9 Best Peach Tree Varieties for Home Gardens

If you love peaches and want to know which peach tree to plant in your garden, read on! Melissa Strauss discusses different characteristics of peach trees and some of the tastiest varieties for your home garden.

peach varieties. Close-up of ripe peach fruits on a tree among green foliage. The tree features a rounded canopy of glossy, lance-shaped leaves with serrated edges. The peach fruits are round ranging from yellow to red-blushed with a velvety skin.


Peaches are wonderful, nutritious fruits with many delicious culinary uses. Their tender, sweet, and tangy flesh makes them great for eating fresh, as well as canning, baking, and even grilling. Peaches are good for digestion and healthy skin and are a rich source of vitamins and minerals. 

Incorporating more fresh fruits into your diet is a no-brainer. However, choosing the right peach tree variety for your climate and preferences takes some forethought. We wanted to take some of the guesswork out of the process for you. Let’s discuss factors to consider when selecting a peach tree. Then, we can take a look at 9 of the tastiest peach varieties for your garden!  

Chill Hours

Close-up of a blossoming peach tree in a sunny garden. The peach tree (Prunus persica) is a breathtaking sight, adorned with clusters of delicate pink flowers that cover the branches in abundance. The flowers are large, with double petals surrounding a prominent cluster of golden stamens.
Understanding chill hours is crucial for choosing fruit trees in specific climates.

The term chill hours refers to the amount of time a tree needs to spend at temperatures below a certain point to produce fruit. For peach trees, this temperature descends from 42°F (6°C). Therefore, a tree that requires 800 chill hours is not going to get enough cold weather in Zone 9. 

This will be of greatest importance to those gardening in Zones 8 and 9. In these zones, winter is shorter, and there are fewer cold days. Understanding chill hours can also be helpful for gardeners in cooler climates looking for a highly cold-tolerant variety.

Fortunately, there is a wide range of peach tree varieties, and some have minimal chill hour requirements, while others prefer longer, colder winters. In general, you can expect that a peach tree with a higher requirement will be more cold-hardy, and trees with a lower requirement will grow better in mild climates. 

Freestone vs. Clingstone

Close-up of beautiful ripe peaches on a branch in a sunny garden. Ripe peaches exhibit a vibrant, golden-yellow to orange-red skin with a soft, velvety texture and a slight blush of pink or red on their sunny side. The fruits are plump and juicy.
Choose between freestone and clingstone peaches based on personal preference.

Another important distinction to make when choosing a tree is whether the fruit is freestone or clingstone. The stone in question here is the pit of the peach. Many cultivators breed for the freestone characteristic because it makes slicing and removing the pit much easier.

A freestone peach is one where the flesh easily comes away from the pit. When you slice into this peach, you are more likely to get nice, clean slices. You will be able to see the imprint of the pit toward the inner side of the flesh. These peaches are usually larger and preferable for baking.

Conversely, a clingstone peach is one where the flesh clings to the pit or ‘stone.’ While these are fine for eating whole, it is less convenient to slice this type of fruit. For my part, I prefer a freestone peach, but this is entirely up to personal preference. The extra benefit of these peaches is their sweetness and use in canning.

Tree Size

Close-up of a fruiting peach tree in a garden. A peach tree presents a picturesque sight with its dense canopy of lush green leaves, ranging from light green to deep emerald, providing a vibrant backdrop to the abundant fruits hanging from its branches. The leaves are lance-shaped, with serrated edges and a glossy texture. The ripe fruits dangle in clusters, showing a vibrant mix of golden-yellow, orange-red, and blush-pink hues on their soft, velvety skin.
Consider tree size based on space and harvesting preferences for peaches.

Finally, some consideration should be made to the size of the tree and how well it will suit your space. Peach trees range in size from six-foot dwarf trees to towering 25-foot specimens. A larger tree will mean more fruit, but a smaller tree will be much easier come harvest time

If you have the space and the willingness to get up on a ladder to harvest your peaches, ‘Elberta’ is a wonderful variety. Perhaps you prefer to minimize your work and only need enough peaches for a small family. A dwarf specimen may be just right in this case. 

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Flesh Color

Close-up of a cut peach on a wooden surface. The peach displays luscious, velvety skin in shades of orange-red with a delicate fuzz. Upon slicing, its flesh reveals a succulent and juicy interior in a bright orange hue, with a smooth texture.
Choose between yellow and white peaches based on flavor preference.

