20 Types of Peach Trees (With Pictures)
Fruit trees of all kinds make valuable additions to any backyard garden, but few are as fulfilling as peach trees. Peaches delight on several levels, and although they’re a little trickier to grow than some other plants, the stunning colors and sensational flavors are well worth an attempt.
Hundreds of peachtree cultivars are available. In the U.S., it’s easy to find the variety that matches your growing conditions and preferred use, whether you plan to cook and can your peaches or enjoy the occasional crisp fruit right off the tree as a summer day refreshment.
If you want to get the most out of your peach-growing adventures, you can find the perfect style to fit your tastes in this breakdown of 20 types of peach trees.
What Are Freestone and Clingstone Peaches?
You can categorize peach trees in several ways. One of the simplest is organizing them by how easy it is to remove their pits, putting them into one of two categories — freestone or clingstone.
As the name suggests, freestone peaches have pits that easily pull away from the flesh. These peaches are easy to cut up and prepare for baking, cooking, and canning, but you can also eat them off of the tree. out of hand. Most supermarket peaches are freestone.
Clingstone peaches have pits that adhere to the flesh, making them harder to pick apart and work with in the kitchen. Smaller, softer, and sweeter than the freestone options, these juicy peaches won’t arrive at the store fresh from the orchard but, instead, they’re commercially packaged in canned slices or jams. You can find some clingstones at farmer’s markets, and certain varieties are tasty and convenient to eat out of hand.
Semi-Clingstone and Semi-Freestone Peaches
Through their endless pursuit of perfect peaches, breeders have given us an array of hybrids that marry the best features of clingstone and freestone peaches. Dubbed “semi-clingstone” or “semi-freestone”, these varieties often pair the succulent sweetness of clingstone with freestone’s easy-to-use composition. The all-purpose peaches are good to eat in preserves and desserts or fresh from the tree.
The 20 Types of Peach Trees
You can also classify peach trees by color and shape. Peaches may sport a full spectrum of warm colors on their exteriors, but their flesh is primarily white or yellow. Along with choosing between clingstone and freestone varieties, it’s crucial to pay attention to the flesh color, as they can offer two distinct flavor profiles.
The most common types of peach trees produce fruit with yellow flesh. The insides range in color from light yellow to reddish-orange, though you can find some with red streaks or red centers surrounding the pit. Many yellow peaches have red or pink blushes around their golden skin.
Yellow peaches are generally the tartest and most acidic peaches, featuring bright flavors that zest up any dish. The flesh is firmer in yellow peaches than in white peaches, making them ideal for baking.
Cresthaven is a firm freestone peach featuring a rich red color and tough, smooth skin. The flavor is intensely sweet, which, along with its firm, juicy flesh, makes it perfect for cooking, freezing, or eating out of hand.
O’Henry is a favorite among peach-lovers due to its exceptional flavor, featuring a sweet fruitiness balanced by a tart, acidic aftertaste. The skin features a deep red blush that almost covers the entire golden base. The red-streaked flesh is reliably firm, giving it a crisp texture. Enjoy them out of hand, in salads, on desserts, or in pies.
Elberta peaches are some of the girthiest around, and their sweet flavor also makes them some of the most popular. The classic Georgia peach tree produces fruit midseason after showing off its rich purple and pink springtime flowers. With standard and dwarf sizes available, any home gardener can bring these fruits to numerous dishes.
Earligrande grows well in hot, arid areas like the Southwest. It has a low chill requirement, and you can expect fruits as early as late May, following a bloom of light pink flowers. Earligrande trees bear medium-sized fruit with a firm, juicy texture and pleasantly sweet and tart notes you’d expect from a hybrid.
Plump and pickable, the Loring is another popular freestone yellow peach variety. They start ripening in July, and by mid-late August, these attractive bright red peaches are ready for harvest.
A Loring peach’s firm flesh creates the perfect texture for a sweet and non-acidic flavor that melts in your mouth. Eat them from the tree or use them for baking, canning, or processing.
Contender is an apt name for this resilient peach variety. Disease-resistant and cold-hardy to zone 4, Contender trees will battle adversity to supply a healthy crop of medium-sized fruits in August.
