Apple Varieties in Hot Climates

All dormant apple trees need a specific number of "chilling hours"--periods with temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit--before their spring growth starts. Most apple varieties need from 500 to 1,000 chilling hours each year. A small number of apple cultivars, however, can get by with fewer than 500, says Kathie Carter of the UC Riverside Cooperative Extension's Botany Sciences Department. These are the apple varieties suitable for hot climates.

Anna

Developed in Israel, "Anna" needs 300 chilling hours. Its late May to June fruit lasts up to two months when refrigerated. To set fruit, Anna requires cross-pollination from "Golden Dorsett" or "TropicSweet" trees. The tree's crisp, red-green fruit is slightly more sweet than acidic, according to the University of Florida IFAS Extension. Average weight for its 2.5-inch, oblong apples is 7 oz. "Anna" is Florida's best-selling apple cultivar.

Dorsett Golden

A Bahamian apple cultivar, "Dorsett Golden" sets fruit with only 250 chilling hours. The University of Arizona Extension suggests it may require even less. Highly resistant to browning, its red-striped, yellow or green fruit averages 5.3 oz. Like "Anna," its apples are ready for harvest in late May or June. "Dorsett Golden" is an upright, medium height tree. It needs cross-pollination from "TropicSweet" or "Anna."

TropicSweet

"TropicSweet" is a spreading tree with very sweet, red-and-green apples of 7 oz. Like "Dorsett Golden," they're extremely resistant to browning. Developed in Florida, this patented cultivar needs 300 chilling hours to produce May and June fruit. The crisp apples store from six to eight weeks in the refrigerator. Cross-pollinate this tree with "Anna" or "Golden Dorsett."

Ein Shemer

"Ein Shemer," an Israeli cultivar, performs well even in the low California and Arizona deserts. The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension estimates its chilling requirement at as little as 100 hours. "Ein Shemer" has red-and-yellow, medium-textured sweet fruit averaging a little over 6 oz. This tree will cross-pollinate "Anna."

Early Dawn

With a chilling requirement of 250 hours, "Early Dawn" is a disease-resistant apple cultivar that performs well in California's coastal areas. Its August-ripening, red and yellow apples average about 8 oz. They have crisp, fragrant flesh good for snacking and cooking, according to the Urban Permaculture Institute.

Michal

Another Israeli cultivar, "Michal" needs 425 chilling hours. Producing fruit in just three years, Michal has firm, juicy yellow apples shaded with orange and red. Their flavor is similar to that of "Jonathan" apples, notes the Urban Permaculture Institute. It becomes sweeter for up to two weeks at room temperature. The medium-sized fruit is ready for picking in June and July.

Keywords: hot climate apples, low chill apples, low desert apples, apple chilling hours

About this Author

A freelance writer, Judy Wolfe has owned Prose for the Pros, a freelance writing business, since 2006. She's been an inveterate traveler since 1961 and draws on her travel experiences to provide articles for such websites as Chincoteague Island Vacations and Berlin Dude. Wolfe holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature from California State University at Pomona.