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10 Best Fruit Tree Varieties to Grow in Washington State


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Washington State features various landscapes, including mountains, lowlands, plateaus, and coastal plains.

Because of this, the growing zones in Washington extend from 4a up in the mountains to the much warmer 9a by the coast, Needless to say, this will greatly affect what type of fruit you’ll be able to grow at home.

Washington State produces large amounts of the nation’s apples, pears, and cherries. Whilst these do grow well here there are plenty of other fruit trees you can grow in Washington state.

Lets take a look at our favorite ten fruit trees that grow well in Washington.

10 Fruit Trees that Grow Well in Washington

1. Apple (Malus domestica)

Fruit on an Apple Tree (Malus domestica)
Image by Fern Berg, Own Work, for Tree Vitalize

Apples grow well in eastern and western Washington. In fact, WA produces over half of the nation’s apples. The abundance of rain and rich soil makes the coastal areas as well as the arid inland areas perfect for growing apples.

Planting an apple tree at home gives you the opportunity of trying a less well-known variety than the more commonly available ones. Apples do best planted away from low-lying areas subject to cold air masses.

Apples can be pruned to a variety of shapes and sizes depending on your preferences. Pruning should be done in the fall/winter. What’s important is that there is adequate airflow to allow better light penetration and improve the overall health of the tree. Most apple varieties do need cross-pollination to set fruit.

Other Common Names: Common Apple Tree, Domestic Apple

Growing Zones: 3-8

Average Size at Maturity: 25-40 ft tall and wide

Varieties Suitable for Washington: Red Delicious, Gala, Gold Delicious, Granny Smith, Fuji, Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Cripp’s Pink, Braeburn, Ginger Gold, McIntosh, Jonathan (Nevson), Sonya, Jonagold, Ambrosia, Jazz, Lady Alice, Opal, Swiss Gourmet, Sunrise Magic, Pacific Rose

Flowering Season: Mid-April/ mid-May

2. Pear (Pyrus communis)

Pears growing on a tree
Image by Ivan Radic via Flickr

Pear trees are common fruit trees in Washington state and account for 80% of production in the nation. European and Asian pears thrive in the state, and both have their own unique flavors and textures.

Pears can fare well in both wet and dry conditions as well as in areas where apples thrive, so if you already have some apple trees growing, pears may be a great addition to your home orchard.

Pear trees have stricter pollination requirements than apple trees do, so keep this in mind when planning your suburban orchard. Like apple trees, you’ll need more than one variety that flowers at the same time to ensure a crop.

Other Common Names: Common Pear, and European Pear

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 25-30 ft tall and 25-40 ft wide

Varieties Suitable for Washington: Warren, Commice, Bartlett, Orcas, D’anjou, Blake’s Pride, Bose Concorde, Bose Clapp’s, 20th Century, Shinseiki, Kosui, Atago, Mishirasu, Kosui, Atago, Mishirasu, Hamese, Yoinashi, and Chojuro

Flowering Season: Late February to mid-April

3. Asian Persimmon (Diospyros kaki)

Fuju Persimmon, Fuyu Kaki (Diospyros kaki 'Fuyu') Fruit on the Tree
Fuju Persimmon (Diospyros kaki ‘Fuyu’) – Image by Fern Berg, Own Work, for Tree Vitalize

Asian Persimmons are cold hardy trees also capable of withstanding drought. They are self-fruitful and tend to bear heavy crops biennially. They are a warm temperate/subtropical species with some tolerance to humidity.

Persimmons are deciduous trees with rounded, spreading crowns. They come in two types; astringent and non-astringent. The former can be grown where grapes are grown whilst the latter requires slightly warmer temperatures.

Pruning and fruit thinning can help regulate the tendency to fruit every other year and provide a more stable annual crop, should you wish to do so. Asian Persimmon trees require 100-200 chill hours to produce fruit.

Other Common Names: Oriental Persimmon, and Japanese Persimmon

Growing Zones: 7-10

Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 ft tall and 15-25 ft wide

Varieties Suitable for Washington: Hachiya, Fuyu

Flowering Season: Late spring

4. Sweet Cherry (Prunus avium)

Sweet cherry tree with fruit on it
Image by hedera.baltica via Flickr

Both sweet and sour cherries can be grown in WA. Washington produces almost half of the sweet cherries consumed in the USA, making it the top producer, with Bing cherries being especially popular. The majority of the commercial cherries grown in the state are east of the Cascade Mountains in the central area of the state.

Cherries are perishable and have to get to the market quickly, making them costly. Growing your own cherries at home means you can avoid this hassle and expense and enjoy your own delicious fruit, provided you get there before the birds.

Beautiful, ornamental flowers emerge in spring before the leaves. If you’re looking for a flowering tree that also produces fruit then consider planting a sweet cherry tree if it’s suitable for your area.

Other Common Names: Bird Cherry, Gean, and Mazzard

Growing Zones: 5-7

Average Size at Maturity: 15-30 ft tall and 20-25 ft wide

Varieties Suitable for Washington: Red Sweet, Rainer, Orondo Ruby

Flowering Season: Spring

5. Fig (Ficus carica)

Brown Turkey Fig (Ficus carica ‘Brown Turkey’) Tree and Fruit
Brown Turkey Fig – Images by Fern Berg, Own Work, for Tree Vitalize

It may come as a surprise to some that fig trees can be grown in parts of WA. Fig trees are generally hardy down 5-10°F depending on the variety and age of the tree.

Sub-zero temperatures are lethal to figs. However, trees can be protected with thick layers of organic mulch around the trunk and root zones. Even if trees die back to the base, they’ll reshoot and fruit, as fruit set happens on new growth. Fig trees are incredibly fast-growing, so this shouldn’t be a problem for home growers.

