Have you ever wondered whether homegrown apricots are possible? This juicy, delicious fruit is primarily grown in California. But, did you know that apricots can be grown in other areas of the country as well? With the proper soil and weather conditions, you can successfully grow apricots in your backyard. There are several cultivars of apricot trees that suit all types of areas.
I’ll go over the top nine varieties for growing at home. Keep reading to learn about the best apricot tree for your backyard!
The Best Apricot Tree For Backyard Growers
You may think growing apricots in your area is hopeless, but let me introduce you to the Chinese apricot tree. I chose this as the best apricot tree because of its reputation for thriving in difficult climates.
If you live in a northern area of the U.S. and are prone to late spring frosts, the Chinese apricot will still bloom and produce fruit heartily. It even thrives in less than ideal soils such as heavy clay and sandy soil.
The Chinese apricot requires 700 chill hours, which makes it a fitting choice for zones four through eight. It’s one of the earliest ripening varieties, and it self-pollinates. You can expect the light yellowish-orange fruit to mature in July. The sweet, mild flavor makes delicious jam, or eat them fresh for a delightful summer snack.
- Thrives in difficult soil
- Can handle late frosts
- Vigorous grower
- Ripens early
Best for Warm Climates
The Cot-N-Candy aprium is the best hybrid apricot tree for warm climates. This apricot-plum cross (also called a plumcot) is especially hardy in zones seven through 10, and it only requires 400 chill hours. If you have a short winter, the Cot-N-Candy apricot will grow well in your area.
The white-flesh fruit ripens in early to mid-season, and it brings a sweet, crunchy flavor that’s reminiscent of a plum. Cot-N-Candy is delicious in baked goods, and it’s a great choice for canners. The fruits can be picked before they are fully ripe to get the most shelf life.
This tree self-pollinates, but to get the most out of your tree, plant another Cot-N-Candy tree beside it. This will give you larger and more numerous fruits to use in the kitchen!
- Grows well in warm climates
- Ripens early
- Great flavor
- Doesn’t fare well with late frosts
Best Frost Resistant Apricot
The Tilton apricot is the best apricot tree known for its frost resistance. Similar to the Chinese apricot, Tilton thrives in northern areas that have late winters and difficult soil. These apricots require around 700 chill hours to produce a healthy harvest.
If you didn’t think you could grow a large apricot tree where you live, think again. The Tilton apricot tree can grow all the way to 25 feet tall! The best part of the Tilton apricot though is the unique fruit that appears in early July. The light golden fruit grows into a heart shape. The sweet flavor has a light tartness that goes great in a fruit salad or canned for later.
- Thrives in difficult soil
- Frost resistant
- Flavorful fruit
- Great for canning
- Can be too large for small backyards
Best Late-Season Apricot
Golden Sweet Apricot
If you already have some early ripening apricot trees, adding the Golden Sweet apricot to your lineup will give you apricots all season long! Golden Sweet is the best apricot tree for late-season fruits.
It’s considered an ornamental tree because of its beautiful flowers and glossy foliage. This tree is hardy in zones five through eight and produces well in a variety of different climates.
The flavorful fruit gives Golden Sweet its name. These apricots are sweet and juicy, and they go perfectly in any dessert. Because the fruit has such thick flesh, Golden Sweet is perfect for drying and dehydrating. These fruits are also a great source of antioxidants.
- Best for late season
- Thick flesh
- Beautiful foliage
Best for Storing
Autumn Glo Apricot
The Autumn Glo apricot is the best apricot tree for storing. This tree is hardy in southern zones seven through nine, and it requires about 500 chill hours for a good harvest. Autumn Glo ripens late in the season alongside Golden Sweet, so you can expect the fruit to mature around August.
The great thing about Autumn Glo is how firm the fruit is. Because of its firm skin, this apricot is great for storing and transporting. If you plan to bring any of your homegrown apricots to the farmer’s market, you can rest assured that this delicious apricot will make it without bruises.
