Stone fruit includes cherry, peach, nectarine, plum and apricot. They are handsome spring-flowering trees that produce delicious fruit in summer and autumn. For small gardens or for containers, look for dwarf forms such as Dwarf Nectarine Royal Gem or Dwarf Plum Narrabeen.
Plant potted stone fruit at any time (but avoid extremely hot or cold conditions). In winter, stone fruit are widely available bare-rooted. At planting time and to reduce transplant stress, water with Seasol or Seasol GOLD. Before planting improve soil by digging in well-rotted manure or compost or for a no dig option use Seasol Liquid Compost.
As there are many varieties choose your favourites, but if space allows grow several varieties that ripen at different times to extend the harvest season.
Some stone fruit including European plums, apricots and some cherries require cross-pollination for fruiting.
TIP: If you are unsure of the variety of a stone fruit such as cherry, peach or plum that would suit your garden, check out your hardware or garden centre, who will have expert knowledge of the varieties that will suit your location.
Aspect All stone fruit need a bright, sunny location with shelter from strong winds. Ideally, they should have sun from the morning onwards but can tolerate a little afternoon shade especially in summer.
Soil Stone fruit grow in a wide range of soils but grow best with good drainage in deep, fertile soils. Keep soil well mulched and grass in orchards regularly mown.
Climate Most stone fruit are cold climate plants that require a period of winter chill to flower and fruit, however varieties of peach, nectarine and Japanese plum may fruit in warm temperate and even subtropical climates.