusions on our types of fruit trees list, mangoes are best grown in areas where the temperature rarely sinks below 40 ℉. In ideal conditions, these deep rooted plants can reach up to 100 ft and develop a tree canopy which extends for around 35 ft. When selecting a planting position remember to take into account the plant’s mature size. Do not plant your mangoes under any overhead cables.
Evergreen and surprisingly hardy, plants typically require around 3 years of growth before they start to produce edible mangoes. If planted in full sun, production will be quick and reliable. Like many of the types of fruit trees on our list, the mango is a good source of vitamin C. Mangoes also contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Sun loving mangoes ripen on the branch.
Citrus plants that originate in various parts of Asia, lemons are rich in Vitamin C and citric acid. One of the more attractive ornamental types of fruit trees, these specimens provide interest throughout the year. In cooler climates you can also grow these specimens in pots, moving them inside for the cooler winter months.
While they are attractive plants, if you are growing solely for fresh lemons you will need to be patient. All types of lemon fruit trees don’t start producing lemons until they are mature, this is usually after 5 to 6 years of steady growth. If you want help choosing which lemon variety to add to your collection, this is a great guide to the different types that are currently available.
Attractive ornamentals, the plants also supply a steady stream of fresh lemons.
Like all the suggestions on our types of fruit trees list, growing pears can be a rewarding experience. Unless you’ve got a lot of room to spare, these plants may seem too large for your garden- a mature pear plant can reach 40 ft. Luckily, if you do not have that much room to spare, there are dwarf cultivars available.
Suitable for growing in most parts of the Northern Hemisphere, dwarf types also thrive in containers. If properly cared for most pear trees can last for at least 50 years. Not the most low maintenance inclusion on our list, these specimens require regular pruning in order to stay healthy and productive. However, if you are a fan of pears, they are well worth the effort.
Ripe pears hang from the branches awaiting harvest.
Easy to grow and self-fruiting, the apricot is one of the more popular types of fruit trees on our list. A good choice for home growers, these specimens are one of the earliest to flower. If you are growing in a cooler climate, make sure that you select a hardy variety that withstands frost.
An attractive, ornamental choice, the plants produce decorative white and pink flowers. As these fade, apricots start to form. Easy to care for, apricot plants require regular watering and annual pruning. This keeps them healthy and productive.
Cultivated for centuries, apricots are an ideal choice for warmer states. While the trees are easy to grow from a stone or pit, be careful. Plants grown in this way rarely grow true to type and are unlikely to produce any edible apricots.
Apricots thrive in warm, sunny positions.
One of the oldest domesticated types of fruit trees, plums have retained their popularity largely thanks to their flavor and versatility.
When growing plum trees, space is not a major concern. Coming in a range of shapes and sizes you can find a plum tree for almost any situation, from large statement specimens to smaller plum types of fruit trees which are ideal for containers. When planted in the right location plumsl provide a regular supply of fresh plums for many years. Sometimes the plants can be so laden with fresh plums that its elegant branches will bend down towards the ground.
Plums come in a range of colors and sizes, but the most common are purple fruiting. Other commonly grown species include bright green greengages, purple damsons and Victoria Plum. This distinctive fruit has red or mottled skin and yellow flesh.
An old favorite, plum plants come in a range of sizes.
One of the most ornamentally attractive inclusions on our types of fruit trees list, the pink cherry blossom is, for many people, the best sight of the spring. Showy and fragrant, the flowers cover the branches of the tree creating an elegant spectacle.
Easy to grow from seed, these trees are best grown in climates that experience cooler winters. Cherries need to experience a cold snap each year in order to encourage fruiting. While there are over 40 known members of the Prunus genus, the family to which cherry trees belong, none of them are suitable for growing in tropical climates. If you want to harvest the cherries for yourself you may need to protect them from birds and other creatures with netting.
Bright, red cherries thrive in cooler climates.
An old fashioned favorite, the Morus genus of plants is made up of around 15 deciduous trees commonly known as mulberries. The small mulberry can be black, white or red when ripe, maturing from an initial green shade. It can be used to fill pies, tarts and flavor tea or wine. The delicate berries are also popular with birds. While the mulberry still has its fans, the soft berries can be difficult to store and transport without damage, this means that they are rarely sold in grocery stores.
Be warned, mulberries are not a low maintenance choice. They require regular pruning to prevent them from becoming invasive. Growing dwarf types in pots is a great, easy way to control the spread whilst also still enabling you to enjoy fresh mulberries.
A long lasting specimen, these deciduous types of fruit trees do best in warm climates.
Long lasting mulberries.
Native to Asia, peaches are one of the more high maintenance types on our list. From Northwest China the plants were taken to Persia, or Iran as we know it today where they were cultivated, hence their scientific name of Prunus Persica.
