A photography of Phelan Gardens greenhouse and storefront in Colorado Springs Colorado

Fruit trees

Types and Growing Considerations

Fruit trees not only provide a beautiful display during spring, they have the added bonus of offering fruit later in the season. They come in three sizes: dwarf (6-8'), semi-dwarf (8'-12') and standard (15'-20').

We offer mostly semi-dwarf trees and a few dwarf sizes as these are most easily harvested by home gardeners.  Fruit trees are either self-fertile, meaning no pollenizer is required, OR they will require a pollenizer. This means that you must plant at least two different varieties that bloom at approximately the same time so that cross-pollination will occur to produce fruit. We've listed pollenizer needs below.

Fruit trees can be a beautiful and bountiful addition to your yard. However, they do require yearly care to maintain health and vigor. See our list of things to consider when planting fruit trees in a home garden.

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** Please Note:  In stock availability of specific varieties listed below will vary depending upon time of season and sales. **

Apple (Malus)

Apples are one of the most reliable producers you can grow.  However, there are some specific things you should know.  Most apple trees are not self-fertile, which means you should plant two different varieties for your apple trees to be productive.Self-fruitful varieties do exist. But, they will bear more fruit when planted with another variety that blooms at approximately the same time.

Pair up varieties that fall within or ‘bracket’ your desired tree’s bloom time. For example: Midseason bloomers can be planted with early, midseason or late bloomers. Late season bloomers should be planted with Midseason or other late season bloomers. Apples can also be pollinized by a crabapple. With a few exceptions, the majority of crabapples will pollinize early to midseason bloomers, not late bloomers.

Want to grow fruit in a small space?  Consider training your tree into an espalier form. Pictured is an apple tree from the Denver Botanic Gardens that employed this method. Espalier is accomplished via a combination of regular pruning and the tying of branches to train the growth of the tree.

Space Saving Apple Trees

4 n 1 Combo Apple:  Although this tree is a semi-dwarf (getting 15-20' high and wide) it ultimately saves space because it does note require another tree for pollenizing since it has 4 types grafted onto the same tree.  Combo varieties are grower's choice and vary from shipment to shipment.  Please ask our Nursery Department for current selections.

Apples - Cortland

(Requires pollinizer)
Heirloom variety with red skin and sweet but crisp white fruit. Bred from a McIntosh.  Good for eating fresh or baking.

Apples - Frostbite

(Requires pollinizer)
A tiny, red specialty apple.  Late season and exceptionally cold hardy. VERY sweet apples are only about 2/12" wide.  Hardy to zone 3.  Many use as a cider apple.

Apples - Gala

(Requires pollenizer)
Very popular apple with mild crisp, sweet fruit. Red skinned type is good for eating fresh or baking

Apples - Haralred

(requires pollinizer)
A red selection of 'Haralson'. Produces medium-sized red fruit. Juicy, crisp and tart. Good dual purpose apple. A good keeper for storing. Fine hardy, winter variety that's a little sweeter than Haralson.

Apples - Honeycrisp

(requires pollenizer) An exciting apple that is exceptionally crisp and juicy. Flavor is sweet but well-balanced. Excellent storage life, up to 7 months. Has been rated equal to or higher in overall quality than 'Haralson', 'Honeygold' or 'Keepsake' in winter storage trials. Ripens in late September and stores like a late season variety. Crabapple 'Indian Summer' is a good pollinator.

Apples - KinderKrisp

(requires pollenizer) An early blooming/early ripening crispy apple (bred from Honeycrisp). Named "KinderKrisp" because its apples are smaller in size...perfect for a child's lunch. Fruit is red blushed, juicy and can be used fresh. Proven performance in northern gardens. Hardy to Zone 3.

Apples - McIntosh

(requires pollenizer) A well-known older apple that has a sprightly flavor and a medium storage life. Nearly solid, bright red skin. Heavy bearer. Good for eating and baking. Fruit tends to drop when ripe.

Apples - SnowSweet

(Requires pollenizer)
Late season variety with a sweet and tart taste.  Red apples get about 3" wide.  Unique quality is that they are slow to oxidize (brown) once cut. Zone 4.

Apples - State Fair

(requires pollenizer) Medium-sized red striped fruit. Tart, semi-acid to sweet flavor. Good all purpose apple as it can be used for fresh eating and baking. One of the better early apples for northern locations. Short storage life, so enjoy fresh or can/bake during harvest. Zone 3

Apples - Sweet Sixteen

(requires pollenizer)
Medium-sized red striped apple with crisp, juicy texture. Excellent sweet, unusual flavor - like cherry candy. Outstanding dessert apple. Fire blight resistant.

Apples - Winecrisp

(requires pollenizer) A late-ripening, Medium-sized dark red juicy apple with good storage quality. Long storage life.

Apples - Zestar

(requires pollenizer) An early blooming/early ripening apple known for it's sweet-tart taste with a hint of brown sugar. Crisp fruit is red blushed and great for fresh eating. Developed in Minnesota for cold hardiness. to Zone 3. Early blooming crabapples would also be good pollenizers for Zestar.

Cherry (Prunus)

Sour cherries are some of the easiest fruit trees to grow in Colorado.   They are hardy, are naturally disease and insect resistant, and offer beautiful bark.  Sweet cherries share all of these characteristics except they are often a little less hardy with regard to zone and will likely produce better for those of you at lower elevations.

