Fruits That Grow In Minnesota. There are many fruits that grow in Minnesota and can be grown if you live there. Most people envision Minnesotan soil to be nothing but frozen tundra but you’d be surprised to know which fruits will grow there, even when winter is coming. Most people wouldn’t think that there are fruits that grow in Minnesota. Below is a list of ripe fruit trees you can grow in Minnesota.
Best Fruit Trees to Grow in Minnesota
Finding the best fruit trees to grow in Minnesota was not as easy as I thought. Some require extensive care, others are prone to pests, and lots are just not simple & quick enough to grow.
That’s why I created a list of the 10 Best Fruit Trees to Grow in Minnesota!
This ultimate guide will give you the best fruit trees to grow, why you should grow them, and even how to grow them.
Read THIS Before Growing Fruit Trees in Minnesota
Knowing what hardiness zone Minnesota is in is critical to understanding the best fruits that can be grown.
It can be the difference between your fruit orchard thriving and providing a bountiful yield or producing nothing and maybe even dying.
10 Best Fruit Trees to Grow in Minnesota
#1. Apple Tree
Popular Varieties: Honeycrisp, Red Delicious, Granny
Why Grow Apple Trees in Minnesota?
- Apple Trees thrive in Minnesota’s cold spring and cooler fall months. Unlike other fruits, flowers and fruit can grow even when there is snow or frost late into the spring.
Easy to Grow:
- Apple trees may be the easiest fruit to grow. You do not need to fertilize it, don’t need to water it, can be planted in any soil, and needs very little pruning if any.
Perfect for ANY Yard:
- Apple Trees are perfect for any gardener’s yard. If you have a lot of space you can plant numerous apple trees. If you have a little space you can plant your apple trees in pots. And regardless of the climate or soil in Minnesota, you can plant them just about anywhere in your yard.
- Out of all the fruit trees on this list, apple trees have one of the heaviest harvest. Between late August through November you can pick more apples then you’ll be able to eat.
THESE Could Harm Your Apple Trees
- Deer, Rabbits, & Squirrels LOVE Lettuce. If left unprotected these pests will eat your fruit before it can even fully grow.
- Out of all the fruit trees on this list, insects are most likely to attact apple trees. Whether it’s Japanese Beetles or Aphids, you will constantly have to spray and care for your apple tree to prevent insect infestation
- Again, out of all the fruit trees on this list, Apple Trees are most prone to disease. Blight & mold are just two of the diseases that can attack, harm, and sometimes kill your fruit trees in the spring or summer.
#2. Pear Tree
Popular Varieties: Barlett, Kieffer, Anjou, Bosc
Why Grow Pear Trees in Minnesota?
- Pear Trees is another hardy fruit when it comes to cold in Minnesota. Pears are a perfect compliment to apple trees, blooming earlier and bearing fruit earlier in the summer.
- Pear Trees is not only a great tree that is cold-hardy but also does amazing in droughts, high heat, and humidity. This makes it perfect to plant anywhere in your yard, regardless of the amount of sunlight it receives.
Perfect in Pots:
- If there is any fruit that can be grown in gardening pots in Minnesota, it’s Pear Trees. This is one of the most adaptive fruits, making it perfect for beginner gardeners in Minnesota.
THESE Could Harm Your Pear Trees
- Like many other fruits, insects like aphids will attack and infest your pear trees. Unlike Apple Trees that can recover quickly, Pear Trees typically won’t.
- While pear trees do great in heat and cold, they can struggle with wet conditions. If the ground becomes too wet over winter and spring then there is a chance that root rot will happen, harming or killing your tree.
#3. Plum Tree
Popular Varieties: Damson, Fench, Friar, Japanese
Why Grow Plum in Minnesota?
Thrives in heat:
- While most fruit trees tolerate heat, plum trees thrive in it. This early summer fruit-producing tree will grow quickly with more plums when it has a warmer winter and spring.
Insect & Disease Proof:
- Plums are extremely hardy. Unlike every other fruit tree on this list, plum trees are resistant against almost all insects and every disease, making it the perfect fruit tree to grow in Minnesota.
