Small Fruits

fruitmixed_pcojen

SMALL FRUITS...sweet rewards!

fruitmixed_pcojenThere are many fruits that can be grown successfully in the Colorado Springs area. They range from annual vines to more hardy perennial plants and shrubs. Small in size, the plants highlighted below will fit into the typical home garden. Good news for those of you who don't have room for a fruit tree! Some small fruits, such as blueberries, chokeberries, and serviceberries are also good ornamental landscape plants. They provide flowers, fruit and fall color.

Most small fruits will enjoy a sunny spot and a balanced fertilizer applied in Spring. (See special instructions for blueberries which require acid soil).

As with fruit trees, you may have to use a barrier to keep birds and squirrels from foraging your fruit. We carry special netting to help put a barrier between wildlife and your crop. For insects, use diatomaceous earth spread at the base of your plant to control crawling pests  You must re-apply after rain.

Please Note:  In stock availability of specific varieties listed below will vary depending upon time of season and sales.  Please call (719) 574-8058 for current availability.


BLACKBERRY (Rubus)

Varieties:

Chester Photo Courtesy Bailey Nurseries
Chester Photo Courtesy Bailey Nurseries

Darrow: An introduction from New York Experiment Station. 'Darrow' has proven to be the most reliable producer of large crops of top quality fruit. Berries measure 1" long and 3/4" wide, are attractive, firm, juicy, and have honey sweet, true blackberry flavor. Excellent for all purposes. Plants are hardy, rust resistant, and produce well at an early age. Canes have thorns, are sturdy and upright growing. Fruit ripens in July and continues for 2-3 weeks.  Mulch to protect in winter (Zone 5)

Triple Crown: blackberry canes are thornless with jumbo size, sweet berries. Harvest lasts for about a month in summer with consistent yields each year. Grow in full to part sun. Mulch to protect in winter (Zone 5)


BLUEBERRY (Vaccinium)

vaccinumchippewafallfoliagelr_pcojen
Many blueberries offer the bonus of BEAUTIFUL fall color.  Check out the show this Chippewa blueberry puts on in October!

blueberries_pcojenBears mid-July to August; Requires acidic soil achieved by planting in a medium that is primarily Canadian sphagnum peat moss (which naturally has a pH of 5.5). In subsequent years, use a balanced fertilizer for acid loving plants (ex. Marine Cuisine) in late May. Grow in well-drained, consistently moist soil. Large containers above ground or buried in ground work well because they allow you to control soil pH. (Colorado soils are naturally alkaline). 

Note: Blueberries are a bit of a challenge to grow well here because they can be prone to cracking in our climate. This is not due to cold (all are hardy to at least Zone 4). The problem is due to drying wind and our fluctuating warm/cold cycles so common in spring. You can get around this by covering your shrub with frost cloth or burlap during winter and early spring. Blueberries are self-fruitful. But, you will have a higher yield if you plant two different varieties.


Bears mid-July to August; Requires acidic soil achieved by planting in a medium that is primarily Canadian sphagnum peat moss (which naturally has a pH of 5.5). In subsequent years, use a balanced fertilizer for acid loving plants (ex. Marine Cuisine) in late May. Grow in well-drained, consistently moist soil. Large containers above ground or buried in ground work well because they allow you to control soil pH. (Colorado soils are naturally alkaline). 

Varieties:

Bluecrop: Size: 4'-6' H x  4'-6' W. Zone 4. High quality, good disease resistance
Chippewa: Size: 3'H x 3'W. Zone 3. Large, dark blue sweet fruit. Shrub has an upright habit.
Top Hat: very compact! Size: 1'-2 'H x 1'-2' W. Zone 3. Light blue sweet fruit. Red fall color
Northsky: compact height! Size: 1'-1.5' H x 2'-3'W. Zone 3. Large, dark blue fruit. Red Fall Color


Bluecrop Photo Courtesy Willoway Nurseries
Bluecrop Photo Courtesy Willoway Nurseries
vacciniumchippewablueberry_photocourtesyofbaileynurseriesinc
Chippewa Photo Courtesy Bailey Nurseries
Top Hat Blueberry
Top Hat

BLACK CHOKEBERRY (Aronia)

aroniawide_pcojen

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Fall Color

This 3-6' shrub bears small pea-size fruit. It ripens in early fall and although is quite sour to eat fresh, it makes great jellies. This shrub is a GREAT low maintenance ornamental too! Produces white flowers in late May and offers good fall color in red tones. It isn't fussy about soil and can grow in both sun and part-sun locations. It will attract both birds and butterflies. Drought tolerant but will also tolerate moist soil.

aroniaclose_pcojen


CURRANT (Ribes)

currantredlake_pcojenCurrants are tolerant of a a variety of soils and make great jams and jellies. They are self-fruitful and pollinated by wind and insects. They are a bird magnet! Drought tolerant.

