Common Name: Apricot, Armenian plum
Species: P. armeniaca
Hardiness Zone: 5 to 7
Height: 20 to 40 ft
Width: 20 to 40 ft
This tree is valued for its ornamental qualities as well as its fruit production. Apricot's showy white flowers bloom in February or March. Most varieties are self-pollinating, and flowers give way to a golden orange, edible, fleshy drupe that can be harvested in summer. The deep green leaves are ovate in shape and have serrated margins.
Where it Grows:
Apricot trees grow best in well-drained, moist soils in full sun to partial shade, though they will produce best in full sun.
How it's Used:
Apricot trees are used primarily for food production. They begin to produce fruit in their second year, but a good harvest occurs within 3 to 5 years. The fruits can be used in jellies and preserves. The fruit can also be consumed freshly picked or dried and consumed that way. The showy flowers that are produced also give it ornamental value in the early spring.
Attracts insect pollinators and can be a food source for small mammals and birds.
Where it is Native To:
Apricot trees are native to eastern Europe and western Asia.
Known Varieties and Their Traits:
'Wilson Delicious': 'Wilson Delicious' is a 15-20' tree. This cultivar features white flowers in very early spring followed by freestone apricots which ripen in early July in USDA Zone 5.
'Zaiglo' STARK GOLDEN GLO: This is a miniature that typically grows only 4-6’ tall. Miniature trees such as this bear full-size fruit, but have the advantages of fitting into smaller sites, including containers, being more manageable (easier to prune, spray and harvest), and bearing fruit at an earlier age. This cultivar features mildly sweet golden apricots that ripen in mid-July.
'Homedale' STARK SWEETHEART: This is an exclusive introduction from Stark Bro's of Louisiana, Missouri. It has an added bonus in that each freestone pit may be broken open to harvest an almond-like kernel which can be used as an almond substitute in cooking or eaten whole as a snack. This cultivar features white flowers in very early spring followed by freestone apricots which ripen in mid-July in USDA Zone 5.
The early bloom in the late winter or early spring makes it susceptible to frost damage, so planting in protected areas is important. Potential disease problems include brown rot, root rot, and bacterial leaf spot. Potential insect pests include plum curculio, borers, and aphids.
The leaves, stems, and seed pits of apricot contain cyanide so it is advised to avoid consumption of these and is not a pet-friendly tree.
The Missouri Botanical Garden