For those of you who live in the low winter chill, low summer heat zone close to the coast of Southern California, what are your best stone fruit? I’ve had a hard time with peaches and nectarines in particular. Here are the reasonably reliably productive varieties that taste good to me:
Plums: Inca (best flavor of all, but lots of split pits), Satsuma (reliably very productive)
Apricots: Gold Kist
Apriums: Flavor Delight
Peaches: Mid Pride (best of the lot), Eva’s Pride, Tropic Snow, Red Baron (though all of these never develop quite enough sugar)
Nectarines: Panamint (the best I’ve tried, but very hit or miss for me)
Sometimes I think I should just chop down the peach and nectarine and plant something else there, or graft them over to all plums/pluots, but then I eat a kind of rare really good one, and they live to see another day. I’m always hoping to find a peach or nectarine that is reliably delicious when grown in my climate. Let me know if you’ve found one!
I had consistently heavy crops when I used to grow Panamint. It was sadly removed by a neighbor to make room for a block wall extension behind his garage. The flavor was good, but not outstanding. It was shaded in the winter by the neighbor’s garage and that probably helped with the chill hour accumulations. I have my Tropic Gold apricot in that same general area now instead and it has done well there so far, and I was very happy with the fruit on it this year. I liked the flavor much better than flavor delight aprium.
I like Arctic Star White Nectarine a little better Panamint. I have only harvested it the last two years, but I am thinking its a keeper. It has very good flavor and seems low chill enough for my location. We had about 150-200 chill hours two years ago and maybe 250-300 this year. It is a variety I added onto a small multiple grafted peach/nectarine tree and I might let the arctic star dominate. The multi graft also has Eva’s Pride and Snow Queen. I just added Earligrande this year and want to taste it before maybe converting it all to Arctic Star.
I have a friend that grows Tropic Snow white peach a mile away, and every single year she gets large crops. It tastes good, but not outstanding. Arctic Star is better in my opinion, but I gravitate to stone fruit with some tanginess, not just sweet.
Spicezee nectaplum is very dependable too.
I do not have much in the way of stone fruit, but my Santa Rosa plum has produced nicely and is very sweet. The fruits are not very large and I’ve had to hand pollinate to get a crop, but its otherwise very enjoyable. It does suffer badly from rust in the fall.
I have a Snow Queen nectarine, but I just put it in the ground, so a year or so before it produces.
Thanks for the replies.
I’m going to have to give Arctic Star nectarine a try. And give Spice Zee nectaplum another try. I had it and got rid of it because it was a serious magnet for Oriental Fruit Moth and I had it crammed into a tiny spot that was just not big enough for it.
Tropic Snow peach is always reliable in producing a big crop for me, but I think because it ripens early, it never develops much sugar because of the lack of heat and sun early in the season.
Snow Queen nectarine is delicious but is so hit or miss for me, and mostly miss in terms of setting fruit that I don’t think it is a good use of space in my climate.
Santa Rosa plum is a boom or bust crop in my climate. Some years are great (higher chill years), others see almost no fruit set.
Splash pluot is very reliable and tasty. Flavor Grenade is reliable and productive, but not my cup of tea taste and texture wise – weak flavor and a tends to get kind of mealy for me.
I forgot to mention that Methley plum is reliable and pretty good.
I also forgot to mention Saturn peach. Not Stark’s Saturn, the donut peach, but instead the big ornamental, double, pink flowered one that makes yellow peaches. This year it is my best for producing tasty, sweet, juicy peaches that don’t get mealy when left on the tree to ripen. It’s a pretty new addition to my yard, so I don’t know how reliable it is from year to year.
I’ve had to hand pollinate my SR tree, the bees that are out when the tree blooms tend to ignore it, there are not a lot of other flowering plants in its vicinity to attract them. Pretty much only the flowers I hand pollinated set fruit, the others failed to set. I only hit about a third of the tree, so next year I’ll have to do better.
Same issue with my apples, their blooms tend not to attract a lot of pollinators for some reason.
I did try to grow a bunch of flowers this year, but they all bloomed after the SR was finished.