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Growing Fruit and Berries in Hot, Dry Climates


Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and Southern California

Growing Fruit and Berries in Hot, Dry Climates

Overview

Residential plants for desert regions are faced with three challenges. They need to be heat tolerant and handle desert temperatures. They need to have low water needs in the face of increasing scarcity. And it would be nice if they are drought tolerant so they can be neglected without harm (except to their fruit crop) during a one week vacation. The plants selected for this page use less than 405 gallons of water per pound of fruit harvested; this excludes all nut crops except peanuts. The United Nations estimates for water usage per crop are stated below on plants for which data is available.

See Fruit Selection and Cultivation Tips for more information.

Apple: Malus pumila
Fruit tree. Moderate drought tolerance. Estimated water use: 98 gallons per pound of fruit harvested. Hot dry climate suitability (some cultivars) = extra water.

Apricot / Aprium: Prunus armeniaca
Fruit tree. Drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 154 gallons per pound of fruit harvested. Hot dry climate suitability (some cultivars) = afternoon shade, extra water.

Avocado: Persea americana
A fruit tree with a highly restricted geographic range. Drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 237 gallons per pound of fruit harvested. Hot dry climate suitability = not suitable.

Blackberry / Boysenberry: Rubus hybrids
A fruiting cane thicket. Drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 45 gallons per pound of fruit harvested. Hot dry climate suitability (some cultivars) = may need part shade, roots need thick mulch as heat shield.

Blueberry: Vaccinium
A fruiting shrub. Not drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 101 gallons per pound of fruit harvested. Hot dry climate suitability = grow in container with acidic soil, daily water, afternoon shade.

Cherry: Prunus avium
Fruit tree. Drought tolerant with proper rootstock. Estimated water use: 192 gallons per pound of fruit harvested. Hot dry climate suitability (some cultivars) = special conditions and care.

Citrus Many varieties are desirable for the residential garden, including:
Grapefruit: Citrus paradisi Estimated water use: 61 gallons per pound of fruit harvested. Hot dry climate suitability (some cultivars) = sunscald protection.
Lemon: Citrus limon Estimated water use: 77 gallons per pound of fruit harvested. Hot dry climate suitability (some cultivars) = sunscald protection.
Lime: Citrus latifolia, etc. Estimated water use: 77 gallons per pound of fruit harvested. Hot dry climate suitability (some cultivars) = sunscald protection.
Mandarin / Tangerine: Citrus reticulata More cold hardy than most citrus. Estimated water use: 90 gallons per pound of fruit harvested. Hot dry climate suitability (some cultivars) = extra water, afternoon shade, sunscald protection.
Orange: Citrus sinensis Estimated water use: 67 gallons per pound of fruit harvested. Hot dry climate suitability (some cultivars) = sunscald protection.
See also Kumquat.

Elderberry: Sambucus nigra
A fruiting shrub or small tree. Drought tolerant. Hot dry climate suitability (most cultivars) = extra water to carry fruit and retain leaves.

Fig: Ficus carica
A tree where green figs are flowers and ripe figs are fruit. Drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 401 gallons per pound of fruit harvested. Hot dry climate suitability = excellent.

Goji Berry: Lycium Barbarum
A fruiting shrub. Not drought tolerant at high temperatures. Hot dry climate suitability = afternoon shade, extra water, fruits poorly in high temperatures.

Grape: Vitis vinifera
A vine with clustered fruit. Drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 73 gallons per pound of fruit harvested. Hot dry climate suitability (some cultivars) = excellent.

Guava: Psidium guajava
Fruit tree. Drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 216 gallons per pound of fruit harvested. Hot dry climate suitability (some cultivars) = protection from frost, afternoon shade.

Jujube: Ziziphus jujuba
Fruit tree. Drought and heat tolerant. Hot dry climate suitability (most cultivars) = excellent.

Kiwifruit: Actinidia deliciosa
A vine with fuzzy brown fruit. Not drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 62 gallons per pound of fruit harvested. Hot dry climate suitability = all day shade, extra water.

Kumquat: Fortunella
A tree producing hundreds of small orange fruit in winter. Drought tolerant. Hot dry climate suitability (some cultivars) = extra water, afternoon shade.

Loquat: Eriobotrya japonica
Fruit tree. Not drought tolerant in high temperatures. Hot dry climate suitability = extra water, afternoon shade.

Lychee: Litchi chinensis
A tree with red, rough-skinned fruit. Not drought tolerant at high temperatures. Hot dry climate suitability = afternoon shade, morning shade in hottest months, extra water, saline sensitive.

Mango: Mangifera indica
Fruit tree. Drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 216 gallons per pound of fruit harvested. Hot dry climate suitability = protection from frost, saline-free water and soil, afternoon shade, extra water.

Natal Plum: Carissa macrocarpa
A fruiting shrub, small tree or groundcover. Drought tolerant. Hot dry climate suitability = proper location.

Olive: Olea europaea
A highly ornamental fruit tree. Drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 361 gallons per pound of fruit harvested. Hot dry climate suitability = excellent.

Passion Fruit: Passiflora
A vine with large, elaborate flowers and fruit. Not drought tolerant. Hot dry climate suitability = frequent water.

Peach / Nectarine: Prunus persica
Fruit tree. Moderate drought tolerance. Estimated water use: 109 gallons per pound of fruit harvested. Hot dry climate suitability = extra water.

Pear, Asian: Pyrus pyrifolia
Fruit tree. Drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 110 gallons per pound of fruit harvested. Hot dry climate suitability (some cultivars) = extra water.

Persimmon, Asian: Diospyros kaki
Fruit tree. Not drought tolerant at high temperatures. Hot dry climate suitability = afternoon shade, extra water.

Pineapple: Ananas comosus
A bromeliad herb with exotic fruit. Hot dry climate suitability = acidic soil, afternoon shade, protection from freezing temperatures.

Pineapple Guava / Feijoa: Acca sellowiana
An evergreen shrub or small tree with exotic edible flowers and fruit. Not drought tolerant at high temperatures. Hot dry climate suitability (some cultivars) = afternoon shade, extra water.

Plum / Pluot: Prunus domestica / Prunus salicina
Fruit tree. Drought tolerant. Hot dry climate suitability (some cultivars) = extra water.

Pomegranate: Punica granatum
Fruit shrub or tree. Drought tolerant. Hot dry climate suitability (some cultivars) = excellent.

Quince: Cydonia oblonga
A tree with large flowers and aromatic fruit. Moderate drought tolerance. Hot dry climate suitability = proper location.

Raspberry: Rubus idaeus
A cane thicket with berries. Not drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 49 gallons per pound of fruit harvested. Hot dry climate suitability = not suitable.

Strawberry: Fragaria x ananassa
A fruiting herb. No drought tolerance without loss of crop. Estimated water use: 41.5 gallons per pound of fruit harvested. Hot dry climate suitability = all day part shade, daily to twice daily water, proper soil and enclosure.

Tomato: Solanum lycopersicum
A fruiting herb. Some cultivars have moderate drought tolerance. Estimated water use: 26 gallons per pound of fruit harvested. Hot dry climate suitability (some cultivars) = daily water, 50% afternoon or all day shade.



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