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9 Best Fruit Trees for New Mexico (That Will Really Thrive)

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Written By Lyrae Willis

Environmental Scientist & Plant Ecologist

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Home » New Mexico » 9 Best Fruit Trees for New Mexico (That Will Really Thrive)

New Mexico is a beautiful and ecologically diverse state, yet many people would not think of fruit trees when they think of NM.

However, because it is so diverse, there are actually a lot of different types of fruit trees you can grow there.

Also, because it is so diverse, what you can grow in northern NM or in the mountains is completely different from what you can grow in southern NM.

If you know and understand your New Mexico hardiness zone, you can find fruit trees that will thrive no matter where you live!

9 Fruit Trees You Can Grow in New Mexico

1. Apple Trees – Malus domestica

Apple Trees to Grow in New Mexico
Images via Nature Hills and Fast-Growing-Trees – Combined by Lyrae Willis for Tree Vitalize

Growing apple trees in northern New Mexico or the mountains, with cooler summers, longer winters, and more chill hours to help trees set fruit, can be rewarding. However, late spring frosts can harm crops, so choose one of the later-flowering varieties below.

You have fewer options in southern NM because they must handle high heat, low humidity, and milder winters while still avoiding those late spring frosts. However, the later-blooming and more heat-tolerant ones below will work in most of the south.

Apple trees prefer full sun and fertile, well-drained, neutral to mildly acidic soil since alkaline soils can cause chlorosis. You can amend moderately alkaline soil with sulfur and pine needles, but this can be challenging if your soil is highly alkaline.

Apples are mostly self-sterile, so you need a pollinator companion to help it set fruit. So be sure to choose two varieties that work in your climate.

Apple Trees Suitable for Northern New Mexico and Mountains: Gala, Honeycrisp, Rome, Golden Delicious, Ginger Gold, Fuji, Arkansas Black, Haralson, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Red Delicious

Apple Trees Suitable for Southern and Central New Mexico: Ghost Apple, Mutsu, Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Arkansas Black, Jonathon, Winesap, Braeburn

USDA Growing Zones: 4 – 10

Average Size at Maturity: 8 – 25 ft tall, 8 – 20 ft spread* *Size depends on variety

Flowering / Fruiting Season: Flowers emerge from mid-April to mid-May; fruits mature from early summer to mid-fall, depending on the variety

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

2. Plum Trees – Prunus domestica, Prunus salicina

Growing plums in New Mexico can be rewarding, but like other fruit trees, late spring frosts are always a concern.

European plums that we are most familiar with flower later and are able to avoid frost injury most often, making them suitable for northern NM and the mountains. However, they are heat-sensitive and not recommended for growing in the south.

Most European Plums are self-fertile, but yields will increase if grown with another variety.

Japanese plums flower early, but their young fruits are more cold-tolerant and may survive late spring frosts. They tend not to live long and often suffer iron deficiencies from the alkaline soil, but adding acidic mulches and supplemental iron will help.

Japanese Plums are more heat tolerant and are recommended for the southern lowlands, but they tend to do poorly in the north or the mountains. Most are self-sterile, so two varieties must be grown.

European Plums for Northern, Central NM and Mountains: Early Blue, Castleton, Stanley

Japanese Plums for Southern New Mexico: Methley (self-fertile), Santa Rosa, Satsuma

USDA Growing Zones: 4 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 10 – 25 ft tall, 10 – 20 ft spread* *Size depends on variety

Flowering / Fruiting Season: Flowers emerge from mid-March to mid-April; fruits mature from June to August, depending on the variety

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

3. Pear Trees – Pyrus communis, Pyrus pyrifolia

Pear Trees to Grow in New Mexico
Images via Nature Hills and Fast-Growing-Trees – Combined by Lyrae Willis for Tree Vitalize

Pears can really thrive in New Mexico thanks to their tolerance of cold, heat, and drought and their dislike of wet soils, making them a perfect fit for most of New Mexico.

Because they flower mid-season, they are less prone to late spring freezes than other fruits and may produce crops reliably every year, anywhere in the state.

However, most common pears don’t perform well at or above USDA Zone 8 in NM, but the ones listed below should do better in the south, with Bartlett performing the best.

