When the days become shorter, you might think that the gardening season has ended but there are quite a few fruits that grow in the winter. However, your green thumb does not have to hibernate. You can garden in cold weather if you pick wisely.
When picking fruits that grow in the winter, you will have to factor in your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone. The United States Department of Agriculture sectioned the country into 13 zones. The zones let you know what will grow in your area. The guide also gives you an understanding of when you can safely plant.
In USDA Zone 3 and Zone 4 the temperature often dips to -30 to -40 degrees. Fahrenheit Zone 5 to Zone 7 can reach 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite the extremely cold temperatures, there are fruits that can tolerate the nosedive in mercury.
Pick from the following fruits for cold climates.
- Honeycrisp apples
If you live in an area with extreme weather and you want to plant a pear tree then try to pick a planting location that provides bright, direct sunlight to meet the tree’s needs.
Fruits that ripen when the temperature is below zero are exceedingly rare. During such extreme weather, you might have to purchase your fruit.
Raspberry bushes are cold-weather lovers They grow well in the mountains and can be found as far north as Wisconsin. Your best bet is to pick varieties that produce either red or yellow berries. The thornless varieties are not as cold hardy.
Plant raspberry bushes in full sunlight for best results. Pick a well-drained planting location (sandy soil is ideal). Try to find a somewhat sheltered spot because the plants don’t like the wind. Planting the berry bushes on a slope does afford some protection in adverse weather. Raspberry bushes grow best in areas with consistent cold weather because they hate fluctuation. Typically, the berries will persist on the shrubs all the way into January.
Plant raspberries in the spring months. Mulch around the plant and lightly water when needed. Avoid deep watering methods. The plant will set berries which will persist even after the snow falls which makes them a valuable wintertime fruit snack.
A USDA Zone 8 or Zone 9 is warmer and provides plenty of growth opportunities. In such areas, the temperature rarely drops below freezing (32 degrees F.) Although the areas grow cold, they are not brutal which affords you plenty of fruit choices. Citrus fruits grow well in such locations.
Best winter fruits to grow in warmer climates:
- Mandarin oranges
- Winter squash
- Passion fruit
Kiwis are ideal. They grow well on vigorous vines and ripen during the winter and spring months. The only drawback about the hardy vines is that they require a great deal of support because they can quickly reach 40 feet.
In Zone 11, the weather is extremely warm and tropical. In the United States, the only areas that are considered a USDA Zone 11 are in southern Florida and the coastal area of Los Angeles. In such areas, you can grow many fruits and vegetable year-round. In fact, they are the best locations for cold-weather fruit growth.
In such locations, growing grapefruit is ideal in the winter months. The fruits will ripen in January. In such location’s grapefruit grows well. You can even start the shrubs and trees from seed. Simply obtain the grapefruit seeds from the fruit’s core. Place the seeds in a pot filled with potting soil. Cover the seeds with a couple of inches of dirt. Pick a location that provides ample sunlight. Keep the soil moist but not overly soggy for best performance.
Persimmons are another fruity wintertime treat. The round, brilliant orange or red fruit is ripe in the fall and early winter. The fruits look amazing and are about the size of a cherry tomato but exceptionally heavy. Many people use persimmons in bread and to create a tasty liqueur.
Puerto Rico is classified as a Zone 12 and 13. The temperature is extremely warm, even hot during the winter months. The average year-round temperature hovers at 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Interestingly very few fruits can withstand the non-stop onslaught of heat month after month. However, you do have a few options for fruits that grow in the winter.
The best fruit choice for such areas is the pineapple. It takes up to two years to mature but does well and will produce fruit eventually.
Buy a ripe pineapple and cut the crown off the fruit. Cut back the lower leaves and then plant the exposed stalk directly in the soil. Water it lightly and place the planter in direct sunlight. Eventually, the pineapple will take root and grow. You can then transplant it into the garden in a sunny spot.
The lovely Hawthorne tree will grow well even in the snow. The tree produces brilliant red berries that are edible and delicious. However, the seeds of the berries are not edible and considered poisonous. The Hawthorne tree’s berries appear in late fall and early winter. As the berries ripen, they will stay on the tree until mid to late winter. Although not a conventional berry. Many people enjoy the fruit. You can also cut the berry-laden branches to create wintertime bouquets and wreaths.
The mountain ash is another tree that sports edible berries. The tree grows wild throughout much of eastern North America, but it does not grow well at lower elevations. The fruits are collected in the winter months for use in jellies and jams. The berries must be cooked to break down the cyanide, so they are safe for consumption. Harvest the fruits in the winter months and then enjoy the preserves year-round. They are highly nutritious.