The temperate climate of Minnesota makes it an ideal location for many varieties of fruit trees. The summers are long and warm enough to ripen the fruit on the tree, and winters are cold enough to provide a period of dormancy that many fruit trees require.
All fruit trees produce flowers, which are often quite fragrant. Some trees, such as flowering crab apples, are grown more for their blossoms than for the fruit they produce.
The University of Minnesota has created many new varieties of apples, including the wildly popular Honeycrisp. Apples are a well-loved fruit tree in Minnesota, and they are grown in both small gardens and large commercial orchards.
You may find wild apple trees growing in old farm fields, and both wild and cultivated crab apple trees may be found throughout Minnesota. Apple trees produce sweetly scented white or pink flowers in the springtime, and the fruit ripens in the autumn.
Some gardeners grow pears in Minnesota, although the fruit produced is usually much smaller than what can be found in most grocery stores. The spring flowers of the pear tree are white with a pink center and may be either simple or showy.
Pick the fruit before it is completely ripe. It usually does not keep well and should be canned or otherwise processed right away.
Plum trees' flowers form in thick, elongated clusters, and they are usually white and at least lightly fragrant. The fruit appears in the mid to late summer and is small, but very sweet and juicy. It may be eaten fresh or made into jam or preserves. Most varieties of plums grown in Minnesota have red skin and yellow flesh.
While Minnesota is too cold to grow sweet cherries, many gardeners grow sour cherries, also known as pie cherries. Minnesota is also home to several varieties of native cherries, including the chokecherry and the pin cherry. Cherry blossoms are white or pink and are very fragrant and attractive, and cherry trees are often grown for their ornamental value as much as for their fruit. Cherry blossoms appear in the spring, and the fruit ripens in mid- to late summer.
Although most of northern Minnesota is too cold, gardeners in central or southern Minnesota can grow some varieties of apricots. The white flowers of the apricot appear in the early spring, and the sweet yellow fruit follows in mid-summer.