The best fruit trees for limestone soils

Limestone or clayey soils have the peculiarity that they compact very easily , and not only that, but if the climate is also dry and warm, the probabilities that they will end up eroded are very high; and if that were to happen, it would be necessary to provide them with nutrients before being able to plant.

For this reason, sometimes it is not easy to find fruit trees for limestone soils, since these are plants that generally need fertile soil, where their roots can be aerated. But do not worry: in this article you will find out which are the species that best live in this type of terrain.

Fruit trees that grow well in limestone soils

First we are going to see those fruit trees that can grow well, without problems, in limestone soil; that is, those who do not need any “extra help” to have a correct development and, therefore, a proper fruiting:


The almond tree is a fruit tree for limestone soils

Image – Wikimedia / Jorge Franganillo

The almond tree , scientifically known as Prunus dulcis , is a deciduous tree native to Central Asia. It reaches a maximum height of 10 meters, with a wide crown of up to 4 meters . Tolerates pruning quite well; in fact, it is advisable to prune so that the almonds can be collected easily.

It has been cultivated a lot and for a long time in the Mediterranean region, since it has proven to be able to withstand temperatures of 35, 40 degrees Celsius, and weak frosts of up to -7ºC. Now, unlike what is sometimes believed, the drought that lasts for months seriously harms it, so if it is in the ground it should be watered at least once a week during the summer, and more if it is grown in flowerpot.


The jujube grows in limestone soils

Image – Flickr / Stefano

The jujube or jinjolero is a deciduous shrub with thorns native to the Iberian Peninsula and Africa that grows 2 or maximum 4 meters high . Its scientific name is Ziziphus lotus , and it has a hemispherical bearing, although it can be shaped like a tree.

Its natural habitat is scrubland, with limestone soil, so it will not have any problem if your garden has that type of soil. Withstands drought and frosts down to -7ºC.


Persimmons are very decorative fruit trees

The persimmon or Diospyros kaki is a deciduous fruit tree native to Asia that can be found both in small areas and in larger ones. It grows to a height of 20 meters , although in cultivation it is difficult for it to exceed 10 meters. Even so, as it supports pruning so well, it can be lowered if necessary.

Apart from being used as a garden plant, it is a very decorative fruit tree: in spring, its leaves sprout that look like a flower; and in autumn the green of its foliage turns reddish before the cold sets in.

The problem is that when limestone soil is combined with a mild climate, the most normal thing is that it changes from green to brown …, and then the leaves end up on the ground. But if this happens to you, don’t worry: it’s normal. The important thing is that the tree is in good health. Supports up to -18ºC .


Plum is an ideal fruit tree for limestone soil

The plum is a beautiful deciduous fruit tree whose scientific name is Prunus domestica . It is native to the Caucasus, Anatolia, and Persia, and is grown in temperate regions around the world. It reaches a maximum height of 10 meters , and during the spring its branches are filled with white flowers.

It adapts well to living in limestone soils, and it does not have problems with mild or warm climates in which there are almost insignificant frosts (I myself have two, and the lowest temperature that has been recorded in the area has been -2ºC) . Of course, you have to know that it resists up to -18ºC .

Fig tree

The fig tree bears edible fruits when grown in limestone soils

The fig tree or Ficus carica is a fast-growing, deciduous tree native to south-west Asia. It reaches a height of 7-8 meters , but when cultivated it stays lower (3-4 meters). It has a rounded, but somewhat irregular crown. When allowed to grow on its own it tends to get “messy” over time.

Like the almond tree, during very dry summers it loses its leaves before autumn arrives, although from my own experience I would say that it resists drought better than it. Still, it is recommended to water it regularly, about twice a week during the summer. Supports up to -4ºC without damage .


The pomegranate produces fruits in limestone soils

The pomegranate , better known scientifically by the name of Punica granatum , is a small deciduous tree native to Iran and Turkey. It grows to a height of 5 meters , with a straight trunk. The only downside to this interesting plant is that it has some thorns, but otherwise it is perfect for small gardens.

Due to its origin, it resists drought very well. In fact, in a garden without irrigation it can grow without problems, once it has acclimatized. It can even bear fruit normally. In addition, it supports temperatures down to -12ºC.

Apple tree

The apple tree produces edible fruits even in limestone soil

The apple tree , whose scientific name is Malus domestica , is a deciduous fruit tree native to Asia, specifically from the Tian Shan Mountains, between Kazakhstan and China. It grows little, up to 4 meters , so that more than a tree it could be considered a small tree or even a large shrub. It does not have thorns, but it does have a highly branched, rounded crown.

It tolerates limestone soil, but not drought. It is a plant that has to be watered several times a week during the summer, otherwise it will not grow as expected. Supports up to -18ºC.

pear tree

The pear tree is one of the best fruit trees for limestone soils

The pear tree, or Pyrus communis , is a fruit tree that we are closer to, since it grows wild in Eastern Europe, and also in Asia Minor. Depending on the variety or cultivar, it reaches a height of 2 to 20 meters . Its crown is rounded and gives a very interesting shade in summer.

