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13 Best Fruit Trees to Grow in Georgia (North & South)

Georgia is a state with a varied climate, meaning it’s one of the few areas where you can grow subtropicals such as citrus fruits in the southeast, as well as cold-hardy juicy apples in the northwest.

If you’re new to the state, make sure you check the hardiness map of Georgia to get an idea of what will grow in your area and get to know the microclimates in your yard.

13 Excellent Fruit Trees You Can Grow in GA

1. Fig Tree (Ficus carica) – North and South Georgia including Atlanta

Fig on Fig tree
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

Fig trees are native to the Mediterranean and Western Asia and provide delicious jammy fruit in summer. Fig trees thrive with lots of sun in well-drained loamy soil and are fairly drought tolerant.

Whilst South Georgia growers can grow figs with little problems or protection, growers in the colder northern regions beyond Atlanta may be able to grow figs provided they give the tree some winter protection.

Expect some winter dieback, but provided you protect the roots, trees will grow back and fruit on new growth.

Other Common Names: Common fig

Growing Zones: 8-10 without protection. 6-7 with winter protection

Average Size at Maturity: 10-30 ft tall and 15-20 ft wide.

Varieties Suitable for Georgia: Peter’s Honey, Kadota, Brown Turkey, Flanders, Purple Smyrna, Black Mission, Violette de Bourdeaux, Excel. Conadria Country is suitable for Atlanta

Flowering Season: Spring

2. Pomegranate (Punica granatum) – South Georgia

Pomegranate
Image by Flemming Munch via Flickr

Pomegranates will grow in Georgia provided they aren’t subjected to temperatures below 0 F. They grow as dense and bushy shrubs but are often trained into trees. Pomegranates have long been a staple backyard fruit crop in the south.

They’ll tolerate a wide variety of soil conditions, but prefer deep loamy soil, are drought tolerant, and can even withstand some flooding.

Years with late frosts and heavy spring rains can mean that few of the red/orange trumpet-like flowers make it to fruit in the autumn. Gardeners in North GA may be able to grow pomegranates, but trees may freeze back to the roots and resprout in the spring.

Pomegranates are extremely heat tolerant and do best with temperatures above 85 degrees F for at least 120 days a year.

Other Common Names: Seeded Apple

Growing Zones: 8-10

Average Size at Maturity: 12-20 ft tall and 12-20 ft wide

Varieties Suitable for Georgia: Nikitski Ranni, Cranberry, Parfianka, Eversweet, Ambrosia, Wonderful, A.C Sweet, Desertnyi

Flowering Season: Spring and summer

3. Japanese Persimmon (Diospyros kaki) – South Georgia

Persimmon
Image by TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋) via Flickr

Japanese Persimmons are deciduous trees capable of growing up to 30ft tall. They can be killed by temperatures below 10 F so as a rule, can’t be grown north of Macon.

Native persimmons (Diospyros virginiana) are tolerant of temperatures down to 20-25 degrees F below zero so can be grown throughout GA, but the flavor of the Japanese Persimmon is considered superior. Asian varieties are self-fertile whilst the native persimmon requires more than one tree for cross-pollination.

Japanese Persimmons will tolerate a wide range of soil types once established, but poor drainage or drought can cause fruit drop. Persimmon trees require little maintenance thanks to their deep taproot and tend to fruit heavily biennially. Fruit thinning can help with regular annual harvests.

Other Common Names: Oriental Persimmon, Chinese Persimmon

Growing Zones: 7-11

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

Varieties Suitable for Georgia: Fuyu/Jiro, Hachiya, Coffeecake

Flowering Season: Mid- April

4. Pineapple Guava (Feijoa sellowiana) – South Georgia

Pineapple guava
Image by Tatters ✾ via Flickr

The Pineapple guava is a small evergreen tree that produces beautiful flowers followed by a deliciously tart fruit. It’s hardy to about 14 F so is suited for south GA. Severe freezes will kill the plant but it’ll grow back rapidly the following growing season.

The fruit features a green skin and is oval with a golden yellowish pulp. The flavor is somewhat like a tangy pineapple mixed with mint. The flower petals are also edible.

Pineapple Guavas are self-fruitful but will produce better with another tree nearby for cross-pollination. In GA, there is a problem with pollination due to the lack of birds and insects that visit the blossom. Productivity can be improved by hand-pollination.

