Pollination Charts for Fruit-bearing Trees and Shrubs

My Garden Life
June 4, 2018
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.

Timing

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

Spacing

  • 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.

Maturity

  • 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.

Apples

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

Blueberries

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

Cherries

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

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
fruits.


Cherry Tree Pollinators Chart

Pears

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

Plums

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!

38 Comments

  1. James Barker

    Looking for pollinators for Vanier plum. Will an American Tree Plum suffice?

    Reply
    • My Garden Life

      Hi James,
      Any of the following varieties would be good options for pollinating your Vanier plum: ‘Santa Rosa’, ‘Shiro’, ‘Ozark Premier’ and ‘Myrobalan’.

      Reply
      • Alex

        I have a Anjou pear Bartlett and red Bartlett will they all pollinate one other

        Reply
        • My Garden Life

          Hi Alex,
          According to information published by the Oregon State University Extension Service, Bartlett and Anjou are good pollinator companions. Click HERE for an article on pollination and have a look at the section, “Varieties for Pollination” on page 1 for additional details on these varieties that you might find helpful.

          Reply
          • Donald MacKay

            Hi,

            I jave Shah Kar Pareh apricots, which are likely an apricot cross of some type. I understand theyb are self fertile, but wondering what pollinators, if amy, might help them be more productive.

          • My Garden Life

            Hi Donald,
            Shaa Kar Pareh apricots (name spellings may vary) are a 50/50 cross between an apricot and a plum (but marketed as an apricot). You are correct, the tree is self-fertile so no additional pollinator trees are necessary, but you could potentially boost pollination by planting with other plum or apricot trees. Since Shaa Kar Pareh is considered an early bloomer, you’ll want to go with an apricot (generally they are early bloomers) or an early blooming plum (Asian plums are generally earlier flowering than European plums). Choose a variety with the appropriate early bloom season and a fruit type that most appeals to you in terms of color, flavor, etc.

          • Julie Riggins

            What fruit will pollinate a greengage plum or green plum?
            Is there a way I can manually polllinate?

          • My Garden Life

            Hi Julie,
            While Green Gage plum is self-pollinating, its productivity can be improved by partnering it with a pollinator of a different variety. There are lots of options, some possibilities are: Damson, Earliblue, Oullins Gage, Rosy Gage, Stanley, and Italian varieties. We found an extensive listing from Keepers Nursery in the UK you can view HERE. Not all varieties may be available if you’re in the U.S., but this gives you more options to investigate as you’ll want to find a companion variety that meets your needs for flavor and uses.

            Hand pollinating your Green Gage is simple using a soft brush to transfer the pollen (this assumes you can reach the flowering branches to manually pollinate). We found a very informative video showing you the process from Roger Crookes, Hand pollinating greengage plum with paint brush.

  2. Beth White

    what about Pomegranate, Persimmon, Fig trees?

    Reply
    • My Garden Life

      Hi Beth,
      This is a great suggestion! We’ll look into adding more information on those trees.

      Reply
      • Stacey Lomas

        Hello can I hand pollinate my plum tree I have had my tree for about going on 4 years but unfortunately I don’t remember what kind of plum tree all I do remember it is not self pollinated I purchased another tree but it got damaged through a storm later on I purchased another but was not planted close by one tree is in front yard and the other is in back yard thank you

        Reply
        • My Garden Life

          Hi Stacey,
          Your plum tree could potentially be pollinated by your other trees if they’re within 100-500’ apart (100’ is better). You can hand pollinate your plum trees (the branches that you can safely reach). It’s best to use a small, soft paint brush. You’ll need to collect pollen from your pollinator trees. This can be achieved by using a Ziplock bag and placing it over the pollinator flowers. Use the brush to dust pollen into the bag. After you’ve collected the pollen, return to the tree you want to pollinate and, again using the paint brush, dust the pollen from the bag on the flowers. Try to get good coverage of the flower’s stigma in the center of the bloom.

