Gardening
in Tucson, Phoenix,
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Low Water Fruit and Berries

Overview

Plants for desert regions are faced with three challenges. They need to be drought tolerant, so they can be neglected without harm (except to their fruit crop) during a two week vacation. They need to be heat tolerant and handle desert temperatures. And they need to have low water needs in the face of increasing scarcity. The fruit 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
White flowers and abundant fruit. Moderate drought tolerance. Estimated water use: 98 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.

Apricot: Prunus armeniaca
White to pink flowers and yellow to orange fruit. Drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 154 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.

Avocado: Persea americana
A large tree with green fruit and a highly restricted geographic range. Drought tolerant.

Blackberry: Rubus fruticosus
A cane thicket, thorny or thornless, with white flowers and berries. Easy to grow. Drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 45 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.

Blueberry: Vaccinium
White to pink flowers. Tasty blue berries. Not drought tolerant.

Cherry: Prunus avium
White flowers and red fruit. Drought tolerant with proper rootstock.

Elderberry: Sambucus nigra var. canadensis
Fragrant, yellow-white flowers in clusters produce blue-black berries. Drought tolerant.

Fig: Ficus carica
The green figs are the flowers, the ripe figs are the fruit. Drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 401 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.

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

Jujube / Chinese Date: Ziziphus jujuba
Tiny clustered, fragrant white flowers and abundant fruit. Drought tolerant.

Kumquat: Fortunella margarita
White fragrant flowers and small orange fruit. Drought tolerant.

Lemon: Citrus limon
White fragrant flowers and yellow fruit. Not drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 77 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.

Loquat: Eriobotrya japonica
Clustered white flowers and yellow to orange fruit. Somewhat drought tolerant.

Mango: Mangifera indica
Small, clustered, white or pinkish flowers. Large fruit. Drought tolerant.

Olive: Olea europaea
Small, clustered, creamy-white flowers and oval green to purple or black fruit. Drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 361 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.

Orange: Citrus sinensis
White, fragrant flowers and large orange fruit. Not drought tolerant. Estimated water use: 67 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.

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

Peach / Nectarine: Prunus persica
White, pink or red flowers, juicy fruit. Moderate drought tolerance. Estimated water use: 109 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.

Pineapple Guava / Feijoa: Acca sellowiana
Evergreen, very decorative. White flowers with red stamens, edible fruit and flowers. Drought tolerant.

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

Raspberry: Rubus idaeus
White flowers and red fruit. Slight drought tolerence. Estimated water use: 49 gallons per pound of fruit harvested.


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Punica granatum: Pomegranate