22 Fruits to Grow in the Winter—No Matter the Climate

cherries in a bowl

Photo by Kolby Milton on Unsplash

When some parts of the country are blanketed by thick layers of snow, it’s hard to even think about planting fruits and vegetables. Other states experience warm, tropical climates year-round; but whether you're stuck in the cold or basking in the sun, your healthy eating habits and home-grown fruits don't have to hibernate until spring. Contrary to popular belief, there are quite a few species of fruits that actually thrive in cold weather.

If you’re looking for delicious ideas for fruits or berries to grow during the cold months, your options will depend on your location's USDA Plant Hardiness Zone. Different fruits thrive in different climates, and the United States Department of Agriculture has divided the U.S. into 13 unique zones to give gardeners a better understanding of what they can successfully grow (and when to plant their produce). If you’re looking to plant some winter fruits this year, we’ve rounded up 22 of our favorites according to climate.

Read on to learn 22 of the best winter fruits to grow in your area, and enjoy the sweeter side of your green thumb no matter the weather.

01 of 22

Honeycrisp Apples

Harnesh KP via Getty Images

Harnesh KP via Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Malus domestica 'Honeycrisp'
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, loamy soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.0
  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3, 4, 5, 6

If you live in zone three (parts of North Dakota) or zone four (parts of Nebraska), your growth options are somewhat limited. After all, these climates can reach minimum temps of -30 to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. Zones five through seven can also get incredibly cold, but are still warm enough to successfully grow fruits and veggies. For instance, the latter zones can get as chilly as 10–20 degrees Fahrenheit, and include such areas as parts of Iowa (zone five), Ohio (zone six), and Virginia (zone seven).

Honeycrisp apples are a suitable choice for growing fruits in colder climates, as this species thrives in zones three and four. They'll still require direct sunlight, so be sure to plant your Honeycrisp apple tree in a bright area outside (like the south-facing side of your home). These trees bear fruit with red, pink, and faded white colors, and can be fertilized in the spring with a nitrogen-based fertilizer to promote healthy growing.

02 of 22

Apricots

Aleksandr Kuzmin via Getty Images

Aleksandr Kuzmin via Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Prunus armeniaca
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, loamy soil
  • Soil pH: 6.7 to 7.5
  • USDA Hardiness Zones:

Not many fruits will ripen in temperatures below zero, so for individuals who live in colder climates, you may need to purchase much of your fruit from other parts of the country between the months of December and March.

03 of 22

Cherries

Kolby Milton via Unsplash

Kolby Milton via Unsplash

  • Botanical Name: Prunus avium (Sweet Cherries), Prunus cerasus (Sour Cherries)
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, loamy soil
  • Soil pH: 5.0 to 7.0
  • USDA Hardiness Zones:
04 of 22

Pears

Westend 61 via Getty Images

Westend 61 via Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Pyrus communis
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, loamy soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 6.5
  • USDA Hardiness Zones:

Your best bet in colder climates: Pears. If you're planting your first pear tree, try to choose a plot with access to bright and direct sunlight and well-drained soil.

05 of 22

Mandarin Oranges

Verdina Anna via Getty Images

Verdina Anna via Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Citrus reticulata
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, sandy soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 6.5
  • USDA Hardiness Zones:

Not all of the U.S. faces blizzards in the wintertime. If you live in a warmer climate, such as zone eight (including parts of Arizona) or zone nine (including parts of Nevada), you have more growth options at your disposal than other areas. Temperatures in these climates seldom dip below freezing, and they present the ideal year-round growing conditions, particularly for citrus fruits.

06 of 22

Lemons

Gemma Evans via Unsplash

Gemma Evans via Unsplash

  • Botanical Name: Citrus limon
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, loamy or sandy soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 6.5
  • USDA Hardiness Zones:
07 of 22

Winter Squash

Harrison Eastwood via Getty Images

Harrison Eastwood via Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Cucurbita maxima
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, loamy soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 6.8
  • USDA Hardiness Zones:
08 of 22

Kumquats

Limpido via Getty Images

Limpido via Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Citrus japonica
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.0
  • USDA Hardiness Zones:
09 of 22

Pomelos

Thai Thu via Getty Images

Thai Thu via Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Citrus maxima
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, loamy or sandy soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 7
  • USDA Hardiness Zones:
10 of 22

Avocados

Lacaosa via Getty Images

Lacaosa via Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Persea americana
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, loamy or cactus soil
  • Soil pH: 5.0 to 7.0
  • USDA Hardiness Zones:
11 of 22