          Another option for pollination is to snip off a small stem of flowers from your pollinator trees and use it to brush pollen over the flowers you are trying to pollinate. However, this method is not as precise as using a brush and you would also be sacrificing flowers from the pollinator tree.

          Reply
    • c

      The pomegranate is both self-pollinated and cross-pollinated by insects. This means you only need one pomegranate bush or tree to get fruit. There is very little wind dispersal of pollen so most of the pollination is done by bees.
      American persimmons are usually dioecious; that is, trees produce either male or female flowers. Only rarely are native persimmons self-pollinating. Thus, both female and male trees are usually necessary to produce a full crop. In oriental persimmons, female, male and/or perfect flowers can be produced on the same tree.
      Fig trees are self-fertile. You do not need to plant multiple trees. A single fig tree will produce fruit on its own. Figs are actually pollinated by tiny wasps that enter and leave the fruit while it is growing.

      Reply
  3. Christina

    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?

    Reply
    • My Garden Life

      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.

      Reply
  4. 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

    Reply
    • My Garden Life

      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.

      Reply
    • Nick

      I’m trying to find a pollinator for my Cold Snap pear tree. I planted a Summer Crisp pear next to it, but we got no fruit on either tree despite lots of flowers. Neither of these varieties seem to show up any pollinator lists I’ve found online. I’m thinking about planting a Flemish Beauty in the area next to see if I get better pollination. Any ideas on how I might get fruit from my Cold Snap? I live in hardiness zone 5b. Thanks!

      Reply
      • My Garden Life

        Hi Nick,
        We found a list of recommended pollinators for ‘Cold Snap’ on the Cummins Nursery website. Also some interesting information on pollinators for this variety at East Hill Tree Farm. There is also a dedicated site for the ‘Cold Snap’ pear with a “contact us” form to ask specific questions (scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to find the contact information). That might be a good place to start.

        Reply
  5. Sophia

    Which would be best to pollinate the Ciruela Ruby Sweet Plum Tree’s?

    Reply
    • My Garden Life

      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.

      Reply
  6. Sally

    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

    Reply
    • My Garden Life

      Hi Sally,
      Japanese plum varieties are generally good pollination partners for ‘Nadia’, so ‘Satsuma’ should be acceptable.

      Reply
  7. Richard

    Does fuji apple tree require pollinator companion fruit tree and which one?

    Reply
    • My Garden Life

      Hi Richard,
      A Fuji apple tree does need a pollinator companion. There are quite a few varieties that would make good pollinators for a Fuji apple tree so your final decision will depend on your preferences for flavor, or how you want to use your apples (such as eating fresh vs baking). Here are some of the best varieties for pollinating Fuji apple trees: Rome, Braeburn, Granny Smith, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Empire, Red Delicious, and Gala.

      Reply
  8. David Lyman

    Your plum chart shows red x, purple plum, and blank spaces. Are the blanks less effective pollinators?

    Reply
    • My Garden Life

      Hi David,
      Good question! The blank spaces do indicate trees that are less effective pollinators, or even non-compatible, for any number of reasons; could be the blooming period, the variety could have sterile pollen (as with triploid varieties), or simply not enough research is available to confirm their compatibility at this time. For more detail, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension has a short rundown of Pollination Requirements that you might find interesting.

      Reply
    • Forrest

      Will a methley plum tree cross pollinate with my plum it tree?

      Reply
      • My Garden Life

        Hi Forrest,
        We’re assuming that by “plum it” you are referring to an Italian plum tree. Italian plum trees are self-pollinating so planting additional plum varieties is optional. We found additional information on Italian plum trees at Stark Brothers that you may find helpful.

        Reply
  9. Kate S

    Will a Toka (Bubblegum) and Ozark Premier plum trees work well together? We already also have a Granny Smith and a Honeycrisp in the same area. Living in Ohio.

    Reply
    • My Garden Life

      Hi Kate,
      According to Stark Brothers Nurseries the Ozark Premier variety is a good pollinator for Bubblegum, as well as Methley, Santa Rosa, and Superior.

