Home / Peaches for Southern California / Best Peaches to Grow in Southern California

Best Peaches to Grow in Southern California

 

Florida Prince Peach

Tasty peaches in San Diego

Low chill peaches:

There is a group of peach tree varieties that will thrive in warmer climates (Southern California, Southern Arizona, gulf coast of Texas and Florida).  These are the so called “low chill” varieties that only need a short exposure to cold winter temperatures to do well.  This cold exposure time, also known as a ‘chilling requirement,’ is basically the number of required winter hours below 7 °C (45 °F).  For places such as San Diego, this usually means a chilling time requirement limited to 150 to 350 hours.  These are the plants I have focused on for this article (see table below).

For additional info about what your specific growing zone is, check out my article on the subject, Climate Zones: What can I grow in my yard?

 

Prolonged harvest:

If you love peaches, then you will likely want to have the longest harvest season possible. The best way to achieve this goal is to strategically pick varieties to grow that ripen at different times of the year.  To help you with your selection process, I have grouped the most commonly available ‘low chill’ varieties of peaches in order of their ripening/harvest time (see below).  I have also added a few short notes about each variety.

As always, I look forward to any additional insights or comments from you all to add to the list.  Note, exact ripening times will vary based on your specific growing microclimate.

Red Baron Peach

The Red Baron Peach. Yum!

Which peaches are the best tasting?

The good news is that home grown varieties of peaches are generally exceptional compared to grocery store bought varieties.  There are two main reasons for this.

  1. Fruit in stores is often picked in commercial orchards before it is optimally ripe. This is done in efforts to help the fruit survive the shipping process/time.
  2. Commercial varieties of fruits and veggies are often selected/grown for their shipping resilience and not necessarily for their flavor.

Since taste is so subjective, the best option is to go out and try them for yourself.  Many nurseries are happy to have you sample fruit before you buy (if the fruit happens to be in season).  I have also starred* a few varieties on the list below that many people have reported to be extra tasty.

Home Peach harvest

Home Peach harvest

Peach tree care:

For general Peach tree care check out my articles on:

I also have some specific articles on Tropic Snow Peach Tree Care, Red Baron Peach Tree Care, and Florida Prince Peach: tree care.

Prolific peaches ready for thinning

Prolific peaches ready for thinning

 

Peach Tree harvest/ripening table:

 

Very Early-Season Peaches:

  • Earligrande (Ripens early-May) Yellow semi-freestone.
  • Florida Prince* (Ripens mid-May) Semi-freestone. Medium to small sized peaches. Tolerant of desert heat.  More specific growing and taste info via my article on Florida Prince Peach: tree care.
  • Desert Gold* (Ripens May-June) Yellow clingstone. Heavy bearing.
Florida Prince Peach

Ripe Florida Prince peaches

Early-Season Peaches:

  • Babcock* (Ripens mid June, some sources say mid-July)  white peach freestone and low in acid.
  • Tropic Snow* (Ripens mid-June or some say Early-May) white freestone. More specific growing and taste info via my article on Tropic Snow Peach Tree Care.
  • Early Amber (Ripens mid June) yellow semi-freestone.
  • Donut* aka Stark Saturn* (Ripens June to  early July) sunken center and therefore shaped like a doughnut. Mild flavor described by some as almond-like.
Galaxy white peach is a also a flat peach variety. Many report that is needs 500 - 600 hours of chilling so it is not officially on this list. However, I have one growing and fruiting in Northern Sand Diego

This Galaxy white peach, (like the Donut peach), is a also a flat peach variety. However, many report that the Galaxy needs 500 – 600 hours of chilling. Therefore, it is not officially on this list. However, I have one growing and fruiting in Northern Sand Diego.

Mid-Season Peaches:

  • Bonanza Miniature Peach* (Ripens mid to late June) yellow freestone low in acid.  The miniature part of the name refers to the size of the tree not the size of the fruit. Medium to large sized fruit.  Bonanza Dwarf Peach is a true genetic dwarf peach that will only reach 5-6′ in height at maturity.
  • 4 Star Daily News (Ripens late-June)
  • Double Jewel Peach (Ripens late June) yellow freestone. Profuse, showy, double pink flowers.
  • Eva’s Pride* (Ripens late June-early July. some sources say early May) yellow freestone. Medium to large-sized fruit.
  • Ventura (Ripens early July). Yellow freestone. (some sources say up to 500 chill hours).
  • Mid-Pride* (Ripens mid to late July) “Best yellow freestone for warm winter climates
  • Bonita (Ripens late July) yellow freestone with red blush. Medium to large sized. Sweet, subacid.

 

Late-Season Peaches:

  • Santa Barbara (Ripens early to late-July) red-blushed yellow freeston. Bud sport of Ventura peach red-blushed yellow freestone.
  • Saturn (Ripens mid-July) Yellow freestone fruit is large, juicy, sweet, low in acid, with a fine flavor. Note, some sources report 400-500hr chilling requirement.
  • Bonita (Ripens late-July) Freestone yellow flesh.
  • Red Baron* (Ripens mid-July to mid August) yellow freestone fruit. Large, juicy, firm, richly flavored. Showy double red blossoms.  More specific growing and taste info via my article on Red Baron Peach Tree Care.
  • August Pride* (Ripens July-August) yellow freestone. Sweet, aromatic, rich flavor.
Red Baron peach flower

Red Baron peach flowers

Very Late-Season Peach

  • Rubidoux (Ripens late-August) Yellow freestone.

 

 

References:

Sunset Western Garden book of Edibles

Sunset Western Garden book of Edibles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Thomas Osborne, MD

Dr. Osborne is a Harvard trained Radiologist and Neuroradiologist who loves to share his insight about medicine and gardening.

4 comments

  1. Thanks to the past month of rain showers in N.California, my very-early Florida Prince, Desert Gold and Earligrande have all started budding!! I expect them to leaf out in the next couple of weeks so I am going to spray them against peach-leaf curl and fireblight as soon as I hear that we will have 2 days break in the rain. The long awaited rains have saved my yard and if this continues for the next 2 months (read El Nino) we might even survive the summer season. But victory over the drought will take at least another 4 months of heavy rain. Anyway, the daffodils and crocuses are also pushing out their heads and I expect them to bloom soon. The Almonds have also started to bud and the Apricots, Plums and Apples are not much behind them. I was unlucky to lose a lovely Bing Cherry which had a 8 inch diameter trunk, but still could not withstand the attack of gophers/fireblight. Such are the joys of gardening. I would like to thank you for your unstinting service to gardeners with your informative web site. Keep it up! Happy New Year!!

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Sateesh
      Thank you for bringing up a great point.
      It looks like an early time for the peaches to break bud.
      We are seeing the same thing here (esp the Florida Prince Peach (which is always early).
      As you know, it is very important to try to spray them for leaf curl etc before they break bud and leaf out.
      After that it is too late. Hope you get a moment b/t the rains to get in a spray.

      I think I might write a quick blog reminder inspired by your note.

      Thanks again!
      Best,
      Tom

  2. href=”http://paradisenursery.com/product/santa-barbara-peach/”>Santa Barbara peach trees are one of the best yellow peaches to grow in Los Angeles. Sweet, juicy, and tasty/ What else can you ask for?

  3. This was not helpful to me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll To Top