Pollination Charts for Fruit-bearing Trees and Shrubs

Table of Contents

Importance of Pollination

Some fruit trees and shrubs cannot pollinate themselves, or if they can, then it’s not highly effective. In this case, a different variety must be planted nearby to ensure a large harvest of fruits. Plants that generally require a pollinator are blueberries, pears, apples, plums and sweet cherries.

Other fruit trees and shrubs are self-pollinating and do not require another variety to produce a large crop of fruits. Nearly all strawberry, raspberry, grape, blackberry, peach, nectarine, sour cherry, and apricot varieties are self-fruitful. In this case, no second pollinizing plant is needed.


  • When a fruit tree can’t pollinate itself, you need to partner it with another, different variety that blooms at the same time.


  • Apple – The pollinator partner for semi-dwarf trees should be planted no more than 50 feet (15 meters) away. If you have a dwarf tree, then plant the two varieties less than 20 feet (6 meters) apart.
  • Blueberry – Plant a different variety tree no more than six feet (2 meters) apart.
  • Cherry, Sweet – Plant a different variety tree no more than 20 feet (6 meters) apart.
  • Pear – Plant a different variety tree no more than 100 feet (30 meters) apart.
  • Plum – Plant a different variety tree no more than 100 feet (30 meters) apart.


  • Apple – Produces fruit two to five years after planting.
  • Blueberry – Produces fruit two to three years after planting.
  • Cherry, Sweet – Produces fruit
    four to seven years after planting.
  • Cherry, Sour – Produces fruit
    three to five years after planting.
  • Pear – Produces fruit four to six years after planting.
  • Plum – Produces fruit three to six years after planting.


When in doubt of which variety to plant, most white-flowering crabapple trees are a great pollinator for any apple tree.

Pro Tip: Triploid (three chromosomes) apples have sterile pollen that will not pollinate other trees. You should plant at least two different non-triploid varieties when growing a triploid apple. Triploid (sterile) varieties include: ‘Arkansas Black’, ‘Jonagold’, ‘Liberty’, ‘Lodi’, ‘Spartan’ and ‘Winesap’.

Apple Tree Pollinators Chart


Half-High (Vaccinium corymbosum x angustifolium) – Best for the Upper Midwest, regions with exceptionally cold climates.

Northern Highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum) – Best for eastern and northeastern United States with cooler climates.

Southern Highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum x darrowii) – Best for regions with mild winters and higher average temperatures.

Rabbiteye (Vaccinium ashei) – Best for southeastern United States with long, hot summers.

Blueberry Shrub Pollinators Chart


Sweet Cherry (Prunus avium) – Best for eating fresh or for baking and

Sour/Tart Cherry (Prunus cerasus) – Best for baking and preserving.

Pro Tip: Sweet and sour cherries can cross-pollinate each other, but ornamental
flowering cherries usually won’t cross-pollinate sweet or sour cherries. Sour
cherries are generally self-fruitful and don’t require another tree to produce

Cherry Tree Pollinators Chart


European (Pyrus communis) – These trees produce sweet, juicy fruits that are the traditional pear shape.

Asian (Pyrus pyrifolia) – The types of fruit produced by these trees are round and crisp (similar to an apple).

Pear Tree Pollinators Chart


Most plum trees need a different variety to cross pollinate. The second tree must be the same type, because European and Japanese types aren’t compatible.
European (Prunus domestica) – Good for drying and jams, many varieties are self-fertile, flowers later and is good for northern regions.
Japanese (Prunus salicina) – Good for fresh eating, need two different varieties for pollination, tends to thrive in warmer regions.
Plum Tree Pollinators Chart

Download the PDF Pollination Charts

Not finding the pollination information you need? Comment below to ask our plant experts your question!


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12 thoughts on “Pollination Charts for Fruit-bearing Trees and Shrubs”

  1. What are the best pollinators to pair with an elephant heart plum tree? I’d prefer another freestone variety, but perhaps there aren’t other freestone Japanese plum trees?

    1. Hi Christina,
      Elephant heart plums are self-pollinating but their productivity can be improved by planting a second tree for pollination. Three varieties that are frequently recommended are: ‘Beauty’, ‘Santa Rosa’, and ‘Ozark Premier’. ‘Ozark Premier’ is semi-freestone, but the other two varieties are clingstone.

  2. Janette Hosein

    Hi I’m very confused by your pollination chart because every bit of research I’ve done (while learning of this mistake by lack of cross pollination) and every nursery I’ve visited says two trees of the same kind can’t pollinate each other like two shiro plums won’t cross pollinate each other you would need 1 beauty or other Asian plum and 1 shiro. Is this just a mistake or is it fact? Thanks Ps I’m trying to decide between beauty and satsuma and Methley for my shiro plums ( the plums available in my area) never having tasted any of these varieties would love some feedback if you have. I love juicy non tart skinned plums and I grow several in close proximity and keep them small. Thanks for any advice

    1. Hi Janette,
      There is a lot of information on the internet to fuel your confusion. Even while researching your question here, we are running into completely contradictory statements. For example, some sources say that the plum variety ‘Toka’ must have a pollinator, others say it’s self-fertile (it is – which is why our chart indicates that you can plant a ‘Toka’ with a ‘Toka’ and still get fruit). Having said that, even in cases when a fruit tree is self-fertile, the addition of a pollinator companion of a different variety will often result in improved productivity overall. You really can’t go wrong by providing any fruit tree with an appropriate pollinator companion. Self-fertile varieties are ideal for people who only have space for one tree.

      If you’re a resident of the U.S. we recommend checking with your local University Cooperative Extension service for information about specific varieties best suited to your growing region and that also meet your flavor preferences. The Old Farmer’s Almanac has a handy search tool for finding the Cooperative Extension office in your state, find it here.

    1. Hi Sophia,
      The following varieties would be suitable pollinator companions for a ‘Ruby Sweet’ Plum Tree: Methley, Black Beauty, Superior, Ozark Premier, AU Rubrum, Santa Rosa, or Alderman.

  3. Hello
    We have 2 Nadia Plums and are looking for a pollinator. The nursery on the island where we live is selling a Satsuma Plum. How would that work as a pollinator?
    Thank you

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