Few trees are as rewarding to grow as fruit trees. Not only do many provide stunning spring and summer flowers, but their succulent fruits can be harvested and eaten fresh or incorporated into many recipes, whether you’re growing cherries, peaches, apples, et al.
Because Maryland has such a varying climate, there are a large variety of fruit trees that can be successfully grown here. Some will grow better in different regions, whether that’s in the temperate coastal parts of the south or the chillier, more mountainous regions of the north.
Make sure you’re familiar with Maryland’s planting zones which vary from 5b to 8a, before choosing your trees. This way, you can ensure your Maryland fruit trees have the best chance of producing a bountiful harvest of delicious fruits.
12 Excellent Fruit Trees That Can Thrive In Maryland
Apple trees are grown throughout MD, and apple orchards are a common sight in the state. They are grown most easily along the coast, though more and more apple crops are being established in the mountainous western part of MD – in fact, the entire state produces tens of millions of pounds of apples per year!
If you are planning to grow apple trees in Maryland, you’re in luck. There is a wide range of apple varieties for you to choose from, and which can cater to your needs whether it be taste preferences, growing environment, or aesthetics.
Most apple varieties will need to be cross-pollinated, so consider how much space you have before choosing your trees – the second tree will typically need to be a different cultivar that flowers at the same time. Plant apple trees in early spring in light, well-draining soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH.
Other Common Names: Wild Apple, Crabapple
Growing Zones: Hardy varieties grow in 3-5, long-season varieties in 5-8
Average Size at Maturity: 30-40 feet tall, with a similar spread
Varieties Suitable for Maryland: Red Prairie Spy, 2-in-1 Apple Surprise, Mutsu, Granny Smith, North Pole Columnar, Red Fuji, Empire, Gala, Golden Delicious, McIntosh, Rome, Stayman, York, Jonathon, Ginger Gold
Fruiting Season: Fall
Pear trees are a great option for MD growers, as it grows delicious fruits and also display lovely fall foliage and abundant white spring blossoms.
Unlike many other fruit trees, pears are not as affected by pests and diseases. They can fall victim to aphids and are also susceptible to fireblight, so be wary of these issues. Pear trees take a long time to recover from disease (if they recover at all), so it’s important to take precautions – do not overfertilize and prune any growth with signs of fireblight. Other than pest management, plenty of varieties of pear trees will grow easily in Maryland.
These trees can grow quite large, so if your space is limited you may want to consider a dwarf variety, as they need little space or maintenance. Pear trees need full sun and should be grown in moist, well-draining soil, with annual mulching in spring.
Other Common Names: European Pear, Domestic Pear, Common Pear
Growing Zones: 4-8, with some variation amongst cultivars
Average Size at Maturity: 15-40 feet tall, 12-20 feet wide
Varieties Suitable for Maryland: Honeysweet, Moonglow, Hosui, Shinko, 20th Century, Harrow Delight, Harvest Queen, Olympic, Magness, Seckel, Shenseiki, Bartlett, Anjou, Kieffer
Fruiting Season: Early Summer
If you want a bumper crop of juicy, plump fruits to eat fresh or use in jams and jellies, look no further than the plum. It’s important to research the varieties that fit your growing conditions in MD and your personal preferences, as there are many plum varieties. They are split into three types – European, Japanese, and Damson, and their needs, based on climate and soil type, will vary widely.
As long as their needs are met, plum trees require less work than certain other stone fruits. Most plum trees should be grown in sandy, well-draining soil with full sunlight. They need organic fertilizer, plenty of water, and regular pruning to remove dead wood and encourage shapes that make it easier to gather fruit.
European plum varieties tend to be self-fertile, so if you want to grow just one tree these are the types you should be looking at. Keep in mind that European plum trees have a shorter life span than both Japanese and hybrid Damsons.
Other Common Names: Domestic Plum
Growing Zones: 3-10
Average Size at Maturity: 10-30 feet tall, with a 25-foot spread
Varieties Suitable for Maryland: Beach Plum, Purpleleaf, Elephant Heart, Early Golden, Underwood, Inca, Ruby Queen, Shiro, Coe’s Golden Drop, Damson, French Prune, Mirabelle, Italian, Stanley
Fruiting Season: Summer to Early Fall
Maryland peaches are known to be delicious, but they are mostly grown on an industrial scale, as it can be quite difficult for home gardeners to grow them successfully. But with enough attention and preparation, you should be able to grow the perfect peaches on your property.
Some of the most beloved fresh peach varieties, such as the Belle of Georgia and the Lemone Elberta, can thrive in MD. You have an option of cultivars, whether you prioritize self-pollinating trees, trees with ornamental value, etc. It can take 3 or 4 years before they bear fruit, so if you want peaches in the first year, consider purchasing a young tree (atleast 3 years old) to transplant.
Most peach varieties should be planted in sandy, slightly acidic, well-draining soil in an area with full sunlight. They are susceptible to peach tree borer, and MD peaches, in particular, are affected by brown rot, so be sure to prune back branches for circulation and use fungicides and pesticides.
