How to grow apples and pears

Name: Malus domestica and Pyrus communis

Bunnings magazine, July 2019

What they look like

Both classified as pomes, apples and pears are medium-sized feature trees, reaching heights between two and five metres, with deep green foliage from spring to autumn. White or pale pink blossoms smother the trees in spring, with round or pear-shaped fruit from summer to late autumn. In winter, the bare sculptural branches will take centre stage in the garden.

Where they grow

Most apple and pear trees grow well in warm temperate and cool climates, with long mild summers and cool to cold winters, as they usually require a number of ‘chill hours’ to flower and set fruit. Certain varieties, such as ‘Dorsett Golden’ apple or ‘Hood’ pear, don’t have high chill needs, so suit subtropical zones. Grow apple and pear trees in your garden or in pots outdoors (choose dwarf forms for small spaces), ensuring they have six to eight hours of full sun each day.

Why we love them

There are so many varieties to choose from, all with their own distinct flavour, and all crisp and delicious. There’s nothing quite like biting into a sun-ripened apple or pear (but do wash it first!).

How to grow them

Plant bare-rooted trees in winter (or potted plants year round) in well-drained soil, enriched with organic matter and compost. In spring and autumn, feed well with a complete fertiliser, high in potassium, like Richgro Black Marvel or Scotts Pure Organic Fruit & Citrus. Some varieties are self-pollinating; others need a second tree for successful pollination. To save space, consider multi-grafted trees, which have two or more compatible varieties on one tree.

Pink lady apple

  • Crisp, sweet and attractive, this popular variety, developed in WA, is ‘low chill’
  • Needs a pollinating partner



Williams pear

  • Williams (also known as Bartlett) pear tolerates cold and ripens mid season
  • Partial self-pollinator



Gala apple

  • Gala grows in warm or cool climates and is one of the first apple varieties to ripen
  • Partial self-pollinator

Asian pear

  • The crunchy and juicy Asian pear can be grown in most Australian climates
  • Some varieties self-pollinate
asian pear

Golden Delicious

  • Ideal for eating and cooking, Golden Delicious regularly bears plenty of fruit
  • Partial self-pollinator

Packham’s Triumph

  • This variety produces a big crop of large green pears, excellent for desserts
  • Needs pollinating partner

Grow your own juicy fruits

Head into your local Bunnings store to pick up your chosen tree and everything else you need to plant and grow it.

Photo credit: Getty Images, Alamy Stock Photos, Gap Photos/Friedrich Strauss, Gap Photos/Nova Photo Graphik, Gap Photos/Pernilla Bergdahl, Gap Photos/Paul Debois.

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Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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