The Best Fruit Trees for Colorado

When people think of Colorado, they usually think of two things: the mountains, and a lot of cold weather. When people wish to plant fruit trees but think the Colorado climate can’t handle them, they should rethink their position. Many fruits do, in fact, grow quite well in Colorado, and it’s easy to learn which ones work best.

There are many fruit trees that can accommodate temperatures of -25° Fahrenheit, including apples, apricots, pears, plums, and cherries. A few fruits, such as peaches and nectarines, start to get damaged at 14°F to 17°F, but most fruit trees do well even in cold weather.

Does this mean growers never have to cover their trees because of the temperatures? Not necessarily, but it does mean that more often than not, people can plant fruit trees without any worries. Fruit trees are deciduous trees, and most do very well when planted anywhere in Colorado.

Other fruits may not do as well as the ones mentioned above, so if people decide to grow fruit trees in their Colorado yard, it’s best if they stick with those instead of fruits such as berries, oranges, and many others.

For more details about the right fruit trees to choose for the Colorado climate, below are a handful to consider.

1. Plum Trees

Damson-Plum-Trees
Damson-Plum-Trees

When looking for perfect fruit trees for the Colorado Front Range, plums are some of the hardiest fruits there are. Some of the best plum varieties to choose include any European type, Stanley, Blue Damson, Sapalta, Green Gage, and Waneta. 

Thanks to their sturdiness and the fact that they are so easy to grow, plums are considered one of the best fruits to plant for people who live in Colorado. They are also good for use in a variety of recipes, although most people use them for jellies and preserves.

Plum trees do well in many parts of Colorado, and other varieties that work well are the Toka and Pipestone varieties. To plant plum trees, people certainly have a wide variety to choose from.

2. Berry Shrubs

Gooseberries
Yay Gooseberries

Two types of berries do well in Colorado. The first is gooseberries, especially the Invicta variety. Invicta and Welcome gooseberries are so big and juicy that people can pick them right off the branch and eat them, although they do have to look out for a few thorns.

The second type of berry that is great for Colorado weather is jostaberries, which are a mix between gooseberries and black currants. They are not as readily available as many other types of berries, but they are worth the wait because they are rich, full, and extremely tasty.

Another shrub fruit that does well in Colorado is the currant. People can choose between Alpine or Golden currants, even though the Red Lake variety seems to do best. These are very sweet fruits people can eat right off the bush.

3. Apple Trees

Apple Tree
Cindy Apple Tree

For people who want to grow apple trees in Colorado, they should find ones that ripen in early October so that the early frost doesn’t cause problems for the fruit. Many apple varieties can also grow in elevations up to 8,000 feet.

Apples have to have a cold period to set by the spring, which makes the Colorado temperatures just right. The best varieties to choose are Golden and Red Delicious, Macintosh, Honeycrisp, Cortland, Jordan, Wealthy, Granny Smith, and Gala, as well as a few others.

Apples are very versatile fruits that can be used in a variety of recipes, including pies, jellies and jams, and many more. For homeowners wanting to grow fruit trees in Colorado, they should start with something simple such as apples.

4. Peach Trees

12899044 peaches on tree
Yay Peach tree

Although they don’t do as well as apple or cherry trees, people can still plant peach trees in Colorado. They have to be aware of two things. First, they should be able to overcome early frost situations; and second, they should live in an area with warmer winters.

Some of the best peach tree varieties include Reliance and Elberta, with the latter being extremely popular with commercial growers. Both of these varieties are very hardy, but the Reliance variety is the hardiest of the two.

In fact, Reliance peach trees do well when planted all the way up to Canada, so these are a great option for people who live in Colorado. People can also use them in a variety of recipes because of the versatility and flavor they offer.

5. Cherry Trees

The good news about cherry trees and the Colorado climate is that in this state, people can successfully grow both tart and sweet cherries. Sweet cherries, however, do better in the western part of the state than they do in other parts.

North Star and Stella varieties are good suggestions, with the latter being a self-pollinating tree that does extremely well in cold weather. Growers do have to watch out for pests such as peach tree borers and cherry slugs, but otherwise the trees should do well.

Cherries are used in numerous types of desserts, including pies and tarts, as well as cakes and others. Both tart and sweet cherries have their uses, so it’s good to know that both types grow well in the state of Colorado.

6. Apricot Trees

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JumpStory Apricot tree with ripe fruits.

While apricots are not ideal for Colorado residents, people can grow this fruit if they follow a few simple rules. The main reason they don’t do as well is because they are early flowerers, which means they are subject to frost.

If growers decide to plant apricot trees, they should plant a thick wood-chip mulch in the fall after the ground has frozen. Also, Moorpark and Goldcot are two of the best varieties for this area of the country, which means these are the ones people should try first.

Apricot trees are hardy enough to last, but their susceptibility to frost is something to watch out for all season long. Nevertheless, if the growing is successful, these fruits are mighty tasty to use in a variety of recipes.

7. Pear Trees

1236141 pear tree
Yay Pear tree with fresh pear fruits.

Luscious pear is the variety to look for in Colorado. Pear trees are easy to grow and easy to maintain, and they can be eaten either fresh off the tree or in pies and tarts. 

The good thing about growing pear trees is that people only have to fertilize them once a year, provided the soil is healthy. Growers can even use fertilizer spikes for this task so that it’s easier for them.

There’s nothing like biting into a juicy pear that was picked off of a home-grown tree, and people can certainly look forward to this when they live in Colorado.

8. Nectarine Trees

7171894 nectarine fruits on a tree with red color
Yay Nectarine fruits on a tree.

Just like peaches, nectarines can be a challenge when people live in Colorado. It might be a good idea to plant them in sheltered locations because once the temperature gets down to -14°F or worse, they can suffer damages.

In fact, for both peaches and nectarines, it’s best for people who live somewhere with gradual temperature drops in the winter, not that many fluctuations in the temperature during the winter, and spring times that warm up gradually.

In other words, steady temperatures throughout the winter and spring months can help peaches and nectarines come out much tastier. If that doesn’t happen, growers should put them in a location where they are sheltered until the fruit is ripe and ready to be picked.