The climate of Arizona gives the home gardener a wealth of options when it comes time to choose what to grow.
Whether you’re in the cooler uplands or the scorching lower desert, AZ offers home fruit growers many options; from temperate fruit trees needing chilling times, to subtropical and tropical fruits.
Low desert gardeners can grow the greatest variety of fruit trees but will have the most success with fruit with low chilling requirements, that mature early to avoid sunburnt fruit, and are self-fertile.
16 Best Fruit Trees To Grow In Arizona
1. Fig Tree (Ficus carica)
Figs originate from Asia Minor and the Mediterranean and are well suited to grow in Arizona. As a result, they require fewer chilling hours than most other deciduous fruit trees. Figs are also self-fertile and suffer from few pests and diseases.
Some varieties even produce two crops a year, one in early summer and one late in the season. Figs will need regular water in the growing season to produce fruit.
Figs can also be grown successfully in containers, which is a great option if you want to grow some delicious fruit but have limited space. Figs can be enjoyed fresh, dried, or made into preserves.
Other Common Names: Common fig
Growing Zones: 8-10 (some cold-hardy varieties can survive down to zone 6)
Average Size at Maturity: 15-30 ft tall and 15-30 ft wide
Varieties Suitable for Arizona: Black Mission, Brown Turkey, Condaria (white), White Kadota
Flowering Season: Early to mid-spring
Pomegranates are also natives of the Middle East, and as such, many varieties will thrive in AZ, and provide beautiful fruit for the home gardener. They are grown not only for their delicious fruit but also for their glossy green leaves and attractive scarlet flowers.
They resemble shrubs more than trees but can easily be trained into a tree shape. Flowering starts in the spring and will continue into the summer.
Higher temperatures are essential for a proper fruit set and good flavor, which makes AZ a good place for their cultivation. Pomegranates are self-fruitful, need long hot summers, and will set more fruit after a cold winter.
Whilst drought resistant, they’ll grow best with a steady supply of water. They prefer well-drained loam but tolerate some alkalinity, sodium, and almost any soil type.
Other Common Names: Pomegranate
Growing Zones: 7-10
Average Size at Maturity: 12-20 ft tall and 12-20 ft wide
Varieties Suitable for Arizona: Wonderful, Ambrosia, Parfianca, Pink Satin, Granada, Crab, Balegal
Flowering Season: Spring to summer
Nothing quite spells desert oasis like date palms. Most of the date production in the USA takes place in Southern California and Arizona. Date palms need temperatures above 20 Fahrenheit to survive and pollination takes place at 95 Fahrenheit.
Date palms need plenty of room to grow and you’ll need a male and female tree for fruit production.
Date palms will need full sun and can grow in either sand, loam, or clay. They are drought tolerant but will need plenty of water when flowering and fruiting.
If you’re looking to add some palm trees to your AZ landscape and live in the low-lying desert, then consider growing your very own date palms.
Other Common Names: Date Palm
Growing Zones: 8-11
Average Size at Maturity: 50-80 ft tall and 20-40 ft wide
Varieties Suitable for Arizona: Medjool, Barhee/Honey Date
Flowering Season: Late winter to early spring
4. Lemon (Citrus limon)
Most kinds of citrus do well in the low-lying desert areas of AZ. Calamondins and Kumquats are the hardiest citruses, and lemons and limes are the least hardy varieties. Lemons trees are quite adaptive to the desert soil but will prefer well-drained slightly acidic soils.
If you prune your lemon tree in such a way that the bark is exposed, consider painting it with white tree bark to protect it from sunburn.
Lemons can do with some shade from the summer sun, although this is not vital for fruit production and growth.
Other Common Names: Lemon Tree
Growing Zones: 9-11
Average Size at Maturity: 10-20 ft tall and 15-20 ft wide
Varieties Suitable for Arizona: Eureka, Lisbon, Meyer Lemon, Pink Lemon
Flowering Season: All year but most profusely in late winter
Sometimes referred to as the king of fruit, the mango is grown in tropical and subtropical climates around the world and is enjoyed for its unparalleled flavor and texture. Luckily, gardeners in certain micro-climates of the low-lying desert areas of AZ can grow their own mango trees and enjoy this exotic fruit for themselves.
