Nothing is better than fresh fruit grown in your own yard, but we often don’t have the space to plant multiple fruit trees!
Luckily, horticulturalists have gotten crafty and created fruit cocktail trees, and now you can grow more than one type of fruit on the same tree!
While this may seem impossible, it is actually easier and more common than it sounds.
What is a fruit cocktail tree? A fruit cocktail tree is a single tree that has multiple varieties of fruit trees grafted onto the same rootstock. Fruit cocktail trees usually consist of different varieties of stone fruits like peaches, nectarines, plums, and apricots, but there are citrus, apple, and pear varieties as well.
To learn more about these unique trees and how they can exist, read on! Here, you’ll find more about fruit cocktail trees, how to take care of them, what combinations they grow in, and why you should have one!
You’ll also find some great online sources for purchasing a fruit cocktail tree of your own.
How Is a Fruit Cocktail Tree Created?
Since fruit trees need to be grafted from a tree that is known to produce delicious fruit, horticulturalists have realized they can graft multiple different fruits onto the same tree.
For example, by first grafting a lemon tree onto a vigorous rootstock, they will allow the tree to grow until it has multiple branches.
Once it is multi-branched, they will take other branches from different citrus trees and graft individual branches onto different parts of the tree. Since they are of the same fruit family, they can grow together.
What Kind of Fruit Is on a Cocktail Tree?
This depends on what combination has been created, but a fruit cocktail tree usually consists of plums, peaches, nectarines, and apricots.
In other instances, there will be citrus fruit salad trees consisting of lemons, limes, oranges, or other citrus varieties; apple fruit cocktail trees with different apple varieties; and pear fruit cocktail trees with various types of pears.
4-in-1 Fruit Cocktail Tree
With four different fruits, you’ll get a small harvest of each one. Usually, you will find just the basics here: peaches, nectarines, plums, and apricots. You don’t miss any of the classics with this option.
5-in-1 Fruit Cocktail Tree
With a 5-in-1 tree, you’ll find that the growers will often include multiple varieties of the same fruit. The multiple varieties may be two types of peaches, plums, or apricots.
6-in-1 Fruit Cocktail Tree
A 6-in-1 fruit cocktail tree is the most unique because you don’t come across them often.
Most often, these include peaches, nectarines, plums, and apricots with the remaining two fruits being another variety of the four basics, such as donut peaches or Italian plums.
Sometimes the downside with these is that you do not get enough of one type of fruit since the tree’s energy is spread between six different fruits.
Citrus Fruit Salad Tree
These will produce the most fruit because citrus trees continually grow fruit throughout the season. You should receive lemons and limes year round while oranges will grow in one or two flushes per year.
Citrus fruit salad trees will come with normal lemon, lime, and orange combinations but can also be found with grapefruits, kumquats, citron, and other unique citrus varieties.
How Big Does a Cocktail Tree Get?
You can expect a full-size fruit cocktail tree to grow 15 to 18 feet tall and 8 to 12 feet wide.
Most are grown on dwarfing rootstocks since they have to be grafted to grow delicious fruit. This makes them very manageable in terms of size.
Dwarf Fruit Cocktail Tree
A dwarf fruit cocktail tree is great because it will grow smaller than a full-size tree! They are mostly grown on dwarfing rootstocks that shouldn’t exceed 10-12 feet in height.
This makes it ideal for homeowners with limited space and makes it easy to pick fruit since they aren’t too high on the tree.
Are Fruit Cocktail Trees Self-Pollinating?
Yes, fruit cocktail trees are self-pollinating, which makes it even easier to get the fruit you love!
The only reason you may want to add an additional tree is for better chances of pollination and a bountiful fruit set.
How Long Does It Take for a Fruit Cocktail Tree To Bear Fruit?
A fruit cocktail tree should begin to bear fruit about 1 to 2 years after it is planted.
The tree must be large enough to have multiple branches to graft different varieties onto, so it is usually of fruit-bearing age right from its conception.
Do All Fruits Ripen at the Same Time on a Fruit Cocktail Tree?
One of the most exciting parts of a cocktail tree is that each branch of the tree with a different fruit will ripen during its normal season.
While most stone fruits will ripen in early summer, fruit cocktail trees should offer a rotating selection that gives different fruit at different times of the season!
How Do You Take Care of a Fruit Cocktail Tree?
Taking care of a fruit cocktail tree is like taking care of any other tree. While they seem out of the ordinary, they still grow like a normal tree and require care just like any other tree!
See more details below for specific needs that fruit cocktail trees have.
Fruit trees prefer full sun, at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sun per day.
For stone fruit varieties, it may be best to give them light partial shade in warmer climates to prevent them from becoming sunburned.
Fruit cocktail trees should grow well if they receive about 1-2 inches of water per week. If it is producing fruit, it is best to give it a little extra water to help produce juicy fruit.
Be cautious of over-saturating the soil or over-watering to the point of creating watered-down-tasting fruit.
It is best to fertilize your fruit cocktail tree after the buds open in the spring.
Be sure to wait until after the flowers bloom because fertilizing too early may cause the tree to not bloom, leading to an absence of fruit on the tree.
A simple all-purpose fruit tree blend is ideal with an NPK of around 6-2-4 (this one is perfect!).
Pruning stone fruit trees should be done when they are dormant in the fall and winter.
You’re always welcome to prune off any dead, diseased, or dying branches to keep the canopy clean, but full pruning should not be done in the spring or summer because you will cut off the wood that will grow fruit in the bearing season.
Harvest the fruit when it falls into your hand when touched or when you apply a gentle amount of pressure.
It may be best to cut the fruit from the tree to avoid damaging the fruit, but if you choose to cut it from the tree, be sure not to pick it too early because it will never ripen off the tree.
Fruit Cocktail Tree Pests & Diseases
You’ll want to keep a lookout for pests and diseases that affect most varieties of trees. Specifically, fruit cocktail trees are susceptible to aphids, bacterial cankers, leaf curls, and different rusts caused by mites.
Regularly monitoring your tree is the best way to keep it free of these pests and diseases.
Check the underside of the leaves for pests, and if you notice the leaf margins beginning to curl, it is an obvious sign there is most likely a pest infestation beginning to take hold underneath.
Spray your tree’s leaves on the top and bottom with neem oil (find it here) weekly during the spring to prevent these issues.
Insecticidal soap is also a great way to stop pests in their tracks. Be careful to try to not spray the fruit itself because the spays shouldn’t be consumed by humans.
Where Can I Buy a Fruit Cocktail Tree?
Most of the time, you’ll be able to find basic fruit cocktail trees at a local nursery. However, since they aren’t commonplace, it may be slightly difficult to find one.
Your best chance would be tree nurseries that specialize in fruit trees, or there are some great online retailers who will ship it directly to you.
It may take some research to find the exact combination of fruit you want on the same tree, but know that it is out there!
Luckily finding your new fruit cocktail tree is easy because there are plenty of online retailers that will ship a fruit cocktail tree direct to your door!
Check out the links below for online shops that offer different combinations of fruit cocktail trees.
Growing multiple different fruits in your yard is easy — all it really takes is one tree!
Fruit cocktail trees almost seem like magic because of their uniqueness, but they’re just a marvel of human ingenuity!
Follow the guide above for all the details you need to have yourself a great new tree and tasty new treats in no time!