Peach plants require certain conditions in order to thrive. The climate should be dry, continental or temperate. Here the plants can experience a period of cool weather which is vital for them to set fruit. Regular fertilizing and pruning is also required inorder to keep the plants healthy and productive. Despite being one of the more high maintenance types of fruit trees on our list, the sweet juicy taste of freshly picked peaches is well worth the effort.
Ripe peaches are covered with a distinctive fuzz.
Belonging to the same family as peaches, nectarines do not have that distinctive skin covering that is commonly referred to as peach fuzz. Nectarines are also slightly smaller than most peaches, but are just as juicy.
Best grown in warm climates, planting in a full sun position encourages heavier fruiting. Hardy in USDA Zones 6 to 8, with a lot of care growers in climates outside of this range can also successfully grow the plants.
Soft skinned nectarines look similar to peaches.
Providing lots of ornamental interesting fig plants (Ficus Carica) have large, attractive leaves that shade the ground below. This makes them a popular landscaping choice. Easy to care for, freshly picked figs are sweet and flavor filled. A popular choice if you are looking for a centerpiece for your landscape, learning how to care for a fig tree is both easy and rewarding.
These long lasting plants are native to west Asia and the Middle East where they are still commonly grown for their commercial value. If planted in a dry, sunny position these plants are an easy choice to fill your garden with ornamental interest.
As figs ripen they turn from light green to deep purple shade.
As well as being one of the more reliable types of fruit trees, the American Persimmon cultivar is a popular choice for growers wishing to introduce a splash of color to fall landscapes.
Belonging to the Diospyros genus, these round topped specimens can reach up to 60 ft in height. Rarely growing in a straight line these plants often develop a crooked or willowy look. This adds ornamental interest.
Unlike many of the different types of fruit trees on our list, which bear fruit in the summer, persimmons ripen in the fall. In favorable conditions persimmons can remain edible and on the plant long into the winter months. Small and attractive, persimmons can range in color from dark oranges or reds to lighter yellows depending on the variety you are growing. As they ripen, persimmons soften, becoming dark-brown, yellow or orange.
Fall fruiting persimmon plants.
Rich in history the pomegranate (Punica granatum) has been grown in the Mediterranean parts of Asia, Europe and Africa for thousands of years. The plants were first introduced to the Americas by Spanish missionaries in the 1500s.
Belonging to the lythraceae family, pomegranates have smooth, red or pink skin. This surrounds the edible part of the pomegranate, the arils which is the fleshy part of the seed. Harvested seeds can be planted to grow even more pomegranate plants.
Even if you are not interested in harvesting fresh pomegranates these are attractive ornamental plants producing orange-red flowers and glossy green deciduous leaves. One of the smaller types of fruit trees on our list, these elegant specimens which are typically grown as shrubs are ideal for cultivation in containers.
Be careful when handling these plants, they have thorny stems and branches. A good pair of work gloves will protect your hands.
Attractively ornamental, pomegranates are also edible.
Also known as the Chinese gooseberry, the kiwi plant thrives in warm weather. The hardy kiwi variety is a particularly resilient cultivar. Suitable for zones 5 to 9, Russian types such as Tatyana can happily endure cold winters. While hardy kiwis may look slightly different to the more common, warm weather types it is just as delicious.
For the best results plant your kiwis in a light, well draining position which also offers some shelter. Smaller cultivars can also be grown in raised beds. Kiwi branches have a vining, sprawling habit which does require some training. It also provides lots of ornamental interest. If you also want the plants to produce edible kiwis you will need to plant both a male and female variety. Our guide to growing kiwis, explains everything that you need to know.
The kiwi, or Chinese gooseberry, is pleasingly resilient.
Members of the citrus genus, these fruit trees thrive in conditions that are consistently warm throughout both the day and night. This means they are best grown in USDA Zones 9 and warmer. In cooler climates growers can enjoy some success growing compact cultivars undercover in a sunny greenhouse.
Grown for their sour or sometimes bitter flavor, the grapefruit is a hybrid cross between the pomelo and sweet orange. Native to Asia, these plants were first introduced to the west during the 17th century.
As long as the temperature is warm enough these are low maintenance plants. However, they do require regular watering and fertilizing. Grapefruits don’t start producing fruit until they are mature, at least 3 years old.
Grapefruits thrive in warm weather.
These flowering evergreens are commonly grown for the cashew nut. However the cashew apple, which is less widely used, is an attractive light red or yellow fruit. The sweet-sour tasting edible pulp can also be made into alcohol.
Large cashew types of fruit trees can reach up to 45 ft however dwarf cultivars are far more manageable and are suitable for gardens and containers. This versatility coupled with an easy going nature means that the cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale) is an increasingly popular choice for the garden. In addition to the nut and apple, these specimens also have some ornamental attraction, producing pink flowers throughout the spring and summer months.
While commonly grown for the nut, the large red cashew apple is also edible.