Provided they’re protected from frosts, cold winter winds, and reflected heat from western walls you should be able to have success. Mango trees are salt-sensitive, so you’ll have to water deeply to drain out excess soil in your yard which is typical of AZ’s low-lying deserts.
A native of the Indian subcontinent, mango trees are heat and drought tolerant so handle AZ’s desert, aridity, and drought well.
Other Common Names: Mango
Growing Zones: 10-11
Average Size at Maturity: 10-60” ft tall and 15-30” wide
Varieties Suitable for Arizona: Manila, Keitt, Kent, Nam Doc Mai, Ice Cream, Cogshall, Carrie, Florigon, Fairchild, Manilita, Mallika
Flowering Season: Late fall/winter depending on cultivar and microclimate
6. Peach (Prunus persica) – Dwarf Fruit Tree
Peaches prefer slightly cooler temperatures, so will do best in Sedona or Flagstaff as most varieties need a cool winter season to set fruit. Peaches can be somewhat sensitive to heat in their first season, but after that can handle heat and cold well.
Prune trees to have an open center, and protect with bark paint if necessary in your area.
Plant away from grasses and other plants with shallow, competing roots. Peaches are quite heavy feeders so will need regular applications of compost to thrive, especially if your soil is very dry and degraded. Mulch annually.
Other Common Names: Peach Tree
Growing Zones: 4-9
Average Size at Maturity: Dwarf varieties: 4-10 ft tall and 5-8 ft wide. Standard varieties: 20-25 ft tall and 20-25 ft wide
Varieties Suitable for Arizona: Bonanza Miniature (Dwarf), Babcock, August Pride, Desert Gold, Desert Red, Eva’s Pride, Floridaprince, Florida Grande, Flordaking, May Pride, Mid-Pride, Tropic Beauty, Tropic Snow, Tropic Sweet, Valle Grande
Flowering Season: Early spring depending on chilling requirements
Apricots are moderate to rapid-growing fruit trees. Whilst they’ll prefer the cooler temperatures of the north of the state, it’s still possible to get them to grow in the south. Consider planting in a position that receives some afternoon shade from a native tree to shelter it from the harsh sun.
Whilst most varieties are self-fruitful, many will benefit from another tree near for cross-pollination. Apricots do best in dry areas and will thrive in dry, clay soils. Their small size makes them a good option for homeowners lacking in space.
Other Common Names: Apricot Tree
Growing Zones: 5-8
Average Size at Maturity: 15-30 ft tall and 10-20 ft wide
Varieties Suitable for Arizona: Castlebrite, Gold Kist, Katy, Modesto, Blenheim (Royal), Patterson, Royal Rosa
Flowering Season: Late winter/early spring
The Pineapple guava is a small evergreen tree that puts on showy edible blooms in the springtime, followed by small fragrant, tropical-tasting fruit in the fall. They thrive in warm temperate dry Mediterranean or subtropical climates.
They are perhaps one of the cold hardiest fruit trees that can give you a real flavor of the tropics.
Pineapple guavas are normally planted in full sun but will appreciate some shade from the afternoon sun in areas like Phoenix. Once established, Pineapple guavas are quite drought-tolerant but will produce better if watered deeply once a week.
They’re tolerant of poor soils and only require about 50 chill hours to produce fruit, which makes them perfect for many areas of AZ.
Other Common Names: Feijoa, Guavasteen
Growing Zones: 8-11
Average Size at Maturity: 10-15 ft tall and 10-15 ft wide
Varieties Suitable for Arizona: Trask, Nazemetz
Flowering Season: Late spring
9. Papaya (Carica papaya)
Papaya’s, although technically herbaceous succulents and not trees, can be grown in Phoenix and reportedly will produce if they make it through the first winter. They can take the full desert sun and can thrive if given proper irrigation and are protected from the occasional frost.