Varieties:  

Red Lake: A vigorous 5–6' shrub that bears large quantities of bright red berries near the beginning of August. 

Consort: Black currant bush that gets 4'-6'H x 4' W. Berries ripen late in the season. Clusters of black fruits have a strong sweet/tart flavor and are very productive. Developed in Canada so they are very hardy. High in Vitamin C. Will grow and fruit in shade. Use for jams, jellies or baking.


GOOSEBERRY (Ribes)

gooseberrywide_pcojengooseberry_pcojenThis 3-4' shrub produces fruit that ripens in August. It is best used for pies, jams and jellies. It tolerates a variety of soils and can be grown in both full sun and part sun locations. Drought and moisture tolerant, it is another shrub that is a bird magnet.

Variety: 

Pixwell: 3'-5H x 3'-4'W. An American type with better resistance to mildew.  Green berries turn pink when ripe.  Very few thorns.  Zone 3.


GRAPE (Vitis)

 
vitishimrodgrape_photocourtesyofbaileynurseriesinc
Himrod Photo Courtesy Bailey Nurseries Inc
vitisfrontenacgrape_pcobaileynurseriesinc
Frontenac Photo Courtesy Bailey Nurseries

These large vines are an easy fruit to grow provided you give them annual pruning in Spring, adequate fertility and a full sun location. Pick the variety you'd like to grow based on how you will use the fruit. Will you make jams, jellies, wines or just pick grapes off the vine for fresh eating? Also, consider if you want seedless or not. Expect fruit to ripen in September. Grape vines are HEAVY when they begin to reach maturity—so give them a strong support such as a pergola, arbor, or sturdy fence. They will generally begin producing the second or third year.

Varieties: 

Concord Seedless: Seedless purple grape. (fresh, jam, jelly) Zone 5
Edelweiss: White-green grape. (dessert, wine). Zone 4
Frontenac: Blue-black grape. (wine, juice). Zone 4
Himrod: Seedless White Grape. (fresh, dry for raisins). Zone 5
La Crescent: White Grape. (white wine production). Zone 4
Marquette: Red Grape. (red wine production). Zone 4
Reliance Seedless: Red Seedless Grape. (fresh, juice, jelly). Zone 5
Swenson Red: Red, seeded grape with a high sugar content. Crisp texture. Hardy to -30 but fruits better with protection. (fresh, juice, jelly, or wine). Zone 5
Valiant: Blue Grape. (fresh, juice, jelly). Zone 3


vitisconcordseedlessgrape_photocourtesyofbaileynurseriesinc
Concord Photo Courtesy Bailey Nurseries
vitisedelweissgrape_photocourtesyofbaileynurseriesinc
Edelweiss Photo Courtesy Bailey Nurseries
vitisrelianceseedlessgrape_photocourtesyofbaileynurseriesinc
Reliance Photo Courtesy Bailey Nurseries
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Swenson Red

vitisvaliantgrape_pcobaileynurseriesinc
Valiant
La Crescent
Marquette


  


HONEYBERRY (Lonicera)

Hardy honeyberry bushes hail from Siberia and are actually edible forms of honeysuckle. Taste is similar to blueberries, but they will grow in our alkaline soil. This makes them a great alternative for those of you that have struggled with blueberries. Use for fresh eating, baking, jams and jellies.  They are very slow growing.  They bloom very early in Spring (blooms are hardy to -7 degrees) but harder freezes could be a problem for those of you in higher elevations.  Honeyberry bushes produce very EARLY...just before strawberries in June.  Likes consistent moisture. IMPORTANT! Requires two varieties for cross pollination and berry development. Excellent source of Vitamin C and antioxidants. 

Varieties:

Blue Moon: Size:  2'-3 H x 3'-4' W. Zone 3.  Pollenize with Blue Velvet
Blue Velvet: Size:  3'-4'H x 3'-4' W. Zone 3. Pollenize with Blue Moon 


NANKING CHERRY (Prunus)

prunusnankingcherry_photocourtesyofbaileynurseriesinc
Photo Courtesy Bailey Nurseries

 

A hardy shrub that can reach 8' in height. Produces an abundance of white/pink flowers in late April, followed by small scarlet fruit in June. The fruit is sour so is best used in jams/jellies, pies, juice or wine. Leaves turn yellow in fall. Birds love this bush!


