Best apricot varieties for southern California


@JamesN how many chill hours do you get in your location? Do you get below freezing temperatures in the spring that may zap blooms/fruitlets. I saw in another post that you live in Poway, which has some elevation, so perhaps you get enough chilling hours to allow you to expand beyond the very low chill varieties.


Somewhere around 300 hours. This is avocado country. It’s definitely not a high chill climate. It really is low chill. But it is higher chill than the coastal areas.

I don’t think Southern California coastal and Southern California inland are the same climates. Sometimes we forget to differentiate them. I am definitely southern California inland.


Do you know your elevation? Do you have other stone fruit trees? Which varieties?


Everything along Highway 15 is the same elevation. It is so low nobody really pays attention to it. I am sure it is less than 1000 feet. I have mountain biked to the ocean from here and there isn’t much downhill.Yes, I grow a great diversity of varieties because I don’t trust chill estimates unless they have been validated. And almost none of them have.

A lot of chill estimates come from bloom dates. So if something blooms late they assume it is high chill. That is proving to be incorrect in many cases.

That being said, I do think we are in a good climate. I don’t want to create false hopes. The higher the temperature swings in the winter the more confused the plants get. So if you are in the southwest desert or a climate like that it can be really disheartening to try to grow these. I think I am just close enough to the coast to temper that. And just far enough that I get more chill.


I see you are in Delaware. Are you getting the late frosts that kill your buds? My brother in Denver struggles with that. I got that bad in 2017 but most years I am okay. Only my bananas and avocados suffer from the frost.

My late blooming varieties are Steindorf, Moorpark, Sparks, Hemskirke, Alameda hemskirke, Tomcot. Most of those are just grafts though. I also have a seedling of Anya. I did what Stan did, I planted seeds of Candycots from Andy Mariani. I did not do it right, just threw the seeds on the ground, so I only got 1 seedling. If I were in your zone I would find that to be a fun experiment.

Sounds like you are in a great zone.


Yes, in Delaware. Climate here for high chill fruit growing is much better than most of the country except pacific states. We still suffer from late frosts once every five years or so. Our biggest problems are too much rain, disease and somewhat short season (April to October). I wish I can grow in ground figs and citrus, and be able to pick apples in January :slight_smile:


Tomcot is an early bloomer for me, this year it started blooming Feb 18. Moorpark is a mid-season bloomer, Feb 27 this year. Spark’s Mammoth, Steindorf Blenheim, Hemskirke, and Alameda Hemskirke are also mid-season bloomers, just a few days after Moorpark.


Hi Stan,

Your dates help give outside reference. Those I called late are probably just late for me but actually are midseason.

What are your top late blooming apricots?


Many white apricots are late bloomers, including Afghanistan, Lasgerdi Mashhad and Zard (interestingly, Moniqui, another similar white apricot, blooms quite earlier). Many of my Anya seedlings bloom late. Ilona, Florilege, Roxburgh Red, and Hoyt Montrose also bloom late, but they didn’t fruit for me yet (Roxburgh Red actually produced a couple of fruits but too early to tell how good it is).


would this be a signal to say Moniqui might have lower chill (relatively) requirement compared to Afganistan, Zard and LM? I know all white apricots are high chill varieties, but wondering if Moniqui is lower than others


The relationship between required chill and time of blooming is not that straightforward. The Arboreum lists Moniqui at 800 hours and LM at 750 hours, although I have no idea how accurate these estimates are.


@JamesN Has your Alameda Hemskirke fruited? How would you rate it? How would you compare it with Bonny Royal, Blenheim, Moorpark, Anya?


I have a couple branches grafted and I do have a few full fruit this year for the first time. I previously tasted these varieties at Andy’s Orchard and I would say that Bonny Royal was like Blenheim, but harder. Moorpark was the best there for aromatic complexity, but Anya was the best for sweetness. Alameda Hemskirke was like Moorpark, but I did think Moorpark was better slightly. All of these were so good they are worth growing, and in San Jose they should fruit reasonably well.

Since @Stan grows all these in his own yard, let’s see what he says.


Thanks @JamesN - With apricot season starting, if you can please make notes on the brix and flavor of each of these this year and keep us posted! Will be very useful info.

@stan had a great thread going for 2019. He probably has the best apricot collection in the country! :slight_smile:


My Alameda Hemskirke is on two grafts, which are pretty low on a tree and are not too large in size. This summer, I might get about 10 apricots from them.

I don’t have Bonny Royal. I tried some from Andy Mariani’s orchard a few years ago, and they were nice fruit.

Most of my Anya seedlings have not had good fruit set this year. I expected more, but this was a low chill winter, probably about 600 chill hours. Many apricots have not set well, including Orangered (I counted 6 fruits total for a good sized tree), Spark’s Mammoth (maybe 3 or 4 fruits on the tree), and white apricots (Moniqui, Lasgrdi Mashhad, Afghanistan). However, some set pretty well. Nicole and Tomcot are remarkably consistent producers for me, Moorpark is decent, Supkhani grows vigorously, blooms profusely and sets well, Harcot is fine, and a few of the Anya seedlings defy the trend. My Euro plums set really well this year, so hopefully this will compensate for smaller apricot harvest.


Hi Stan,

An idea your post suggested to me is to hybridize Anya seedlings with Nicole for earlier fruiting and more productivity, hopefully keeping some Kyrgystan flavor. After cutting the petals off at the popcorn stage, along with the anthers, then the rest is easy. Just brush desired pollen on the stigma, tag the branch, and see if you get fruit/seeds.

Over time you could replace your less productive seedlings with seedlings from crossings. It sounds intimidating but it is probably only an additional half day’s work on top of what you are already doing. Just an idea I have considered since I heard Andy Mariani talk on hybridization at CRFG Festival of Fruit a year or two ago.


How/where can I buy a supkhani fig?


Thanks Stan,
Great to read your review of dried figs. My favorite dried fruit crave.
I’m in 10b any other variety dried apricot suggestions if I can’t find a supkhani?
Ramona Ca


You mean dried apricots, not figs, right? Supkhani trees are not available for sale, you need to graft it.

Please check this discussion: Dried apricots — different varieties
Other apricot varieties suggested for drying are Blenheim and Tomcot, both are available from many sources, in retail nurseries and online. Blenheim was reported to do well in Southern California.


Any of them?