Passion Fruits

Antoniu Rosu / 500px via Getty Images

Antoniu Rosu / 500px via Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Passiflora edulis
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, loamy or sandy soil
  • Soil pH: 6.5 to 7.5
  • USDA Hardiness Zones:
12 of 22

Grapes

Alexandra Grablewski via Getty Images

Alexandra Grablewski via Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Vitis
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, sandy soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 6.5
  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 11

Zone 11 makes up the warmest and most tropical-friendly climate in the United States. It’s also the smallest zone, limited primarily to Florida's southern tip and a small section of coastal Los Angeles. If you live in one of these areas, you have access to cold-weather growth opportunities not available in other parts of the nation.

For example, these super warm climates can accommodate papaya and mango, which are otherwise difficult—if not altogether impossible—to grow in the United States. The warmer zones, 10 and 11, can also accommodate these crops.

13 of 22

Kiwis

Ansonmiao via Getty Images

Ansonmiao via Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Actinidia deliciosa
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun or partial shade
  • Soil Type: Well-draining soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 7.0
  • USDA Hardiness Zones:

Your best bet in warmer climates: Kiwis. If you're not very patient, try growing kiwis because they mature quickly on vines and ripen in winter and spring, so you can enjoy them during the colder months, too.

Because kiwis and their vines grow quickly, consider buying a trellis to support them: Mature kiwi plants can grow up to 40 feet tall.

14 of 22

Figs

Winslow Productions via Getty Images

Winslow Productions via Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Ficus carica
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
  • Soil Type: Well-draining soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 6.5
  • USDA Hardiness Zones:
15 of 22

Pomegranates

Fabian Krause/EyeEm via Getty Images

Fabian Krause/EyeEm via Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Punica granatum
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, loamy or sandy soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 7.0
  • USDA Hardiness Zones:
16 of 22

Plums

Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash

Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash

  • Botanical Name: Prunus domestica
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, loamy or sandy soil
  • Soil pH: 6.5
  • USDA Hardiness Zones:
17 of 22

Guava

Murilo Gualda via Getty Images

Murilo Gualda via Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Psidium guajava
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining soil
  • Soil pH: 4.5 to 7.0
  • USDA Hardiness Zones:
18 of 22

Grapefruits

Brett Stevens via Getty Images

Brett Stevens via Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Citrus × paradisi
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, loamy soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 6.5
  • USDA Hardiness Zones:

Your best bet in tropical climates: Grapefruit. Grapefruit comes into season in January, so it’s an excellent fruit to enjoy during those chilly winter months on the West Coast. Planting grapefruits is actually relatively easy. All you have to do is remove the seeds from a fresh grapefruit and plant them in a well-draining pot that's filled almost to the top with soil. Leave the pot in a well-lit window, then keep the soil moist (but not soggy).

19 of 22

Jackfruits

Norhidayah Zaaffar/EyeEm via Getty Images

Norhidayah Zaaffar/EyeEm via Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Artocarpus heterophyllus
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, loamy or sandy soil
  • Soil pH: 6.0 to 7.5
  • USDA Hardiness Zones:

Puerto Rico makes up zones 12 and 13, which can get mighty hot. In fact, the average temperature year-round is 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Not many fruits and veggies can stand such heat, but there are a select few: And jackfruit is a local favorite.

20 of 22

Okra

MirageC via Getty Images

MirageC via Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Abelmoschus esculentus
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, loamy or sandy soil
  • Soil pH: 6.5 to 7.5
  • USDA Hardiness Zones:
21 of 22

Starfruits

Narintorn Pornsuknimitkul/EyeEm via Getty Images

Narintorn Pornsuknimitkul/EyeEm via Getty Images

  • Botanical Name: Averrhoa carambola
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, loamy soil
  • Soil pH: 5.5 to 6.5
  • USDA Hardiness Zones:
22 of 22

Pineapples

Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash

Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash

  • Botanical Name: Ananas comosus
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Soil Type: Well-draining, loamy or sandy soil
  • Soil pH: 4.5 to 6.5
  • USDA Hardiness Zones:

Your best bet in ultra hot climates: Pineapples. While pineapples are certainly delicious, they are also very slow to mature. In fact, some can take up to two years. Cut the crown off a ripe pineapple, remove the lower leaves, and plant the exposed stalk in a planter. All you have to do is water it lightly and leave the planter in the sunlight.

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