Brief low temperatures won’t hurt a relatively dry root system. Plant your papaya on raised ground to avoid root rot caused by cold temperatures and wet soil.
Papayas need cross-pollination between a male and female tree to produce, although hermaphrodites do exist which are self-pollinating.
Other Common Names: Papaw, Pawpaw, Paw-paw
Growing Zones: 9-10
Average Size at Maturity: 15-30 ft tall and 5-7 ft wide
Varieties Suitable for Arizona: Mexican varieties are more suited to the Phoenix area than Hawaiian. Maradol, Sunrise, Sunset, Vista, Waimanalo, and X-77. (Kaymia)
Flowering Season: Year-round
Jaboticaba can grow in the low-lying desert provided they have afternoon shade and regular water. They are slow-growing and salt sensitive. Jaboticabas are about as hardy as citrus so are not susceptible to frost damage in the Phoenix area.
Jaboticaba fruit is meant to be delicious and can reward the home AZ gardener, who’s willing to wait between 5 and 8 years for fruit set after planting. The fruit forms on the trunk of the tree which is unusual, and is about the size of a cherry with a thicker texture.
The taste could best be described as something like a tropical grape.
Other Common Names: Brazilian Grape Tree, Jabuticaba
Growing Zones: 9b-11
Average Size at Maturity: 30-40 ft tall and 15-20 ft wide
Varieties Suitable for Arizona: Red Hybrid
Flowering Season: 1-5 times a year
Lychees can be grown in the lower-desert if they are given a good microclimate and enough water. They can handle the desert heat provided they are given some protection from the afternoon sun.
A good way to do with is to plant on the eastern side of natives, evergreens, or shade trees. Planting on the eastern side of a deciduous tree will protect it from the harsh summer sun, yet also allow winter sun to reach the tree.
Lychees are very cold-hardy for subtropical species, so cold shouldn’t be a problem in the warmest parts of AZ. Lychee trees don’t like heavy clay soils, so adequate root aeration should be ensured when planting.
Other Common Names: Litchi, Liechee, Lichee, Lizhi
Growing Zones: 10-11
Average Size at Maturity: 30-40 ft tall and 25-30 ft wide
Varieties Suitable for Arizona: Mauritius, Brewster, Emperor
Flowering Season: February and March
Jujubes do best in warm dry climates and love heat. They require few chill hours to produce fruit but can survive down to -28 Fahrenheit, making them well suited for many areas of AZ. The jujube is a native of China and is a medium-sized tree with glossy leaves and a light grey bark.
The fruit is oval-shaped, starts off green, and turns brown with age. They have a taste somewhat like caramel apples. They dry well and can be left on the trees to dry fully. When red or red-brown, some fruit have a taste somewhere between an apple and a date.
Growing jujubes is relatively low maintenance provided you have well-drained sandy soil and hot summers, which shouldn’t be much of a problem in AZ.
Most jujubes will produce some fruit without cross-pollination but will do better with another cultivar close by
Other Common Names: Chinese Date, Jujuba, Bora, Ber, Indian Plum, Red Date
Growing Zones: 6-11
Average Size at Maturity: 15-35 ft tall and 10-30 ft wide
Varieties Suitable for Arizona: Li, Sherwood
Flowering Season: Late spring to summer
13. Calamondin (Citrofortunella microcarpa) – Dwarf Fruit Trees
Arizona is known for its citrus production, and the calamondin is one of the most popular dwarf fruit trees around. Glossy evergreen foliage adorns the calamondin, and fragrant blossoms appear sporadically throughout the year.
Calamondins produce wonderfully juicy tart fruits that can be treated like lemons or made into preserves.
Calamondins prefer partial shade to full sun, and will struggle with temperatures below 40 Fahrenheit, so north of zone 10 can be grown in containers and brought indoors for the winter.
