Best dwarf pear or apple?

The plot is on heavy but free draining soil, with little else to disturb it.

Some first east sun and then west sun too.

Only space for 1 tree and ideally grafted onto a short trunk, as garden is small!

Especially looking for a good cooking and eating apple, or just a very good eating pear.

Favourites are Cox's Orange Pippin and Conference Pear.

Keeping times not important as house too small to store fruit.

Are the blossoms especailly pretty or certain types of tree?

Are certain varieties really disease resistant? Worth going for an RHS merit tree?

Has anyone had particularly good or bad experiences with online tree nurseries, selling this sort of stock?

Thank you for all your advice - I am a total fruit tree novice image




  • Ryan LloydRyan Lloyd Posts: 391

    Hi Jess,

    I'm also wanting to buy a small apple tree and I'm considering Cox's Orange Pippin. They sell it on crocus, it half price at £17.49 and is a fan type, so it's very small. Also, you can use the gardeners world 20% off crocus offer for the purchase too.

    Your soil should be fine, it says it's free draining:

    thats the link image

  • Thanks Ryan - sounds great, especially the price, but I just had a really bad experience with Crocus on £200 worth of plants which arrived mainly squashed/dead or with nothing in the pots!

    Not sure I want to give them another try...


  • Ryan LloydRyan Lloyd Posts: 391

    Oh god, don't tell me that, I've spent £200 with them in the last 5 days! Did they give you a refund though?

  • steephillsteephill Posts: 505

    What is in your neighbours gardens? I ask because you will need at least one other different compatible apple or pear variety to pollinate your own for best results. Few are reliably self-fertile.  More info here As they say on the Beeb "other supplier are available".

    Crab apple trees will pollinate most apples and as they are chosen more for their blossom rather than fruit they are very common.

    If there are no suitable trees around you one solution would be to try one of those "family tree" trees.

    Pear trees usually take longer to fruit so you would need to be patient.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,819

    Cox's are notoriously temperamental - I'd rather grow a James Grieve - delicious multi-purpose apple .

    We don't have much space and I'm growing a Concorde pear as an espalier - it is 'self-fertile but will be helped by next door's Conference .  Concorde is a cross between a Conference and a Comice.

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • @Ryan - yes, a full one! I was so p*ssed off with the quality I saw in just 2 out of the 6 boxes that arrived, that I couldn't be bothered to unpack the rest, but just called them and got them to take the whole lot back. So much of the order was poor, but I was lured by the Gardeners' World Discount and also, it must be said, their lovely site. Best to order individual plants from specialist growers I think, if I can't find what I want in a garden centre. I guess I was a victim of my own impatience and wanted everything NOW!

    @steephill - I had never even considered that - thank you! And now you mention it, I do already have a crab apple about 2m away from where the new tree would go, so that sounds perfect. I hadn't realised that self-fertile wasn't as reliable as they make it sound, nor that pears take longer to establish. Would I get apples this year from a 1.5m dwarf apple, or would it be next year now?

    @Dove & Brum- why are they temperamental? What results are you getting from your Concorde so far Dove?

    Can anyone recommend a good online nursery at all?


    Thank you image

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,357

    Patience is very much a virtue when it comes to growing fruit trees, Jess!image

    That is particularly true for bare-root trees and even if they do crop in the first year after planting, you should remove the fruit as soon as it forms as it is vital that the roots get established first.  However, if you are really impatient and want fruit this year, you could buy a 3 or 4 year old tree which has been grown all of it's life in a pot (if you can afford it - they come at a premium!)

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,819

    I just wrote a long reply about Cox's and lost it by hitting the wrong key - blame my lurgy - but they need quite a bit of tlc, don't like damp and windy conditions, are prone to disease and in my experience the apples tend to vary a lot in size.  There are lots of nice apples out there, they're just not as well known.

    My little Concorde espalier was only planted last autumn and only has two little branches and a leader, so it'll be a while before I get any fruit.   Concorde is a lovely pear, with the flavour of it's parent Conference, and the sweet buttery texture of a Comice.  I'm so looking forward to picking my own.

    I bought it (and fruit bushes etc) from here an online supplier local to us here.  The website is good and they are very helpful, answering queries and offering advice by email and phone.  I have no hesitation in recommending them.

    I have no connection with them other than as a customer.

