Cold-Hardy Fruits and Nuts

  1. Actinidia kolomikta - Arctic Kiwi - From Siberia and northern Asia, extremely hardy. Beautiful decorative leaves, flowers & fruit. Can grow in part-shade to sun conditions. Must use support to hold rambling vines that can grow over 10’ a season. Dioecious species, 1 male plant can pollinate 6 female plants. The male plants often have spectacular leaf coloring. Tastes like commercial Kiwis but without the fuzzy skin. The fruit ripens over a long period of time in mid-Summer. We prefer the flavor of Chinese Kiwi (Actinidia arguta) , but you often have to wait 10 years to taste the fruit. Chinese kiwi ripens several weeks after Arctic kiwi. Zone 3.
  2. Aronia spp. - Chokeberry - A tough suckering shrub that spreads by underground stolons which can survive in a wide range of soil conditions including the edges of wetlands in forest shade, on the rocky ledges of mountain cliff areas, waste areas, and dry soils. Adaptable, but for best crops the bushes should be sited in more sun and given occasional fertilization. Self-fertile bushes grow 4- 12 feet high depending on the species and cultivars.  Most growers grow Aronia melanocarpa, because the fruits are of better quality. Fruits can be astringent though freezing sometimes sweetened the berries. Used dried or as a juice, or combined with other fruits for drinks. The fruit has the highest cancer fighting antioxidants of all fresh fruits. Better fruit cultivars include Morton, Nero, and Viking. Pest free and tough, but because of the astringency this fruit can be an acquired taste. Zone 4.
  3. Asimina triloba - Pawpaw - Sweetest wild American fruit. Need 2 or more trees for cross-pollination. Long taproot, so plants resent transplanting. Young plants need some afternoon shade, but mature specimens need full sun for optimum fruit production. Beautiful tropical looking leaves with very decorative looking Fall fruit. Many different cultivars. Adaptable to clayey and wet soil. Trees can grow to 20’ depending on the particular cultivar. Zone 5.
  4. Castenea dentata x mollissima ‘Dunstan’ - ‘Dunstan’ Chestnut. Blight resistant hybrid of American and Asian chestnut with variable amount of Asian parentage. Need at least two trees for pollination. Trees grow 40-60 feet and produce fruits at a young age. Our trees havre grown for nine years without blight affecting them. Soil adaptable, but must be in full sun with well drained soil, for good nut production, hardy to zone 5.
  5. Corylus americana - American Hazelnut & Corylus avellana - European Hazelnut - Adaptable to bad quality clay soils and full to part sun, including sandy soil, but best in fertile soil amended with compost. Full sun to part shade. Magnificent early flowers. Bushes Can get up to 12-20 feet high and 10 feet wide. Two plants needed and American plants will cross pollinate with European bushes. There is a Filbert blight that affects hazelnuts but we have never had the blight in 14 years of growing the plants. We have the giant nut cultivars Slate, and Geneva, as well as the native American species and the spectacularly beautiful purple leafed form of European hazelnut called Rote Zeller. Zone 4
  6. Cydonia oblonga - European & Baltic Quince - Underutilized cooking fruit that ripens in Early Fall. Can tolerate heavy soils, and a little bit of shade. Cedar-rust can sometimes be an issue. Fragrant fruit cannot be eaten out of hand, but made into jelly. Tree reaches around 10’-12’ making it fairly easy to gather the fruit. Self-fertile tree with attractive large pinkish flowers. Modern Baltic cultivars are edible without cooking and seem more blight resistant. Zone 4.
  7. Diospyros virginana - American Persimmon - Great native Fall fruiting tree. Select a cultivar that is self-fertile. However many plants are dioecious and need to have more than 1 to ensure fruit set. Fruits need to ripen on tree to avoid the off-putting tannins. Best self fertile cultivars are John Rick, Szukis, Yates, Praire Star, and Proc. Needs Full sun, but adaptable to clayey & sandy soil. No major pests, Zone 5, will survive colder environments but may not get fully ripe fruit.
  8. Eleganus multiflora - Goumi - Great easy non-invasive sister to Autumn Olive. Fragrant flowers in early Spring. Extremely productive and ripens over long period. 8 feet x 8 feet. Self-fertile. Attractive silvery foliage, and fruit has silvery markings on it as well. Sweet-Tart fruit that ripens in July and can be eaten out of hand. No major pests. Zone 4.
  9. Hippophae rhamnoides - Seaberry (Sea Buckthorn). Robust aggressive growing shrub That can travel 20 feet through underground suckers reaching 16 feet or larger, that can be pruned to keep them shorter. Must be grown in full sunlight and the shaded parts of plants die away. Adaptable to many types of soil such as pure sand, gravel, rock outcrops, heavy clay as long as they are well drained and get consistent moisture. Must have separate male and female plants for fruit. The berries are used for every thing from face cream, vitamin supplements, alcoholic drinks, jelly, for athletes drinks, or a superb passionfruit/orange juice taste with rich concentration of vitamins. Worse drawback are the thorns and aggressive growing habit. Zone 3.
