Growing your own fruit trees at home in the garden or on the patio is easy to do! Read on to learn how to raise some of the most popular home-grown fruit – from crisp apples to mouth-watering mulberries, plump plums to fabulous figs! We’ll show you how to grow 10 popular fruits trees bred to be hardy in the UK.
Where to grow fruit trees
Lots of fruit trees can be grown outdoors in the UK and will offer harvests for many years to come. Pick a variety you enjoy eating and research where it will thrive.
It’s important to consider the mature size of your chosen tree – for grafted trees, research the fruit rootstock to learn about its expected height and spread.
For smaller spaces, grated family trees offer more than one variety of fruit per tree, plus there are dwarf patio fruit trees designed for container growing. Trees can also be trained against a wall to save space.
When to plant fruit trees
The ideal time of year to plant bare root fruit trees in the ground is in the autumn but if you plan to plant a larger pot-grown plant, these can be bought and planted at any time. Just make sure the soil is not frozen, too wet or very dry.
How to grow fruit trees
Whatever you decide to grow, a sunny and sheltered spot is needed and most, well-drained, fertile garden soil. If you aren’t lucky enough to have great soil, improve the garden soil with compost or grow your fruit tree in a container.
Stake taller trees and secure with a tree tie, before mulching around your plant to help it retain moisture. Water you tree often for the first couple of years, until it has established.
How to pollinate fruit trees
Some fruit trees are self-fertile but others will need another tree nearby (a pollination partner) in order to produce crops. If you only have space for one tree, opt for a self-fertile variety or check what fruit trees your neighbours are growing!
Tree fruit shapes
Fruits trees can be trained into a variety of shapes to suit your garden with common shapes including bush, standard, espalier and fan.
- Bush: a common shape with an open head and a clear stem.
- Standard and half-standard: a long clear stem topped with a bush
- Espalier: a central stem with horizontal arms
- Fan: branches radiate outwards from either side of a low stem
Besides the shape, the grated rootstock will play a big part in the size and vigour of your tree, so choose the best variety for you and your garden.
Best fruit trees for small gardens
For smaller spaces, grated family trees offer more than one variety of fruit per tree, plus there are dwarf patio fruit trees bred for container growing. Trees can also be trained to grow flat against a wall to save space.
Top 10 fruit trees for UK gardens
Apples are easy to grow, with a choice of cooking or eating (dessert) varieties to choose from. One of the most popular with customers is ‘Gala’, which offers a surprising sweet taste when eaten fruit from the tree.
‘Conference’ is the most popular pear variety due to its versatility – eat the fruits raw or cook them in delicious desserts! Available as full-size or dwarf trees perfect for patio pots.
Look no further than ‘Victoria’ for perfect plums every year! These sensational summertime sweet treats are part of the stone fruit family, which also includes fruits such as gages and damsons.
With their shiny skins and soft, sweet flesh, nectarines like ‘Fantasia’ are a real treat and a great size for sharing.
Pretty as a peach and just as sweet! One of the best English varieties, ‘Peregrine’ holds an RHS Award of Garden Merit and produces heavy crops of white-fleshed fruit.
Fabulous Apricot ‘Flavorcot’ is specially bred for the cooler UK climate and produces large crops of delicious egg-sized, orange-red fruits.
Cherry trees come in all shapes and sizes but petite ‘Sylvia’ is a self-fertile variety that’s ideal for container growing for excellent crops of sweet red eating cherries.
Citrus trees offer a super selection of sweet to sour and tangy fruits, including lemons, limes, oranges, kumquats, grapefruit, and more unusual yuzu fruits. These fragrant plants add a Mediterranean feeling to sunny summer patios but will enjoy the warmth of a conservatory in winter.
Mulberry bushes and trees are notoriously large, but ‘Charlotte Russe’ offers back garden growers the chance to grow these delicious mojo berries on a smaller scale. Winner of RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year award in 2017, this petite plant produces juicy Mulberries on both old and new wood.
Fig trees make a striking fruiting feature for the garden and can reach heady heights if not grown in containers. Lovely ‘Little Miss Figgy’ offers a naturally dwarf variety that’s ideal for a container on the patio.
Exotic fruit trees you can grow in UK gardens
Yes, some exotic fruits can grow successfully in UK gardens! Why not try growing some totally tropical Sharon fruits (persimmon), pomegranates, kiwis or Chilean guavas? Take a look at these exotic fruit trees and grow something delightfully different!
Now you know which fruit trees to grow in your garden!
These are just ten ideas to get you confidently growing fruit in your garden or outside space. Find your perfect plants on our fruit trees page, which features customer favourite, plus more exotic varieties to inspire you!
Find all the information you need to produce successful and great tasting fruit crops at our fruit growing hub page. Need more information on growing fruit trees? Check out our dedicated fruit tree hub pages, which includes pruning advice and much more.