10 Fruit Trees That Can Grow in the Arizona Desert

Arizona's desert terrain has deep valleys, huge plains, and rugged mountains. Aspen and ponderosa pine communities cover this wide landscape in the upper elevations. Lower elevations have mesquite and evergreen oak bosques and patchy palo verde and ironwood woods.  

1. Low Desert and High Desert

This article defines Arizona low desert as large, flat desert plains below the Mogollon Rim. This area is called Basin and Range. The Phoenix metro area and most of southern Arizona are included.  

2. Microclimate

Microclimates can help or hurt Arizona fruit tree growers. They greatly affect fruit tree frost. When spring arrives, fruit trees bloom, but frigid conditions are conceivable. Spring frost on blooms or immature fruit is the main reason fruit growers see little fruit in summer.  

3. Zones and Chill Hour

Select fruit trees for your zone or above. USDA zones determine winter lows. Some can tolerate colder winters. Granny Smiths thrive in zones 5–9 and Honeycrisps in zones 4–8. Cooler climates suit honeycrisps.  

4. Apple

Fall recipes use apples, which many associate with home.  Apple trees are sturdy and their twisted branches age beautifully. Pink, white, or mixed blossoms are possible.  

5. Pear

From Bartletts to Boscs, Arizona pears thrive. Zones 5–8 include many pear tree varieties and sizes. The Mogollon Rim and Colorado Plateau of Arizona are hostile enough to require a standard-sized tree for winter survival.  

6. Apricots

Apricots are luscious golden balls. Many Arizona apricot growers know the gift is uncertain. Even in zones 5–8, fruit orchard apricots bloom first. Late spring frosts hinder early fruit flowering in deserts. Frosts may follow days or months of warmth.  

7. Peaches

Arizona peach growers are lucky to grow high-quality peaches! Zones 5-9 grow peaches, but zones 6 or 7 are best. For peach growers, the Mogollon Rim and Colorado Plateau are best.  

8. Persimmons

Persimmons are rare in fruit orchards but worth it. Persimmons grow in zones 5–9, therefore northern Arizona growers can enjoy them. Still-life-worthy squat fruits are pale orange with an elaborate green calyx.  

9. Plum

Most plum trees thrive in zones 5–9. This is ideal for most northern Arizona producers! Plum trees may struggle in southern Arizona's extreme heat. If you wish to plant plums, make sure you have room for more than one tree because most require a pollinator plum.  

10. Asian Pear

Asian pear, often known as “pear apple,” has white flesh with a crisp crunch and a great combination of sweet and sour covered in a gently russeted yellow to warm tawny skin. The round, fragrant fruits are fun to grasp.  

Floral Separator

Also see

10 Fruiting Trees, Shrubs and Vines That Grow in Partial Shade