12 Fastest Growing Fruit Trees for Your Backyard

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Estimated reading time: 12 minutes

Fruit trees are great, but everyone knows they take forever to produce. It’s true that you won’t get a fruit harvest the first year you plant a tree, but if you pick one of the fastest-growing fruit trees for your backyard, you might get to eat fruit sooner. 

Aside from planting the right trees, another way to get fruit earlier is by planting a grafted tree that you purchase from a nursery rather than starting trees from seeds. If you start a fruit tree from a seed, it takes much longer to receive a harvest, and some people argue that growing from seed will produce fruit that doesn’t taste like the original version. 

Instead of waiting a decade to harvest fruit from your trees, try planting one or more of these fastest-growing fruit trees.

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12 Fastest Growing Fruit Trees

Apple Tree

Apple Tree

To grow apple trees, you need to be in an area that has some cold weather, which is known as chill hours. Also, apple trees need another tree to cross-pollinate to produce fruit. Otherwise, you’ll have lovely trees without any apples. 

If you live in a region that has a milder climate, be sure to take a look for tree varieties that require low chill hours. 

Apricot Tree

Apricot Tree

Not all apricot trees grow as quickly as other ones. Two apricot varieties, in particular, grow fast – the “Moorpark” and the “Early Golden.” Both of these varieties grow well in USDA zones 5 to 8, producing white or pink blossoms that turn into delicious, flavorful fruit. 

Cherry Trees

Cherry Tree

You can give planting cherry trees a try as well. Some varieties, such as black cherries, grow three feet each season, eventually reaching 50 feet in height. Black cherries grow in USDA zones 3 to 9. You’ll love their show of white flowers in the spring, and by the summer, the trees are full of cherries. 

Citrus Trees

Orange Tree

Growing citrus trees is highly dependent on your climate and where you live. Typically, lemon and orange trees need to be planted in USDA zones nine and higher because they’re incapable of handling frosts. So, that means most people are unable to grow citrus fruits outside. 

You can grow citrus trees indoors, such as Meyer lemons and Satsuma oranges. The best varieties for containers are dwarf trees, and you bring them inside when they go dormant. 

Unlike peach trees, citrus fruit trees are self-pollinating, so you only need one tree to produce the fruit. Typically, they start producing fruit the year after they’re planted but are fully producing by three years. 

Fig Trees

Figs on Tree Branch

One day, I came home, and my husband planted a fig tree in our front garden. Surprisingly, fig trees produce quickly and are easy to grow. These trees prefer warm weather, so you need to plant them in a container and bring them inside when cold weather strikes. 

You only need to have one fig tree to produce, and it only takes two years to get fruit. Figs are self-fertile, so you don’t need to wait for them to flower. They just produce fruit. 

When left in the ground rather than brought indoors and outdoors with a container, fig trees can reach up to 30 feet tall within five years. That doesn’t mean you need to wait until you have a large tree. Our small three-foot fig tree produces plenty each year. 

Figs are growing in popularity, so you can find many different types of figs available. You can easily find one that is well-adapted to your climate zone. 

Mandarins

Mandarin Tree

Mandarins are another citrus type fruit, but it’s much easier to grow than traditional oranges or lemons. Kids love mandarins; they’re a popular snack, and you can find several dwarf varieties for different climates. You will need to grow them in containers to bring the trees in and out of your home or heated greenhouse. 

You can grow mandarin trees from seed quite easily, but it will take seven years to produce a harvest. Grafted trees create a yield two to three years after planting. 

Wherever you plan to grow your mandarin tree, be sure that it receives 5-6 hours of sunlight each day, and you provide it with slightly acidic soil. Something that you’ll like is that these plants don’t require pruning to produce so that you can take that off of your to-do list. 

Mulberry Trees

Mulberry Tree

Mulberry trees produce after one year if you start with a grafted tree. You’ll be amazed by how fast these trees can grow, typically 2.5 feet per year. The only problem with mulberries is that volunteer trees tend to pop up all over your property. 

Mulberry trees can produce for decades. A three-year-old tree can reach 12 feet tall, at a minimum. That’s impressive! Also, mulberry trees are heavy producers, so you can expect them to produce abundant harvests once the trees are well-established. 

Papaya Trees

Papaya Fruit on Tree

For those in tropical or subtropical climates, the papaya tree is a fast-growing option that can start producing fruit within the first year of planting, especially if you start with a young tree rather than seeds. Papaya trees love the heat and need to be protected from the wind. They require ample sunlight and regular watering but are relatively low-maintenance once established.