      Reply
  10. James Rogers

    Will the below apples pollinate each other?

    Apple – Liberty
    Apple – RubyRush
    Apple – Enterprise
    Apple – Winesap

    Can a pluot/plumcot pollinate each other?
    Pluot – Dapple Dandy
    Plumcot – Spring Satin

    Reply
    • My Garden Life

      Hi James,
      While we were not able to find as specific information as you might be seeking, we hope that some of the following information will be helpful.
      Apple – Liberty – A cross between Macoun and Purdue 54-12 – Recommended pollinators are: Empire, Freedom, Gala, Golden Delicious, McIntosh, Cortland, Haralson, Honeygold, Jonathon, Pink Lady, Spartan, Wolf River, Yellow Transparent.

      Apple – RubyRush – This variety was just released in 2020 so there is not a lot of information available at this time. Stark Brothers Nursery recommends: Ben Davis, Granny Smith, Fuji, Pink Lady, and Triumph. (Note that RubyRush is a cross between GoldRush and Enterprise. Closely related varieties will not cross-pollinate, so Enterprise would not be a good pollinator partner).

      Apple – Enterprise – The result of a complex breeding program involving several apple varieties including: Starking Delicious, McIntosh, Golden Delicious, and Rome Beauty. Pollinators to consider are: Gala, Honeycrisp, Ben Davis

      Apple – Winesap – Heirloom variety, possibly dating back to colonial times, exact parentage is unknown. Suggested pollinator partners are: Braeburn, Cortland, Fuji, Gala, Ginger Gold, Golden Delicious, and Jonathon.

      We couldn’t find a definitive answer to your question of whether a pluot and plumcot can pollinate each other. Our research suggests that pluots and plumcots should be planted near a plum tree for cross pollination. The ‘Santa Rosa’ Japanese plum looks to be a highly recommended pollinator for either, a plumcot or a pluot.

      If you are in the U.S., we would also suggest contacting your local University Cooperative Extension Office for more specific information on fruit trees and varieties for your region. Another great source of expert information on fruit trees is Stark Brothers Nursery. The University of California has some interesting information on pluots that might be helpful in your planning.

      Reply
  11. John Woods

    I originally bought a Superior plum and a Burbank plum tree together. The Burbank tree died after the first year. I was told it died because I planted them too close together, about 10 feet apart. I went to my local nursery and they recommended that I buy the Shiro plum as they would be good pollinating partners. They both flowered the next year with blooming in early April for Shiro and mid to late April for Superior. The Shiro produced 4 plums last year. The Superior produced 100’s of plums. However, this year neither tree has produced anything. I would like to get a pollinator for both but I am unable to figure out the best course of action to take. My first choice is the Burbank, seeing as it was my first choice of all varieties.

    Reply
    • My Garden Life

      Hi John,
      That’s interesting about the spacing. If the other trees are significantly larger, it is possible that they shaded the young ‘Burbank’ tree. If you choose to replant, and if space allows, a spacing of 20’ should give the trees ample space for their lifetimes and still keep them close enough for good pollination. A plum tree may reach a spread of 20’ at maturity, but many people don’t have the acreage to space their trees that far apart and resolve the problem with keeping them pruned to a smaller size. Hard to say why your tree didn’t survive; it environmental issues or disease are other possibilities. In regards to fruiting, it’s not unusual for plums to vary from season to season. On that note, adding another tree to your orchard improves the odds for optimal pollination and productivity.

      You might be interested in a publication we found from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension office on Plum Production. It’s focused on growing in Maine, but if you’re in the U.S. there is likely a cooperative extension office in your region that could give you additional tips specific to your region.

      Reply
      • John Woods

        Thanks for the info. It looks like I get to choose either a Bubblegum or Ozark premier. I was leaning to these two all along but was worried to get little or no fruit again. John

        Reply
        • My Garden Life

          Hi John,
          We’re glad the information was helpful for making your final decision. 🙂

          Reply

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