Perfect for Small Spaces:
- Apple, Pear, & Cherry Trees grow quite large. If you don’t have a big backyard this can pose a problem. But you don’t have to worry about this with plum trees, as they won’t grow more than 8 to 10 feet high and 6-8 feet wide.
THESE Could Harm Your Plums Trees
- Deer, Rabbits, & Squirrels come out of winter and become hungry in spring. One of the first plants they eat is plums. Whether protected or unprotected pests pose a risk to growing plums in Minnesota.
- Like pear trees, plum trees don’t do well with wet conditions. It is recommended to plant this type of tree in an area of your yard with well-draining soil and long periods of direct sunlight.
#4. Peach Tree
Popular Varieties: Redhaven, Reliance, White, Sunhaven
Why Grow Peaches in Minnesota?
Thrives in the heat:
- The hotter, the better. Unlike apple, cherry, pear, and plum trees that tolerate heat, peach trees will actually do better the hotter it gets. That means the hot and humid summers are perfect for peach trees bearing more fruit.
Great for Vertical Gardening:
- Most fruit trees grow high and wide, but very few just grow high. Peach trees are the only type of fruit tree that has varieties that can grow 10 to 15 feet high and only 2 to 3 feet wide.
- Out of all the fruit trees on this list, the Peach Tree is the quickest growing fruit tree. Not only this, but most Peach Trees will actually bear fruit within 1 to 2 years after planting.
THESE Could Harm Your Peach Tree
- Peach Trees do not tolerate cold weather well. While some varieties can survive Minnesota’s cold weather, most will die if the winter temperatures drop consistently below 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Like many other fruit trees, Peaches are prone to diseases such as blight, mold, etc. Not only will this happen during early spring during wet conditions, but can also continue throughout summer and even fall.
Popular Varieties: Chicago, Turkey, Brown
Why Grow Fig in Minnesota?
- The fig tree is the only fruit tree on this list that is truly pest-resistant. Deers hate fig-trees, rabbits can’t reach the fruit, and squirrels and chipmunks find easier food elsewhere.
Perfect for Indoors & Outdoors:
- No other fruit on this list can be grown indoors and outdoors. Fig Trees can thrive outside, but most gardeners will grow them in a pot where they leave them outside during the summer months and bring them inside after the first frost of the year.
Easy to Grow:
- Once you plant your fig tree there is nothing else you need to do. You don’t have to worry about insects or disease, only need to water it once a week, and you even don’t have to worry about pruning it for figs to grow.
THESE Could Harm Your Figs
- While some types of fig trees can survive and do well in Minnesota winters, most will become stunted and not produce fruit or may even die.
- If you keep your fig trees in pots droughts will stunt and kill your tree. This is because fig trees in pots will dry out quicker than in the ground.
Popular Varieties: Bing, Van, Montmorency
Why Grow Cherry Trees in Minnesota?
Thrives in the heat & cold:
- Cucumbers are another hardy fruit. Some varieties can be grown in cold weather and some can be grown in warmer weather.
Lots & Lots of Harvest:
- Cherries produce the largest harvest out of all the fruit trees on this list. While cherry trees don’t grow as tall as other trees they can sometimes yield up to 50 pounds of fruit in a season.
- If you want a fruit tree that acts as a cross-pollinator then look no further than the cherry tree. It does great with crabapples and apple trees to name a few.
THESE Could Harm Your Cherry Trees
- These pests will generally not harm your actual cherry tree. What they will do though is immediately eat cherries if you do not protect them with netting.
Cold & Wet Conditions:
- Cherry Trees also will quickly die if conditions are too wet or if the winters get too cold, making this one of the most difficult trees to care for every year.
#7. Nectarine Tree
Popular Varieties: Sungo, Fantasia, Redgold
Why Grow Nectarines in Minnesota?
- Like its cousin the peach tree, Nectarines love the heat. They grow bigger and produce more and tastier nectarines the hotter it is.
Perfect for Vertical Gardening:
- Just like peaches Nectarine trees don’t grow wide. This makes it perfect for urban gardeners or anyone who has little space for fruit trees.
- Like the peach tree, Nectarines grow incredibly fast. Even within the first year or two, nectarines will grow on planting and potted trees.
