First flowers, then fruit for this Louisiana favorite Home and garden

First flowers, then fruit for this Louisiana favorite  Home and garden

It's that time of year when deciduous trees lay their leaves, while oaks and pines produce copious amounts of pollen.

Live oak leaves fall for new growth. Spring flowering bulbs, trees and shrubs are beginning to appear, and a great deal of our fruit trees and shrubs are flowering.

Fruit trees and flowering shrubs add beauty and abundance to gardens and landscapes, with species such as Taiwanese cherry, flowering quince, apple and raspberry offering a dazzling display of flowers, some followed by delicious fruit.

One of the most stunning displays at the moment is the Taiwan cherry (Prunus campanulate), known for its vibrant red, dark pink flowers that appear in early spring before the leaves emerge. This small to medium sized tree can reach a height of 15 to 25 feet, making it a wonderful ornamental addition to any space.

It prefers temperate climates and is cold hardy. They thrive in USDA zones 7 through 9. Taiwan cherry trees require well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. It is relatively low maintenance but should be monitored for pests and diseases such as cherry blossom blight. They are short-lived and can be difficult to obtain, but if you have the opportunity to grow one, I say go for it! he deserves it.

A cherry blossom tree bursts with color on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge.

Another spring-flowering fruit tree is the apple. Apples (Malus locala) are loved for their spring flowers and the delicious fruit they produce in late summer through fall. The flowers are usually white with a pink blush. The large number of varieties allows cultivation in a wide range of climates.

Depending on the variety, apples can be grown in USDA zones 3 through 9. Some low-chill cultivars in Louisiana include Ozark Gold, Golden Dilly, Red Dilly, Steeman Winsap, Granny Smith, Gala, Molly Dilly, Arkansas Black, Anna and Dorset. gold. Apple trees need full sun and well-drained soil.

Regular pruning, fruit thinning and pest management are important for producing a healthy crop. Apples can be difficult to produce in the South, but they are wonderful trees nonetheless.

One beautiful spring flowering landscape shrub is the flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa). It is a dense, thorny shrub that produces eye-catching flowers in shades of red, orange, white and pink in late winter to early spring before the foliage appears. The next fruit is fragrant but often hard and tart, and is better suited for jellies and preserves than eating fresh.


The Rabbiteye berry is ideal for Louisiana landscapes, where it is prized for both its fruit and ornamental qualities.

Flowering quince is hardy in USDA zones 4 through 8 and is adaptable to a variety of climates. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil and is drought tolerant once established. It requires minimal care other than occasional pruning to shape and remove dead or crossed branches.

Another great fruit shrub for the landscape is the raspberry (Vaccinium spp.). Rabbiteye (Vaccinium virgatum or V. ashei) cultivars are native to Louisiana, and there are many improved cultivars. The Rabbiteye berry is ideal for Louisiana landscapes, where it is prized for both its fruit and ornamental qualities. This variety thrives in USDA zones 8 to 10 and prefers acidic soil (pH 4.2 to 5.5). It requires full sun for optimal fruit production, reaching 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide, with planting recommended at 4- to 6-foot intervals during dormant seasons. Rabbiteye blueberries are known for their ripe, pink to blue fruits and blue-green foliage that transition to vibrant red and orange in white fall and spring flowers.

Fruit production benefits from cross-pollination, which suggests planting two or three varieties together. Mature bushes can produce more than 10 pounds of fruit per season, some as much as 30 pounds. Care includes ensuring well-drained soil, perhaps raised beds for heavy soils, adequate moisture and careful fertilization – especially after flowering and harvest. Pruning is kept minimal and is intended to maintain accessibility and promote new growth.

For Louisiana, select varieties with appropriate cooling hour requirements. Traditional options like Premier, Climax, Brightwell, Tifblue and Powderblue are reliable, and newer varieties like Alapaha and DeSoto are also promising. The Prince variety, with low chilling requirements, is particularly well suited to southern Louisiana. Rabbiteye blueberries are an excellent choice for edible landscaping, providing aesthetic appeal and abundant yields.

Whether it's the Taiwanese cherry blossoms and flowering quince in early spring or the summer apples and berries, these plants offer benefits and rewards year-round.

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