Fruits that grow in winter can be widely beneficial and aid with nourishment and sustenance during long, chilly months. Plus, some winter fruits are great for pregnancy and breastfeeding as well. Some fruits such as peaches and cherries actually grow in winter. Here is my list of 10 best-growing fruits that can be grown in winter!
12 FRUITS THAT GROW IN WINTER SEASON: FULL WINTER FRUIT LIST
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Fruits are plentiful throughout the spring, summer, and fall, but what about winter? You may be surprised to discover that there are several fruits that grow in winter season. We’ve put together a list of the fruits that come to full ripeness in wintertime, so you can satiate your fruity sweet tooth while the wind whistles outside.
It probably doesn’t surprise you that the berries that grace many people’s holiday tables just happen to ripen fully around Christmastime. In fact, they become sweeter and more tender after they’ve been exposed to a frost or three.
2. HONEYCRISP APPLES
Some of the juiciest, most delicious apples in the world just happen to come to perfect ripeness in wintertime. Honeycrisp apples were cultivated in Minnesota, which explains why they’re so cold hardy. They’re at their crunchiest, sweetest best in late November, and depending on where they’re grown, can get even more awesome right through into late December.
Although few fruits will ripen in zone 3 winters, you’ll likely still find cherries on trees in wintertime if you’re in zones 5 and up. In fact, many cherry tree varieties thrive best in cold climates, and require a couple of months of severe cold to produce sweeter fruit the following season.
Although they might seem quite tender, Bosc and D’Anjou pears don’t fully ripen until the winter in many locales. Whether you’re a gardener shopping for fruit trees, or you’re just at the supermarket looking for items for a winter fruit platter, make sure that pears are on your list.
Most people think of kiwis as tropical fruits, but these fuzzy babies can be remarkably hardy. In fact, the Actinidia kolomikta variety can withstand winter temperatures down to -40! If you’re in a colder climate and you’re really lucky, you may still be able to harvest these fruits well into December.
These fascinating orange fruits grow wild as well as in cultivated gardens, and are packed with essential nutrients and antioxidants. If you’re out foraging in most parts of the USA, you may still find them growing right through to January or February, as long as you’re in hardiness zones 4 and up.
These fruits only grow in certain regions, but where they do thrive, they come to full ripeness in the depth of winter. That’s why they’re so treasured on winter holiday tables, and feature so heavily in winter salads. Try tossing some of the seeds with winter greens like endives, kale, and spinach, along with some roasted beets, sliced pears, toasted almonds, and a citrus vinaigrette.
Remember how pumpkins are fruits? Well, these generally don’t ripen completely until at least Halloween rolls around. If you’re in a slightly milder climate, like in the midwest, then you can grow pumpkins right through the winter months. That means you can have fresh pumpkin pie in January if the whim strikes you.
9. WINTER SQUASHES
Hardy squashes like acorn and butternut fall into the same category as their pump-kin (sorry, sorry…) above. These hard-skinned fruits don’t succumb easily to cold temperatures, and can even withstand some mild snowfalls. They probably won’t thrive in three feet of snow, but should do fine if you’re in zone 5 or above.
Of course, if you’re lucky enough to live in a hot area like Florida or California, you can go ahead and grow clementines. These are ripe and juicy at the height of winter, which makes them perfect for cool weather indulgences. Try dipping them in chocolate if you really want to get fancy, or juice them for a smoothie base.
Just like their smaller citrus cousins mentioned above, grapefruits often produce heavily during the winter months. Not in Colorado or Wyoming, of course. But if you’re in Texas or another hot climate, go right ahead and enjoy!
You may not have ever considered papayas to be winter fruits, but they are if you live in Hawaii! In fact, mid winter is when these luscious fruits come into full ripeness. In fact, if you’re lucky enough to live in Hawaii, you’ll be able to enjoy a startling amount of amazing winter produce that those of us in colder zones can only dream about. So we’ll live vicariously through you and whine about it.
Winter Fruits: 8 Delicious Garden Additions For The Cold Months
As the summer winds its way into fall, it’s a good time to start thinking about preparing your garden for the darker, cooler days ahead. Hopefully, you’ve made dandelion wine, dried all your herbs, and canned all your fresh veggies to keep healthy foods around all winter.
But how can you prepare for a year-round abundance in your garden? Depending on where you live in the U.S., you may be able to either prep your fruit plants and trees for warmer growing season or keep fresh fruits growing through the season. Some of the best winter fruits are persimmons, pomegranates, crabapples, apples, cherries, raspberries, citrus, and strawberries
HGTV encourages us to think of winter fruits as more than just what we can eat and consider a range of fruits that last through the season and provide food for our animal friends. Aside from fruits, many greens and other plants will grow well in the cool months leading up to winter.
What Are Winter Fruits?
Usually, we think of citrus as the only real winter fruit, as these fruits come into and stay in season throughout the winter months. Grapefruits, oranges, lemons, and others are a welcome boost of sunshine in the grey days of winter.