Apart from being able to live in limestone soils, the climate must be temperate, with cold winters with frosts (better if they are early, since the late ones harm it), and mild summers although it tolerates 38ºC if you have water at your disposal. Resists up to -18ºC .

Banana tree

Banana trees grow fast in limestone soils

Although the banana tree is not a tree but a herbaceous plant, as some produce edible fruits, we did not want to miss the opportunity to include it in this list. The most recommended varieties are Musa acuminata and Musa balbisiana , as well as their hybrids and cultivars. They reach 7 meters in height , and are native to tropical Asia; therefore they do not tolerate much cold, but they can live on the Mediterranean coast, in a protected area. During the winter their leaves usually turn brown, but in spring they resume their growth without problems.

You have to plant them in a sunny area, and water them frequently . In summer they appreciate an almost daily watering, so if it rains little in your area (and if not also) it is advisable to store rainwater in bottles or similar to use it for irrigation. They bear the cold, and the trunk remains alive with occasional frosts of up to -2ºC; the rhizome holds something else.

Fruit trees that can live in limestone soils but with help

Now I’m going to talk to you about citrus, that is, evergreen trees of the Citrus genus. These can produce fruit, but tend to have iron chlorosis problems when grown in limestone soils . For this reason, it does not hurt to fertilize them from time to time with a specific one for citrus fruits in order to prevent their leaves from turning yellow.


Clementines are small trees, ideal for limestone soils

Image – Wikimedia / fotogoocom

The clementine is a natural hybrid of bitter orange and tangerine, which was discovered at the end of the nineteenth century in a garden Misserghin in Algeria. It reaches a height of 5-6 meters and produces normally seedless fruits, about the size of a tangerine.

It is not a very demanding plant, but it is important to know that it will only live well outdoors if the climate is mild, since although it supports the cold, frosts are especially harmful if they are moderate.

Mandarin Mandarin is a small citrus

The mandarin , whose scientific name is Citrus reticulata , is native to tropical Asia. Its height is 5 meters at most , and although it is very similar to the orange tree, it produces smaller fruits and a less acidic flavor.

As it is not an excessively large tree, or rather a shrub, it can be had in all types of gardens regardless of its size. Resists up to -5ºC.

Orange tree

The orange tree is a tree that is grown in limestone soils

The orange tree is a tree native to Asia that can reach a maximum height of 13 meters , but is usually pruned to 5 meters, sometimes less. Its scientific name is Citrus x sinensis , and it is one of the most cultivated citrus fruits worldwide. In Spain alone, more than 3 million tons are collected each year.

And it is that a single adult tree produces many, many oranges. When mine was little more than 1’20 meters, we got to collect almost two full bags; as it grew, that amount increased. In addition, it is easy to care since it only needs sun, and watering so that it does not dry out. Withstands frosts down to -5ºC.

Grapefruit or grapefruit

Grapefruit is a citrus that tolerates limestone soils

The grapefruit , also known as grapefruit or grapefruit, is a natural hybrid of sweet orange ( Citrus x sinensis ) and pampelmusa ( Citrus maxima ) that occurred in the seventeenth century in the Caribbean. Its scientific name is Citrus x paradisi . It grows between 5 and 6 meters tall , and has a rounded crown and a straight trunk.

When it comes to growing it, it prefers warm climates, if possible without frost, and with a rainfall of about 1000mm per year. But it can withstand occasional frosts of up to -2ºC if it is sheltered .


Kumquat is a hardy tree

Image – Wikimedia / Василий Герман

The kumquat is a fruit whose scientific name is japonica Citrus (formerly Fortunella margarita ) native to China that reaches a height of between 2.5 and 4.5 meters . For this reason, it can be grown in pots, but of course also in gardens, be they small or large.

It needs sun, or failing that, semi-shade, as well as regular watering throughout the year. Supports up to -8ºC .



The lime is a tree that grows in limestone soils

Image – Wikimedia / © 2009 Jee & Rani Nature Photography

The lime tree , whose scientific name is Citrus x aurantifolia , is also known as limero. It is a hybrid of Citrus micrantha x Citrus medica that occurred in Southeast Asia. It reaches 6 meters in height , and has a characteristic trunk that tends to twist a little early.

As with lemon, it has a very strong flavor to be consumed directly, but it is ideal to add some acidity to some drinks or dishes. Resists up to -5ºC .

Lemon Tree

The lemon tree grows well in limestone soils

The lemon tree , whose scientific name is Citrus x limon , is a fruit tree native to Asia that reaches a height of 4-5 meters . Its fruits, lemons, can be consumed directly as they have a very acidic flavor, but its juice is useful for flavoring salads, for example.

It is a plant with a wide crown, so it is advisable to plant at a distance of about 3 meters from walls or walls. But otherwise, it resists up to -5ºC.

Don’t miss out on your tree .

Do you know other fruit trees that can live well in limestone soils?

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