Other Common Names: Feijoa

Growing Zones: 8-11

Average Size at Maturity: 6-10 ft tall and 5-6 ft wide

Varieties Suitable for Georgia: Coolidge, Triumph, Mammoth, Gemini, Apollo, Trask, Nazemetz

Flowering Season: May

5. Apple (Malus domestica) – North Georgia & Atlanta

Apple
Image by Ion Chibzii via Flickr

Northern GA has the right climate for the production of juicy and crisp apples. However the humidity may present issues with fungus and mold, so keep a close eye on your trees when they’re young. Atlanta has the right humidity levels for the production of apples.

Apple trees require lots of sun and well-draining soil, ideally, a balanced loam with a pH of 6.5. Most of Georgia’s soil is lower than this but can be amended through the application of lime.

Be sure to pick a variety with the correct number of chilling hours that your microclimate can provide.

Other Common Names: Common Apple, Domestic Apple

Growing Zones: 5-8

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

Varieties Suitable for Georgia: Ginger Gold, Gala, Mutsu, Yates, Anna, Fuji, Ozark Gold, Jonagold, Golden Delicious, Pink Lady, Honey Crisp, and Granny Smith

Flowering Season: Early spring

6. Red Mulberry (Morus rubrum) – North and South Georgia

Red mulberry
Image by kami rao via Flickr

Red Mulberries are fast-growing, native fruit trees that provide good shade due to their large leaves. The leaves are rough on the upper side and hairy below.

White mulberry (Morus alba) was planted for the production of silk in the past, and through cross-pollination threaten to wipe out the native mulberry. Red mulberries produce delicious berries that are a magnet for wildlife, with more than 60 species of birds feasting on the fruit.

The fruiting season of the Red Mulberry is also longer than the White Mulberry, is rich in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and will happily grow in a variety of soil conditions. The fruit turns dark red when ripe, and male and female flowers can be found either on the same or different trees.

Other Common Names: Native Mulberry

Growing Zones: 3-8

Average Size at Maturity: 35-50 ft tall and 35-40 ft wide

Flowering Season: March – April

7. Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) – Savannah

Loquat
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

Loquats are attractive evergreen trees with a rounded compact crown. Flowers appear at the end of branches in the fall or winter when other deciduous trees are slowing down, and ripen early in the spring, making them a great off-season tree.

The fruit is yellow, white, or orange and has a sweet, tangy flavor. Loquats can survive temperatures down to 12 F, but seldom fruit in north Georgia due to their bloom time. In South Georgia, Loquats do well in a protected location.

Loquats are extremely drought tolerant but will do well with supplemental irrigation. Little care or maintenance is needed with these trees apart from removing dead or crossing branches, making them a good choice for Savannah gardeners who want a fruit tree but don’t have the time for a lot of maintenance.

Other Common Names: Nispero, Japanese Medlar, Japanese Plum

Growing Zones: 8-10

Average Size at Maturity: 10-25 ft tall and 15-25 ft wide

Varieties Suitable for Georgia: Advance, Bartow, Fletcher Red, Thales, Champagne, and Wolfe

Flowering Season: Fall – winter

8. Meyer Lemon (Citrus x Meyeri) – South Georgia

Meyer Lemon
Image by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr

Lemons can be grown with care in coastal areas and the extreme south of GA. Lemons begin ripening late in the summer and continue for many months, depending on the variety. Be sure to plant your lemon tree in well-draining soil and don’t water until the soil is dry; citrus can’t handle waterlogged soils. Protect young trees from frost with a soil bank or frost cloth.

According to the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, Meyer Lemons are the best-suited variety due to their cold hardiness and ability to tolerate some frost which can affect coastal GA. Meyer Lemons produce sweet, juicy seedless lemons which can be used in a myriad of different ways. They are reportedly hardy down to 25 F.

Other Common Names: Meyer Lemon

Growing Zones: 8-11

Average Size at Maturity: 6-10 ft tall and 4-8 ft wide

Flowering Season: All year but mainly concentrated around fall and early spring

9. Pear Tree (Pyrus communis) – North and South Georgia

Pears on Pear tree
Image by manuel m. v. via Flickr

The Pear Tree is resistant to cold and heat, making it suitable for many areas of GA. Certain varieties of pear trees are self-fruitful meaning they won’t need an additional variety for cross-pollination. If you plant varieties that need cross-pollination you’ll need more than one variety that blooms at the same time.

The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension recommends planting pear trees in areas with good airflow and freedom from spring frosts.

