Growing Nectarine Trees: How to Plant and Care For This Marvelous Stone Fruit

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Know that nectarines, delicious, easygoing stone fruits, need a cold winter to grow. They are, however, more forgiving when it comes to growing.

Therefore, try growing nectarines if you like summer stone fruit. You’ll succeed if you use simple planning and orchard care. Are you ready? Let’s move on.

What is a Nectarine Tree?

Prunus persica var. nectarines) A natural mutation from peach trees is thought to have given rise to nucipersica) in China. One gene distinguishes nectarines and peaches, making them genetically distinct species. The hairy and smooth-skinned peaches are due to this.

Nectarines eventually traveled via Persia before arriving in Greece and Rome. The Spanish were the ones who brought them to the New World.

The climate in California, where 95% of all nectarines grown in the United States are grown, is ideal for nectarines.

Best Nectarine Varieties for the Home Garden

Nectarines come in about 50 different varieties, each of which prefers a slightly different climate and temperatures. Ask around about what works best in your area, and you’ll get some good advice.

Because there are so many varieties, you may find one that suits the conditions well, so check out what variety grows well in your area.

Freestone and clingstone nectarines are the two types. The flesh of freestone variants pulls away from the stone with ease. Clingstone types have a type of flesh that adheres to the stone.

Know about the requirements for a cool hour. To create fruit, these trees require around 300 to 800 hours of chilling below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. To ensure that your region experiences enough chilly days, check the variety you’re examining.

Common and popular nectarine types include the following:


This is the kind of nectarine you’re looking for if you want it to survive. It’s a trustworthy self-pollinator who enjoys his freedom. It’s a freestone that can tolerate temperatures as low as -30°F during the winter.

Double Delight

‘Double Delight’ is a fantastic tree if you live in a mild climate. It’s a big cropper and self-pollinates. Around July, the fruit is ready to be picked.

This is a medium-sized nectarine variety that is freestone. Try this super sweet freestone variety in Zones 6 to 10.

Pacific Pride

This is a leaf curl resistant variety that is fairly recent. It can survive temperatures as low as -20°F and is a hard cropper. ‘Pacific Pride’ thrives in Zones 5 to 9, where harvest occurs in August. Its skin is crimson, and its flesh is white and extremely sweet.

Gold Mine

‘Gold Mine’ is a excellent option if you reside in a place with milder winters. It doesn’t need chilly temperatures, like some nectarine types, and takes less chilling time.

The fruit is huge and the tree is a prolific bearer, so it’s easy to pollinate yourself. ‘Gold Mine’ self-pollinates and thrives in low temperatures. In Zones 5 to 9, the fruit is a freestone variety that ripens around August.


Sunglo is a great option if you want to freeze your nectarine flesh for smoothies. It’s a nice plant to have around because it freezes well. See if you can get your hands on ‘Sunglo,’ which is a great resource for growing nectarines.

It doesn’t need much fertilizer or pruning, and you don’t have to trim it as much. Zones 5 to 8, and hardy down to -28°F.


This is a good option if you live in a northern climate. The fruit is a excellent variety to consume fresh and has a nice yellow flesh. It is hardy down to -28°F and thrives in Zones 5 to 8.


‘Flavortop,’ a firm yellow-fleshed variety, is perfect for making pies and desserts. This is a prolific tree that produces a lot of blossoms in the spring, ripening in July. It’s a nice companion for any later variety. Zones 5 to 9 are suitable for Hardy.


Canning and baking are great skills to have. Late July through early August is the harvest season. This is a highly fruitful tree, but for a excellent, well-balanced crop, it requires some care. Zones 5 through 8, and down to -20°F, are ideal.

Red Gold

‘Red Gold’ is resistant to the cracking or splitting of nectarines because you have grown them before and discovered they are prone. In Zones 5 to 9 and down to -20°F, this is a hardy variety. Pink flowers will cover ‘Red Gold’ in the spring.

Propagating Nectarine Trees From Seed

The one you get from the nearby nursery, which is suited for your region, will be the most dependable nectarine tree. You can grow a nectarine tree from seed for entertainment or to save money. It might take up to four years for anything to happen (assuming it does), but it’s a fun exercise.

To replicate the natural seasonal cycle, you’ll need to stratify the seed. For up to four months, the seed must be chilled at temperatures of 32-40°F, although two months is usually sufficient.

  • Remove the nectarine fruit’s hard seed from its pit. Make the job simpler by allowing the pit to air dry for a few days. A hammer was lightly tapped against the pit’s sharp end. On a concrete path, I do this. Don’t crush the seed inside by hitting the flat side.
  • For 24 hours, put the seeds in a jar of water. Throw away any floats that do not sprout.
  • Spray the remaining seeds with water wrapped in paper towels.
  • Place the paper towel package in a sealable plastic bag and put this in the fridge.
  • Every 15 to 20 days, check the seeds for mold and replace any that develop. If your new towels become dry, spray them with water.
  • You can plant the seed in a small pot of seed-raising soil after it has germinated. Plant it an inch deep and keep the soil moist.
  • After you’ve repotted it into a bigger container and hardened it off for a week, plant it outside.