Asian pears are naturally more adapted to warmer climates but will grow anywhere in the state.

Pears are also not picky about soil, provided they are well drained. However, they perform best in neutral fertile loamy soils. Add compost to your soil and use an acidic mulch if necessary.

Like most fruits, pears require more than one variety for successful pollination.

Common Pears for Anywhere in New Mexico: Bartlett, Kieffer, D’Anjou, Bosc, Comice, Seckel

Asian Pears for Anywhere in New Mexico: 20th Century, Hosui, Kikusui, Kosui, Niitaka, Shinko, Shinseiki, Yakumo, Yoinashi

USDA Growing Zones: 4 – 8(9) (Common Pears); 5 – 9 (Asian Pears)

Average Size at Maturity: 8 – 20 ft tall, 7 – 12 ft spread* *Size depends on species and variety

Flowering / Fruiting Season: Flowers bloom in April; fruits mature from summer to fall, depending on the variety

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

4. Apricot Trees – Prunus armeniaca

Apricot Trees to Grow in New Mexico Wenatchee_Apricot
Image via Fast-Growing-Trees – Combined by Lyrae Willis for Tree Vitalize

Apricot trees are easy to grow in New Mexico because they prefer the alkaline soils found throughout much of the state.

However, apricots are an early-blooming fruit tree and are frequently injured by late spring frosts, especially in the cooler parts of NM. There they can make beautiful shade trees that occasionally produce fruits. Choosing one of the later-blooming varieties recommended below will help.

Growers in the southern lowlands will have similar problems but should get a full harvest more often. Planting later blooming varieties in a protected location will increase your chance of success.

While many apricot varieties are self-fertile, most will still benefit from a pollinizer, so planting more than one variety will also increase your fruit production.

Finally, most apricots are hardy in USDA Zones 4 – 8. The ones recommended below for southern NM are heat tolerant and can even be grown in Zone 9.

Apricot Trees Suitable for Northern, Central NM and Mountains: Sunglo, Harglow, Harlayne, Moorpark, Golden Sweet, Goldrich, Tilton, Chinese (Mormon).

Apricot Trees Suitable for Southern New Mexico (to USDA Zone 9): Tilton, Autumn Glo, Wenatchee, Chinese (Mormon).

USDA Growing Zones: 4 – 8 (some will grow in 9)

Average Size at Maturity: 5 – 30 ft tall, 5 – 25 ft spread* *Size depends on variety

Flowering / Fruiting Season: Flowers emerge in April;fruits mature early to late summer, depending on the variety.

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

5. Peach Trees – Prunus persica

Peach Trees to Grow in New Mexico
Images via Nature Hills – Combined by Lyrae Willis for Tree Vitalize

Peach trees are short-lived trees in New Mexico, living about 10 – 15 years due to sunscald and iron deficiencies.

Choosing dwarf varieties that set fruit at a younger age is a good idea when choosing a peach tree for New Mexico.

Painting the tree trunks with white latex or kaolin clay reflects the sun reducing sunscald. Adding acidic mulches and iron to the soil will help with alkalinity-induced deficiencies, and annual pruning protects the branches from burning. Peaches flower and fruit on younger branches, so removing old wood will help improve yields.

Still, full crops can only be expected every few years because, like apricots, peaches are susceptible to late spring frosts that can damage the flowers or young fruits. Planting in a protected location will help.

Many varieties are self-fertile, but not all, and all varieties will benefit from being planted with another different variety to ensure good pollination.

Peach Trees Suitable for Northern, Central NM, and Low Mountains: PF-1, Surecrop, Blazingstar, Intrepid, Contender, Blushingstar, China Pearl, Risingstar, Encore

Peach Trees Suitable for Southern New Mexico: Elberta, O’Henry, Suncrest, Bonanza

USDA Growing Zones: 4 – 10

Average Size at Maturity: 6 – 25 ft tall, 6 – 25 ft spread* *Size depends on variety

Flowering / Fruiting Season: Flowers emerge from March to April; fruits mature early to late summer, depending on the variety

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

6. Cherry Trees – Prunus spp

Growing cherry trees is always rewarding for their profuse early spring blossoms that brighten your landscape.

However, since sweet cherries bloom early, they are vulnerable to late frosts and are sensitive to heat, so they will not perform well in the hotter areas of NM.

