Types of Fruit Trees With Pictures (Including Low Maintenance Self-Pollinating Varieties)

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There are many different types of fruit tress that you can plant in your own garden. If you have a small garden you can plant dwarf or miniature fruit trees as they don’t take up a lot of space and can be kept small. If you look for low-maintenance fruit trees, choose self-pollinating (or self-fertile) fruit trees. These trees don’t require other cultivars to be planted nearby to produce summer or fall fruit. Self-pollinating fruit trees include varieties such as nectarines, apricots, peaches, and sour cherries.

You can also choose fast growing fruit trees such as apples, peaches and nectarines. This article will help you choose the best fruit trees to create a thriving outdoor garden or patio full of fruitful trees and plants.

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What Are Fruit Trees?

Fruit trees include all types of flowering trees that produce fruit. When we think of varieties of fruit trees, we tend to think of trees that produce ripe sweet or sour juicy fruits. The most common fruit trees for gardens are apple trees, pear trees, cherry trees, and plum trees. In warmer climates, trees that are fruit-bearing plants include apricots, peaches, and figs.

Botanically speaking, species of fruit trees can also include trees that produce berries or nuts. This is because fruit from flowering plants and trees is classed as the ripened ovaries of flowers that contain at least one seed. So in botanical terms, a fruit is any seed-bearing structure, and this means that, technically, tomatoes, eggplants, peas, and beans are all different types of fruits.

In horticulture, however, the definition of fruit from a plant is closer to how we usually define fruit in the culinary world. According to some sources, fruits are the succulent produce of plants that are consumed as a snack or dessert. (1)

Dwarf Fruit Trees

Dwarf fruit trees are fruit bearing trees that have been cultivated to remain small. Dwarf fruit trees are ideal plants to grow in small gardens or in containers indoors.

Some dwarf fruit tree varieties include:

  • Dwarf pear trees
  • Dwarf plum trees
  • Dwarf apple trees
  • Dwarf citrus trees

Types of Fruits that Grow on Trees

There are many types of fruit that grow on trees and are important sources of food. Tree fruits are usually high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Let’s look briefly at a few of the kinds of fruits that grow on flowering trees.

Pomes are fleshy tree fruits that contain a number of seeds in their cores. Examples of pome fruits are apples, quinces, and pears and these are some of the most popular fruit trees for backyards.

Drupes are classified as succulent fleshy fruits that have a large seed in the middle of the fruit. Some types of drupes that grow on trees are cherries, peaches, apricots, and nectarines.

Hesperidia are citrus fruits and are a type modified berry. Citrus trees such as lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit are popular types of fruit trees in warmer climates.

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Types of Fruit Trees With Their Picture, Name and Species

Let’s look in more detail at the amazing variety of fruit tree species you can plant in your garden. You will find pictures of fruit trees, types of low-maintenance trees, and the names of dwarf fruit tree cultivars. At the end of the article, you will learn about the best easy-to-care-for fruit trees.

Apple Trees

apple fruit tree

Apple trees are one of the most popular types of fruit trees to grow in your front or backyard

Apple trees belong to the genus Malus and have the botanical name of Malus domestica. Apples are a pome type of fruit and there are an estimated 7,500 apple cultivars to choose from. Fruits from the Malus genus can be classed as ‘eating apples,’ ‘culinary apples,’ ‘cooking apples,’ or ‘crabapples.’

Apple fruit trees grow to between 13 and 40 ft. (4 – 12 m) tall and have a wide spread. These fast growing fruit trees are beautiful in springtime when beautiful white flowers blossom on the tree. In order to produce a crop of apples, the flowers require cross-pollination. You will need to ensure that trees are planted around 100 ft. (30 m) apart for the best results.

Depending on the species of apple tree, the fruit is ready for harvesting between summer and fall.

