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Six fast growing fruit trees {and one vegetable}

Aww, fruit trees! It’s been said that the best time to plant a fruit tree is yesterday – because they take so long to produce. And while it’s true that you won’t get fruit the first year you plant a fruit tree it doesn’t have to take years and years to get fruit either. There are some fast growing fruit trees for you to plant. 

image of mulberries growing on mulberry tree

Let’s start off with talking about whether you should grow fruit trees from seeds or from a grafted tree. If you plant a grafted tree (one you bought from a nursery or that someone grafted for you) you will get fruit earlier than if you grow the tree from seed. This applies to all fruit trees.

Some people will argue that fruit trees that are grown from seed won’t produce fruit that tastes like the original fruit. This isn’t always the case. Some fruit, like most citrus, will grow true to the mother plant – it just takes 8-10 years before they will produce fruit. 

If you have space, it’s great to grow some trees from seed, just know that it will take much longer to get fruit. Attainable-Sustainable some great tips on starting nectarines from seed

But if you want fruit quickly, and I’m assuming you do, you should plant grafted trees. Also, you count how old a grafted tree is by counting from the time you plant it in the ground (or into a large container), not from the time it was grafted.

You don’t need a lot of property to grow fruit trees. Here’s some tips for planning a backyard fruit garden.

children picking mulberries from mulberry tree


Mulberries will produce within one year of planting a grafted tree and they grow tall super fast (over 2.5′ a year). We actually have one that came up as a volunteer from our neighbor’s tree and it produced a few berries the second year.

I’ve read it takes 10 years to get mulberries from a tree that’s been started from seed but this one produced in year two. It’s in year three right now and it about 12′ tall.

Mulberries get a bad rap because they aren’t plump and juicy like other berries but they are the first berries to produce around here and we love having them. We eat them raw and add them to yogurt, pancakes and smoothies. Learn how to grow and use mulberries.

image of small peach tree with peaches on it

Peaches and nectarines

I know peaches and nectarines are not the same fruit, but they are really close and have similar growing needs. They especially don’t like soggy roots so make sure you plant them in an area that has good drainage.

It also usually takes two trees to produce fruit, although there are some self-fertile peach trees. Make sure you get two different varieties that bloom at the same time so they can cross  pollinate. 

Most peaches and nectarines will fruit in under three years – but you have to take care of them.

image of Meyer lemon tree loaded with yellow ripe lemons


Ok, I know not everyone can grow citrus in their backyard but did you know that some citrus like Meyer lemons and Satsuma oranges can be grown indoors? They can, so I think they deserve thoughtful consideration.

Citrus trees are self pollinating so you only need one tree to produce fruit. Also, they will start producing fruit the year after they are planted.

If you need some tips for growing citrus, you’ll find them here

image of green apples growing on apple tree


Apples need some cold weather, also known as chill-hours. Like peaches, apples really need another apple tree to cross pollinate. Otherwise we’ll end up with a nice tree but no apples.

Those of you who have nice cold winters probably don’t need to know that bit of information, but those of us who live in milder climate have to make sure we plant varieties that need low chill hours. And that’s no fun, especially if we are thinking we’ll be munching on apples in under three years.

If you want to learn more about chill hours and other climate metrics and how they affect your garden and orchard, we have a short ecourse that explains just that. You can get more information on understanding your climate here.

image of fig growing on fig tree


Figs are another fruit tree that likes warm weather, so if you plant one and live where it gets cold you might want to do it in a container.

Figs only need one tree to produce and you will probably get fruit in year two. Figs are self fertile, in fact they don’t even flower; they just make fruit.

Learn how to grow figs in the ground or in containers.


Bananas are another “tree” that needs warm weather but if you can provide it, you can have bananas in about two years.

We have a friend who is overrun with banana trees and has offered us some. They propagate through their root system and need to be dug up and separated occasionally to keep them from taking over.

Edited to add: A reader pointed out that bananas trees are not actually trees but are the world’s largest perennial herb. That might be why they grow so fast! 

image of moringa tree


This little known tree is a powerhouse of nutrients. It likes warm climates but can be grown in containers and brought in during the winter. It can also be grown as an annual instead of a tree.

The leaves, seed pods and beans are edible. We eat the leaves in soups and smoothies. I also make a moringa tea blend with dehydrated leaves. The pods can be cooked like green beans. 

Moringa is super fast growing, like 15-20 feet in one season. As long as the roots don’t freeze, the moringa tree will come back year after year.

image of basket of tomatoes in garden

Of course there are many other fruit trees that are absolutely worth planting but they take three or more years to actually produce fruit. When you’re planning your fruit plantings make sure you include some of these early producers which will help the wait go by sooner.

Also make sure you’re making notes in you’re gardening notebook while you are doing your research and making plans this winter. 

image of ripe figs on fig tree

What trees are you planting this spring? Are you planting any fast growing fruit trees?

Thanks for sharing with your friends!

Terrie Butler

Tuesday 6th of July 2021

Hello Angie, I have 2 Mulberry trees that have been in the ground for a year now here in southern Virginia, zone 7b-8a. I was wondering when would be a good time to top them off so that they would grow open in the center, vase style. I plan to keep them pruned yearly for easy picking. I do not want them to get tall and out of hand. As of right now they are very healthy, around 9 ft. tall, with one single leader. I have done much research but cannot find when to top off the leader. Thank you for any advise you can give me. HAPPY GROWING!!!

Angi Schneider

Wednesday 7th of July 2021

They should loose all their leaves and go dormant in the winter, that's when you'll want to prune them. I usually prune in late January.


Monday 13th of July 2020

More on June plum(Spondias dulcis) dwarf form and myself. I live in Vancouver,WA USDA 8b. The only citrus I grow are kaffir lime,grafted Sour orange, mixed citrus rootstock seedlidlings. Actually no longer grow the June plum ,but sometimes if you can get the fruit from Asian grocery stores and let it ripen then the pip should germinate. The dwarf form comes true to type according to Logees. They don’t seem to have it in stock at the time. I did see a regular June Plum offered by Sow Exotics in WinTer, Haven ,FL. I did purchase their star anise tree instead. Hopefully it will bear in a container and produce seeds. They never got back to me on were they obtained their source material.? Other edibles in my little oasis include zingiber moiga ‘Cruz Zing’ And hopefully perennial broccoli from Oikos tree crops. Always willing to trade


Monday 13th of July 2020

Anyone growing dwarf June plum(Spondias dulcis) either indoors or outdoors(at least 10a-it’s frost tender). The dwarf form is suppose to fruit earlier than the typical. A foot tall potted plant under grow lights or southern exposure has fruited in my experience, but my plants got scale so gave up on it. Might try again by placing it in cool garage or spaying with mint oil or making a mini gas chamber of essential oil to rid of any bugs. Flavor is. Suppose to taste like mango combined with pineapple.Leaves are suppose to be edible like mango leaves.


Saturday 16th of November 2019

Angie: I now live in Phoenix with 4 citrus trees. So glad to hear of the Satsuma orange for indoor growing. My main desires are seed swaps and a gardening club or group.. Oh, I believe I’d like to plant a nectarine. Would you recommend a really delicious one.

Thanks you, Edna

Angi Schneider

Tuesday 19th of November 2019

Hi Edna, I'm excited for you and your citrus trees! I'm sure you'll be able to find a good gardening group in Phoenix. If you haven't found one yet, try reaching out to your local County AgriLife Extension office. I don't know what citrus varieties would grow will in Phoenix but I did find this article from the University of Arizona that suggests several varieties, Hope that helps.

Julia Chambers

Sunday 7th of July 2019

Great info. There is always that ONE person.