These trees are self-fertile, and many varieties are dwarf, making them suitable for smaller spaces or even container gardening. The papaya’s rapid growth and early fruiting make it an exciting choice for gardeners eager to enjoy homegrown tropical fruits without a long wait.

Peach Trees

Peach Tree

Peach trees are fun to grow and are one of the fastest choices, and while peaches and nectarines aren’t the same fruit, they do have similar growing needs. So, if you end up growing and loving peaches, give nectarines a try. 

Peach trees dislike soggy roots, so you need to be sure that you plant them in an area that has good drainage. Also, you’ll need to plant two peach trees to produce fruit, but some varieties are self-fertile. Make sure you pick two different types of trees that will bloom at the same time. They need to cross-pollinate. 

Most peach tree takes three years to fruit, but it’s dependent on how well you take care of the trees. 

Pear Tree 

Pear Tree

Another fast-growing fruit tree for your backyard is a pear tree. Depending on the variety that you select, they can be found in USDA zones 4-9. These trees can grow up to 20 feet high, producing lovely white blossoms before turning to fruit. 

Some varieties are ready to harvest in the later summer months, but some won’t ripen until the early fall. 

Plum Trees

Plums on Tree Branch

Plum trees are not only admired for their beautiful spring blossoms but also for their rapid growth rate and early fruit production. With varieties suitable for a wide range of climates, plums can be a great addition to any garden. These trees typically start bearing fruit within just a few years after planting.

Plum trees require well-drained soil and full sun exposure to thrive. While some varieties are self-pollinating, planting two different varieties can ensure a more reliable and abundant harvest. Whether you choose European plums for their sweet, deep flavors or Japanese plums for their juicier and larger fruits, you’re in for a treat with fast-growing plum trees.

Pomegranate Trees

Pomegranate Fruits on Branch

Pomegranate trees are known for their resilience, drought tolerance, and relatively fast growth, making them an excellent choice for gardeners looking to enjoy fruit quickly. While they can take a few years to start producing fruit, with proper care, you might see your first harvest as soon as the second or third year after planting.

These trees prefer hot summers and cool winters, thriving in USDA zones 7-10. Pomegranates are self-fertile, so you only need one tree to produce fruit. The tree’s stunning orange-red flowers add beauty to any garden, and its fruit is packed with health benefits, making it a doubly rewarding choice.

Tips for Growing Dwarf Fruit Trees

In most cases, growing dwarf fruit trees is part of the solution if you want fast-growing trees. These trees reach a height of 10 feet or less, in general, but some can be as small as three feet at full maturity. Despite their smaller size, their fruit is normal-sized, so you aren’t ripped off getting tiny apples.

Here are some tips and suggestions when growing dwarf fruit trees.

Always Look at Chill Hours

Some fruit trees need a specific number of days when the temperatures are at or below 45℉ every winter into spring. This period ends their dormancy, encouraging the tree to flower and start the process of bearing fruit. 

If you live somewhere warm, such as Texas, you might want a try with low-chill hours required. 

Know Their Heat Tolerance

What type of weather does the tree prefer? Apples need cool nights and warm days. Peaches prefer long, hot summers, but cherries prefer a cooler climate. You need to make sure the fruit tree you select can handle the average summer heat for your area. 

Look At Pollination Needs

Some trees need to have a second tree nearby for cross-pollination. You don’t always need to have two of the same varieties, but you do need to purchase two trees at once. Other trees self-pollinate! 

Pick The Right Container Size

You CAN grow dwarf fruit trees in containers, but you need to make sure you have the right container size. Look for a 15-20 gallon container with holes for drainage at the bottom of the pot. Consider adding rocks at the bottom of the container to help with drainage. 

Dig A Deep Enough Hole

Digging a hole that is deep enough for your tree is essential. The hole should be 12-18 inches deep and wide, at minimum. Also, make sure that you pick an area that gets 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. 

When you put the tree into the hole, make sure the grafted joint stays two inches above the soil. The joint should be visible at the base of the tree. 

Don’t Overwater

Trees need and love water, but dwarf fruit trees don’t need or want to be overwatered. This tip is especially true if you’re growing your tree in a container. Watering once or twice per week is sufficient. If you encounter a hot, dry week in the summer, you might need to add a third watering, but that shouldn’t be all of the time. 

Make Sure to Feed Your Tree

Feeding your tree is an important step not to forget. Add compost around your tree once or twice a year. Try watering it with compost tea and using supplements for the soil. Feeding your tree is particularly important if you’re growing trees in containers. 

Who wants to wait for years and years to eat fresh apples from their tree? Not you! While you might add some traditional fruit trees to your property, you also can and should add some of the fastest-growing fruit trees. That way, you can have a fruit harvest by the second or third year after planting! 

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