Apple trees grow well in temperate and subtropical climates. There is also a wide variety in the types of apples. Some cultivars such as ‘Granny Smith,’ Golden Delicious,’ and ‘Yellow Transparent’ have light green to dark green skin and crunchy white flesh. Red-skinned varieties of apples such as ‘Jonagold,’ ‘Alice,’ ‘Discovery,’ and ‘Fuji’ are some of the most popular fresh apples.

Apples are also a very versatile type of fruit. Some species are sweet, some sour, and others are described as sweet and sour. You can eat apples raw or cooked or you can juice them to make apple juice or cider.

Apple trees grow well in hardiness zones 3 – 8 and they need cold winters for their buds to open in the spring. Plant in areas that get full sun and where there is well-draining soil. Some apple cultivars such as Pink Lady, Gala, and Gravenstein grow well in zones 9 – 10.

Dwarf apple trees

If space is limited in your garden, you should consider planting a few dwarf apple trees. Miniature apple trees grow to 8 ft. (2 m) and they can be pruned to create an attractive shrub or small ornamental tree.

Cherry Trees

cherry fruit tree

Many species of cherry fruit trees have been developed to be cold hardy

Cherry trees are some of the most beautiful of all the fruit trees when they blossom. Cherries belong to the flowering plant genus Prunus and the fruit is a type of drupe. There are two basic types of cherry trees – flowering cherry trees and trees that are cultivated for their fruit.

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Fruit cherry trees are classified by the type of cherries they produce. Trees producing sweet cherry fruits are the most popular. Cultivars such as ‘Bing,’ ‘Rainier,’ ‘Lambert,’ and ‘Lapins’ are deliciously sweet cherries. These may have dark ‘cherry’ red color that is almost black, or light yellowish-red skin.

Some species of sour cherries include ‘Montmorency’ and ‘Morello’ cherries.

Trees producing cherry fruits tend to be smaller than apple and pear trees. Some of the smaller cultivars of fruit bearing cherry trees such as ‘Stella,’ ‘Pendula Rosea’, and ‘Morello’ grow up to 13 ft. (4 m). The larger types of cherry trees can grow to between 26 and 40 ft. (8 – 12 m). Many species of cherry fruit trees are cold hardy to zone 5.

If you are growing cherry trees for their fruit, then it is important to cover the fruit trees with netting in late spring and summer. This prevents birds from eating the sweet tasty fruits and helps to ensure a bumper crop.

Cherry fruits are tasty delicious summer snacks that you can enjoy fresh of the tree, preserve them for the winter, or use them in baking. Tart cherries are best used in preserves due to their sour taste or you can sweeten them to make tart cherry juice.

If you have a small garden, look for dwarf or semi-dwarf cultivars of the most popular cherry trees.

Quince Trees

quince fruit tree

For a small garden or a limited space choose a dwarf quince tree hybrid

The quince tree is in the same family as apples and pears. These pome fruits have a distinct astringent and sour taste. The fruit from quince trees is rarely consumed fresh but turned into jams or jellies. Some people say that quince fruit looks like a cross between a pear and a sour apple.

From all the pome fruits that people grow in their backyard, quinces are the least popular. Although the medium-sized fruit tree blossoms with beautiful pink aromatic flowers, the fruit is too bitter for many people. Quince trees grow to between 16 and 26 ft. (5 – 8 m) high and the fruit can look like a large apple.

Dwarf varieties of quince trees can form attractive fruit-bearing bushes or border shrubs. For example, the quince cultivar Chaenomeles x superba ‘Texas Scarlet’ grows to 4 ft. (1.2 m) tall and has a spread of up to 5 ft. (1.5 m).

Citrus Trees

citrus fruit trees

Plant different types of citrus trees in your garden to enjoy the great fruit variety

Trees producing citrus fruits are great for any garden in tropical and subtropical climates. Citrus fruit trees include lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, and kumquats. Citrus trees are in the flowering plant family Rutaceae and are in the genus Citrus.