Sour cherries tend to bloom later and longer than sweet cherries and are less vulnerable to late frosts, making productive crops much more reliable than sweet cherries.

Most cherries are not self-fertile and require another variety planted with them to ensure good cross-pollination.

The high heat makes all cherries difficult to grow in southern NM. If you live in USDA Zone 8 or 9 and want to try growing cherries, try the Lapins Sweet Cherry (to USDA Zone 9) and plant it in a sheltered location with some afternoon shade. It’s also self-fertile, so additional varieties are not necessary for pollination.

Sweet Cherry Trees for Northern Mexico and Mountains: Blackgold (late bloomer, self-fertile), Bing, Rainier, Lambert, Whitegold, Stella, Lapins (self-fruiting), Nanking Cherry

Sour Cherry Trees for Northern Mexico and Mountains: Montmorency, Balaton, Danube

Heat-Tolerant Cherry for Southern New Mexico: Lapins Cherry

USDA Growing Zones: 5 – 9

Average Size at Maturity: 10 – 25 ft tall, 10 – 25 ft spread* *Size depends on variety

Flowering / Fruiting Season: Flowers emerge mid-March to late April; fruits mature late May to July, depending on the variety.

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

7. Pomegranate – Punica granatum

Pomegranate trees are naturally adapted to warm, arid, and semi-arid climates with lots of sunshine. They also prefer hot, dry summers and cool winters, making them a naturally perfect fit for anywhere in the state’s southern half.

Pomegranates are best grown in full sun in deep loamy soils that are moderately acidic to slightly alkaline, but they will also grow well in sand or clay.

Like many fruit trees, late spring frosts are the biggest threat to fruit production in NM, but excessively cold winters can also damage the branches. Planting in a protected location and choosing one of the cold hardy varieties listed below will dramatically increase your chances of a successful crop.

In the cooler parts of NM, pomegranates can even be grown in a pot on your patio and brought indoors for winter. Since they are fully self-fertile, only one plant is needed to produce fruit.

Cold-Hardy Pomegranate Trees for Growing Outdoors in Southern and Central New Mexico: Afganski Russian, Russian Red, Salavatski, Russian 26, Surh-Anor

USDA Growing Zones: 7 – 11

Average Size at Maturity: 3 – 20 ft tall, 3 – 20 ft spread* *Size depends on variety

Flowering / Fruiting Season: Flowers bloom from late May to early June; fruits mature from August to October, depending on the variety

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

8. Fig Trees – Ficus carica

Figs are heat-loving tropical-looking trees with big, beautiful leaves and sweet fruits that can thrive in New Mexico.

If figs don’t get enough sun, their fruits will fail to develop correctly, but too much direct sun in hot climates can burn the tree or its fruits, so choose your planting location carefully.

They are also sensitive to cold temperatures and cannot be grown in cooler parts of NM unless tarped and mulched in the winter. Alternatively, grow them in large pots, bringing them inside in winter. Using white pots will help reduce their sensitivity to excessive heat.

If your outdoor fig does experience dieback in the winter, they can often re-grow, and since they are not grafted, trees will regrow true to their original variety.

Figs are self-fertile but are pollinated by wasps. If you have one tree and it’s not producing fruit, you can try hand-pollinating it.

Fig Trees for Southern or Central New Mexico: Celeste, Brown Turkey, Hardy Chicago, Desert King, Kadota, Violette de Bordeaux, but not the popular Black Mission that is not very cold-hardy.

USDA Growing Zones: 8 – 10 (cold hardy varieties to USDA Zone 6 with protection)

Average Size at Maturity: 10 – 30 ft tall, 10 – 20 ft spread* *Size depends on the variety

Flowering / Fruiting Season: Flowers appear late February to early March; fruits mature from May to October, depending on the variety. Sometimes two crops are produced yearly.

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

9. Persimmons – Diospyros kaki, Diospyros virginiana

Persimmons are an uncommon fruit tree, but they can be a good choice for New Mexico. They have large dark green leaves that provide great summer shade, and in the late fall, their bright orange fruits hang from the trees and remain for the winter if left on the tree to continue ripening.

