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Fruit and Berries for Hot, Dry Climates


Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix and Southern California

Fruit and Berries for 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 they need to be drought tolerant so they can be neglected without harm (except to their fruit crop) during a two 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
A 30-50' high tree unless on a dwarfing rootstock. Moderate drought tolerance. Estimated water use: 98 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.

Apricot: Prunus armeniaca
A 15-30' high tree with orange fruit. Drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 154 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.

Avocado: Persea americana
A 30-40' tall tree with a highly restricted geographic range. Drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 237 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.

Blackberry: Rubus fruticosus
A cane thicket, thorny or thornless, called a bramble. Easy to grow. Drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 45 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.

Blueberry: Vaccinium
A 3-20' high shrub with tasty blue berries. Not drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 101 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.

Cherry: Prunus avium
A 20-30' high tree unless using a dwarfing rootstock. Drought tolerant with proper rootstock. Estimated water use: 192 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.

Citrus Many varieties are desirable for the residential garden, including:
Grapefruit
Lemon: Citrus limon Estimated water use: 77 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.
Lime: Citrus latifolia, etc. Estimated water use: 77 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.
Mandarin / Tangerine: Citrus reticulata More cold hardy than most citrus. Estimated water use: 90 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.
Orange: Citrus sinensis Estimated water use: 67 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.
See also Kumquat.

Elderberry: Sambucus nigra
A 6-20' high, multi-stemmed, shrub with blue to black berries. Drought tolerant.

Fig: Ficus carica
A 10-30' high tree. The green figs are the flowers and the ripe figs the fruit. Drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 401 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.

Goji Berry: Lycium Barbarum
A shrub composed of canes growing from its base. Small, oval red fruit.

Grape: Vitis vinifera
A woody, climbing, vine with clustered fruit. Drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 73 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.

Guava: Psidium guajava
A 6-30' high spreading tree with yellow fruit. Drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 216 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.

Jujube / Chinese Date: Ziziphus jujuba
A tree growing to 30' high with abundant yellow-green to red-brown fruit. Drought and heat tolerant.



Punica granatum: Pomegranate
Kiwifruit: Actinidia deliciosa
A twining vine with fuzzy brown fruit. Not drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 62 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.

Kumquat: Fortunella margarita
An 8-25' tall tree with small citrus-like fruit. Drought tolerant.

Loquat: Eriobotrya japonica
A 10-30' high tree with yellow to orange fruit. Somewhat drought tolerant.

Mango: Mangifera indica
A 30-120' high tree. Large fruit. Drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 216 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.

Natal Plum: Carissa macrocarpa
A shrub or small tree. Tasty red fruit. Drought tolerant.

Olive: Olea europaea
A 30' tall tree with oval, green to purple or black fruit. Drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 361 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.

Passion Fruit: Passiflora
Large, elaborate flowers and fruit on a climbing vine. Not drought tolerant.

Peach / Nectarine: Prunus persica
A 15-25' high tree with juicy fruit. Moderate drought tolerance. Estimated water use: 109 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.

Pear, Asian: Pyrus pyrifolia
A 30' high tree with apple-sized, crisp, fruit. Drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 110 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.

Persimmon, Asian: Diospyros kaki
A tree producing orange fruit in the fall.

Pineapple Guava / Feijoa: Acca sellowiana
An evergreen, 3-20' high, multi-stemmed, shrub or small tree. White flowers with red stamens, edible fruit and flowers. Drought tolerant.

Plum: Prunus domestica / Prunus salicina
White to pink flowers and fruit. Drought tolerant.

Pomegranate: Punica granatum
Ornamental flowers and fruit. Drought tolerant.

Quince: Cydonia oblonga
Large, white to pink flowers and aromatic fruit. Moderate drought tolerance.

Raspberry: Rubus idaeus
A cane thicket, thorny or thornless, called a bramble. Slight drought tolerance. Estimated water use: 49 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.

Strawberry: Fragaria x ananassa
A low herb with white flowers and red fruit. No drought tolerance without loss of crop. Estimated water use: 41.5 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.

Tomato: Solanum lycopersicum
An herbaceous perennial usually treated as an annual. Some cultivars have moderate drought tolerance. Estimated water use: 26 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.


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