Best Drought Tolerant Fruit Trees, Low Maintenance Fruit Trees

by Samin Rizvi

Once established these 25 best Drought Tolerant Fruit Trees need very occasional or no supplemental watering to grow and produce fruits.

In hot and arid areas availability of water even for regular chore is difficult sometimes, forget about watering plants. If you live at such a place or really a busy person who can’t about trees growing in your yard, then these low maintenance and drought tolerant fruit trees are perfect for you.

1. Jujube

Botanical Name: Ziziphus jujube

USDA Zones: 6-9

Other Names: Chinese Date, Indian Plum, Malay Jujube, Indian Cherry, Korean Date, Ber, Dunks, Masau

With the fruits similar to figs in size an apple in taste with some tanginess, this phenomenal fruiting tree can reach a height of 40 feet. Plus, if you do not pluck the fruit and let it become dry and shriveled up, it’ll last forever without any preservative. Also, note that the fruits of the Chinese jujube varieties are sweeter and bigger than their Indian cousins.

Growing Tips:

Locate it in full sun and well-draining sandy-loamy soil, it grows well in poor hard clayey soils as well. Remember, Indian Jujube varieties are more drought and heat tolerant than Chinese varieties.

2. Dragon Fruit

Botanical Name: Hylocereus undatus

USDA Zones: 10-11

Other Names: Cereus triangularis, Thanh long, Strawberry Pear, Cactus fruit, Night blooming Cereus, Jesus in the Cradle

It tops the list of exotic fruits and why not! The bright pink outer shell with scales give the fruit a unique, appealing look. Fruits are also rich in fiber, potassium, antioxidants and vitamin C making it invaluable.

Growing Tips:

Being a cactus, it requires well-draining soil with lots of sunlight for optimum growth. Water only when soil turns dry to touch. It needs sturdy support as its a vining plant.

3. Prickly Pear Cactus

Botanical Name: Opuntia ficus-indica

USDA Zones: 9–11

Other Names: Indian fig opuntia, Barbary fig, cactus pear, Spineless cactus, Nopal Cactus

Valued both for its ornamental beauty and tropically flavored fruits. Juicy fruits also have a thirst quenching quality to them. Ranging from white to yellow to orange the flowers are very showy and charming.

Growing Tips:

Apart from tropical regions, it can do well in mild climates and can tolerate some cold (-8 C) and wet climates. For a fruiting and thriving plant locate it in a sunny spot.

4. Pomegranate

Botanical Name: Punica granatum

USDA Zones: 7-10

Other Names: Punic apple, Granatapfel, Melograno, Melagrana, Anardana, Anar, Dadima, Fruit du, Pomme Grenade, Punica granatum, Shi Liu Pi

Pomegranate is actually a shrub, which can be trained as a small tree. It doesn’t grow above 12-15 feet tall. Given proper care, it can stay alive for more than 200 years. The fruit is delicious and juicy and packed with antioxidants.

Growing Tips:

It does well in full sun to partial shade in the slightly acidic to neutral potting medium. If growing on the ground, in the initial growing period, water it regularly, but once the tree has established deep watering once in a week in a warm climate is sufficient.

5. Grapes

Botanical Name: Vitis vinifera

USDA Zones: 7-10

The grapevine is very common and grown commercially for wine production, juice production, and table grapes. It’s found in recent that grapevine is very drought resistant and can tolerate heat easily.

Growing Tips:

Grow it where it can receive 6-8 hours of sun each day in a well-draining sandy or loamy soil. Pruning is crucial for maximum yield.

6. Kei Apple

Botanical Name: Dovyalis caffra Warb

USDA Zones: 9-11

Native to South Africa, it is a small to medium size tree and can grow to a height of 6-9 meters tall. The fruit is ovate and posses an acidic flavor which leaves an extremely acidic and funny but pleasant taste in the mouth. Also, the fruit is highly aromatic and used in jams, sorbets and fruit salads.

Growing Tips:

It can grow in highly saline soil and is also drought resistant. You can locate it in full sun or partial shade in a well-draining growing medium.

7. Oriental Persimmon

USDA Zones: 5-11

Other Names: Persimmon, Oriental Persimmon, Japanese Persimmon, Kaki, Tendu, Tendu Fal, Sharon Fruit, Divine Fruit

Don’t mistake the fruits for tomatoes; they might look alike but are different. It’s the national fruit of Japan and why not it’s nutritious and very unique in taste. In winters, the bright orange-red fruits dangling on bare branches are enough to add winter interest to any landscape.

Growing Tips:

Prune when the trees are young for optimum fruiting. Will do well in neutral to slightly acidic soil. It can tolerate short drought periods but thrive best with regular watering. There are many varieties available for both cold and hot climates.


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