THESE Could Harm Your Nectarine Trees
- Almost every type of Nectarine Tree struggles with the cold. If you live in the Northern part of Minnesota Nectarine trees will struggle with the winter and if you live in a part of Minnesota where temperatures can dip for weeks at a time below 20 degrees Fahrenheit you will need to wrap your tree in burlap to protect it from the cold.
- Nectarines can be prone to diseases in early summer. Expect blight, fungus, and rot to affect your plant early in the season near the time your tree begins to grow flowers.
#8. Apricot Tree
Popular Varieties: Royal, Tropic Gold, Blenheim
Why Grow Apricot Trees in Minnesota?
Thrives in Droughts:
- Apricot trees are another great type of fruit tree that will thrive in Minnesota’s humidity and heat. And for those summers that get little to no rain apricots trees will continue to grow and bear lots of apricots.
Great for Small Yards:
- Apricot trees don’t get very large. Outside of Fig Trees, they are the next smallest tree on this list. This makes them perfect for small yards and space, surburban fruit orchards, and urban gardens.
THESE Could Harm Your Aprciot Trees
- Almost everything can harm apricot trees, making them incredibly difficult, but not impossible to grow. Insects, disease, sometimes wind, wet conditions, and garden pests are just a few of the elements that can negatively affect your fruit tree.
- Like most nectarine and peach trees, apricot trees do poorly in the cold. In fact, they have the least likelihood of almost any fruit tree on this list of surviving Minnesota’s winter if not wrapped in burlap or another heat retaining material.
#9. Mulberry Tree
Popular Varieties: Black, White, Red
Why Grow Mulberry Trees in Minnesota?
Thrives in Almost Any Condition:
- While you may not be very familar with the Mulberry Tree, it is an excellent choice to grow in almost any condition. You can plant it with other trees, by itself in a field, among weeds, or even in a garden and it will quickly grow and bear fruit.
- The mulberry tree is so versatile because of its size that you can plant it anywhere. Whether it’s in a small space next to your house, in the corner or your garden, or even in a gardening container, the mulberry tree is perfect for all fruit tree growers.
THESE Could Harm Your Mulberry Trees
- When growing mulberry trees you will need to protect them from birds. While birds won’t harm the tree itself they have been known to quickly devour the fruit before they even ripen
#10. Lemon Tree
Popular Varieties: Meyer, Lisbon, Ponderosa
Why Grow Lemon Trees in Minnesota?
- Out of all the fruit trees on this list, lemons will thrive the most with heat. This is because they naturally have been grown in warmer weather climates. And best of all is that you need to water or care for them very little to have success.
Perfect for Pots:
- Lemon Trees can only grow in pots in Minnesota. If you want a fruit tree that can easily be moved from indoors to outdoors, kept indoors all year, or even just as an ornamental tree then look no further.
THESE Could Harm Your Lemon Tree
Lemon trees are the most sensitive fruit tree on this list to cold weather. If temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit then your tree won’t grow or produce fruit. If temperatures drop below freezing your lemon tree will die.
Fruit Trees That Grow Well in Minnesota
Growing fruit in a state with a short growing season and a harsh winter, like that in Minnesota, can be difficult. Obviously, bananas and pineapple are not options. However, one can grow apples, apricots, plums, pears, cherries and peaches under the right conditions. Please note: most of these fruit trees are self-incompatible, which means more than one variety is necessary for the tree to produce fruit.
Growing apples in Minnesota generally means staying away from the popular supermarket varieties such as Red Delicious and Golden Delicious. Instead, if you want to grow summer apples select Beacon, Hazen, Mantet, Norland, State Fair, Westland, and Whitney Crabapple. The best fall apples include Centennial Crabapple, Chestnut Crabapple, Red Baron, Sweet Sixteen, Wealthy and Wolf River. McIntosh is another choice but only in southeastern Minnesota.
- Growing fruit in a state with a short growing season and a harsh winter, like that in Minnesota, can be difficult.
- Growing apples in Minnesota generally means staying away from the popular supermarket varieties such as Red Delicious and Golden Delicious.
For winter apples, Haralson, Haralred and Macoun can be grown throughout Minnesota. Connell Red, Fireside and Keepsake can be grown in southern Minnesota; Honeygold, Northwest Greening and Red Regent can be grown only in southeastern Minnesota. Fall-Winter apples that can be grown in southern Minnesota include Cortland, Honeycrisp and Red Prairie Spy.
