Flowering fruit trees deliver three-season curiosity in landscapes — four if wrapped in twinkle lights for the holidays. Small-fruited trees offer many disease-resistant varieties in compact sizes using pink spring blooms for suburban or city lots. Several species comprise cultivars that grow well in the warm, dry summers and cool winters of a Mediterranean climate.
Palest pink apricot blooms emerge from red calyxes on one of these earliest-blooming fruit trees from the orchard. Step 1- to 2-inch orange fruit ripens by mid-August. Drought-tolerant, apricots (Prunus armeniaca) develop from U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 5 to zone 9, but their early blooms, which begin in early March, may be nipped by frost in cooler zones. California produces 90 percent of all American apricots, mainly from the warm San Joaquin Valley.
Tart “pie” cherry varieties often require more frightening hours than Mediterranean climates offer. However, Japanese cherry (Prunus serrulata) and sweet cherry (P. avium) cultivars develop from USDA zones 5 to 9. Japanese Branches create the very voluminous pink flowers in spring, but may produce fruit. Capulin cherry (P. salcifolia) is a native of tropical Mexico that rises in USDA zones 10 and 11. Unlike a lot of cherries and other vegetables, capulins do not need a cooling period in winter.
Crabapple trees (Malus spp.) grow from 15 to 25 feet tall. They create pink or white flowers in spring and apples having a diameter of less than 2 inches, known as crabapples. The Japanese crabapple (M. floribunda) collection includes stunning cultivars, many of which feature clustered blooms that hide branches in clouds of pink, followed small, red fruits that are much-favored by birds. Larger-fruited trees typically sport white blooms, but some are veined with red or pink. Japanese Sargent (M. sargentii), and several hybrid crabapples prosper in USDA zones 4 to 8, but also the Southern crabapple (M. augustifolia) is much more tolerant and grows in USDA zones 5 to 9.
Purple-leaf plum (P. cerasifera), also known as cherry plum, is a relative of this capulin cherry. Its purple leaf emerges after a short explosion of deep rose-pink blossom in spring. The tree produces tart little plums beginning in mid-summer that attract ground-dwellers in addition to birds. Th short-lived tree — generally around 20 years — rises rapidly to 20 to 30 feet tall, often with multiple trunks. Purple-leaf plums grow in USDA zones 3 to 9, except for the cultivar “Thundercloud,” which rises only to zone 8. Purple-leaf plum bananas several suckers and birds carry seeds past the limits of this garden.
Two additional trees blossom pink and bear fruit small. American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) produces purple or white berries, growing in USDA zones 6 to 10. It is a native of the southeastern U.S. and requires high humidity. Star fruit (Averrhoa carambola) are tropical fruits, growing from zone 10 through 11. They need high humidity, so irrigation is essential in a dry climate. They contain oxalic acid and its toxic effects can influence those with compromised renal systems.