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Fruit Plants That Grow Outside in Alaska

By Rogue Parrish ; Updated September 21, 2017

The brutal winters in Alaska make it seem that no fruit plants could ever survive, but every summer brings a miracle of abundance relied on by orchards, subsistence harvesters, bears and birds alike. To find the best fruit plants for outdoor growing in Alaska, the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station at the University of Alaska Fairbanks conducts tests and collects information from its extension agents and the state’s master gardeners. Some varieties of cultivated fruits may only survive in favorable sites facing south and protected by the wind.

Apples

The Carroll, Norland, Parkland, Prairie Magic and Silken varieties of apples will grow outside in Alaska. The Alaska Pioneer’s Fruit Growers Association ranks the Simonet variety as the top apple for yield and survival in the Last Frontier. The University of Alaska Fairbanks ranks the Parkland, Westland, Nor-Series and Golden Uralian as having good yields, all of which are grown at the Clair’s Cultivars orchard outside Fairbanks.

Other Large Fruit

Plums (Clair’s Cultivars grows the Assinboine, Manchurian, Dandy and Salicina No. 2 varieties), cherries, apricots, juneberries and pears are hardy in interior Alaska’s climate, which covers USDA Zones 2, 3 and Zone 4. Evans cherry trees will grow, as well as Red Jade currants and Jahns Prairie gooseberries.

Small Fruit

Pickyourown.org notes that currants, strawberries and raspberries grow at ranches at Talkeetna, well north of Anchorage. The University of Alaska Fairbanks reports that the state’s growers succeed with the Alaska Pioneer and Toklat strawberry varieties. Some nurseries raise grapes, gooseberries, raspberries and Kiwi vines.

Wild Berries

Bears, moose and birds, as well as Alaska residents who cherish the state’s late-summer tradition of berry picking, harvest the state’s late summer crops of blueberries, lingonberries, cloudberries and crowberries. Agricultural researchers seek ways to commercially produce wild berries or to manage existing wild stands, according to the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Rarities

Peach trees occasionally survive the winter, according to the Alaska Pioneer’s Fruit Growers Association.

 

About the Author

 

An award-winning writer and editor, Rogue Parrish has worked at the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun and at newspapers from England to Alaska. This world adventurer and travel book author, who graduates summa cum laude in journalism from the University of Maryland, specializes in travel and food -- as well as sports and fitness. She's also a property manager and writes on DIY projects.