There are many characteristics to consider when you’re selecting peach trees. You’ll want to ensure that the type of peach trees you plant will fit your landscape, as well as your taste buds. You’ll need to compare different peach varieties’ specific planting zones, flesh color, flavor, harvest times and tree size. When you’ve decided on all of these factors and you’re selecting the specific trees at the nursery, be sure to choose peach trees that are healthy-looking, disease- and insect-free, and at least 2 to 3 years old.
Select peach trees based on their specific hardiness zone. Most peach trees are hardy down to USDA Zone 5, withstanding minimum temperatures of about -15 degrees Fahrenheit, but some are hardy down to only Zone 6, withstanding temperatures down to about -5 degrees. Less cold-hardy peach tree varieties include the Garden Gold, Honey Babe and O’Henry peach trees. One of the most cold-hardy varieties is the Reliance peach tree, which can be grown in Zone 4, with a minimum temperature of -25 degrees.
Decide whether you want a white peach or a regular peach. Most peaches are red- and yellow-skinned with yellowish-orange flesh, but some peaches have white skins or white flesh, such as the Polly White, Georgia Bell, White Lady, Spring Snow, Sugar May and Donut peaches.
Select peach trees based on the fruits’ flavor. The sweeter varieties of peaches include the Donut, Elberta, Frost, Hale-Haven, Harken, Honey Babe, O’Henry, Polly White and White Lady.
Take into account the time of harvest when selecting a peach tree variety. Some early-fruiting trees can produce peaches as early as July, including the Rich May, Candor, Earlystar, Spring Snow and Sugar May. Others have later harvests, as late as September or October, such as the Cresthaven, Redskin, Jerseyqueen, Snow King, Snow Giant and September Snow peach trees.
Choose peach trees based on dwarf versus standard size. If you’re planning to grow the trees in containers, you’ll likely want to purchase a dwarf variety, such as the Cresthaven peach tree and some multifruited peach trees.
- Some specific peach varieties, known as "low-chill" peaches, are best grown in USDA Hardiness Zones 8 and 9, with a minimum annual temperature of 10 degrees Fahrenheit. These low-chill varieties include the Florida King, Florida Prince, May Gold and Suwanee peach trees.
- If you're planting several peach trees, try to choose a mixture of early, mid-season and late harvesters. This way, you can enjoy crops of peaches throughout the growing season, instead of having all of the peaches come in at one time.
- Don't select standard-size peach trees if you're growing them in containers indoors. Keep in mind that even the dwarf varieties can still grow up to 15 feet tall unless you prune them heavily.