For most people in temperate regions, the only way to grow citrus trees is indoors. Thankfully, there are many mini citrus fruit trees that thrive in containers and produce small oranges, limes, or lemons.

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All varieties of citrus trees are cultivars or hybrids of the 3 main citrus fruits – pomelo, sweet mandarin, and citron.

Lime trees produce small green oval citrus fruits that have a sharp sour taste. Citrus x aurantiifolia (key lime) trees thrive in zones 10 – 11 and grow to a height of between 6 and 15 ft. (1.8 – 4.5 m) tall.

Sweet orange trees (Citrus × sinensis) are the most cultivated fruit trees in the world. They produce round orange-colored citrus fruits with a sweet, slightly acidic taste. Orange fruit trees are evergreen and grow to a height of 30 to 33 ft. (9 – 10 m).

Lemon trees (Citrus x limon) is the type of fruit tree most people associate with citrus trees. Lemons are oval or teardrop in shape with a zesty yellow rind. Lemon trees grow in zones 9 – 10 and reach a height of between 15 and 20 ft. (4.5 – 6 m).

Mini citrus fruit trees or dwarf citrus trees

One of the most popular types of mini orange trees is the Calamondin orange (× Citrofortunella microcarpa). This ornamental fruit tree produces small citrus fruits that look like tiny tangerines but have a sharp, sour taste. The ideal temperatures to grow this mini fruit tree indoors is between 55°F and 70°F (12°C to 21°C).

Apricot Trees

apricot fruit tree

Most apricots are self pollinating fruit trees

Apricot trees (Prunus armeniaca) produce small stone fruits that are light orange in color and have a rich sweet taste when fully ripe. Apricot fruit trees are small to medium-sized fruit-producing plants. They are hardy in zones 5 – 9 and can be affected by frost.

Apart from their abundance of sweet aromatic fruits, apricot trees are prized for their stunning spring blossoms. The flowers on the tree are generally white with tinges of pink and light red. Apricots are also self-pollinating trees, so they require little maintenance.

Apricots are also a very versatile type of drupe. They can be eaten raw, used in baking, or preserved. In many countries where apricots can’t grow, dried apricots are a popular type of dried fruit.

Fig Trees

fig tree

Fig trees grow well in warm areas but there are some varieties that are cold hardy

Fig trees are a species of flowering plant native to Asia and the Middle East. Figs can be creeping vines, shrubs, or small trees. It is the common fig plant (Ficus carica) that is the fruit-producing variety. These fruit-producing trees are classed as small trees or large shrubs and grow to about 10 ft. (3 m) high.

Fig fruits are unique in the plant kingdom because the flower develops inside a hollow receptacle. The fig fruit is ripe to eat when it turns from green to a deep purple color, although there are also types of figs that are pale lime green when ripe (green figs). Biting into this exotic fruit reveals juicy red flesh that is filled with tiny seeds. The taste of fruits from the fig tree is a rich sweet flavor.

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Fig trees are also recognized by the distinctive shape of the leaves. Fig leaves are large and dark green with deeply lobed edges.

Figs fruit trees generally grow in zones 6 – 9. To grow fig trees for their pear-shaped fruit, plant in partial shade where there is well-draining soil. Fig trees are also self-fertile and don’t require cross-pollination.

Low Maintenance Types of Fruit Trees

If you have a small garden or plan to grow miniature fruit trees in containers, you probably want a type of easy-to-care-for tree. The type of fruit trees that are easiest to grow are self-pollinating ones.

Here are the best low-maintenance fruit trees you can grow.

Low-Maintenance Plum Trees

plum fruit tree

There are many types of plum trees with fruits varying in color and taste

One type of fruit tree that is easy to care for is the plum tree. These fruit trees grow well in temperate climates and produce oval-shaped juicy fruits.

Plums belong to the same genus as cherries and peaches and the botanical name of the genus is Prunus. Plums are also fleshy drupes that have a single stone in the center.