- Great for late season
- Firm skin
- Stores well
- Doesn’t like late frosts
Best for Cool, Rainy Weather
Pacific Northwest natives – this one is for you! The Wenatchee apricot is the best apricot tree for those cool, rainy climates. Wenatchee is hardy in zones five through nine, which pretty much covers the entirety of the United States. It grows well in so many different climates. You can expect a good harvest out of this tree no matter where you are.
Wenatchee produces ripened fruit mid-season if allowed 700 chill hours. The fruit is sweet and juicy with exceptionally tender flesh. Another added bonus is how gorgeous this tree looks in a landscape. The combination of bright foliage and colorful fruit makes an attractive addition to any garden or backyard.
- Great in almost any climate
- Sweet, tender flavor
Best for Privacy
How about a dual-purpose apricot tree? The Goldcot is the best apricot tree for adding privacy to your backyard. The tree puts off tons of clusters of flowers in the spring, and it’s densely branched with serrated green leaves throughout. This is the perfect tree to add to the border of your yard to create a hedge.
The Goldcot produces sweet, juicy fruit late in the season. It does best in zones five through eight and requires about 800 chill hours. Use the Goldcot apricot in your baked goods and desserts, or can them for later!
- Great for privacy
- Flavorful fruit
- Attractive foliage
- Sensitive to late frost
Best Early-Season Apricot
Have you ever wanted apricots in May? Look no further than the Katy apricot tree. This early ripening apricot tree produces mildly-sweet fruit that works great in jams and or eaten fresh. The Katy apricot is hardy in zones seven through 10, so it grows best in warmer climates. It doesn’t take well to late frosts since it blooms and ripens so early.
It has one of the lowest chill hours (around 200 to 300), and it grows well in many different types of soil. The Katy apricot tree is a vigorous grower, so you can expect your tree to mature quickly. Once you’ve grown the Katy apricot, you’ll know why it’s a top contender for the best apricot tree!
- Ripens very early
- Adapts to different soils
- Grows quickly
- Difficult to grow in late frost areas
The Moorpark apricot tree is one of the most popular varieties, which is why it makes my list of choices for the best apricot tree. Hardy in zones four through eight, it’s known for being a reliable producer of large fruit with extraordinary flavor.
Moorpark apricots have been enjoyed for centuries because of their sweet taste and floral aroma. Even the pale pink flowers it produces are prized for their beauty.
The Moorpark apricot tree requires around 600 chill hours and adapts well in most of the United States. If you enjoy apricot preserves, the flavor of Moorpark will become your new favorite.
- Flavorful fruit
- Attractive flowers and foliage
- Wide hardiness range
- Fruits ripen in stages
- Doesn’t grow well in low-lying spots
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long will it take for apricot trees to produce fruit?
Expect to wait two to four years before your apricot tree begins to bear fruit. That amount of time can vary across different apricot varieties. Growing conditions also affect fruit production, so be sure to follow all recommended guidelines for certain varieties.
2. Can I plant just one apricot tree?
Yes! Most apricot tree varieties fertilize themselves, so you don’t have to plant more than one apricot tree. But, having two or more apricot trees helps your tree produce a larger harvest.
Which is the Best Apricot Tree for You?
No matter where you live, you can find an apricot tree to suit your needs. There are so many varieties that love different climates and develop in different seasons. My top pick for the best apricot tree for backyard growing is the Chinese apricot tree because of its hardiness and ability to thrive in different soils. But, any tree on this list would be worth the investment for your yard!
Once you’ve chosen an apricot tree variety, don’t stop there. At Minneopa Orchards, we offer all kinds of resources on apricot trees from apricot nutrition to pruning guidelines and common apricot tree pests. We even have specific posts highlighting all the important details of the most popular apricot varieties. Visit our Apricot Trees page for more posts on apricot trees to learn the most about this fascinating fruit!