Walking out into your backyard on a bright summer morning to pick some perfectly ripe raspberries, or enjoying a juicy, home-grown peach from your very own tree, or making a lovely cherry pie out of the tart cherries harvested from your own garden are some small pleasures that are hard to beat. Plus, with the price of fresh fruit in the grocery stores, how can you not justify simply growing your own fruit right out of your own backyard or garden? To help inspire you to grow your own fruit, we have put together a list of some of the best fruit trees to plant in Northern Colorado.
Best Apple Trees to Grow in Colorado
There are many different varieties of apple trees that are hardy and will grow well in Colorado’s arid climate. In general, if you are going to plant an apple tree, it is best to plant more than one variety. This encourages the productivity of both of the trees if they both bloom at the same time and are within a quarter-mile of each other. This is the distance a bee can fly and making sure they are within range of each other helps with the pollination of the trees when they are in bloom.
This classic variety of apple trees produces sweet and tart fruit that is ideal for a variety of uses. They are wonderful raw and also serve as excellent fruit for cooking and baking. Jonathan apple trees grow approximately 15-20 feet in height and spread, are hardy to zone 4, and can be planted at the maximum elevation of 8,500 feet.
This variety is quite popular and is a cross between Kidd’s Orange Red apples and Golden Delicious apples. Being one of the most widely grown varieties in the world, this apple tree produces fruit reliably and is delicious to eat with its sweet, punchy flavor. Gala apple trees grow approximately 12-16 feet in height and spread and are hardy to zone 4 with a max elevation of 7,500 feet.
Honeycrisp apples have to be a favorite for the majority of people out there. They have a wonderful sweetness to them and are perfectly crispy and juicy. Another perk of these apples is that they store very well and can last up to five months after harvesting. This variety of apple trees grows approximately 12-16 feet in height and spread, are hardy to zone 4, and can be planted at a max elevation of 7,000 feet.
Red Delicious Apple
Possibly some of the most aesthetically pleasing, Red Delicious apples grow large and are deep red in color with a satisfyingly sweet flavor. Allow these apples to ripen on the tree for best results! These trees must be properly thinned in order for the tree to produce a full crop every year. Red Delicious apple trees grow to be 12-16 feet in height and spread. They are hardy to zone 4 and can be planted anywhere under 8,500 feet in elevation.
Best Apricot Trees to Grow in Colorado
Apricot trees can be somewhat hard to collect a harvest from due to the late spring frosts we often experience here in Colorado. So, if you are wanting to plant an apricot tree purely for the fruit they produce, you may be disappointed. There is a chance of the tree producing fruit if the cold weather stays away, but this is hard to predict here in Northern Colorado. The good thing is these trees are good for more than their fruit! They also make a lovely addition to any landscape with their ornamental qualities, beautiful fall color, and lovely spring foliage. These trees do best when planted in close proximity to another variety of apricot trees.
This variety of apricot trees produces fruit that is high in sugar content, making them sweeter than most fruit and perfect for canning at home. These trees reach approximately 10-20 feet tall and around 10-20 feet wide. They are hardy to zone 5 and can be planted at a maximum elevation of 6,000 feet.
Goldcot apricot trees are hardier than other varieties and can withstand cold winters. They are self-pollinating, however, it is still recommended to plant two varieties for the best results. The fruit of this tree is deep and tangy and is wonderful eaten fresh or canned. These trees grow around 15-20 feet tall and wide, are hardy to zone 4, and can be planted at a max elevation of 6,500 feet.
Some Other Apricot Varieties to Check Out:
Moongold Apricot trees and Sungold Apricot trees are two more varieties that can grow well in Colorado. Both of these varieties must be planted together for proper pollination.
Best Cherry Trees to Grow in Colorado
Cherry trees are also a lovely addition to any yard. Sour cherries are self-fertile and do not need a second variety planted nearby for favorable results. Sweet cherries however are not self-fertile and do need a second tree planted in the vicinity. In the case of sweet cherries, either another sweet or sour cherry tree will work as a pollinator. Sweet cherry trees are also more sensitive to the cold and the fruit they produce can be easily compromised if spring frosts occur.
Possibly the most popular of the sweet cherries, Bing cherries are large and deliciously sweet. As said above, these trees do need a pollinator tree planted nearby. These cherries make for a refreshing snack and are also wonderful to bake with. Bing cherry trees will grow approximately 15 feet tall with a 12-foot spread. They are hardy to zone 4 and can be planted at a max elevation of 7,500 feet.