Although it’s an ideal variety for northern gardeners, Contender is an excellent choice no matter where you live. It’s relatively easy to grow, and the show of lush pink flowers in spring is an eye-catching precursor to some of the most delicious peaches you can find.
7. Red Haven
Red Haven is a commercial darling due to its relatively low maintenance and excellent flavor, and it’s often a standard against which other trees are measured. Trees produce medium-large yellow peaches that are usually ready for picking in July. Their showy pink springtime flowers, shimmering gold fall foliage, and bountiful midseason harvests make Red Havens a year-round delight.
Fairhaven peach trees bear attractively round fruit, another versatile yellow peach that’s good to eat in fresh slices, on the grill, or in a pie. The red-cheeked medium-sized fruit arrives in early August, sporting a juicy flavor in a firm-skinned package that resists browning, making Fairhaven peaches perfect for freezing and canning.
Canadian Harmony peaches have a red blush covering a glowing orange skin. They need 1000 chill hours, so they grow particularly well in more northern areas.
The large Harmony fruit has a lovely melting texture and is firm enough to freeze, bake, can, or eat fresh. The flesh is quite juicy and balances the peach’s overall sweetness with a nice bit of acidity.
10. Tropi Berta
Tropi Berta peach trees may not be among the most popular types of peach trees, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the most delicious. Although it’s high-maintenance, the pretty red blush and firm juiciness of the large fruits are worth the work.
Because they need 600 chill hours, these trees grow best in mild-winter areas from zones 5–9, though some growers would narrow it down to zones 7–9. Trees supply a mid-late season harvest in August.
Firm and tremendously juicy, Suncrest peaches are a solid choice for canning or using fresh. The trees produce an abundance of freestone peaches that ripen in August, offering a dazzling midseason display of bright fruits to liven up the landscaping. With a citrusy taste and striking golden skin, these are one of the more unique peach varieties to attempt grow in your garden.
White Peach Trees
White peach tree varieties are excellent for home gardeners who prefer a sweeter, less acidic peach flavor. While yellow peaches are the most common in America, white peach trees are what you’ll generally find in Asia.
Everything about white peaches is softer. They have a more subdued pale pink skin, and their smooth pink-white centers stand in stark contrast to the coursing red highlights you’ll find in many yellow peaches. The taste is delicately floral, and the softer flesh bruises easily, making white peaches less ideal for baking and more for eating raw or off the grill. Unlike yellow peaches, which have a flavor that mellows as it ripens, white peaches retain the same bright flavor no matter when you pick them.
The Babcock peach tree is a California favorite, producing small-medium peaches that are equally tart and sweet. The peach’s light pink skin is similar to a nectarine in its lack of fuzz, while the flesh is a bright, creamy-white with a red center.
Babcock trees require only 300 chill hours, and their early fruit-bearing season doesn’t mesh with late frosts in northern regions. They produce a wealth of peaches each year, but you need to use them quickly because they don’t take long to spoil.
13. Belle of Georgia
Belle of Georgia is an heirloom variety., It’s a classic beloved for its flavor-packed flesh and versatility in the kitchen. Enjoy these peaches fresh, or use them for canning, grilling, or topping off desserts. Firm, red-blushed fruits grow in abundance in late August—a few months after the tree’s beautiful show of red springtime flowers.
Spectacularly sweet and super soft, Nectar peaches are arguably one of the tastiest varieties available. Tall trees produce profuse clusters of large peaches in July. Nectar peach trees need at least 800 chill hours, so they don’t thrive in some of the southernmost areas, but a successful harvest will treat you to some of the juiciest peaches possible, perfect for preserving or eating fresh.
A white clingstone-bearer, Springtime trees deliver one of the sweetest, juiciest, and most aromatic peach varieties. It grows as far north as zone 4b. Springtime brings the expected pale pink flowering in most areas, while July heralds the harvest of large ripe peaches.