Most Oriental or Kaki persimmons are not very cold-hardy and may suffer from late spring frosts. The more cold-hardy ones listed below should work for those living in southern or central NM, but they will not grow in the north or the mountains.

American persimmons are much more cold-hardy and could be grown anywhere in NM.

The hybrid American x Oriental crosses are typically more cold-hardy and would also perform well in most of NM.

Some persimmons require no cross-pollination, while others do, so research your chosen variety to determine if you need a pollinator companion.

American Persimmons for Anywhere in New Mexico: Meader, Yates, Rosseyanka (hybrid).

Asian Persimmons for Southern and Central New Mexico: Great Wall, Sheng, Saijo

USDA Growing Zones: 4 – 9 (American) or 7 – 11 (Asian)

Average Size at Maturity: 25 – 40 ft tall, 15 – 25 ft spread* *Size depends on variety

Flowering / Fruiting Season: Flowers emerge mid-April to late June; fruits mature September through winter, depending on the variety

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

Table Comparing Fruit Trees in New Mexico

Here is a detailed table comparing each fruit tree type in New Mexico, including their bloom time, fruiting season, size at maturity, and USDA growing zones.

Fruit Tree TypeBloom TimeFruiting SeasonSize at MaturityUSDA Zones
Apple TreesMid-April to mid-MayEarly summer to mid-fall8-25 ft tall, 8-20 ft spread4 – 10
Plum TreesMid-March to mid-AprilJune to August10-25 ft tall, 10-20 ft spread4 – 9
Pear TreesAprilSummer to fall8-20 ft tall, 7-12 ft spread4 – 8(9) (Common Pears); 5 – 9 (Asian Pears)
Apricot TreesAprilEarly to late summer5-30 ft tall, 5-25 ft spread4 – 8 (some will grow in 9)
Peach TreesMarch to AprilEarly to late summer6-25 ft tall, 6-25 ft spread4 – 10
Cherry TreesMid-March to late AprilLate May to July10-25 ft tall, 10-25 ft spread5 – 9
Pomegranate TreesLate May to early JuneAugust to October3-20 ft tall, 3-20 ft spread7 – 11
Fig TreesLate February to early MarchMay to October10-30 ft tall, 10-20 ft spread8 – 10 (cold hardy varieties to USDA Zone 6 with protection)
Persimmon TreesMid-April to late JuneSeptember through winter25-40 ft tall, 15-25 ft spread4 – 9 (American) or 7 – 11 (Asian)

Fruit Trees That Will Grow and Thrive in New Mexico

Even though you don’t often think of fruit trees when you think of New Mexico, I hope you have learned that many fruit trees will grow and thrive in NM. The plentiful sunshine can help produce beautiful, delicious fruits if you choose the right tree and manage to avoid those notorious late spring frosts.

Remember, what can be grown in the north and the mountains of NM is often completely different from what will grow in the south because the climates are so different.

If you know your climate and soil and have chosen the right tree for your yard, then you can be rewarded with bountiful harvests.

Now you can go out and start planning your home orchard in New Mexico today!

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Photo of author

Lyrae Willis

Environmental Scientist & Plant Ecologist

Lyrae grew up in the forests of BC, Canada, where she got a BSc. in Environmental Sciences. Her whole life, she has loved studying plants, from the tiniest flowers to the most massive trees. She is currently researching native plants of North America and spends her time traveling, hiking, documenting, and writing. When not researching, she is homeschooling her brilliant autistic son, who travels with her and benefits from a unique hands-on education about the environment around him.

2 thoughts on “9 Best Fruit Trees for New Mexico (That Will Really Thrive)”

  1. Thank you! This was incredibly informative for my research for landscaping with fruit trees.
    I am grateful to have a resource like the one you created here; very user friendly and detailed about everything I need in planning my large tree garden. Thank you for the extra details about best varieties and fruiting/pollination suggestions.
    Looking forward to returning to see what more you and your son are sharing:) Trees are extraordinary; and I am grateful to find a place and people who honor their unique majesty and gift of life and abundance. Thank you for your time, work and dedication to help trees thrive and be plenty.

    Reply
    • Thank you for the kind feedback for Lyrae. She certainly has a wealth of knowledge to share when it comes to trees, and particularly those in New Mexico. Happy planting!

      Reply

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