Apricot (Prunus armeniaca) trees produce delicious fruit in summer and growing your own means the fruit can be enjoyed when they are sweet and meltingly ripe, unlike shop-bought fruit, which must be harvested early to be transported while firm. Apricot trees can be grown successfully outside in warmer parts of the UK, notably the south-east of England. Elsewhere, because the beautiful pink blossom is borne in early spring and is therefore liable to frost damage, only grow apricots in large pots and keep under cover for the colder months. When planted in the right conditions, an apricot tree should start producing fruit within two or three years and live for decades.
Only one tree is needed to produce fruit as apricots are self-fertile, bearing male and female flowers on the same tree. Generally, apricot trees are relatively high maintenance because the blossom usually needs protecting from frost in late winter, then in summer the fruit needs protection from birds and wasps in order to ripen fully on the tree, which gives the best flavour and texture. All parts of apricot trees, other than the flesh of the fruits, are harmful to pets and humans if eaten.
Apricot tree size and rootstocks
Apricot trees vary considerably in size from as little as 1.2m in height to 5m, according to the type of rootstock they are grafted onto.
Grow an apricot either as a free-standing bushy tree or train as a fan against a wall. Ready-grown fan-trained trees are available to buy, although they are expensive.
How to grow an apricot tree
Grow apricots in fertile soil in a sunny, sheltered site in the ground or grow compact varieties in a large pot. Water and feed in spring, hand-pollinate the flowers if growing under cover, and thin out
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