Those in colder areas can grow figs in containers and bring them indoors when temperatures dip. Fig trees respond well to container growth and some even believe they produce more fruit when root-bound.

Other Common Names: Common fig

Growing Zones: 7-10

Average Size at Maturity: 15-30 ft tall and wide

Varieties Suitable for Washington: Brown Turkey, Black Mission, Celeste, Kadota, Chicago Hardy, Desert King, Osborne, LSU Purple, Little Miss Figgy, Fignomenal

Flowering Season: Early spring

6. Plum (Prunus domestica)

Plums on the tree
Image by Fern Berg, Own Work, for Tree Vitalize

Growing plums is possible both on the eastern and western sides of the state. In fact, WA is the second largest producer of plums in the country, (after California which produces 97%) Plums may even present fewer problems for new home growers as they aren’t as regularly attacked by pests as apples and cherries.

Plums are generally classified as Asian, European, or hybrids and come in a range of colors, flavors, and textures. They can be eaten fresh, dried, canned, preserved, or cooked. Both European and Asian plums can be successfully grown in WA although European varieties are often the easiest to grow. These varieties usually have firm flesh, are freestone, and work well for drying or canning.

Other Common Names: Common Plum, and European Plum

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 18-20 ft tall and 8-10 ft wide

Varieties Suitable for Washington: Santa Rosa. For Western Washington: Shiro, Methley, Early Laxton, Mirabelle, and Stanley

Flowering Season: Spring

7. Pomegranate (Punica granatum)

Pomegranate tree and flowers
Image by Fern Berg, Own Work, for Tree Vitalize

Whilst many people might think it impossible to grow pomegranates in the Pacific Northwest, it is in fact possible. If you live in the southeast basin, where temperatures are warmer and more arid, then you may be able to cultivate your own pomegranates.

If you don’t live in this area, and your winters are too cold, you could consider planting trees in containers and bringing them inside in winter, placing them in an area facing south for maximal heat and sun.

Pomegranates are deciduous (evergreen in the warmest areas) multi-stemmed trees or shrubs that require little water, pruning, or fertilizer to grow, and can thrive in a variety of different soil types. Pomegranates typically have low chill hours (150-200 hrs) depending on the variety.

Other Common Names: Seeded Apple, Granada

Growing Zones: 7-10

Average Size at Maturity: 10-30 ft tall and 6-15 ft wide

Varieties Suitable for Washington: Wonderful, A C Sweet, Desertnyi

Flowering Season: Late spring/early summer

8. Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba)

Jujube
Image by Cataloging Nature via Flickr

Jujubes are starting to make their way into US home gardens. They are incredibly hardy trees that can survive heat, cold, and drought conditions, as well as a variety of different soil conditions.

The fruit can be reddish/brown and has a taste somewhere between a caramel apple and a date. Jujubes can be dried where their flavor more closely resembles a date, hence the common name of ‘Chinese date.’

Some varieties, especially those with larger fruit, require long hot summers, so be sure to select a variety that your local area can support.

Other Common Names: Chinese Date, Red Date, and Chinese Jujube

Growing Zones: 5-10

Average Size at Maturity: 15-30 ft tall and 10-30 ft wide

Varieties Suitable for Washington: Li, Lang, Sugar Cane, Shanxi Li, GA 886

Flowering Season: April – May

9. Apricot (Prunus armeniaca)

Apricots on Apricot tree
Image by Darcy Casselman via Flickr

Apricots grow well in WA and can provide your yard with beautiful spring blossom alongside delicious fruit. Apricot trees prefer warmer temperate areas, so are most suited for southeastern portions of the state. Those further northwest may struggle to ripen fruit or if they do, they may not have the best flavor.

For those in suitable areas, plant your apricot tree in a sunny position, away from any low-lying frost pockets. Stone fruit is susceptible to fungal and bacterial diseases so keep an eye out on your trees.

Other Common Names: Armenian Plum, Ansu Apricot, and Tibetan Apricot

Growing Zones: 5-8

Average Size at Maturity: 15-20 ft tall and 10-15 ft wide

Varieties Suitable for Washington: Blenheim, Gold Kist, Robada, Gold Strike, Goldbar, Goldrich, Goldcot, Rival, Perfection, Chinese, and Wenatchee Moorpark

Flowering Season: Late April

10. Peach (Prunus persica)

Peaches growing on tree
Image by slgckgc via Flickr

Peaches can also be grown in WA, but like all stone fruit grown in the state, are susceptible to numerous diseases and pests.

Maritime areas such as Puget Sound are naturally more humid which provides the perfect environment for the proliferation of fungal diseases. However, growers in the Southeast basin where conditions are drier should have success in the cultivation of peaches and nectarines.

Be sure to choose a variety suited to your area. Late-blooming varieties are often damaged by late spring rains.

Other Common Names: Common Peach

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 15-25 ft tall and wide

Varieties Suitable for Washington: Elberta Yellow, Suncrest Yellow, O’Henry, Diamond Princess, Donut, Elegant Lady, Flamecrest Regina, Rich Lady, Ryan Sun, Snow Giant 1, Zee Lady, Sweet Dream

Flowering Season: February/March

Grow Your Own Fruit!

There’s nothing like homegrown fruit. Once you’ve tasted fresh fruit straight from the tree it’s tough to go back to the bland and flavorless varieties that are sold at the stores.

Commercial varieties are often bred for their ability to withstand shipping and not for their taste. Growing food at home allows you to experiment with heirloom varieties and experience a world of different flavors and textures far beyond anything money can buy.

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