If you have a well-stocked grocery store or natural food store near you, you can also enjoy tropical fruits throughout the winter, like papaya, starfruit, and bananas. But if you want to grow winter fruits, that’s a different story!
Below are some of our favorite winter fruits that you should grow this year.
You’ve probably seen persimmons in the grocery store and thought, “What are those and how do I use them?”
Persimmons are actually the fruit of a tree that can be grown in USDA Zones 4-9. The trees can handle temperatures as low as 25 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pomegranates are the unofficial fruit of winter. With that said, pomegranate trees can only be grown in short-winter, humid areas. Specifically, USDA Zones 7-12. They prefer loamy soil with good drainage. If you still want to try your hand at growing pomegranates, you can move the trees to greenhouses in the colder months.
HGTV explains that crabapples can hang onto their fruits into January and provide food for animals. These trees then produce showy blossoms in the spring. You can plant bare-root trees in the spring, and you can plant potted varieties the rest of the year. These plants will be happy and hardy up to Zone 4.
Fall planting is suitable for warmer areas, while spring planting is better for cooler climes. These trees need well-drained soil and a lot of sunlight and can be mulched to protect the root system.
There are lots of varieties of apple trees, so be sure to find the ones that fit your zone. Harvest from summer to late fall, storing only late-season crops.
If you live in USDA Zone 4-7, you can plant cherry trees (sweet and/or sour depending on your zone) in the late fall or early spring, when the soil is workable. Plant them 5-10 feet apart, depending on variety, and make sure the soil is deep and well-drained. If you have existing cherry trees, they can be pruned in the winter to ensure a steady spring bloom and summer harvest.
Citrus trees need a lot of sunshine and humid weather, so while they can overwinter inside, citrus plants in pots may not love it. To prepare your citrus for the move inside, make sure to find the sunniest spot in the house, check the humidity, and use an organic fertilizer to keep the nutrients flowing.
When it’s warm enough outside, give it a little plant vacation in the direct sun until it’s warm enough to be outside the whole day.
Where to Grow Winter Fruits
If you live in USDA Zones 1-5, your winter fruits selection is going to be limited. But if you live in Zones 6-10, you may be able to keep some fruits going throughout the cooler season.
One of the most common fruits found during winter is citrus. Citrus needs warmth, so warmer states like Florida, Texas, and California are the clear winners here.
But if you live in a cool state, you will have to content yourself with merely prepping for fruits plants in the spring, rather than enjoying fruits during the winter.
How to Plan for a Year of Fruit Trees
If you live in cooler states, you can start prepping other fruit trees for the winter by planting bare rootstock in the fall. The best time is between November and March, but not during any time when the ground is frozen. Planting during the cooler months will ensure these plants get a foothold for an easy spring season. In early spring, the roots will become more active and allow the tree to flourish.
Choose plants that are bare rootstock, which means that the plant and root system is packed in a soft, moist material for easy packing and transport. It’s easy to get these at local stores or via mail order. Gardeners.com has an excellent bare-root planting tutorial to get you started. Choosing bare root means you might have more varieties to choose from, too, as nurseries can stock more in their shops.
When planting, Old World Farm suggests that dwarf varieties (which are easier to manage and harvest) should be spaced 8-10 feet apart – and at least 12 feet between rows.
In order to prep existing plants for the winter, you can prune back dead or dying branches. This allows the tree to put energy into new growth and gives you the opportunity to shape the tree as you wish. Be sure to maintain your new and existing trees with mulch, wraps, and compost to keep them happy throughout the winter months.
Winter Fruits to Grow in Every Climate
When part of the country is buried under thick layers of snow, it’s hard to even think about planting fruits and vegetables. Still, your healthy eating habits and environmental commitments don’t have to hibernate with the bears. Contrary to popular belief, there are a quite a few fruits that thrive in cold weather.
If you’re looking for some delicious ideas for fruits or berries to grow during the cold months, your options are going to depend on your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone. Different fruits thrive in different climates, and the United States Department of Agriculture has divided the U.S. into 13 unique zones to give growers a better understanding of what they can successfully grow and when to plant them. If you’re looking to plant some fruits this winter, we’ve rounded up 21 of our favorites by climate.
In Colder Climates
If you live in zone 3 (parts of North Dakota) or zone 4 (parts of Nebraska), your growth options are somewhat limited. After all, these climates can reach minimum temps of -30 to -40°F. Still, there are some mighty fruits that can withstand the cold climate and even thrive in it. Consider growing these fruits in freezing climates:
- Honeycrisp apples
- Cherry plums
Your best bet: Pears
Not many fruits will ripen during winter when temperatures are below zero, so those who live in colder climates may need to purchase much of their fruit from other parts of the country between December and March. Of all the cold-weather fruits, though, pears are some of the most resilient, with a season that can last from August to May.