A small variety of apricot trees are known to be hardy enough for Minnesota. Since apricots are not self-fertilizing, you need to select two different varieties of apricot trees if you want them to produce fruit. Both apricot hybrids (Prunus. armeniaca x P. mandshurica) Moongold and Sungold are appropriate for growing in southeast Minnesota. However, the apricot variety Scout (Prunus mandshurica ‘Scout’) can be grown in both southern and northern Minnesota.
|Common Name:||Manchurian apricot|
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- For winter apples, Haralson, Haralred and Macoun can be grown throughout Minnesota.
- Fall-Winter apples that can be grown in southern Minnesota include Cortland, Honeycrisp and Red Prairie Spy.
A number of varieties of hybrid plums (Prunus salicina x P. Americana) will grow in southern Minnesota including Alderman, La Crescent, Pembina, Pipestone, Superior, and Waneta. Two other varieties, Toka and Underwood, will grow in both southern and northern Minnesota. Of these, Superior and Toka are pollinators. The best bet for growing European plums (Prunus domestica) is the Mount Royal variety if you live in southeastern Minnesota. Luckily, it is self-compatible. A few varieties of cherry plums (Prunus cerasifera) are more adaptable and can be grown in other areas of Minnesota such as the Compass (a pollinator), Sapalta and Red Diamond.
|Common Name:||dwarf plum|
Pears (Pyrus communis) are best grown in southeastern Minnesota since the only two varieties that are recommended for northern Minnesota (Luscious and Gourmet) are not pollinators. Varieties that are known to do well in Minnesota include Golden Spice, Summer Crisp, Parker, Patten, Gourmet and Luscious.
- A number of varieties of hybrid plums (Prunus salicina x P. Americana) will grow in southern Minnesota including Alderman, La Crescent, Pembina, Pipestone, Superior, and Waneta.
Three species of cherries can be grown throughout Minnesota: Nanking cherries (Prunus tomentosa), sand cherries (Prunus besseyi) and pie or tart cherries (Prunus cerasus). The best varieties for Nanking cherries are Orient, Drilea or seedlings sold as “Hansen Bush cherries.” For sand cherries, the best choices include Black Beauty, Brooks or Sioux. Pie cherry varieties that are good include Meteor, Northstar and Mesabi. Only pie cherries are self-compatible.
A few varieties of peaches (Prunus persica) can be grown in southeastern Minnesota including Hardy, Red Haven, Elberta, Majestic and Scarlet Prince. Since peaches are self-fertile, you only need to plant one variety to produce fruit.
- Three species of cherries can be grown throughout Minnesota: Nanking cherries (Prunus tomentosa), sand cherries (Prunus besseyi) and pie or tart cherries (Prunus cerasus).
- Pie cherry varieties that are good include Meteor, Northstar and Mesabi.
Minnesota Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables
A later harvest, a shorter growing season, and more dependence on cool-weather and storage crops mark Minnesota seasonality when it comes to produce. Exact crop availability and harvest times will vary year-to-year, but this summary will help you know when to look for what at markets and farmers markets near you. You can also look up produce by seasons (spring, summer, fall, winter) or region. Or, check out this General Guide to Seasonal Fruits & Vegetables for national seasons.
Some keys to eating locally grown food in Minnesota besides knowing when things are in season include embracing storage items such as apples and a wide array of root vegetables. It requires seeking out crops that fair well in cooler weather such as cruciferous vegetables (kale, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts), and exploring the range of tastes offered up by canned, dried, or otherwise preserved items.
- Apples: August through October
- Asparagus: May, and June
- Basil: August, and September
- Beets: June through October
- Bitter melon: August through October
- Blueberries: July into August
- Broccoli: June through October
- Brussels Sprouts: August through mid-November
- Cabbage: June into November
- Cantaloupes: August and September
- Carrots: June through October (local harvest available from storage through winter)
Several types of fruit trees are suitable to grow in Minnesota. Most notably are apple trees; however, cherries, pears, and plums also perform well in our landscape. Several fruit trees are not only used for fruit production but also work well for focal points in a garden. Many fruit trees require planting two varieties for cross-pollination.