They prefer organically rich, clay loams or sand. Once established, they are moderately drought tolerant, and like all citrus won’t tolerate wet feet
Other Common Names: Calamansi, Musk Lime, Panama Orange, Golden Lime, Philippine Lime, Philippine Lemon
Growing Zones: 9-11
Average Size at Maturity: 4-6 ft tall and 2-3 ft wide
Flowering Season: Late winter/spring and sporadically throughout the year
14. Dwarf Pomegranate (Punica granatum var ‘Nana,’) – Dwarf Fruit Tree
More cold hardy than others in the species, the dwarf pomegranate is a small deciduous tree, that remains evergreen in warm winter areas. The foliage is lustrous and oblong and emerges bronze in the spring.
Summer sees the emergence of showy red funnel-shaped flowers on the branch tips. The flowers are followed by leathery, reddish-brown fruit up to 2” across, which are edible and have a sharp, tart taste.
The dwarf pomegranate nana will grow in rich dry to medium moisture well-drained soils. Once established, they’re drought tolerant. Their small size makes them perfect for container gardening, small yards, or boarders.
Other Common Names: Pomegranate Nana, Granada ‘Nana.’
Growing Zones: 7-11
Average Size at Maturity: 2-4 ft tall and 1-3 ft wide
Flowering Season: Summer
15. Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica)
Loquats are attractive, delicious evergreen trees with glossy, dark green foliage and naturally manageable size and shape that makes them suitable for the home landscape. Clusters of fruit stand out against the tropical-looking foliage, providing visual appeal as well as tasty fruit.
The small, round, pear-shaped fruits are rarely more than 2” long and are sweet or slightly acidic in flavor, and are usually white, orange, yellow, or anywhere in between.
Loquats can survive temperatures as low as 27 Fahrenheit, but temperatures below 10 Fahrenheit will kill the fruit and flowers which mature over winter.
Many cultivars are self-pollinating, meaning you can get a good yield from just one tree, but some varieties will need another for cross-pollination.
Loquats are capable of tolerating a wide variety of soil types, wind, and drought conditions. Loquats will grow in the low desert provided they’re given some afternoon shade and adequate water.
Other Common Names: Japanese Medlar, Nispero, Japanese Plum
Growing Zones: 8-10
Average Size at Maturity: 15-30 ft tall and 15-30 ft wide
Varieties Suitable for Arizona: Big Jim, Yehuda
Flowering Season: Fall to early winter
16. Mulberry (Morus Alba)
The Mulberry is a highly productive and shade-producing tree. It’s capable of growing in full sun and requires no cold protection in AZ. They can grow to some height and spread, so plan accordingly before planting.
They can be pruned into a smaller size and dwarf varieties are also available, such as the dwarf everbearing or lssai.
Mulberry trees are superb for creating microclimates for your tropical plants whilst also giving you something delicious to harvest. Mulberries are prolific growers and will most likely produce in their first year.
The mulberry is one of the easiest fruit to grow in hot and dry climates, so is a good beginner fruit for those just moving to the state.
Other Common Names: White mulberry
Growing Zones: 5-10
Average Size at Maturity: 35-50 ft tall and 35-40 ft wide
Varieties Suitable for Arizona: White, Pakistani, Everbearing, Persian, Florida Giant, Shangri La
Dwarf Varieties Suitable for Arizona: Dwarf Everbearing, Issai
Flowering Season: Spring
The climate of Arizona gives the homeowner bountiful options when it comes to growing fruit at home. Gardeners in the cooler northern parts of the state at higher elevations can grow temperate fruit trees that need longer chilling periods.
Aspiring gardeners in the low-lying desert can grow a plethora of different varieties of fruit trees, including many tropical and subtropical species, provided they are given the right microclimates and sufficient water. Many will need afternoon shade from the harsh summer sun.
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Thomas worked for a number of years as the head of plant propagation for a horticultural contractor taking care of many different species of ornamental trees & shrubs. He learned how to propagate certain endangered endemic species and has a love of permaculture, sustainability and conscious living. When Thomas isn’t hiking in nature he can be found playing music, reading a book, or eating fruit under a tree.