One of the more unusual specimens on our list, the large leathery foliage of the avocado is a great way to add interest and texture to a collection of different types of fruit trees. Pleasingly easy to grow outside or undercover in cooler climates, the avocado, which is actually a large berry with a seed, has enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years. This has led to an increased interest amongst home growers around the trees.
Best grown in warm, sheltered positions, in cooler climates avocados may fall early from the tree. While flowers may emerge sooner, it can take around 10 years before an avocado specimen is established enough to start bearing fruit. Consequently, if you are looking for something that quickly bears results the avocado may not be the best choice. If fresh avocados aren’t of much interest to you these specimens can also be grown solely for their ornamental value.
The tough skinned avocado.
A type of small citrus fruit, similar to lemons, limes are usually green. Versatile limes can be used in a range of both sweet and savory dishes. Best grown in warm climates, or undercover in areas that are likely to experience a frost, there are several recognized types of lime. These include the Kaffir lime, Persian lime and Key lime.
Best planted in a sunny position, limes set deep root systems. If you are growing your limes in pots you will need to repot and trim the roots every 3 to 4 years. Packed full of vitamin C, in warm climates lime plants grow all year round.
Limes bear a resemblance to Lemons.
Easy to grow from seed, the tropical guava plant is another one of our warm weather loving types of fruit trees. Native to the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico and northern parts of South America today the plants are grown in many tropical and subtropical areas.
Hardy in USDA Zones 9 and warmer, in cooler conditions you can also cultivate guavas undercover. Here they fill the room, when in flower, with a sweet fragrance. Guavas only start to set when the plants are mature enough, at least 4 years old. While outdoor specimens can reach up to 30 ft, indoor specimens tend to be a lot smaller. Easy to care for, guava plants require regular watering and fertilizing throughout the year to promote healthy growth.
Guava forming on the branch.
An attractive ornamental specimen, olive fruit trees also known as Olea europaea or European olive, produce shimmering silver-green, oblong leaves which compliment the green or purple fruit. One of the smaller types of fruit trees on our list, the olive originates in the Mediterranean. These plants thrive in places that enjoy hot, dry summers and cool wet winters.
Olives start to form after 3 years of regular growth. The plants require regular watering and fertilizing, particularly during the first year, to sustain and promote their productive growth habit. Established specimens may also require regular pruning. However, as long as they are planted in a favorable position these are amongst the easiest types of fruit trees to grow. And their steady supply of fresh olives is a lot cheaper than purchasing them at your local store.
One of the less common fruit trees on our list, lychee (Litchi chinensis) is a large, long lasting plant which is popular in China. In subtropical conditions the plants are evergreen, fruiting from May until August. Producing small pink-red drupes with a rough texture, the lychee is prized for its sugary flesh.
These shiny leafed plants do best in sheltered, well draining positions. Despite their exotic origins, once established in a favorable position these are one of the most reliable low maintenance suggestions on our list.
Lychees form in small clusters.
A member of the Bombacacea family along with the hibiscus plant durian (Durio zibethinus) is grown for its showy blooms. Durian is known largely for its unusual flavor and aroma, which is sometimes described as unbearable. Popular in Southeast Asia, these large fruits can weigh up to 3 kg or 7 pounds. When picked from the plant it is encased in a thick, protective thorny shell.
One of the largest types of fruit trees, in the right conditions durians can reach almost 100 ft, producing lots of large, elliptic evergreen leaves. Fruiting only once a year, the timing varies according to the species, growing location and various cultivation techniques.
The protective Durian shell.
Often mistakenly described as nuts, almonds are in fact drupes. Ornamentally attractive the twigs are green as they emerge, before developing a purple hue when exposed to the sun. In later years these colorful twigs then turn grey.
Thriving in Mediterranean climates, almonds grow best in places that enjoy warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Ideally, the temperature should average between 60 and 85 ℉. A thermometer such as a Digital Greenhouse Thermometer enables you to easily monitor the temperature around your plants.
A reliable plant, almonds have been cultivated since 4,000 B.C. Once shelled, almonds can be used in a range of sweets and baked desserts while the stones are useful in aiding a range of conditions. Today, hybrid types are also available. These are self-pollinating, and are guaranteed to grow well and produce good quality almonds.
Drupes forming on the almond tree.
25 Banana Trees
A good way to introduce tropical growth to your home or garden, banana fruit trees can also help to shade open spaces or introduce soft structure. Not just a warm weather plant, gardeners in cooler climates will have success growing hardy banana trees. Alternatively dwarf or small cultivars can be grown as part of a container garden or houseplant collection.
Surprisingly easy to grow these herbaceous perennials are surprisingly low maintenance. However, hardy types may not always produce edible bananas.
Planting different types of fruit trees is a great investment. Providing shade and structure or privacy to an outdoor space, they also benefit the environment as well as a range of insects, pollinators and birds. Finally, the fruit can be harvested for a healthy, homegrown snack or meal. With all these benefits in mind, why not add some fruit trees to your garden?
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.