Tips for Growing Fruit Trees
|Light||Full sun is best.Will grow in part shade but will produce less fruit.|
|Soil||Prefers fertile, well drained, light soil.Mix existing soil with organic matter, such as compost.|
|Planting||Dig the hole wider and deeper than the existing root ball.Plant at the same depth as in the container.|
|Mulch||Provide 2-4 inches of mulch.Mulching cools the soil, conserves water and helps with weeds.|
|Watering||After planting, water well.To ensure strong root growth, apply Plant Starter.Once established, trees require an average 1” of moisture per week.|
|Fertilizer||Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer such as 10–10–10 each spring.|
|Spray||A regular spray program helps ensure a disease-free harvest.|
|Pruning||The best time to prune all fruit trees is in March.Use a looping shear or pruning saw.Remove dead branches and suckers.Prune any branches that cross each other.Prune branches that are growing up from the center of the plant.Prune branches that are growing down.|
|Winter Care||Wrap trunks with tree wrap and remove in the spring.|
Troubleshooting Problems with Fruit Trees
|Apple Maggot||Apple maggots cause two types of injury.The first injury damages the area around the site where the eggs are laid. The flesh stops growing, resulting in a sunken, misshapen and dimpled area.The second injury occurs as the maggots tunnel through the flesh. As a result, the pulp breaks down, discolors and starts to rot. (Pictured)Control by discarding any apples that have fallen to the ground.If the problem is extreme, apply an insecticide two days after any rainfall, irrigation or sprinkling of 1/2 inch or more beginning July 1.|
|Apple Scab||Scab infections on leaves start as olive green to brown spots with an irregular or feathered edge.As leaf infections grow, they may merge together and assume a dark brown velvety appearance.Severely infected leaves may turn yellow and drop prematurely.Scab infections on young fruit start out as olive green to brown spots.The best way to deal with apple scab is to avoid it altogether by planting disease-resistant varieties.Sprays should start when the leaf buds have swollen and begun to open so that about half an inch of leaf tissue is visible.Check fungicide labels for the recommended spray interval.|
|Cedar Apple Rust||Cedar-apple rust causes leaf spots on apple and crabapple trees.Leaf spots are first yellow, then bright orange-red.Very infrequently, fruit may exhibit a similar infection.The best way to deal with apple scab is to avoid it altogether by planting disease-resistant varieties.Sprays should start when the leaf buds have swollen and begun to open so that about half an inch of leaf tissue is visible.Check fungicide labels for the recommended spray interval.|
|Coddling Moths||Coddling moth larvae often tunnel towards the apple cores and feed on the seeds before exiting the fruit.Crumbly golden-brown excrement is sometimes found at the hole where the larva exited the apple.Control by discarding any apples that have fallen to the ground.The best timing is to spray at petal fall, i.e. when most or all of the petals have fallen from the apple blossoms.Do not treat before this occurs; sprays will be ineffective and will also kill pollinating bees.Make a second spray, 7-10 days later (check the label for the exact interval).|
|Curculios||Plum curculio adults are mottled brownish, blackish, and grayish weevils or “snout beetles.”The slit cut in the apple’s skin by the female becomes a tan patch of apple skin with a distinctive shape.The best timing is to spray at petal fall, i.e. when most or all of the petals have fallen from the apple blossoms.Do not treat before this occurs; sprays will be ineffective and will also kill pollinating bees.Make a second spray, 7-10 days later (check the label for the exact interval).|
|Asian Lady Beetle||If beetles are found feeding in apples, they are multicolored Asian Lady Beetles.They only infest fruit that is already damaged. Picking up fallen apples and removing damaged apples still on the tree will help reduce the number of Lady Beetles in your apple planting.Insecticides are not a practical option.|
|Leaf Spot||This disease is caused by a fungus.Control measures for leaf spot should include raking leaves in the fall and pruning dead or dying branches to reduce the number of new infections the following year.The disease seldom causes serious damage and no chemical control is necessary. However, severe defoliation can cause reductions in fruit quality, yield and plant vigor. Therefore fungicides may be necessary on edible fruit trees.|