Fruit recommendations for Central TX?

I live in Central TX, zone 8b, on heavy dark clay soil.

I planted several fruit trees, but my apple (one that was supposed to require few chill hours. I forget which variety) died, and so did my my peach.

My pomegranate and fig are doing fine, despite being killed back to the roots by our freak arctic storm last winter. I planted a Niagara and a Concord grape but I think they look ill. I don’t know enough about grapes. I just planted a loquat.

My Santa Rosa plum and my pear (Bartlett, I think) are alive, but I don’t know if the pear will stay that way.

I’m thinking of planting a dwarf everbearing mulberry (morus nigra) and a muscadine grape, as well as some more pomegranates. I might try satsumas on a south-facing wall, but I’ve heard that those are kind of dry. What do you think?

Can you recommend any fruits for me?

@Dante — you might check out the youtube channel for texasprepper2 (link below).
I am not sure exactly where he is located in TX, but I have noticed he mentions zone 8 which seems to be the central part of the state.

I found him while watching vids on blackberry, prime ark varieties… he grows a lot of those, and I have seen vids on his channel on oranges, figs, strawberries and other stuff too.

He seems to be a fan of growing in containers…

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In ground is tough on that soil because of cotton root rot. It can kill fruit trees quickly.

Texas Aggie Horticulture would be a good resource.

Your grapes will sadly never do well, they are both suited for the north (i really enjoyed both of those when i lived in Nebraska). I am in North Texas now, on the northwest outskirts of DFW, TexasPrepper2 (i also enjoy his videos) is more of east Texas, or northeast Texas.

What city are you near? Texas is big and Zone 8 alone isn’t enough to really go by. Fire Blight can be really bad for apples and pears, but that is more in the eastern portions of the state and areas that get high humidity. It feels like once you get east of Dallas, humidity and rainfall go way up. There is about a 10" between Tyler and Fort Worth for annual rainfall! Also, chill hours vary pretty crazily. here is a map: Apples-fig2.jpg (386×357) (

Pomegranates and Figs are doing well for me. Even when dying to the ground, Figs tend to produce every year. One on my Poms will even produce every year even after that horrid storm in Feb.

Persimmon seem to do pretty well to. I only have Asian Persimmon, but they are too young to produce.

You need to be really careful with apples, peaches, and stone fruit. There are northern and southern varieties of each. If you plant a northern variety, you will likely struggle and not get good fruit. The Texas Aggie Horticulture has some good recommendations. Most of their recommendations are for commercial and less backyard so keep that asterisk in mind. They only recommend Anna and Golden Dorset for apples, both are summer apples. Arkansas Black has been doing well for me, still young, but this was my second year of bearing and no signs of the tree struggling. Ghost has done very well and was highly productive this year. I also have several other varieties, including red fleshed ones, but most are only 1-2 years old.

My peaches have really struggled except for 1, but i don’t know the name of it. My sprite and Delight (2-in-1) tree has done incredible! It gets loaded every year with great fruit and the tree is very vigorous.

Pawpaws only need about 400 chill hours and should be able to grow for you as long as you keep them shaded while young.

If you want grapes, muscadines are the best options. Make sure to pay attention to gender though as you need male and female to pollinate (some are self fertile). Blackberries are another option to consider. If you do some research, you can find some that don’t get too invasive. From 2 plants that are only 2 years old i was able to get about a bushel of berries.

Depending on where you are, Satsuma could work, but every 10 years when we see a bad storm like last winter, you will need to protect them. I keep my citrus in pots so i can bring them into the garage and have them under grow lights for the winter.

And of course, there are Jujubes! These do really well and put out nice crops. If you have never had them, they are sweet with a hint of apple flavor. They can take drought really well too, have no pest or disease issues, and are as close to a maintenance free fruit tree as you can find. if you search on the forum here you can find some variety recommendations. So far my favorite is the Contorted.


I live east of Austin. Thank you for the detailed answer!

Fruit trees in heavy dark clay need to be planted in raised beds of sandy loam. It is a death sentence to plant them in a clay hole. Dig a hole in your clay and fill with water. Check back the next day and see if the water isn’t still there. They drowned.


Pears do well as long as you get fire blight resistant varieties. They can take a while to produce. Pineapple is one many people in SE Texas like. Of course there is always Keiffer Pear, but it is a pretty gritty pear. Apples do not seem to do well in Central Texas. Look around and you see many old home places with pear trees that have been growing on their own. I never see any producing apple trees even in town where people are watering and pruning.

For peaches you need good surface and internal drainage. Clay soils can do ok as long as they do not stay saturated after a rain. In the Houston area clay soils stay saturated due to continued rain and really high clay content. In Austin you may get a little better drainage, especially if you have some slope.

Blackberries should also do well in your area. You may want to try Jujubes before you plant them. Some people like them, others think they taste like cardboard.