This variety of cherry is the finest of sour cherries and is often used in pies or other baked goods. They produce a bountiful harvest and do not require a pollinator to produce fruit. Montmorency cherries produce fruit at a young age, are hardy to zone 5, and can be planted at 7,500 feet elevation or below. They can reach 15 feet in height and 10 feet wide at maturity.
Some Other Cherry Varieties to Check Out:
Bali Cherry trees, Northstar Cherries, and Stella Cherry trees are three more options that also grow well in Northern Colorado’s arid environment. Bali Cherries in particular are more cold-hardy, with the buds being able to withstand temperatures as low as -43 degrees.
Best Peach Trees to Plant in Colorado
Who doesn’t love a perfectly ripe and juicy peach on a hot summer day? Peach trees are self-fertile, so you can plant just one and still expect a harvest. While peach trees are not as sensitive to cold weather as apricot trees are, the buds will still die if exposed to freezing temperatures. For this reason, it is not always a guarantee that your tree will produce fruit.
This variety is arguably the most popular peach tree across the world. The fruit is rich and juicy, making it perfect for eating fresh, canning, freezing, or baking. These trees reach an approximate height of 15 feet and often grow to have around a 12-foot spread. They are hardy to zone 5 and can be planted at a max elevation of 6,500 feet.
These peach trees are a wonderful choice for those wishing to plant in a colder area. Reliance peach trees are hardy to -20 degrees and produce a fairly reliable crop of picture-perfect peaches that are medium-sized and deliciously juicy. These trees reach 15 feet in height and have a 12-foot spread. They are hardy to zone 4 and can be planted at up to 7,500 feet in elevation.
Some Other Peach Varieties to Check Out:
Polly peach and Red Haven peach trees are also great options for your backyard or garden. Polly peaches produce fruit with white flesh that is sweet and juicy, and it is also hardy to -20 degrees. Red Haven peaches also make for a fantastic addition to your home garden, though they do tend to bloom early and can be more likely to sustain damage in the early spring months.
Best Pear Trees to Grow in Colorado
Most pear trees need another variety planted in the vicinity to encourage a better yield. Ornamental pears will work as a pollinator for other pear tree varieties. Encourage the development of healthy fruit by periodically removing imperfect or damaged fruit from the tree. Heavy frosts will damage the fruit, however, most pear trees are fairly hardy and will grow well in Colorado.
This variety of pear trees is very hardy and fireblight resistant. They have an earlier harvest season compared to most pears due to the fact that the fruit is best consumed slightly before it reaches full ripeness. Slightly un-ripened fruit is firm and crisp with a satisfying sweet flavor. It grows to be 12 feet tall and 10 feet wide, is hardy to zone 4, and can be planted at up to 8,000 feet in elevation.
These trees do need a pollinator. They are hardy to as low as -50 degrees, making them ideal for colder locations. The fruit is tender, fine-grained, and wonderfully juicy. They reach a mature height of 15 feet and have a spread of 10 feet. They can be planted in zone 4 at a max elevation of 8,000 feet.
This variety of pear trees produces small, lightly colored pears that are sweet and juicy and ideal for desserts. They are very hardy, are resistant to fireblight, and they do need a pollinator for best results. They grow to 12 feet tall and 10 feet wide, are hardy to zone 4 and can be planted at a max elevation of 7,500 feet.
Best Plum Trees to Grow in Colorado
Plums are a great addition to your yard and, depending on the variety, are delicious when consumed fresh. They can also be canned, made into jams and jellies, and more! Two varieties not listed below that grow well in Colorado are Mount Royal plum trees and Superior plum trees. Both grow 15 feet tall, 10 feet wide, are hardy to zone 4, and can be planted at up to 7,500 feet.
This variety of plum trees is one of the best tasting and most reliable of all the plum trees out there. The fruit is juicy, sweet, and firm. This variety is self-fertile but does benefit from having a pollinator. Stanley plum trees bear a huge crop and their fruit is high in sugar content making them ideal for drying. These trees grow to reach 15 feet in height and can reach a 12-foot spread. They are hardy to zone 5 and can be planted at 8,500 feet in elevation.
Best Grape Varieties to Grow in Colorado
Grapes are so fun to grow. If you have a trellis or pergola, plant them so they vine up the structure. Not only will this provide you with natural shade, but it will also cool the area and give you fresh fruit dangling from above. Grapevines do require a lot of pruning. This helps keep the vines in control in such a way that you can harvest the fruit easily. It will also help regulate the crop to make sure you get a full harvest every year.
