Almonds, members of the Rose family and the Prunus genus, are closely related to apricots,
cherries, peaches, and plums.
40-150 years. Commercial trees are cut down after 28 years because their declining crop yield
makes it more profitable to replace them.
10-30' high and as wide depending on cultivar and rootstock.
White to pink, five petals, fragrant, solitary or paired, appearing before leaves develop.
Early spring. Late frosts can destroy blooms and new fruit. This tree tends to be alternate
bearing, blooming and fruiting heavily one year, then lightly the next.
Depends on cultivar. Most dwarf and semi-dwarf cultivars for home gardens are self-fruitful.
Full size commercial cultivars are usually not.
Years before fruiting:
A thick, leathery, downy, grey-green hull covers a hard inner shell enclosing the almond seed.
The seed is commonly called a nut.
Months for fruit to ripen:
Almond seeds ripen starting from the top of the tree and working down. Wait until nearly all
the hulls have split, revealing their shells. If bird predation becomes a problem, start
harvesting a little sooner. Remove the hulls, then spread the almonds out in a single layer
Storage after harvest:
Fully dried almonds can be stored at room temperature for up to eight months, or in a
refrigerator for up to one year.
Green, serrated margins, lance-shaped.
Light grey bark.
Commonly grown on rootstock appropriate to the growing location.
Cultivars of Note:
Self-fruitful 'Garden Prince' and 'All in One', and non-self-fruitful 'Ne Plus Ultra' and
'Nonpareil' produce almonds in regions with only 250-300 winter chill hours.
The flowers attract bees and other pollinating insects.
Toxic / Danger:
All parts of the tree are toxic except the ripe almond seed.
Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones:
Extra water and afternoon shade are needed when temperatures are over 90°F, especially when
young. Avoid reflected light and heat.
Not without loss of fruit crop.
Full sun for at least 8 hours.
Locate this tree where it will receive full morning sun and afternoon shade. Being in a low
area of the yard where cold air collects, and where the root area and trunk are in shade during
winter, may help with winter chill hours. Being in a cold spot, however, may make the tree more
prone to late frost damage to flowers. Dwarf cultivars can be grown in large containers.
The almond tree needs well draining soil. Remove any caliche layer down to a minimum 5' depth.
It is tolerant of soil types but does better with moderate organic content. It accepts
pH 5.6-8.5 (acidic to alkaline) soil, but does best in pH 6.6-7.8 (neutral to slightly
alkaline). This tree is salt intolerant.
Apply organic fertilizer every two months from mid-winter to early fall.
Water after becoming established:
or basin flood weekly from flowering
through fruit production. Decrease water to once a month in winter.
Apply organic compost mid-winter, keeping it 8" away from the trunk.
In winter, remove dead, crossing or damaged branches. Flowers bloom on one year old wood.
Keep the soil under the drip line weed-free. In hot climates, apply tree paint to any sun-exposed
trunk and branches.
Dried fruit and leaves in the fall.
Ask your neighbors if they have any success growing almonds before purchasing a tree. Find out
the name of the cultivar they own.
is another nut species that might be considered
in almond growing regions.
Do you have additional information or a different experience for these plants that you would
like to share? Email info@GardenOracle.com. All contributions are welcome and appreciated.