Apricots Overview

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Apricots are an exciting and demanding crop and grower returns for the right product are high.


Apricots belong to the species Prunus armeniaca. The species arose in Central Asia and has been spread to middle Asia and the Caucasus and beyond by humans.


Apricot varieties are the most locally adapted of all stone fruit crops and many varieties do not perform well outside of narrow geographic regions.

Flavours of apricots can vary from a “true” apricot flavour through to “pumpkin like” flavours.

External colour varies from pale yellow through to bright orange with or without a blush.

Internally apricots can range in colour from white to yellow to deep orange.

Most recently selection has been for blushed orange apricots with “true” or “enhanced true” apricot flavour. Recent trends are also for apricot like fruit created from crossing Prunus armeniaca with other Prunus species.

Apricots bloom early in the season and are frost sensitive.

Varieties vary widely in their chilling requirements and tree form.


Care needs to be taken with the variety selection to ensure cross pollination. The general rule is that the varieties must flower at the same time. Some cultivars are more compatible as pollinators than others and some varieties appear to be better pollen donors. The current thinking on orchard layout is that blocks of no more than 3 rows of a variety need to be broken by 1 or more rows of a pollinating variety to get the highest fruit yields per hectare.


McGrath Nurseries are a prominent supplier of high quality apricot trees and have introduced a number of commercially significant varieties into New Zealand.

See our specific variety sheets for pollinator recommendations, chilling requirement, tree form and other relevant information.

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