How to Grow Peaches and Nectarines – A Guide to Growing Peaches and Nectarines
Peaches and nectarines depend on a sheltered, south facing position free from frost pockets, otherwise, the early spring blossom might be damaged. A popular method is to train them against a south-facing wall which holds the day’s heat through the night, and if cold spring days appear a covering of horticultural fleece will protect the tender blossoms.
In cooler areas, an unheated greenhouse is an ideal solution. Since they need a period of dormancy, a heated greenhouse is unsuitable.
For gardeners with small or limited spaces, peaches and nectarines grow just as well in containers.
Recommended Varieties of Peaches & Nectarines
- There are many varieties available as well as many sizes, including minarettes which are very suitable for containers on sunny patios.
- For further information, read Carol Klein’s article on Varieties of Peaches and Nectarines
Peaches & Nectarines Pests and Problems
- Frost damage to blossoms in spring can be avoided with protective covers
- Netting will protect the fruit from the birds and wasps in summer.
- Peach leaf curl can be a primary disease affecting the trees. Read how to treat this in Carol Klein’s article .
Cultivating Peaches & Nectarines
- Container grown trees can be planted at any time of the year, but avoid summer plantings when it will need a lot of watering until well established.
- Bare-rooted trees are best planted in late autumn for roots to establish well.
- Peaches and nectarines need to be grown against a warm, south facing wall, or in a sunny, sheltered site. Avoid frost pockets as the frost will damage the blossoms.
- Both types prefer a well-drained, humus rich soil and will not thrive in thin, shallow soil. Yearly spring feedings greatly benefit plant vigour and harvest yields.
- Depending on the variety, expect harvest between July to later August.
Harvesting, Eating and Storing
- Ripe fruits are fully coloured and the flesh close to the stem is soft. Once ready, they stay pristine in a cool place only for several days. They can be picked slightly under-ripe and left to ripen in a fruit bowl, but they’ll lack the same juicy sweetness that tree ripened fruit possess.
- The fruit do not ripen uniformly at the same time. Check fruit regularly and pick as they ripen.
- Peaches and nectarines do not keep well in storage, so best eaten fresh or bottled for winter.