Growing Apricots at the Allotment

Growing Apricots at the Allotment

How to Grow Apricots: A Detailed Guide

You may be wondering “Can you grow apricot trees in the UK” and if you are, the answer is yes. Apricot trees thrive in the UK if they receive abundant sunlight and are well taken care of. If you are wondering how to grow apricots, let us help you with our expert insights. 

From choosing the right variety to soil preparation and planting, we will uncover all the essential tips for a successful apricot harvest. 

If you’re a beginner or avid gardener and have tackled the challenge of growing apricots, share your tips here

When to Grow Apricots

Despite common belief, apricots can be grown in the UK in a sunny position, due to the modern varieties now available. They can be vulnerable to frost so choose your variety wisely, depending on your location. Bare root plants can be planted during autumn when it is dormant, but the soil is still warm. On the other hand, container-grown apricot trees can be planted at any time.

Where and How to Grow Apricots

If you’re not sure where to grow your apricots, make sure to choose a spot in the sun with well-drained soil that’ll keep your apricot tree protected from frost. 

For optimal growth, it is best to choose south-facing slopes. Once you have chosen your sunny spot, dig a hole for the root ball, adding in some well-rotted manure or compost and water. Mulch around the base to suppress 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. It's best to check the variety you have for details. Scroll down for our apricot variety recommendations!

blossom 7903068_1920
apricots 824626_1920
apricots 4210720_1920

How to Take Care of an Apricot Tree

Growing apricots in the UK involves patience. Apricots do take some looking after but are a very attractive addition to your plot or garden with spring blossoms and juicy and sweet fruit during summer.

When the apricot tree is established after a couple of years, make sure you water regularly. Similarly, make sure to 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 offshoots 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 of the UK. You can carefully move pollen from one bloom of blossom to another using a paintbrush or something similar.

When and How to Harvest Apricot

The best time to pick apricots is between late spring and mid summer depending on your location. Generally speaking, your apricots will be ready to harvest from July - August. 

Look for apricots that are slightly softer and have a rich and deep colour. Pick them gently by twisting and pulling. 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 self-fertile but sometimes need help with pollination if it is cooler weather or you are in a more northern area. Carefully move pollen from one bloom of blossom to another using a paintbrush or something similar.

How to Store Apricots

Store your apricots at room temperature until they are ripe. If you want to preserve them longer, put them in a plastic bag and store them in your fridge's drawer. They'll last about a week. You can also freeze sliced apricots, or dry them out for crunchy snacks. Check out our recipes here!

Growing Apricots in the UK: A Summary

Wondering exactly how to grow apricots? Read this!

Planting Apricots

  • Select a sunny and well-drained location

  • Plant in late winter/early spring

  • Space trees 20-25 feet apart

  • Dig a hole, position rootball

  • Water thoroughly

Growing Apricots

  • Well-drained, fertile soil

  • Prune annually

  • Protect from pests

Harvesting Apricots

  • Monitor your apricots for ripeness; slightly soft to touch
  • Harvest morning; cool temperatures
  • Twist gently; avoid bruising
  • Use immediately or store cool
  • Check daily; ripen quickly

Popular Apricot Varieties

  • When it comes to popular apricot varieties, ‘Blenheim’ is known for its rich flavour and juicy flesh. 
  • Another variety is ‘Moorpark’, which is known for its big and sweet fruit. 
  • ‘Gold Kist’, which prefers warmer climates, is another popular variety.
  • ‘Harcot’ is renowned for its cold hardiness and delicious fruit.

Each cultivar has its own unique flavour profile and growth features, making it suitable for a variety of climates and tastes. Trying out different apricot varieties is a learning process for many gardeners, making the process of how to grow apricots even more exciting.

The Different Ways to Use Apricots 

Learning how to grow apricots can help you open up different culinary opportunities.

  • Apricots are delicious eaten fresh and raw, as well as being used in desserts and jams. 
  • They can be enjoyed as a snack, in salads or as a topping for fruit platters. 
  • They have a sweet and tangy flavour that is perfect for any season. 
  • In baking, you can use apricots in pies and tarts, as well as in savoury recipes. They add sweetness and texture to any dish.

Common Problems with Apricots

  • Apricots are susceptible to a variety of pests, including aphids, borers and fungi. These pests can cause damage to the tree and the fruit, leading to loss of fruit and death of the tree. 
  • Poor pollination of apricots can also lead to low yield. 
  • Extreme weather conditions, poor watering and lack of nutrients can also affect the growth and quality of apricots. 
  • Fruit cracking can be caused by excessive or irregular watering, which can affect the marketability of the fruit and increase the risk of infections.




Sign Up for Our Newsletter or Become A Member Today! 

Here at Allotment Online, we are a happy and growing community of allotment growers. We are here to support and guide you at every stage of your allotment journey, whether you're just starting or have years of experience. 

We want to hear your apricot growing tips or gardening tips in general, so sign up here and share your story on our community blog page!

We offer valuable resources, tips, and guidance to help you succeed in your gardening journey.