16. Arctic Supreme
Arctic Supreme peaches are large and vibrant, with a full red blush coating a creamy white-yellow skin. In a contradiction to its classification, this clingstone is refreshingly firm and tangy, but you can still expect tons of juicy sweetness layered in as well. Harvest time can arrive as early as the last few weeks of July, but letting them ripen will free up the stone for easier eating.
17. Tropic Snow
If you live in a warm, southern climate, Tropic Snow may be an ideal white peach cultivar to try in the garden. These early-season trees need only 200 chill hours to produce their red-tinged yellow fruits. Beneath the delicate skin is a deliciously juicy flesh, supplying a sweet flavor with light touches of tartness.
Cold-hardy and disease-resistant, Blushingstar is easy to maintain, and thanks to the fruit’s crisp, sweet flavor, it’s even easier to enjoy! The Blushingstar peach tree is a vigorous grower that produces fruit after only a couple of years of growth. Its dense packs of red-blushing peaches are usually ready for harvest in mid-August.
19. Strawberry Free
The soft-hued Strawberry Free is a quintessential white peach, featuring a delicate flavor, rich aroma, and tons of juicy goodness. The extra sweet, pale pink fruit shows up in late June when trees get the recommended 400-500 chill hours. Strawberry Free’s firm flesh has an excellent taste that can shine in a variety of prepared foods, making it one of the best types of peach trees for a home garden.
Donut (Peento) Peaches
Peento peaches, also called donut peaches, are like any other peach but have a squashed, flat shape. Though these types of peaches have been around for generations, they have only gained popularity in recent years as a sweet, mild, and easy-to-eat alternative to the more familiar round variety. Many growers have hybridized several new cultivars in the last few decades, including Galaxy, Buenos, and TangOs, but Saturn is the most notable.
The first donut peach, Saturn, originated from Pántáo (Peento) peaches in China. Though it can be prone to disease and pests, this white peach tree is quite fruitful. Needing only 200-300 chill hours, you can expect tons of medium-large, saucer-shaped peaches as early as late June. Due to tons of the experimentation centered around the Saturn peach, you can now find them in freestone, clingstone, white, or yellow varieties.
The typical peach tree gets big, up to 25–30 feet tall in many cases, with a width to match if you let it grow untamed. That’s more space than many people can afford to give up in their backyard. But even if you have a limited area and feel like it’s out of the question, dwarf and semi-dwarf cultivars are here to rescue and revive your peach-growing aspirations.
Tons of popular peach trees, such as O’Henry, Belle of Georgia, and Red Haven, are available in dwarf varieties, only growing 8–10 feet tall. You can potentially plant several trees of those sizes in place of one standard tree, giving you more chances for cross-pollination and better fruiting seasons. The yield is only about half the amount you would get from a taller tree, but you still get the full array of gorgeous pink blooms, lush green foliage, and robust fruits.
Nectarines are a type of peach with distinctly smooth, shiny skin. They have the same flavor as any other peach, though they are generally firmer and smaller than their fuzz-covered counterparts. If you prefer the texture of nectarines over peaches, you’ll find a broad array of freestone, clingstone, white, and yellow nectarines, so you can find the perfect flavor to fit your palate.
Peach Tree Growing Basics
Peach trees flourish in USDA hardiness zones 5-9, with some varieties being more cold or heat-resistant to suit a wider spread of growing regions. They need full sun (at least 6 hours worth) and sandy, well-drained soil with a pH around 6–6.5. Mulching around the tree helps maintain the acidity and halt weed growth, while a springtime feeding of balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer boosts their growth.
It takes 2–4 years for a peach tree to start bearing fruit. They will need the proper number of chill hours below 45°F for them to bloom and grow as they should. The chill hours will vary between the many types of peach trees, so it’s crucial to research chill hours and the final frost date in your area to select an appropriate cultivar. Though most peach trees are self-pollinating, mixing a variety into your garden will help your trees produce in greater abundance.
We’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to considering the countless kinds of peach trees. If you’re getting started, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the massive selection and nuances between cultivars. By beginning with this diverse list of popular types of peach trees, you’ll be sure to find a favorite flavor and gorgeous tree you can get excited about whenever spring approaches.
Featured Image Credit: Ian Baldwin, Unsplash