Growing Zones: 5-9
Average Size at Maturity: 25 feet tall, with a 15-20 foot spread
Varieties Suitable for Maryland: Loring, Belle of Georgia, Lemon Elberta, Hale Haven, Bonfire, Flamin’ Fury, Honey Babe, Red Haven
Fruiting Season: Late Summer
Figs are lovely, decadent fruit, but sadly most fig trees are not cold hardy, and will only survive in planting zone 8 and higher. This can be tricky if you’re a fig-lover living in MD, but don’t give up just yet: there are some varieties of fig trees that are cold-hardy, so they can be grown in zone 7, 6, and sometimes even as low as zone 5, including the Celeste, Chicago, and Violette de Bordeaux.
For MD gardeners living near the borders of Virginia and West Virginia, be sure to choose your fig varieties carefully, and pay extra attention to them after planting as some will need tree protection in colder climates, such as needing to be grown in portable containers.
You should grow your fig trees in fertile, loamy, neutral-to-slightly-acidic soil, with plenty of organic materials. Be sure to give them plenty of growing room in a location with full sunlight.
Other Common Names: Common Fig
Growing Zones: 7-10
Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 feet tall, with a similar spread
Varieties Suitable for Maryland: Celeste, Chicago, Violette de Bordeaux, White Marseilles, Brown Turkey, Black Spanish, Neverella, Lattarulla
Fruiting Season: Late Spring to Late Summer, with some varieties fruiting twice a year
It is not uncommon to find persimmon trees growing wild in MD, so it’s no surprise that you can also grow them successfully in your home garden. According to the Maryland Department of Planning, the sweet, chalky persimmon fruit is a valuable source of food for local wildlife. The syrup and bark of the tree were widely used for medicinal purposes by the Cherokee and Rappahannock tribes.
While the American persimmons grow wild through Eastern North America, the most widely cultivated is the Asian persimmon. Cultivars of both types can be purchased and grown successfully through MD.
Persimmon trees, particularly American ones, grow very easily in Maryland with little need for extra attention or maintenance. They can thrive in a wide variety of soil types but prefer soil with a neutral pH. Just be sure to plant them in a deep hole to accommodate their taproots, in a spot with plenty of sunlight.
Other Common Names: American Persimmon, Asian Persimmon
Growing Zones: 4-9
Average Size at Maturity: 35 to 50 feet tall
Varieties Suitable for Maryland: American, Fuyu, Jiro, Hachiya
Fruiting Season: Late Fall
Zone 5-8 Persimmons Available at: Nature Hills
Wild mulberry trees grow throughout Maryland and have been a familiar sight throughout the state for hundreds of years. But for those who want access to the sweet, delicious fruits of the mulberry in their backyard, they can also be purchased and grown in most parts of the state.
The two main types of mulberry trees are red and white mulberry. Keep in mind that the white mulberry (Morus alba), a Chinese native, is considered an invasive species in Maryland. If you want to grow a fruiting mulberry in MD, the native red mulberry (Morus rubra) is the ideal choice.
Choose a planting location with care, as the red mulberry tree and roots grow large and fast, and it bears fruit prolifically, which can cause mess and staining. For optimal fruit production, it should be planted in moist, rich, well-draining soil, in an area with full sunlight.
Other Common Names: Red Mulberry, White Mulberry
Growing Zones: 4-8
Average Size at Maturity: 40-70 feet tall, with a 40-50 foot spread
Varieties Suitable for Maryland: Red, White (sterile only)
Fruiting Season: Summer
Another fruit tree that can be found growing wild in some parts of the state, is the serviceberry tree. This fruit tree is ideal for growers in Maryland, as many of its cultivars can grow in a broad range of climates. In fact, serviceberry trees tend to be hardy in areas as cool as zone 2, and as warm as zone 9.
These trees are attractive for their white spring flowers and fall foliage, but most of all for their small, sweet, delicious fruits. Birds and insects love the serviceberry too, so you may want to use netting to protect the trees from local wildlife.
Plant your serviceberry trees in moist, light, well-draining soil. They can thrive in both full sun and partial shade, though they will produce more fruits with consistent exposure to light. As long as trees are watered regularly and mulched annually, they will grow with relative ease.
Other Common Names: Downy Serviceberry, Common Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Shadbush, Sarvis, Sarvisberry, Sugarplum, Juneberry
Growing Zones: 2-9
Average Size at Maturity: 10-25 feet tall, with a 10-15 foot spread
Varieties Suitable for Maryland: Saskatoon
Fruiting Season: Late Spring to Early Summer
The native pawpaw is an underrated fruit tree, not just in MD, but in North America as a whole. These sweet, fleshy fruits are similar to mango and other tropical fruits, and their trees also bear large, eye-catching leaves and unique maroon spring flowers.
These fruit trees can be found in Maryland woods and growing along streams, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and they can also be cultivated in home gardens.