RASPBERRY (Rubus)

Strawberry Shortcake Photo Courtesy Willoway Nurseries

raspberries_pcojenRaspberries do very well here. They will grow in full or part sun. But, site them thoughtfully! They are poky and travel via suckers. So, plant your future briar patch in an out of the way spot. Fences work well as you can tie the canes up to keep them off the ground. Raspberries bear on the previous year's canes. So...don't cut your whole patch down during fall clean up. Instead, cut down the canes that bore fruit during the current season. Leave the non-bearing canes alone as they will give you next year's fruit. Depending on variety, may bear twice or in late summer. Self-fruitful.


Varieties:

rubusbristolblackraspberry_pcobaileynurseriesinc
Bristol Photo Courtesy Bailey Nurseries
rubusheritageraspberry_photocourtesyofbaileynurseriesinc
Heritage Photo Courtesy Bailey Nurseries

Anne: Light yellow fruit, mild sweet taste. Sparsely thorned canes. Bears in late summer to early Fall.
Bristol Black Raspberry: Originated at the Geneva Ag. Exp. Station, New York in 1934. Fruit is black and large with attractive, fairly glossy skin. Flesh is firm. Berries have excellent quality, good flavor and ripen in mid-season. Good for canning and freezing. Canes hardy and vigorous.
Boyne: Red Raspberry, medium acid and aromatic. Vigorous erect and sturdy. Excellent for canning freezing and dessert. Bears in July 
Fallgold: Yellow everbearing variety that produces two full crops each year. Spring crop and then a second crop July-August up until a hard frost. Fruit is sweet and juicy, firm, extra large conical berries are borne in large clusters. Excellent for all purposes. Hardy, vigorous and very productive. (Zone 4-8).
Heritage: Red Raspberry. Bears first crop in July and lighter crop in September.
Strawberry Shortcake: This raspberry is exciting for two reasons...it is a dwarf type, great for small yards or even grown in containers. It is also thornless. So you can pick raspberries in mid-summer without any pokes.


RHUBARB (Rheum)

rhubarb_pcojenThis perennial plant with its trademark crimson red stalks and sweet/tart taste, can spread 2-3 feet. Used in pies, cakes, preserves and as a wonderful sauce for just about anything. (reduce down using a little water, brown sugar and butter) Rhubarb is long lived but requires a well-drained spot with loose soil at planting time. The roots can grow quite deep. Do not harvest stalks the first year. Use sparingly the second year—but in year three have at it! Once established, rhubarb is an easy care, reliable producer. Grow in full or part-sun.

Variety: Victoria


SERVICEBERRY a.k.a. Saskatoon or Juneberry (Amelanchier alnifolia)

Regent Serviceberry Photo Courtesy Bailey Nurseries
Regent Serviceberry Photo Courtesy Bailey Nurseries

The variety 'Regent' is a nicely shaped shrub form with large white flowers in Spring. These are followed by dark purple to black fruit that is sweet and good for fresh eating, as a dried fruit or for making jelly.   It will get 4'-6' high and wide.  If you would like a tree form, visit our Fruit Tree page for info on the larger variety, 'Autumn Brilliance.'   Make sure you plant in a sunny, well drained spot.  As a bonus, Regent Serviceberry offers yellow to red leaves in Fall.


STRAWBERRIES

strawberry_fall_colorlr_pcoval
Fall foliage makes a pretty, dense groundcover

strawberries_pcojenThese perennial plants can either be June-bearing (crops all at once) or everbearing (spring crop followed by later smaller crops). Our varieties are all everbearing. In addition to providing you with sweet fruit, strawberries have wonderful red fall color and make a good dense groundcover. If slugs become a nuisance, diatomaceous earth, beer traps, or crushed egg shells are effective controls. Netting will likely be necessary to protect fruit from squirrels and birds. Feed in early spring with a balanced fertilizer. Requires soils moderately rich in organic matter that drain well. Benefits greatly from winter mulching and consistent moderate moisture.

Varieties:

Eversweet (everbearing)
Fort Laramie (everbearing)


 

WESTERN SANDCHERRY (Prunus besseyi)

prunusbesseyiwesternsandcherry_photocourtesyofbaileynurseriesinc
Photo Courtesy Bailey Nurseries

 

This 4' shrub blooms profusely in May. White flowers are followed by seeded purple fruit the size of a grape that ripens in mid-August. Eat fresh or use in jams. Fruit is loved by birds.


 

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