The Other Common Names: European Pear

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 25-30 ft tall and 8-10 ft wide

Varieties Suitable for Georgia: Orient, Baldwin, Kieffer, and Spalding are partially self-fruitful

Flowering Season: March-May

10. Japanese Plum (Prunus mume) – North Georgia

Japanese plum
Image by harum.koh via Flickr

Georgia is a small producer of Japanese Plums, which require 500-900 chilling hours, as opposed to ​​European plums which require about 700-1,100. All stone fruit (peaches, plums, apricots, and cherries) need well-draining loamy soil and protection from cold winter winds for best growth. Most varieties of plum will require cross-pollination for optimal fruit set.

The hot and humid conditions of the Southeast states can mean fungal diseases can run ravage on stone fruit, so keep a close eye on your trees as they develop. Plum trees are beautiful flowering trees that produce white or pink blossoms and herald the beginning of spring.

Other Common Names: Asian Plum, Chinese Plum, Japanese Apricot

Growing Zones: 5-10

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

Varieties Suitable for Georgia: Methley, Morris, Satin, Byrongold, Rubysweet. Green plums include Robusto, Segundo, and Bruce Six Weeks

Flowering Season: March – April (or early spring)

11. Peach (Prunus persica) – North and South Georgia

Peach
Image by Peter Stenzel via Flickr

Georgia isn’t known as the Peach State for nothing. The central region of the state accounts for 83% of the state’s production, with the southern region accounting for 17% of the harvest.

Peach trees produce beautiful pink blossoms in the spring time after which the green foliage follows. Pollinated flowers will produce fruit. The foliage turns reddish-orange in the fall before being shed.

Peaches require well-drained soil and ample sunlight and some protection from winter winds. Be sure to plant a variety suited to the number of chill hours your area can provide.

Other Common Names: Peach Tree

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 6-9 ft tall and 7-9 ft wide

Varieties Suitable for Georgia: Redhaven, Cresthaven, Harken, Scarlet Halo, Polly White, White Lady, Elberta, Flordadawn, Gulfcrest, Flordacrest, Flordaking, Gulfking, Regal, Gulfprince, Springprince, Empress, Goldprince, Camden, Sunbrite, Rubyprince, Summerprince, Garnet Beauty, Harrow Diamond, Coronet, Gala, Surecrop, Topaz, Redtop, Cary Mac, Harvester, Fireprince, Winblo, and Sureprince

Flowering Season: Early spring

12. Jujube (Ziziphus jujube) – North and South Georgia

Jujube
Image by Cataloging Nature via Flickr

Jujube trees are adaptable to many areas of Georgia and are drought tolerant, cold hardy trees with an open crown.

The fruit is plum-sized with a thin skin surrounding the white flesh covering a white stone containing two seeds. The fruit turns from green to mahogany spots, and finally to brown when fully mature. Many prefer the flavor when dried, where they resemble a dried date.

Jujubes are cold hardy and bloom late enough in the season to not be affected by late spring frosts. They are self-fertile, but better yields can be achieved with cross-pollination by a different variety. They have an upright, open growth habit, meaning that pruning is rarely necessary. Jujubes will grow best in any well-drained soil.

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

Growing Zones: 6-11

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

Varieties Suitable for Georgia: Li, Tigertooth

Flowering Season: Summer

13. Quince (Cydonia oblonga) – North and South Georgia

Quince
Image by Andreas Rockstein via Flickr

The quince is a small fruit tree with beautiful spring blooms and leaves. The flowers appear on the end of new growth and are self-fertile. The fruit are usually round or slightly pear-shaped. They are very hard and unpalatable raw, and usually need to be cooked into jams, compotes or jellies to be consumed.

Quince are highly adaptable trees that can tolerate neglect and a wide range of different soil types. Whilst quince can succumb to many of the common diseases that plague apples and pears, they are generally more resistant.

Other Common Names: Quince Tree

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 20-24 ft tall and 20-24 ft wide

Varieties Suitable for Georgia:‘Pineapple’ and Smyrna, Apple, Champion

Flowering Season: Mid to late spring

Abundant Fruit

Georgia is a topographically diverse state where many different types of fruit trees can grow. The northern reaches of the state are suitable for the cultivation of temperate species that require a higher amount of chill hours such as apples.

The Southern reaches near the coast is warm enough for some subtropical and Mediterranean species with lower chill requirements, who can handle the higher temperatures better.

Wherever you are in GA, make sure you plant a fruit tree that’s suited for your area before planting to avoid disappointment a few years down the line when it’s time to harvest.

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