Growing Apricots at the Allotment

Growing Apricots at the Allotment

Apricots can be grown in the UK in a sunny position, despite common belief due to the modern varieties now available. They can be vulnerable to frost but choose your variety wisely, dependent on your location.

Apricots do take some looking after but are a very attractive addition to your plot or garden with spring blossoms and juicy, sweet fruit during summer.

Bareroot plants can be planted during autumn when it is dormant, but the soil is still warm. Container grown trees can be planted any time.

Choose a spot in the sun that is sheltered from frosts in well-drained soil and dig a hole for the root ball, adding in some well-rotted manure or compost and water-in well. Mulch around the base to supress the weeds and retain moisture. Apricot trees can grow up to 12 feet tall, but you can train them to grow bushier and smaller or fanned out against a wall. Check the variety you have for details.

Water regularly until the tree is established after a couple of years. Protect it from frosts and pests. Be mindful of canker also. Apricot trees also need pruning during spring or the end of the summer. The fruits grow off shoots from the previous year; on older wood. 

Apricots are self-fertile but sometimes need help with pollination if it is cooler weather or you are in a more northern area. You can carefully move pollen from one bloom of blossom to another using a paintbrush or something similar.

Apricots will be ready to harvest July - August. Pick the apricots and transport them carefully to avoid bruising them. You can also thin out a heavy glut to avoid damage to the fruits. They are ready when they easily come away when picking.

Apricots are delicious eaten fresh and raw, as well as being used in desserts and jams.



blossom 7903068_1920
apricots 824626_1920
apricots 4210720_1920

Growing Apricots in Summary

Planting Apricots

  • Plant bareroot dormant trees in autumn
  • Plant container grown plants any time
  • Plant in a sunny and sheltered position

Popular Apricot Varieties

  • Prunus armeniaca 'Flavorcot' - Is a dwarf, self-fertile fruit tree specially bred for the cooler UK climate. It's late flowering 'Flavourcot' is also frost resistant, so you will always get a crop. The sweet and juicy fruits are delicious when eaten fresh from the tree in August
  • Prunus armeniaca 'Tomcot' - This new variety has similar characteristics to Flavourcot and is just as prolific, starting to crop about two weeks prior. It performs just as well in the UK climate, producing masses of blossom and very large orange fruits with a strong, red blush and intense sweet apricot flavour
  • Prunus armeniaca 'Goldcot' - A modern variety which crops reliably. The fruit is medium to large, golden-yellow with a free stone. The fruit keeps well and is also good for freezing and bottling. Goldcot has been selected for its suitability for relatively cold wet climates such as the UK. It is very hardy, vigorous and resistant to leaf spot

Growing Apricots

  • Water regularly until established
  • Protect from frosts
  • Prune during spring or end of the summer

Rootstocks for Apricots

  • Prunus armeniaca mandschurica 'Manchurian apricot' is a very cold hardy fast growing tree producing crops of small,tasty orange-yellow fruit
  • St Julien A is suitable for plum, gage, damson, apricot, peach or nectarine trees. It is semi-vigorous and tolerant of heavy soils with no stake needed when the tree is established. Early fruiting in 3 to 4 years. Ideal for fan-training
  • WA-VIT – Semi-Vigorous. A robust disease resistant, free-standing and non-suckering rootstock which is proven to suit a wide range of soils and conditions. Its around 10% smaller than St Julien A. Trees grown on this rootstock will bear fruit within 3 years

Harvesting Apricots

  • Harvest July-August
  • Be careful not to bruise fruit
  • Can be eaten raw or cooked in desserts and jams

Common Problems with Apricots

  • Bacterial Canker causes sunken, dead patches of bark and holes in the leaves, espeically in wet and warm conditions
  • Blossom Wilt is caused by fungi and can affect many types of fruit trees, the flowers and leaves will turn brown and shrivel up
  • Aphids again, can affect many plants by sucking the sap from the plant resulting in distorted growth, sooty mould and honeydew