Donut Peach Tree: Facts, Planting Guide & Common Issues

If you like donuts and peaches, then why not have a donut peach? That’s an actual peach that is round and flat with a delicious taste. If the donut peach is not available in your local grocery store, you can grow the tree in your garden.

What is a donut peach tree? The donut peach tree is a deciduous tree that is native to China. The tree blooms pink flowers in March or April, and its fruits are round and flat with yellow or orange skin. The fruits ripen in August. The donut peach tree starts producing 2 to 3 years after planting and yields about 50 pounds of peaches per season.

Between its fruits and ornamental foliage, the donut peach tree is a great addition to your fruit garden. Read more to learn how to plant and care for this exotic tree.

Donut Peach Trees

The donut peach tree (Prunus persica) is deeply rooted in Chinese culture. The Chinese name pantao means “coiled peach.”

Because of its unusual flat fruits and exquisite texture and taste, the donut peach was part of folklore and held in high esteem. It was first introduced in the US in the late 19th century.

The tree is hardy to Zones 4 to 8 and can survive temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit. It goes by many names, including doughnut peach, Saturn peach, Galaxy peach, pan tao peach, and saucer peach, among others.

Donut Peach Tree Appearance & Size

The donut peach tree is a small size tree averaging 10 to 12 feet tall and the same in width. It’s a deciduous tree that sheds its leaves in the fall.

Flowers emerge shortly after the first leaves in the early spring. The flowers are usually pink. The fruits are round and flat and have less fuzz than regular peaches. The skin of the ripe fruit is yellow to orange, and the inside is white.

How Big Does a Donut Peach Tree Get?

The average donut peach tree doesn’t grow an inch over 12 feet at the most. It doesn’t take up much space, and you can grow it in your backyard. Just make sure the tree gets full sun during the spring and summer to enjoy a big harvest.

Donut Peach Fruit Size, Appearance & Taste

The donut peach fruit is a round, flat fruit about 1 1/2 inches high and 3 inches in diameter with a small pit in the middle. When it’s ripe, the fruit turns yellow or orange or any shade between those two colors.

It has a thin and smooth skin with less fuzz than other peach fruits. It has a soft texture and tastes sweet. It practically melts in the mouth. 

Donut Peach Tree Care

Plant the tree in loamy, well-draining soil. It doesn’t like to sit in waterlogged soil. Make sure the soil is mildly acidic with pH readings between 5.6 and 6.1.

After planting the tree, give it 1 inch of water during the spring, summer, and fall until you harvest the fruits. Then cut back on watering during the winter when the tree sheds its leaves. 

Feed it with organic compost and homemade fertilizers from the early spring until late summer. Apply the fertilizer once every 3 to 4 weeks, but don’t feed the tree during the winter.

Does a Donut Peach Tree Flower?

The donut peach tree flowers during mid-March or early April. The pink flowers stay in bloom until they get pollinated by bees or butterflies. 

When To Prune a Donut Peach

The best time to prune the donut peach tree is in the fall after the harvest season when all the leaves have fallen. Cut down old branches as well as damaged, broken, or entangled ones.

This prepares the tree for the winter and doesn’t put much strain on its meager resources during the cold season.

How To Plant a Donut Peach Tree

The best way to grow a donut peach tree is from seed, unless you’re growing a cultivar. In that case, you should buy a sapling from the local nursery since hybrids growing from seeds rarely resemble the parent tree.

Here’s how to start a donut peach tree from seed.

  1. Open a ripe and healthy donut peach fruit, and extract the pit in the middle.
  2. Remove all traces of flesh on the pit, and wash it thoroughly.
  3. Fill a Ziploc back with moist peat moss, drop the peach pit in it, and zip the bag closed.
  4. Place the bag in the fridge, and check on it every few weeks to make sure the peat moss is moist. Add a few drops of water as necessary.
  5. After 2 to 3 months, the peach pit will crack open, and roots will emerge.
  6. Prepare a small pot by filling it with potting mix. Then plant the seedling, and water it.
  7. Keep the pot in a sunny place until the weather improves. Then move it outside.
  8. When the sapling has developed at least three sets of true leaves, plant it in the garden.
  9. Choose a sunny spot in the garden, and amend the soil to bring its pH to around 5.6 to 6.1.
  10. Dig a hole wide enough to accommodate the small root ball of the sapling and a little deeper.
  11. Fill the bottom of the hole with a pile of organic compost to make a small hill in the middle.
  12. Extract the sapling out of the pot, and examine its roots.
  13. Place the sapling on top of the mound, and spread its roots.
  14. Fill the hole with the soil, and firm it.
  15. Water immediately.
A close look at three donut peaches growing in a tree.

Can You Grow Donut Peach Trees in Containers?

The average donut peach tree is about 10 to 12 feet tall. Although that doesn’t make it a giant tree, it’s still best to grow it in the garden.

If you want to grow the donut peach tree in a container, you should choose a cultivar that has been grafted onto a dwarf trunk. This will keep the tree small and manageable without having to prune it heavily or regularly. 

Whether you grow it in containers or in the garden, always make sure the tree is getting between 6 to 8 hours of full sun every day during the spring and summer.

The soil in the container will usually dry up quickly, so water the potted tree when the top 2 inches of the soil have gone dry.

Best Places To Buy Donut Peach Trees

Donut peach trees are not as rare as they used to be. They’re quite popular, and if you’re in the right climate zone, chances are you’ll find them in your local nursery.

If not, then you can order it online at places like Fast GrowingTrees.com. Many nurseries sell the donut peach tree online either as saplings or as grafted cultivars.

When To Harvest Donut Peaches

The harvest season for the donut peach tree starts around August, but some cultivars ripen faster. Keep an eye on the peaches as they change color.

Test the peach by pressing your thumb gently on the flesh. If it feels soft and is easy to yank off of the branch, then your peaches are ready. Don’t delay harvest time as the peaches attract wildlife.

Donut Peach Fruit Benefits 

The donut peach fruits are packed with vitamins that reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases and keep the skin glowing. They also have high potassium content, which promotes heart health.

Donut Peach Fruit Recipe Ideas

You can add the donut peach fruit to your fruit salad or eat it raw. You can also cut and add it to your ice cream, bake it into a cake, or make smoothies and jams. 

Popular Donut Peach Tree Varieties

Most of the donut peach tree varieties are proprietary cultivars.

  • BuenOs: This cultivar produces reddish fruits that ripen faster than the regular species. 
  • Galaxy: The fruits have firm flesh and sweet taste packed with flavors.
  • Saturn: The fruits have a high sugar content and a soft texture. They mature late in August or early September.

Common Issues When Growing Peach Trees

Some of the common diseases the peach tree is prone to include the following:

Brown Rot

This fungal disease often targets the peach fruits around the time they ripen, but it also affects the shoots and flowers. It’s caused by Monilinia fructicola and spreads in highly humid environments, especially after rainfall.

Solution

Remove infected blooms and fruits, and remove cankers while pruning. Spray a fungicide during the flowering season to prevent infections.

Peach Scab

This is another fungal infection that is caused by Venturia carpophila. It appears in the form of brown freckles on the surface of the developing peach as well as on the twigs. However, the fruits are safe to eat once you peel off the skin.

Solution

Pruning and proper air ventilation are key factors in fighting off peach scab. Remove infected twigs and fruits to prevent the spread of the disease.

Closing Thoughts

The donut peach tree is an exotic tree that grows in Zones 4 to 9. The flat fruits are sweet and packed with flavors. The tree requires plenty of full sun and regular watering during the spring and summer.

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