In Warmer Climates
Not all of the U.S. faces blizzards in the wintertime. If you live in a warmer climate, such as zone 8 (including parts of Arizona) or zone 9 (including parts of Nevada), you have a lot more growth options at your disposal. Temperatures in these climates seldom dip below freezing, and they present the ideal year-round growing conditions, particularly for citrus fruits. Consider growing these fruits in warmer climates:
- Mandarin oranges
- Winter squash
- Passion fruits
Your best bet: Kiwis
Kiwis grow quickly on vines and ripen in winter and spring, so you can enjoy them during the colder months. Kumquats also ripen in cold-weather conditions, so they may be a good option if they’re to your liking. Mandarin oranges are sweet and juicy in winter, but they take much longer to grow.
In Hot and Tropical Climates
Zone 11 makes up the warmest and most tropical-friendly climate in the contiguous United States. It’s also the smallest zone, limited primarily to the southern tip of Florida and a small section of coastal Los Angeles. If you live in one of these areas, you have access to cold-weather growth opportunities not found in other parts of the nation. For example, these warm climates can accommodate papaya and mango, which are otherwise difficult—if not altogether impossible—to grow in the United States. The warmer zones 10 and 11 can also accommodate these crops:
Your best bet: Grapefruits
Grapefruit comes into season in January, so it’s an excellent fruit to enjoy during those chilly winter months on the West Coast.
7 Trees That Fruit in Winter
Most of us don’t think of homegrown fruit and vegetables as being plausible in the wintertime, but that’s not actually the case. There are many vegetables that thrive in the cold weather, and there are proven techniques for growing them without heated greenhouses. As for fruit, there are several fruit trees that aren’t harvested until late fall/early winter and some that hold fruit into the depths of winter.
The trick is to cultivate what works. Rather than concluding home-produced fresh fruit in the winter is not possible. We have to think beyond convention. That means we grow fruit trees that might not be the first we think of, and/or we might grow fruit trees in places we not immediately think of.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some fruit trees that do, in fact, yield for wintertime harvests.
The immediately thought for winter fruits should go to citrus. After all, December is the time when all those boxes of Cuties and bags of mandarins start overtake the produce section. It’s an exciting time for many, and it happens when it does because those fruits are in season. Now, the challenge with growing citrus in the cold is that they are semi-tropical fruits, usually unwilling to keep going below 25 degrees Fahrenheit. The good news is that many can be grown in containers, and that there are cold-hardy varieties.
Oranges, meaning larger sweet oranges as well as tangerines and mandarins and the whole collection of little fellas, are generally ripe for the winter harvest, even into January. The smaller, sweeter fruits like mandarins and tangerines are more cold-tolerant, surviving down into the low 20s. Dwarf varieties are also available and can be grown in pots, which can be moved to shelter for cold snaps.
Lemons aren’t necessarily something we are excited to eat, but they do, however, show up in more recipes than any other citrus fruit. We use them often in the kitchen and in the teapot. So, they are worth growing. Several East Asian lemon varieties (Ichang, Tiwanica and Yuzu) survive down below the teens, and there are also popular potted choices like the Meyer, Eureka and Ponderosa.
Grapefruit is often overshadowed by oranges and lemons, but it is absolutely delicious and provides tasty juice to boot. Most grapefruits can survive into the mid-20s. As with the lemons and oranges, dwarf trees that can grow in pots are also available, though these aren’t as common. Grapefruits, like mandarins and tangerines, reach their peak at around Christmastime.
But, citrus fruits aren’t the only fresh fruits available in the winter. Oddly, the next four on the list are often grown as ornamental plants, not necessarily as “fruit” trees. However, they produce tasty, nutritious food that can be harvested when homegrown crops are getting sparse. All of these are delicious and full of health benefits.
Pomegranates are considered both bush shrubs and/or small trees. Like citrus, they can be grown in containers, moved in and out of shelter as needed. Pomegranates are another sub-tropical favorite and are in season through the fall and through most of the winter. These trees like arid climates and have been cultivated for thousands of years around the Mediterranean.
Persimmons and Sharon fruit (Oriental persimmons) are often overlooked because they don’t transport well when ripe and are ridiculously astringent (not delicious) when underdone. However, off the tree, at the right time (when soft), they are incredible. These are temperate trees and deal with the cold no problem. They are also beautiful and commonly planted for that reason alone.
Hawthorne trees are often grown as ornamentals, but they have delicious, edible berries. (Note: The seeds, like apple seeds, are not edible and are slightly poisonous.) Hawthorne berries arrive in the fall, but as with persimmons, they can hang on until mid-winter. They aren’t a conventional treat, but they are a treat nonetheless.
Mountain ash is another tree with edible berries that can be harvested in the winter. American mountain ash can be found in the wild throughout eastern North America, but as the name suggests, it doesn’t grow at low elevations. However, where they do grow, their fruits can be used to make tasty jams and jellies. The berries should be cooked before eating in order to break down small amounts of cyanide, which is in lots of foods we eat.