Even if you don’t have the greenest of thumbs, there are at least ten easy-to-grow fruits that you can incorporate in your landscape. “Easy to grow” doesn’t mean that you can completely ignore the plants, but it does mean they will require limited maintenance. Remember, all fruiting plants need to be planted in well-draining, nutrient rich soil in an area with lots of sun. You may have to prune them, spray them with fungicide, fertilize them and, at the very least, water them; but the following fruiting plants are fairly low key options for the novice gardener. So, without further ado and channeling David Letterman, the top 10 easiest fruits to grow are:
1. Strawberries – Summer just isn’t summer without strawberry shortcake. The great news is that strawberries are so easy to grow you can have a freshly harvested supply on hand. They can be grown in containers or even hanging baskets and, of course, thrive planted directly into the garden.
2. Blueberries – Once the strawberries have all been harvested, it’s time to harvest the blueberries, which will be ready late July to August. Their only caveat is that they like acidic soil, but other than that, blueberries are low maintenance and will fruit prolifically after about 3 years.
3. Raspberries – After you’ve harvested all the blueberries, autumn fruiting raspberries will be ripe for the pickin.’ Raspberries are also prolific fruiters and easy to maintain; just prune back the canes to ground level in February.
4. Figs – I always think of figs as slightly exotic, but you can actually grow your own very easily in a number of USDA zones. They are Mediterranean in origin, so they do like the heat. Situate them against a hot, sunny southwest facing wall. Figs actually thrive with very little root space, so they make terrific container plants. The fruit forms in the fall and is ready the succeeding summer, but the succulent figs are worth the wait!
5. Rhubarb – Rhubarb is super easy to grow and will thrive even in cold growing conditions. They enjoy sun to partial sun and fertile soil. Once the plant is established, you can almost ignore it unless you get virtually no rain, in which case you will need to water it. Otherwise, it will reliably provide you with delicious red stems for years to come.
6. Apples – There are so many types of apple trees, there is bound to be one that is suited to your garden. They can even be grown in containers and there is even a dwarf variety (Family Apple) that will bear three different varieties of apple from the same tree! How cool is that?
7. Blackberries – Blackberries are very easy to grow, and in some cases, too easy as they tend to pop up unbidden in some climates. However, they bear the most succulent fruit and provided you don’t mind their ranging habit, will provide you with loads of fruit. There are even thornless varieties, which makes picking the fruit less painful.
8. Honeyberries – A less common fruit, honeyberries are loaded with antioxidants. The berries are akin to blueberries and can be eaten fresh straight off the bush. These adaptable plants need little attention. If you have the space, grow honeyberry in pairs to increase their yield.
9. Goji berries – Another “newer” berry is the goji berry, currently making news as a ‘superfood.’ With a sweet anise flavor, these berries are a nutrient rich addition to your diet and the shrub is incredibly resilient even in windy, coastal regions.
10. Currants – Whether red, black or white, currants are versatile fruits that are great for preserves, sauces or desserts. They can also be container grown for those with limited space.
Depending upon your growing zone, other fruiting plants may be just as easy to grow. You can’t go wrong with native fruiting plants. These have adapted to their climate and are most disease and pest resistant and generally require very little attention.