There are a number of plum tree cultivars that produce various types of fruit. Some varieties of plum trees include damsons, Victoria, greengages, and satsuma plums. Depending on the species, plum fruits can have purple, yellow, green, or red skins. Generally, the flesh is yellowish-green without being too juicy.

Plum trees grow well in zone 5 – 7 and are one of the easiest types of fruit trees to care for. Most species of plum trees are self-pollinating and don’t require much maintenance to produce fruit.

Their compact shape and abundance of sweet oval fruits make plum tree a great investment for any fruit garden. With proper pruning, plum trees such as the European plum (Prunus domestica) can be trained to grow to 8 ft. (2.4 m).

As with other types of fruit in the Prunus genus, the taste of plums can range from extremely sweet to sour. In some varieties, it is the green skin that has the sourest taste. You can eat plums raw, use them to make jam, or dry them to make prunes. Asian varieties of plums are also widely used in Chinese and Japanese cooking.

Pear Trees

pear fruit tree

Many types of pear trees are cold hardy and include some dwarf cultivars

Pear trees are another easy-to-care-for type of fruit tree for your backyard or garden. These popular trees are in the same family Rosaceae as apples but they belong to the genus Pyrus. Ripe fruit from pear trees is generally soft and juicy and the core contains a few seeds. The two main species of cultivated pears are the European pear and Asian pear.

European species of pears (Pyrus communis) tend to have the classic ‘pear shape’ which is fat and round at the bottom and tapers to a point. Species of Asian pear trees (Pyrus pyrifolia) produce fruit that is generally oval in shape.

As with apple trees, most species of pear trees are cold hardy fruit trees. Trees can grow to between 33 and 56 ft. (10 – 17 m) tall and there are also many dwarf cultivars to choose from. Most pear trees are not self-pollinating and they require pollination from different cultivars to produce fruit.

Pear trees, similar to apple trees, produce spectacular white blossoms when they flower in spring. Depending on the species of fruit, pears can have green, red, brown, or yellow skins. Some types of pear are “pear-shaped” and other cultivars may look more like apples.

Some popular pear cultivars that grow in temperate climates are ‘Bartlett,’ ‘Red Anjou,’ ‘Comice,’ ‘Concorde,’ and ‘Forelle.’ The best representatives of Asian pear species are ‘Russet’ and ‘Nashi.’

Peach Trees

peach tree

There are some newly developed varieties of peach trees that are cold hardy and most of them are self-pollinators

In warm climates, peach trees are low-maintenance fruit-producing plants that have reddish or “peach-colored” sweet round fruits. The fruit from peach trees (Prunus persica) are drupes similar to cherries and apricots.

If you want to ensure a good yield of peaches without any fuss, look for dwarf cultivars that are self-pollinating.

Peach trees can grow to an impressive 23 ft. (7 m) tall. However, to keep them manageable and make it easy to pick the delicious exotic fruits, prune them in early spring. This regular care can keep their height to around 10 ft. (3 m). Beautiful pink flowers appear on bare stems in spring before the lanceolate leaves.

Peach fruits appear on the trees in mid to late summer. Depending on the species of peach tree, each tree can yield between 50 and 150 lb. (23 – 68 kg) annually. The juicy peach flesh is usually light to dark orange in color and has a sweet taste with no acidity.

It should be noted that nectarine is a type of peach, and the only difference between peaches and nectarines is their skin. Peach fruits have a slightly fuzzy feel to the skin whereas nectarines have smooth skin.

Peach trees are not cold-hardy fruit trees, although newly developed cultivars are cold hardy. They grow best in zones 5 – 9.

If your garden is short on space or you have a balcony, you can plant a dwarf variety of peach tree. For example, the Prunus persica ‘Bonanza’ is a dwarf peach tree that has a bumper crop of medium-sized peaches. These miniature fruit trees grow to between 4 and 6 ft. (1.2 – 1.8 m) tall and are easy to care for.

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