Picking the right fruit tree means considering USDA plant hardiness zones and chill-hour requirements—the amount of time temps need to hover between 32°F and 45°F. This map can help you pick species that will fruit, not just flower, where you live.
Be sure to check your local cooperative extension office for fruit tree varieties that thrive in your area.
Apples (A): While these can grow across the country, colder climates favor apples and their hefty chill-hour needs. But some cultivars, like ‘Anna’ and ‘Ein Shemer,’ require just 300 chill hours in warmer areas. Most apples need a second variety to pollinate, or you can buy a tree grafted with another variety of apple.
Chill hours: 400–1000
Pears (P): Like apples, pears will fruit nearly everywhere, but some varieties like ‘Ayers’ handle Southern heat better. European cultivars like ‘Bartlett’ are best picked mature, then allowed to rest for a week at room temperature to finish ripening. Asian varieties can be left to ripen on the tree.
Chill hours: 350–900
Citrus (C): Lemons, oranges, limes, and grapefruits want zero chill hours and will often lose leaves after weeks below 50°F—making them hard to grow outside of the Sunbelt. Kumquats are some of the cold-hardiest citrus, weathering temperatures as low as 20°F. In colder zones, try potting up citrus indoors in bright sun.
Chill hours: 0
Peaches (Pc): The unofficial fruit of summer likes hot, frost-free growing conditions. In cooler climates, pick a warm spot to plant, like against a south- facing wall that will reflect heat. Or plant a cold-hardy variety such as ‘Contender.’ Peaches save space in small yards because they self-pollinate.
Chill hours: 600–800
Figs (F): These tropical fruits require long, hot summers, though they can be wrapped for protection in cold climates. Once mature, the trees can produce in summer and fall. The common fig doesn’t need cross-pollination, but its tree-ripened fruit will stay fresh for only two days in the refrigerator.
Chill hours: 100–200
Cherries (Ch): While all cherries need full sun and similar chill hours, sweet varieties like ‘Lapins’ are more finicky, requiring milder temps, low humidity, and a second variety to pollinate. Sour cherries, used for preserves, are self-pollinating, more cold tolerant, and tend to bear fruit at an earlier age.
Chill hours: 500–800