How to Care For Nectarine Trees

USDA Growing Zones 5-10 are ideal for nectarine trees. Plant them in a location with full sun but sheltered from strong winds during late winter to early spring.

A soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0 is ideal. Since you don’t want the roots to sit in wet soil, make sure the ground is free-draining. It should retain moisture but not be saturated.

Put mulch around the tree’s base, but not on top of it. You don’t want to promote illness or other problems.

Every week, give two gallons of water to a new nectarine tree. If it rains on a regular basis, the tree will need around an inch of water each week. Ensure that you don’t provide any more if it gets enough.

Fertilizing and Pruning Nectarine Trees

Fertilization is beneficial to nectarine plants. Early in the spring, provide this. Fertilize with a high phosphorous fertilizer that has little nitrogen.

Both the health of the tree and a bumper harvest require pruning. During the tree’s dormant season, prune it in the winter. Any diseased branches, as well as those that are packed or rubbing against other branches, should be pruned first.

Second-year wood supports nectarines. This implies that the crop will be two years old or older.

Best Companion Plants for Nectarine Trees

Here are some of the best options for planting near your tree:

  • Coriander, dill, chives, garlic, onions, and nasturtiums are all examples of strong-smelling plants. Aphids, mites, and certain borers are all repelled by these plants.
  • Marigolds
  • Mint
  • Tansy
  • Bee balm
  • Bergamot
  • Comfrey

Problems and Solutions for Growing Nectarines

All stone fruit trees, including nectarines, are susceptible to specific illnesses and insects. The most common problems that you should be on the lookout for are listed below.

Bacterial Canker

On the tree, bacterial canker appears as sticky bumps. The fruit may also develop dark, sunken patches that look like they’ve been drenched in water. There may be some limb die-back as well.

The bacteria Pseudomonas syringae, which resides in plant material and is carried by water, causes bacterial canker.

Keeping the tree as healthy as possible by providing proper nutrition, planting, and watering is the best way to prevent bacterial canker. You should also remove injured or diseased limbs as soon as you see them. Don’t bother with fungicides since they don’t work.

Tarnished Plant Bug

The toxins are injected into the tree’s shoots and buds by the winged insect Lygus lineolaris. The shoots and fruit become distorted as a result of this. Hundreds of different plant species are eaten by these insects, which cause massive destruction and spread disease.

The toxins are injected into the tree’s shoots and buds by this winged bug (Lygus lineolaris). The shoots and fruit become misshapen as a result of this. Hundreds of plant species are eaten by these insects, which causes serious damage and spreads disease.

This insect is resistant to the majority of home pesticides. The bigger weapons are required in this case. A pyrethrin-based knockdown insecticide may be used. These bugs are also consumed by parasitic wasps.

Leaf Roller

The Tortricidae family of moths includes leaf rollers. They make little silk nests in the pages of your trees, which may harm your plant’s health. Here’s a guide on how to recognize and handle leaf rollers.

Leaf Curl

Every few weeks, use a copper fungicide and 1% horticultural oil to treat the entire tree.

Burn as many of these leaves as you can get off the ground. Otherwise, stuff them in a trash bag and toss them away. Don’t compost them.

Kreibich is a hardy plant.

Brown Rot

The fungus Monolinia fructicola causes the disease brown rot, which is a fungal disease. The fruit becomes brown and mushy when it infects a tree. The piece starts to deteriorate, making it useless.

In the autumn, apply a high-quality copper fungicide. In the spring, spray again. You may want to spray again a few weeks before harvest in places where you have this issue constantly. Any withholding period should be included in the instructions on the bottle.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew affects a wide range of plants and is a very typical problem. Fungi known as Sphaerotheca pannosa or Podosphaera leucotricha cause this disease in nectarines. For more information, read our guide to powdery mildew.


If you have a warm spring with high humidity, scab is a fungal disease caused by Cladosporium carpophilum that may appear. When humidity reaches roughly 70%, lesions develop on the fruit. Lesions develop spores that overwinter for the following season and are green or grey in color.

Apply an organic fungicide three weeks and five weeks after the tree blooms if you have high humidity in the spring or a history of scab in the area.

Harvesting and Using Nectarines

If possible, harvest nectarines in the morning while it’s chilly. The background color should be yellow, and the fruit should gently pull away. While they taste best when they develop on the tree until they yield slightly when squeezed, you may pick a little early and store the fruit in paper bags.

Harvesting hard fruits with a green backdrop is not yet ready.

They can be kept in the fridge for up to three weeks, although they are best when consumed immediately.

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