  10. Lonicera caerulea - Honeyberry - From Siberia and Japan, a honeysuckle species that is the first edible shrub in Northern climates to produce sweet tart fruit. Extremely hardy and frost resistant. Need two cultivars that to cross pollinate, either Early Blooming or Late Blooming types usually sold in set. Good plant for a tight spot. Moderate growing bushes get 3-4 feet high and wide. Zone 2 extremely cold tolerant. 
  11. Lycium barbarum - Goji - Productive sprawling bush/vine. Can be messy and needs staking/ pruning or use as a weeping bush. Self-fertile, but produces more fruit when several are planted. Different cultivars now available - Phoenix tears, Firecracker. Fruit ripens late, and over a long period of time. Better dried. Zone 5.
  12. Maclura tricuspidata - Che -  Beautiful tree with attractive fruit that is a delicious relative of mulberry and fig. Combination of /fig/mulberry/ watermelon, growing to 12-25 feet. Make sure you choose self-fertile grafted female trees, wild trees are separate sexes and you need separate male female trees and fruit contains unpleasant seed coatings. No major pests. Zone 6/ 5 but may loose fruit from early frosts.
  13. Mespilus - Germanica - Medlar - Beautiful ancient plant introduced to Europe in the 1600’s, cultivated for its distinct Fall-bearing fruit that needs to be bletted before eating. We leave the fruit on the tree throughout the winter when it is soft and sweet. Tastes like cinnamon applesauce. 10’ by 10’, low- maintenance, pest-free except for cedar rust and can be grown in part-shade to full Sun conditions. Large flowers look like simple white roses. Zone 4. 
  14. Passiflora incarnata - Maypop - A great sun-loving vining plant that produces spectacular flowers over a long growing period. It will produce fruit, especially if grown in a protected environment like a Greenhouse. Needs to be mulched/protected over winter. Must be planted out early spring after frosts for a long growing season. Needs 2 plants for cross-pollination, the more genetic difference the heavier the fruit set. Fruit is mildly sweetly-sour, but delicious out of hand or as a jam. Must be planted on a climbing structure. Zone 5 with protection.
  15. Pinus koreana- Korean Stone Pine. Handsome pine species that produces commercial grade pine nuts. Trees grow 30-50 feet tall and are self-fertile but will produce much better crops when planted with another tree The trees are pollinated by the wind and will benefit from being planted in groups. Our trees are about 16 feet tall and about were planted about 9 years old, and have yet to produce nuts although there are reports of 6 foot tall trees being able to crop. Soil adaptable as long as it is well drained and in full sun. Hardy to Zone 4. Do not plant the Siberian Stone pine.
  16. Poncirus trifoliata - Hardy Orange/Sour orange. Hardy/ tough citrus from China. Small fruit but makes delicious orange/ lemonade. Self-fertile bush/tree 5-10 feet high. Flying dragon is a contorted type. Beautiful architectural form. Makes a formidable hedge or green wall. Big thorns, so avoid in heavily trafficked area. no pests. Zone 5.
  17. Prunus maritima - Beach Plum. Suckering shrub growing 6-8 feet tall. Two bushes needed for pollination, great pollinator plant. Must be in full sunlight and have good drainage but is soil adaptable from pure sand to rich compost. Great undervalued food plant with variable quality plums that can be delicious in best forms that is a berry/plum taste. Yellow plums are supposed to be the best. Grows wild from Canadian border to Virginia, hardy to zone 5, or colder.  
  18. Ribes spp. - Gooseberry - Great traditional northern European desert and cooking fruit. Self-fertile. Many cultivars for fresh eating or cooking. Can be planted in part shade to full sun. Sizes are variable depending on cultivar but they range from 3 feet to 5 feet. Sweet cultivars: Jahn’s Prairie, Invicta. Sweet-tart cooking types: Hinnonmaki Red and Yellow, Jewel. They are affected by currant worm which doesn’t kill the plant, but defoliates the plant, sometimes stressing it out if the insects are not controlled. Zone 4. 
  19. Ribes rubrum - Red Currant - Fairly pest-resistant. Adaptable to part-shade to full sun. Great flowers for pollinators. Fruit is small but very tasty. Both the native & introduced cultivars from Europe. Can be eaten out of and or made into jams. Ripens over a long period. Zone 3.
  20. Sambucus canadensis - American Elderberry - Great undervalued tough native shrub. Can be grown in part-shade to full sun, and different types of soils, including poor and wet. A roadside weed that grows in disturbed areas. Fruit should be cooked 1st. Raw fruit can be mildly toxic. Flowers are attractive and can be used for making fritters, and beverages. Different cultivars available, Adams, York.
  21. Schisandra chinensis - 5 Flavor Berry -  ‘EASTERN PRINCE’ - Self-fertile variety. Part-Shade to dappled light growing vine. Fruit is known as 5- flavor berry by the Chinese for it’s sweet, bitter, salty, pungent and sour.  Beautiful berries that sometimes hide under lustrous foliage. Berries are best dried or made into a beverage rather than eaten out of hand or made into Strawberry lemonade-like drink. Zone 3.
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