Peach trees come in a wide variety of cultivars and natural species and are grown mainly for their juicy fruits.
However, another type of peach known as the patio peach tree stands out for its ornamental value and its compact size as well as its delicious fruits. Interested to learn more?
A patio peach tree is a small ornamental tree with lush foliage and pink blooms in spring. It’s characterized by a manageable growth habit, little need for maintenance and high yields considering their size. You can plant it in a small garden or keep it in a container for its entire life.
What makes some people prefer patio peach trees in their garden or backyard instead of regular peaches? Read more to find out all you need to know about patio peach trees and how to grow and take care of them.
Patio Peach Tree – What To Know
The patio peach tree is a quaint little tree that adds as much beauty to your landscape as it puts fruits on the kitchen table.
Additionally, dwarf peach trees usually fruit much sooner than their full-size counterparts as a patio peach tree is likely to produce fruits in the second year after planting it.
Are Patio Peach Trees the Same as Dwarf Peach Trees?
The first dwarf peach tree resulted from a genetic mutation that occurred naturally, but horticulturalists jumped on the opportunity and bred the dwarf tree with other peach cultivars to create the hybrids we know today.
The terms dwarf and patio are often used interchangeably, but what’s important to remember is that they are smaller in size, require less maintenance, and produce smaller fruits than regular full-size peaches.
How Big Will a Patio Peach Tree Get?
Many patio peach trees won’t grow an inch above 6 feet. Some are as short as 4 feet, and others might surpass 7 feet if left unpruned.
Thanks to this small stature, you can plant patio peach trees in a small corner of your yard or even in a container.
Do Patio Peaches Produce Fruit?
Many patio peach varieties produce fruits just like the average peach tree. However, the fruits of the patio peach are usually smaller in size than the peaches you buy at the supermarket and might have decreased flavors and sweetness.
Most fruits have reddish skin and yellow flesh, and some cultivars have large pits.
How Long Does It Take for Patio Fruit Trees To Produce Fruit?
One of the advantages of the small patio fruit trees is that they don’t waste time producing fruits.
On average, you can expect the patio fruit tree to give you fruits in the second year. That’s a whole year faster than the full-size peach tree.
Can You Eat Peaches From a Patio Peach Tree?
Many patio peach trees produce edible peaches even if the quality of those fruits doesn’t quite measure up to the fruits from full-size peaches.
The peaches of other patio peaches are not edible at all, and there are other patio peaches that don’t produce fruit at all.
Can You Plant Patio Peach Trees in the Ground?
The main advantage of growing a patio peach tree is that you can grow it in a container. However, you could absolutely grow it in the ground if you prefer. The undemanding patio peach will thrive in any setting.
Do Patio Peach Trees Lose Their Leaves?
Much like their full-size cousins, patio peach trees are deciduous. That means that the miniature trees will lose their leaves soon after the fruits have ripened, and they will go dormant in the winter.
Patio Peach Tree Chill Hours
Most fruiting patio peach tree varieties require about 400 chill hours on average. This is almost identical to normal peach trees. Without enough chill hours, the tree will not flower.
Are Patio Peach Trees Deer Resistant?
Patio peach trees have no resistance whatsoever to deer. If a wandering deer stumbles upon your patio peach tree, it might strip it of the last edible leaf before it’s done with it. Since the trees are small, the deer can access every part of the foliage.
What Is the Best Patio Peach Tree?
Patio peach trees flourished over the past 70 years with new varieties popping up all the time, but not all of those cultivars gained popularity. The following varieties remain the most popular patio peach trees.
Bonfire Patio Peach Tree
This is a miniature cultivar that grows between 4 and 6 feet at most. It’s also known as Tom Thumb.
The tree has maroon leaves that shimmer in the sun. It can be a backdrop to many flowering plants and adds a lot of beauty to the landscape. It produces small peaches with large pits.
Bonanza Patio Peach Tree
This popular tree averages 6 feet tall and is known for its large yield. The fruits are reddish with yellow flesh. The fruits ripen early, and you can harvest them in late spring or early summer. However, it only grows in cold Zones since it needs about 400 chill hours.
Empress Dwarf Peach Tree
This cultivar averages 5 feet at maturity. It has lush green leaves and pink flowers, and the fruits ripen in mid-summer. It’s more suitable for Zone 5 since it requires about 850 chill hours.
Golden Glory Peach Tree
Like Empress, this cultivar matures about 5 feet tall. It has distinctive fruits with yellow skin and pink blushes. The juicy flesh is yellow. It’s best grown in Zones 5 and 6 since it needs a frigid winter and at least 750 chill hours.
Flory Peach Tree
Flory is an heirloom cultivar famous for its double red flowers. It grows to 5 feet tall and is hardy to warm Growing Zones. It doesn’t need more than 450 chill hours to flower and produce fruits. The fruits have white flesh but not much flavor.
Southern Sweet Peach Tree
As the name implies, the fruits of this cultivar are a lot tastier than other patio peach varieties. It grows well in warm Zones and only needs 250 chill hours in the winter.
Eldorado Peach Tree
This variety needs about 400 chill hours. It grows well in Zones 6 and 7.
Pixzee Peach Tree
This cultivar is similar to Eldorado in terms of growth habits and chill hours requirements.
Patio Peach Tree Care
The best way to care for the patio peach tree is to ensure that the tree is getting the right growing conditions all year round.
It’s recommended to plant the patio peach tree in the late winter or early spring. Make sure the soil drains well and is slightly acidic. Mix in organic compost to give the tree a good start.
Whether you’re growing the patio peach tree in a container or in the ground, make sure that the tree gets between 6 and 8 hours of sunlight every day during the spring and summer. Partial shade can impact the foliage, flowering, and yield.
Until the patio peach tree establishes, it needs evenly moist soil. Mulching can help with water retention.
Once the tree establishes in the second year, it can access the moisture in the deep layers of the soil. Potted trees need 1 inch of water a week.
Apply a balanced fertilizer once in the early spring. Side dress with organic compost and aged manure once every 4 to 6 weeks. Stop fertilizing by the end of the summer.
Despite its small size, the patio peach tree still needs pruning. The goal of pruning is to allow light inside the foliage and improve ventilation.
Prune the tree in the early winter once it goes dormant. Focus on the inner branches to create an open center.
Pest & Disease Management
One of the pests to look out for is the peach tree borer. It looks like a wasp and lays its eggs on the bark of the tree. When they hatch, the larvae bore into the tree trunk and feed on the roots. Signs of the infestation include sap on the trunk.
As for diseases, leaf browning is a common fungal infection. Remove the infected leaves, and spray the foliage with a copper-based fungicide (this one is excellent).
Patio Peach Tree Winter Care
Most patio peach tree cultivars need chill hours. If you’re growing the tree in a container, move it to a cold space, such as the garage. Keep the soil moist throughout the winter. Prune the tree in the early winter to conserve its resources, but don’t fertilize it until spring.
Patio peach trees are small ornamental cultivars that average between 4 and 6 feet tall. Many cultivars produce small peaches and need 250 to 850 chill hours in the winter to bloom.
Choose the right cultivar for your Growing Zone, and make sure the tree gets full sun in the spring and summer.