These trees will add an exotic, semi-tropical addition to your landscape, and will grow relatively easily under the right conditions. Because they are understory trees in their natural habitat, pawpaw trees should be grown in partial shade, and in nutrient-rich, well-draining soil with a neutral to slightly acidic pH. They will need fertilizing at least twice a year to boost fruit production.
Other Common Names: Paw paw, Paw-paw
Growing Zones: 5-8
Average Size at Maturity: 15-25 feet tall, with a 15-foot spread
Varieties Suitable for Maryland:
Fruiting Season: Late Summer to Early Fall
Zone 5-8 PawPaw Trees Available at: Nature Hills
Cherry trees are an excellent choice for MD gardeners. You have the option of choosing varieties that can cater to your preferences, as some provide more beauty and ornamental value to your garden, while others produce the sweetest and juiciest fruits. There are plenty of cherry tree types that you can grow successfully.
Some cherry trees are hardier than others, particularly sour cherries which tend to grow in zones 4-6, so be sure to check your growing zones before choosing your cherry trees. Sour cherries are also generally self-pollinating, but for sweet cherries, you will need a couple of trees for cross-pollination.
Cherry trees should be planted in fertile, well-draining soil with plenty of sunlight (at least 8 hours a day). Adequate drainage is a must to avoid root rot, which cherry trees are susceptible to. Cherry trees can take up to ten years to grow fruits, so you’ll want to purchase a young tree if you expect fruit production sooner.
Other Common Names: Sour Cherry, Sweet Cherry, Common Cherry
Growing Zones: 4-6 for Sour Cherries, 5-8 for Sweet Cherries
Average Size at Maturity: 15-25 feet tall, with a similar spread
Varieties Suitable for Maryland: Montmorency, North Star, Lapins, Black Tartarian, Bing, Romeo and Juliet, Yoshino, Pink Star, Glacier, Royal Rainier
Fruiting Season: Mid-Summer
Though soft, delicious apricots originally only grew in warmer climates, over the years this fruit tree has been cultivated to be both self-fertile and compatible with cooler climates. So if you are craving homegrown apricots in your Maryland backyard, you’re in luck.
Plant your apricot trees in rich, deep, fertile, well-draining soil, with a slightly acidic to neutral pH. Apricot trees are susceptible to frost damage, so make sure to choose a spot with plenty of sunlight throughout the year.
Direct sun will also help to ripen the apricots as they grow. Any pruning should be done in early spring to avoid bacterial cankers, though pruning is not necessary for the first year of growth, with the exception of dead or damaged branches.
Just like its stonefruit cousin, the peach tree, apricot trees grown in Maryland are particularly susceptible to brown rot disease. Make sure to have an effective chemical fungicide on hand.
Other Common Names: Common Apricot
Growing Zones: 5-8
Average Size at Maturity: 20-30 feet tall, with a similar spread
Varieties Suitable for Maryland: Harcot, Moorpark, Veecot, Harlayne, Wenatchee, Tomcot Hargrand, Goldrich, Golden Sweet, Puget Gold, Golden Kist, Canadian White Blenheim, Patterson, Perfection
Fruiting Season: Mid to Late Summer
Zone 5-8 Apricot Trees Available at: Nature Hills
Who doesn’t love a nectarine? These tender, juicy, and brightly-colored stone fruits are a delicious addition to any garden or home orchard, and their trees bear lovely pink and white blossoms in spring that add an ornamental element to the landscape. In many ways, they are very similar to peach trees.
Like apricots, nectarines originally grew in warmer climates but have been cultivated to a point where they can thrive even in colder areas, though they will still need some winter protection in cool climates.
And while several varieties of nectarine, such as the Harko and Goldmine, can grow in any part of Maryland, there are some varieties that will not fruit below zone 7. Be wary of this when choosing your nectarine trees.
Plant your trees in loose, fertile, well-draining soil with a slightly acidic pH. Your location should be sunny, providing at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.
Growing Zones: 5-10
Average Size at Maturity: 5-15 feet tall, 8-15 feet wide
Varieties Suitable for Maryland: Fantasia, Sunglo, Red Gold, Snow Queen, Sundollar, Harko, Goldmine, Saturn, Flavortop, Double Delight
Fruiting Season: Summer
The climate and growing conditions in Maryland may vary from location to location, but there are still plenty of fruit tree options to satisfy any hungry gardener.
As long as you’re familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of the landscape on your property, and the particular needs of the trees you’re growing, you’ll have abundant fruit trees in no time.
Whether you’re making cherry pies from delicious tart Montmorency cherries, or eating juicy Anjou pears straight from the tree, you’re sure to find a bountiful fruit tree that suits your needs.
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Fern discovered her love of gardening later in life but has not wasted any time catching up on missed years. She has contributed to the planting and care of over 100 different fruit, nut, native and ornamental trees over the past 5 years on her property.
Fern has a special interest in biodynamic farming, food production and closed loop agriculture.
When not in the garden or exercising her dogs, you will find her preserving the harvest or with her nose buried in a novel.