Growing apricots in the UK is a relatively new phenomenon but it’s one that’s not impossible. There are now a few apricot cultivars that have been specially developed to suit the UK climate. They have shown to be prolific croppers of delicious fruit and what’s more, they’re simple to grow.
Apricot trees are fast growing, winter-hardy trees that will eventually reach a height of around 3m. While they can be grown as standard trees, it is advisable to train them to grow as a bush, this way you’ll have better access to the fruit and the tree won’t become too big for your garden.
When planting the tree, cut back the main stem to encourage the growth of the side-shoots. This will encourage it to become bushy, rather than grow upwards. Then as the plant grows, remove any branches that are growing vertically, and any branches that are susceptible to picking up disease, such as those, which are rubbing together. Make sure you don’t over-prune the tree, however, as this in itself can encourage the onset of disease, particularly canker, or silver leaf, which would infect the tree through the wounds made when pruning.
Growing Your Tree
If you are growing your tree as a bush, make sure you leave t lots of space to grow outwards. This can be as much as 5m if you have the space. Alternatively, you can grow the tree along a trellis, and train it in a fan shape. This is ideal for small gardens, though it is likely that you will get less fruit if you grow it this way, and the greater amount of pruning needed to train the tree will increase its risk of developing a disease.
Plant bare-root trees from autumn onwards, making sure they are in the ground by mid spring. They prefer a free-draining soil, rich in organic matter. They can tolerate quite chalky soils but will do less well in heavier, clay soils. Their roots also enjoy a free reign, so it’s best not to grow them in pots or in confined spaces where they’ll have lots of competition.
Apricots are typically grown on three rootstocks: Torinel, Myrobolan and Seedling Peach. Beware of suckers coming up from the roots and remove them immediately (they belong to the rootstock and, if left to grow they will develop into the original tree and could even harm the growth of your apricot.)
A three-year-old tree can produce at least 20 fruits; these appear in clusters on wood that is at least one year old. Don’t thin the fruits, as you would with apples and pears, but leave them to develop naturally. When the crop starts to swell, water the tree thoroughly and regularly. Harvest the fruits only when they are fully ripe and come off the tree easily.
Tips to Successful Growing
Avoid pruning in winter, or wet weather as this can increase the chance of your tree being attacked by a disease
Remove suckers developing on the rootstock and leave the area around the tree free from weeds, who will compete with it for light, water and nutrients until the tree is large enough to fend for itself
If you grow your tree in a fan shape, you may need to protect the blossom with fleece in the spring to protect it from a late frost. This is not necessary when growing the trees as bushes or standards
Apricots are delicious eaten fresh, or dried. An apricot tree in your garden will provide you with decades of fresh fruit and will also make an attractive addition to your garden.
@Annie - Apricot: St Julien A or Torinel are good varieties for pots. It a nutshell, make sure you have good drainage and use a good-quality compost mixed with grit or perlite and feed regularly. As the tree continues to grow, you will need to re-pot annually in order to make sure it doesn't become root bound. Plus, protect through winter from rains and frost in a more sheltered environment. This is a very quick run-down, you may wish to do some further research online for more specific care, or buy a specialist book from your local garden centre. I hope this helps.
FruitExpert - 26-Jun-15 @ 10:31 AM
@brodie - I think you may need to do some research, or speak to someone who can look at your tree, as it is hard to say without more detail. It could possibly be gummosis which is caused by the fungus Cytospora and arises through infected wounds; infestations; or damaged bark. On the other hand it could be the result of an infestation of peachtree borers. These borers feed beneath tree bark near the bottom where the sap is visible. You might want to look both of these up online or speak to someone from your local nursery to see whether either apply. If so, then you can seek advice on how to eradicate them. I hope this helps.
FruitExpert - 24-Jun-15 @ 9:59 AM
Have been given an apricot tree about ten inches high would like to grow in pot as standard tree how do I do it thanks annie
Annie - 24-Jun-15 @ 7:40 AM
Apricot tree in pot, lots of leaves last year, no leaves yet but amberish coloured sap dripping off branches couple of weeks ago in nice weather....
brodie - 21-Jun-15 @ 11:50 AM
i have bought a patio apricot tree last year at the end of summer and i have put it in a large pot. i covered the pot for the winter but not the tree. it is may now and it has no blossom and no leaves and some sap is coming out of some branches. what is wrong with it.
fifi - 27-May-13 @ 4:00 PM
i have an apricot in a pot in a cold greenhouse lots of fruit all fell off when small ?will it grow and fruit in a cold greenhouse ,in the ground ? or will it put on too much groathgeenhouse is 8x6
ted - 21-May-13 @ 8:10 PM
Can you advise where I can buy goji berry seeds from in the UK.
Angi in Africa - 27-Sep-12 @ 7:46 AM
My threeyear old Tomcot tree had a good crop of fruits this year but most fruits have brown mold and are falling off.What is wrong with them and please suggest treatment.
roughdiamond - 7-Jul-12 @ 11:37 AM
Please, let me know what I shall do to kill warms inside every apricot cherry fruit I got on the tree. Apparently I missed the time when I needed to spray the tree. My problem is that I don't know when shall I must do this and what spray shall I use. I would greatly appreciate information to fix my problems in the future. Tit is such a beautiful tree!
Thank you very much, MR.
AmateurAppricotGrowe - 29-May-12 @ 1:45 AM
We live in Midlands. we have south and west facing spot. We like to plant a apricot tree. please give us some advice?
raj - 18-Oct-11 @ 4:09 PM
I've an apricot in my garden here in Sunderland. Flavourcot is the variety and I have about 50 apricots on at the moment.is approximately 4 years old
djs224 - 2-Jun-11 @ 7:31 PM
I have a Peach tree which is approx 4 years old, last year I had a bumper crop fantastic, this year started off fine good blossom and looking forward to a very good crop but, the leaves have all died back and are crumpled and falling off, have you any idea what is the cause and what is the remedy?
Denver Newhill - 28-Apr-11 @ 10:25 AM
I have an apricot tree but for some reson the leaves have not opened up this year they are all there but are tiny and not open, have you any idea what it could be? thank you steve.
steve - 27-Apr-11 @ 2:23 PM
I have an apricot tree, 3years old. The 1st year lots of snow, plenty of blossom no pollination. Last year ideal weather, huge crop of large fruit (20 lbs). This year blossom very early, very cold, blossom died and now I have a sticky amber coloured sap oozing from branches and main stem and no leaves are as yet showing. Please could you diagnose the disease and can it be treated? many thanks
lumpitt - 22-Apr-11 @ 1:34 PM
What do you feed pot grown Apricots and pot grown cherries with? They are both about 2 years old and this year they have flowered. Thanks.
brendi - 19-Apr-11 @ 3:10 PM
I have had an apricot growing for two winters now, but at last have found some great information and tips on how to make the most of these delicious fruits. I also have a Victoria Plum, a Breaburn Apple and a Cherry, all the same age and growing nicely in huge pots.