4 N 1 Cherry --- 4 different varieties in the same pot.  Combo varieties are grower's choice and vary from shipment to shipment.  Please ask our Nursery Department for current selections.

Sour Cherries - Evans Bali

(self-fertile) This type is actually a cross between a sweet and sour cherry. Deep, dark red fruit 1" in diameter. Excellent for baking and fresh eating. The fruit is much sweeter than other sour cherries. Extremely hardy buds.

Sour Cherries - Montmorency

(self-fertile) Large red, tart fruit for pies or preserves.  A very productive sour pie cherry with minimal disease or pest problems.

Sour Cherries - North Star

Genetic dwarf introduced by the University of MN in 1950. Average size is 8'-10' H x 8'-10 wide. Red fruit with a small stone. Very productive. A sour pie cherry. Blooms in May. Zone 4.

Sweet Cherries Stella

(self-fertile but will produce even more when planted with a Rainier or Bing) Black skin and flesh. This sweet cherry has juicy flesh and is moderately firm.

Peach (Prunus)

Peach trees are early bloomers and are all self-fertile. Most ripen in late July-August.  You have the potential to get a bumper crop in good years when the frost doesn't get the blossoms.  Or, you have the potential for very little fruit if the tree isn't protected when in bloom during a hard late frost.

Peach Variety - Contender

(self-fertile) A freestone peach with bright yellow flesh. Matches 'Reliance' in cold-hardiness and tolerance of spring frosts. Sweet, extra-juicy fruit is an absolute delight for fresh eating, canning, baking, and freezing. Self-pollinating. 'Contender' ripens mid-to late August.  Peachy pink Spring blooms.

Peach Variety - Pix Zee

(self fertile) - DWARF! Don’t let the small size of this tree fool you! It delivers big crops of large, firm, yellow, flavorful freestone peaches. Fruits ripen early to midseason. Orange skin is overlaid with a red blush. A vigorous grower as it reaches a mature height of about six feet; its compact size is perfect for smaller yards. Zone 5.

Peach Variety - Redhaven

(self-fertile) One of the finest early peaches. Colors to a beautiful red and golden yellow. Flesh is firm, smooth textured and fine flavored. Fruit is medium size, round, uniform and appealing. Good for freezing, canning, and shipping. Disease resistant. One of the hardier peaches. Fruit sets heavily, must be thinned to reach size.  Peachy salmon Spring blooms

Peach Variety - Reliance

(self-fertile) The hardiest yellow-fleshed freestone peach available. Medium sized, roundish, yellow-fleshed peach that ripens with 'Redhaven'. Has a rather dull blush over green-yellow color. Flesh is bright yellow, rather soft and juicy.  Clear pink Spring blooms.

Pears (Pyrus)

Pears require the most pollination of all of the fruits, so bees are very important along with planting multiple pear trees.

Pears - Early Gold

Early Gold Pear is an early maturing green-gold fruit for fresh eating and preserves. Produces a yellow pear in early August. Abundant white spring flowers and glossy green foliage. Cross-pollinate with another pear variety for consistent yields.   Superior cold hardiness. Zone 3.  Up to 25-35'H x 18'-25'W.

Pears - Golden Spice

Produces medium yellow 2" fruit, blushed with red.  Has a tangy and spicy flavor. Many use it for canning and spicing.  Ripens in September. Smaller tree overall at 15'-20' H x 8'-12' W.  Cold hardy to Zone 3.

Pears - Parker

Large, yellow-bronze fruit. Fine grained, tender and juicy. Upright and vigorous grower. Open-pollinated seedling of a Manchurian pear. Introduced in 1934 by the University of Minnesota.

Plums (Prunus)

Plums are another reliable fruit tree in our area.  We offer both European and Japanese types as well as some hybrids.  Most European type plums will set fruit with their own pollen, but will produce better crops with pollenizers nearby.   While SOME Japanese plums are self-fertile, most will require require a pollenizer.  According to the CSU Extension service, you should not use European varieties to pollenize Japanese types because their bloom times are different.  Look to European types to pollenize each other.  Ditto for Japanese types.  See variety specific information below.

Plums - Mount Royal

(self-fertile) Medium sized, round blue, European plum. Good eaten fresh off the tree. Excellent for dessert, jam and preserves. Tender, juicy yellow flesh.

Plums - Superior

(Pollenize with a Toka) A Japanese-American Hybrid. Red-skinned plum with sweet yellow fruit.  Known to be a heavy, consistent producer. Zone 4.


(self-fertile but will produce heavier with another variety nearby) Toka (a.k.a Bubblegum Plum because of its flavor) is a hybrid (American and Japanese) plum with medium-sized red skinned fruit. Richly flavored with beautiful apricot flesh. One of the best pollinators of all the plums. White blooms. Fruit ripens in late August or early September.  Height 15'-20' x 12'-16' W.  Zone 3 (-40)


Autumn Brilliance Serviceberry

Height: 20-25'

Spread: 18'-20'

Flowers: Profuse white flowers in spring.

Fall Color: Yellow, Orange, Red leaves

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We are open all year round and always offer the seasons most popular varieties for gardeners and plant lovers alike!

Phelan Gardens
4955 Austin Bluffs Parkway.
Colorado Springs, CO, 80918

(719) 574-8058

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A photograph of various signs that point to sections of Phelan Gardens such as Perennials, Vines, Grasses and more
Phelan Gardens Perennials section of their store