Apricot – grow your own

Small sweet, juicy fruits. Apricots are not only tasty but also full of beneficial vitamin A. So why not plant your own apricot tree in the garden this year? You will be richly rewarded.

Scientific name (Latin): Prunus armeniaca

Family: Plum genus

The sweet and tasty apricot belongs to the plum family . It is similar in appearance to the nectarine or peach , but the surface is smooth and hairless.

The fruit grows wild on mountain slopes in central Asia and is sometimes called the Armenian plum, but even in Ukraine apricot kernels have been found in very old settlements and it is said that the fruit came to Europe with the Romans. 

This is how you succeed with apricots

To succeed with apricots, it is important to give the tree the right conditions. Actually, it means trying to mimic the environment of the wild apricot trees as much as possible.

In the south where the winters are mild (zone 1–2) the apricot tree can be planted outdoors, but in the colder zones it is better to have the tree in a pot and to bring it inside during the winter. Please store it in a cool and bright place.

You can also grow apricots in a greenhouse or have a pot-grown tree on a dwarf stem, which produces nice little trees.

If the tree is outside and begins to flower in March-April, before the risk of night frost is over, it is wise to try to slow down the flowering with burlap. If this is not possible, protect the tree against the cold with fiber cloth.

The flowers later need to be pollinated. If the bees have not woken up after their winter rest, you can manage the pollination yourself by dabbing the flowers with a brush. After pollination, the flowers cannot withstand temperatures lower than 4 degrees. However, it is only the flowers that are sensitive to cold, the tree itself is often resistant, some varieties can withstand temperatures down to 35 degrees below zero.

Apricot planting

Are you looking for an apricot tree in the garden? Regardless of the planting method, you will be richly rewarded – not only with fruit but also with early spring flowering. The flowers are white and light pink, while the tree’s bark eventually turns reddish-brown, which provides a nice contrast. The fruits turn yellow, but with enough sun they can turn red-cheeked.

  • You can plant an ordinary apricot kernel, but it is much faster – and easier – to buy a ready-made plant.
  • Feel free to plant the tree in the spring, or even better during the damp autumn.
  • The apricot tree wants a proper pit, which is also at least 1.5 meters wide. Plant the plant at the same depth as it was in the pot and give it good support.
  • The soil should be calcareous and well-drained. In the wild, the trees grow in nutrient-poor soil.
  • Then water well and press gently into the soil.

Apricot tree care – Apricot pruning

The tree is pruned directly at planting if it is to be trellised, or not at all if you want a free form. It is then rejuvenated and thinned in future years.

It is best to prune the apricot tree during JAS, i.e. during the months of July to September. The flowers and fruit then come on young shoots that are no more than three years old.

If the tree is trellised and the branches lie horizontally, it gets more flowers and thus more fruit. 

Water regularly

Don’t forget to water the tree regularly! If it doesn’t rain, and the tree dries up, it sheds its leaves and then you don’t get any fruit.