    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • SalinoSalino Posts: 1,609

    I think I would go for an apple variety that I don't see very often, one that isn't available in supermarkets, like 'Red Falstaff' which is self fertile or 'Red Sleeves'.   Choosing the correct rootstock for your purposes is very important.  M9 is a dwarf roofstock that needs permanent staking but allows a 6-8 foot tree... and fruits at a young age... buy 2 year old bush type, container grown...

    M27 is even dwarfer and M26 is bigger....

    as others have said, if it's not self fertile then you will need two varieties that flower at the same time... spraying will also be necessary, probably, for either a pear or an apple as both can get infested with maggots from sawflies and ruin your whole crop...

    spray in early June...

  • LynLyn Posts: 8,094
    Would an apple tree and a pear tree fertilize each other, the reason I ask this is because when I lived in Kent, we had one apple and one conference pear in the garden, left over from the orchard, and we had stacks of fruit each year.

    Ps. Morrison's had some lovely pot grown ones for a tenner this morning. I was tempted
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 
  • Paddy5Paddy5 Posts: 71

    I already have a dwarf apple and I am looking for a dwarf plum or pear without success any advice ?

  • Thanks Bob - I'll have to learn to be patient thenimage

    Dove, that's really useful to know - I tried the nursery you recommended, but they had run out of most stock (probably because I am very late in ordering and they are good!) - good advice about Coxes - have heard so much negative stuff about this variety that I've decide to give the a miss - and yes, I am famous for writing essays which I then delete in a heartbeat!

    Thanks Salino - I actually decided to order a dwark M27 Red falstaff in the end - great recommendation image it sounds like a good all-rounder and not too difficult for a novice like me. I also have a crab apple close by, so am hoping this will make the Falstaff yield even better in subsequent years.

    Thanks to everyone for your advice - it felt good to order my first ever fruit tree today image

  • Blackmoor Nursery on line I have found reliable, so far!  I have bought strawberry plants, raspberries, a sweet cherry on a new smallish rootstock, grapes and a family pear. They also send a regular news letter including offers, check lists and useful tips. Supermarket fruit trees don't always tell what rootstock they are and that is very important. In my first garden 40 yrs ago, as a newbee gardener I planted 3 half standard apples thinking that was small!  They filled the garden! Ask around and see what grows well in your area.  Google apples for your county.

    Good luck!

    You can't beat picking your own fruit then sitting looking at the tree whilst eating it! 

  • I have one, self fertile dwarf apple called Croquella that gives small, crisp red apples. Last year was the first year that it failed to fruit but I think that was down to the abysmal weather....usually we get loads.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,819
    Lyn wrote (see)
    Would an apple tree and a pear tree fertilize each other, the reason I ask this is because when I lived in Kent, we had one apple and one conference pear in the garden, left over from the orchard, and we had stacks of fruit each year.
    Ps. Morrison's had some lovely pot grown ones for a tenner this morning. I was tempted  

    No, apples and pears will not fertilise each other - not ever not no how image 

    Conference are pretty good self fertile croppers but will crop better with another pear from the same group in the vicinity - but they don't have to be that close - the same with some apples.


    Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes. 
  • Thanks all - and for the online nursery time - has been bookmarked image

  • AirwavesAirwaves Posts: 82

    A Cox tree is unreliable but if you want a Cox flavour try a Sunset which is a Cox cross. The fruit is superb and it is self fertile. This may be too late for Jess but may be of help to others. A good nursery is rvrogers of pickering. They also sell a good range of plum trees and are always willing to answer any questions

  • I have a pear (not sure what it is, but definately is not a conference) I bought it from Parkers online nursery, (its still listed in their current catalogue, which I have mislaid)

    The type I have grows straight up and down without spreading and according to my neighbours  tree is a prolific fruiter. also wont grow any higher than 6/7' high.... all good..............EXCEPT!!! IT IS AS GOOD AS A WRITE OFF BECAUSE IT SUFFERS FROM FIREBLIGHT!! which destroys teh blossom... no blossom, no fruit!


  • Oh no Peter, that really sucks!

  • AirwavesAirwaves Posts: 82

    Sorry to hear that Peter. I have had a couple of items replaced by Parkers when there have been problems. Might be worth contacting them

Sign In or Register to comment.