Concord grapes are the dominant cold variety for cold climates. They are cold hardy and can be planted in zone 5 at up to a max elevation of 6,500 feet. The fruit is black/blue in color. They are great tasting straight off the vine and can also be used in jams and jellies, juice, homemade wine, and more. These vines can reach 20-25 feet tall with a 4-foot spread.
Himrod grapes are one of the hardiest varieties. They are white in color and are seedless, making them great for eating straight off the vine. They can also be dried and eaten as raisins. This variety can tolerate a wide variety of soil conditions, can be planted in zone 5 up to 6,500 feet in elevation, and will grow to 20-25 feet tall and 4 feet wide.
Best Raspberry Varieties to Plant in Colorado
For both raspberries and blackberries, it is best to cut the fruit-bearing canes of your raspberry plant back to ground level once the last of the berries have been picked. This encourages new growth and better productivity within the plant, ensuring that you will have a healthy harvest year after year!
This consistent producer of large, high-quality berries is a widely popular plant for many reasons. The berries are great for every use, whether it is for eating fresh, for canning, baking, freezing, or making jams and jellies. They are self-pollinating and grow vigorously. They typically reach a mature size of 3-4 feet tall and wide. They are hardy to zone 5 and can withstand a max elevation of 7,000 feet.
This variety of raspberry has a superior shelf life compared to other raspberry varieties. Kiwigold raspberries are yellow in color and are sweet and full of flavor. They are hardy to zone 4, reach a mature height and spread of approximately 3-4 feet, and can be planted at up to 7,000 feet.
Some Other Raspberry Varieties to Check Out:
Autumn Bliss raspberries and Heritage raspberries are two more wonderful and delicious varieties you can plant here in Colorado. Hardy to zone 3 and 4 respectively, Autumn Bliss raspberries are known for their large berries and superior flavor, while the Heritage variety is known for medium-sized berries that are perfect for eating fresh, baking with, as well as freezing for later use.
Best Blackberry Varieties to Plant in Colorado
Blackberries are quite the treat. They are sweet, tart, and refreshing and are impossible to resist in a number of dishes, desserts, and other goodies. Both blackberry and raspberry bushes should be cut back after the last berries have been picked. By cutting back the canes that produced berries, the plant is encouraged to grow new shoots. Cut back only the canes that produced fruit and be sure to cut them back to ground level. Leave the canes that did not produce fruit, as these will be the canes that produce fruit in the upcoming season.
Black Satin Blackberry
This variety of blackberries produces an impressive yield of large black fruit that is sweet and slightly tart. This variety is heat tolerant, hardy to zone 5, and can be grown at a max elevation of 6,500 feet. They grow approximately 5-6 feet tall and have a 6-foot spread.
Best Strawberry Varieties to Plant in Colorado
Strawberries are a great addition to any yard, garden, or landscape. Most varieties are fairly low-growing, making for nice a nice ground cover plant. They also add a nice touch to the flowerpots or hanging baskets on your patio. If you ever need to transplant your strawberry plants, it is best to wait for the fall once they have finished producing fruit. Transplanting them in the spring will not kill them, but it is a shock to the plant and can lower the plant's productivity for that season.
These strawberry plants are definitely one of the hardiest varieties around. The fruit is good for a number of uses, including eating fresh and freezing for later. They produce fruit all summer long until the first frost and can grow to be 8-12 inches in height and 12-15 inches wide. Pinching off the blooms during the first year will help promote a larger harvest for the years to come. Plant Ogallala strawberries in zone 4 at a maximum elevation of 7,000 feet.
Honeoye strawberries are known for their sweet, firm, and juicy fruit. They arguably have the best-tasting fruit of all the various types of strawberries. They are vigorous growers and can easily reach a height of 12-18 inches while achieving a spread of approximately 6-12 inches. This variety is hardy to zone 3 and can withstand a max elevation of 7,000 feet.
As you can see, there are so many options for fruits that you can grow in your backyard or garden in Northern Colorado. While this list of options has hopefully provided you with plenty of ideas, the varieties that are conducive to our arid environment are not limited to this list! So, if you have any questions regarding other compatible varieties, or what varieties we have in stock here at Bath Garden Center, give Fort Collins boutique a call! We are always happy to help and will do our very best to find the perfect fit for you and your space.
Miller, Craig R. "Fabulous Fruits for Front Range Gardeners." Castle Pines North Metropolitan District. Web. Date Accessed: 27 July 2021. Retrieved from: https://cpnmd.org/site_media/media/servee_documents/Fabulous_Fruits_for_Front_Range_Gardeners_Uiup0GV.pdf