Cold hardy japanese plum/apricot/nectarine ideas zone 5

I know there have been several older threads on cold hardy stonefruits but wondered if people could update what they have grown and what has worked in colder zones (6 and below recent successes) as well as what hasn’t (and why). Newer varieties have also come out.

I have a lot more space and want to add J plums or hybrids or apricots but it seems a little daunting; there does seem to be a lot of frustration out there from winter warm ups, to pollination or lack thereof (too cool for insects or a lock of a compatible pollinator), to late spring freezes or bud frost injury, to disease and pests, etc. Is it worth it? And maybe the answer is no.

We are zone 5 VT (heavy clay, cool wet springs, mild summers with really only July hot and full sun) and looking for some “less problematic” ideas for japanese plums, pluots, apricots and nectarines. I have several E plums: mt royal (we are 90 min south of Montreal), green gage, empress and valor and have the space and trying to find some good ideas that would work in other types of stonefruit.

I have reached out to PlumHill farm (they are closeby in VT) asking the same questions and waiting to hear back (and will post what they say) but wanted to open it up to the GF community.


J. Plum is no problem of fruiting in zone5 Chicago land. However, apricot is not easy to fruit, due to late spring frost

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For your climate, it is worth looking for varieties from Latvia - there the climate is even worse, the summer is cold and short. They have managed to create apricots/plums and many others adapted to the local climate, cold winter and short season. Even chestnuts bear fruit there and have survived(some around 100 years). It can be a problem to get the scissionwood, it is not easily available even in Europe, but it can be a gamechanger.

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Wish I knew which kind of apricot my family’s apricot is in the back. Despite the claims of apricots being hard to fruit and companies stating trees get 20 feet my tree is a decent size and has fruited for me every year. We do not have to water, spray or prune it here in CO. There are varieties out there that do well in the fluctuating temperatures. When I was buying my 4 in 1 pluots I called Dave Wilson Nursery to ask if they would live in my zone given the price and that some seem to rate it down to zone 5 and some down to zone 6 with nursery even switching zone 5 and zone 6 with the multi grafted or single grafted. The lady who answered did not know much about pluots but she transferred me to the manager of the department for pluots. He said they would survive here but some varieties on the 4 in 1 will be a constant crop producer and some varieties will have their buds get frozen off some years is why they may be saying that. They stated all would survive in zone 5 though. I forget which varieties he stated would be a constant cropper and which varieties may get frozen.