In terms of the color of a peach’s flesh, there are two shades. Peaches have either yellow or white flesh. Yellow flesh varieties tend to have sweeter, more flavorful flesh and can be flavorful while hard or soft. White peaches have a more subtle flavor and work well in canning and cooking. They are usually much sweeter when fully ripened.

Yellow peaches have a brighter and more vibrant flavor. They are slightly more acidic and have a tang that white peaches typically do not. Both make an excellent snack that is low in calories and high in fiber and nutrients. 

Keeping these differences in mind, here are some of our recommended varieties for home gardeners!


Close-up of ripe fruits on a Prunus persica 'Elberta' tree. Prunus persica 'Elberta' is characterized by medium to large-sized fruits with a smooth, golden-yellow skin that bears a red blush on the sun-exposed side. The tree's foliage consists of lush, glossy green leaves that provide a verdant backdrop to the abundant fruit-bearing branches.
Fragrant blossoms lead to a large, sweet mid-summer harvest.
Botanical Name: Prunus persica ‘Elberta’
  • Sun Needs: Full sun
  • Height: 15’
  • Zones: 5-9
  • Chill Hours: 850

It’s not uncommon to find ‘Elberta’ peaches at the supermarket. As a large tree and a prolific producer, this tree is a good investment if you want a big harvest. In the spring, this peach tree variety erupts into a mass of fragrant pink blossoms. The peaches that ensue are large and sweet. These freestone peaches ripen in mid-summer. 

‘Elberta’ is supposed to grow south to Zone 9, but requires around 850 chill hours. For that reason, I recommend a different variety if you’re south of Zone 8. This tree has very good disease resistance. You can prune it to a more manageable size or allow it to reach its full height for maximum effect in the landscape. 


Close-up of a pile of ripe peaches. The Prunus persica 'Contender' presents medium to large-sized fruits with a smooth, velvety skin in shades of golden-yellow, tinged with a vibrant red blush almost over the entire surface.
This cold-hardy peach tree produces late-season fruit with yellow flesh.
Botanical Name: Prunus persica ‘Contender’
  • Sun Needs: Full sun
  • Height: 10’-15’
  • Zones: 4-9
  • Chill Hours: 1000

If you are looking for a tree with excellent cold hardiness, we think ‘Contender’ is an ideal tree. This 1988 hybrid has a reputation for being one of the most, if not the most, cold hardy peach. It is also disease-resistant and self-pollinating. 

‘Contender’ is a mid-sized tree that you can manage easily with strategic pruning. The freestone peaches are large with sweet, yellow flesh. They ripen toward the end of summer, later in the year than most. This tree needs a whopping 1,000 chill hours, making it a good choice for colder climates. 

‘Early Amber’

Close-up of ripe fruits on Prunus persica 'Early Amber' in a sunny garden. Prunus persica 'Early Amber' showcases medium-sized fruits with a smooth, fuzzy skin that ranges from golden-yellow to pale orange. The tree's foliage consists of glossy green leaves with finely serrated edges.
Warm climate peach tree with early fruiting and low chill hours.
Botanical Name: Prunus persica ‘Early Amber’
  • Sun Needs: Full sun 
  • Height: 10’-15’
  • Zones: 5-9
  • Chill Hours: 250

The polar opposite of ‘Contender,’ ‘Early Amber’ is a warm climate tree that only needs about 250-300 chill hours. Easy to get in Zone 8 and most years this is no problem in Zone 9, as well. This is an early fruiting variety. The tree blooms early and the fruit matures quickly. 

Medium-sized, firm, freestone peaches have yellow flesh and a sweet, tangy flavor profile. The outside of the fruits are deep yellow with a red blush to the bottom. These peaches should ripen in June, making them one of the earliest peaches of the season. The tree is mid-sized as well and fits well into most landscapes. 

‘Arctic Supreme’

Close-up of ripe Prunus persica 'Arctic Supreme' peppers. One of the peaches is cut in half. Prunus persica 'Arctic Supreme' features medium to large-sized fruits with a smooth, velvety skin that is pale yellow in color with a subtle blush of pink or red on the sun-exposed side. Its flesh is exceptionally firm, crisp, and juicy, with a white color. The peaches encase a single large seed or stone at the center.
This award-winning white-fleshed peach tree yields flavorful fruit in summer.
Botanical Name: Prunus persica ‘Arctic Supreme’
  • Sun Needs: Full sun
  • Height: 12’-15’
  • Zones: 5-9
  • Chill Hours: 600-700

‘Arctic Supreme’s’ white-fleshed fruits are award-winning for their balance of sweet and tart flavors. This variety is often sold on grafted rootstock and grows to between 12 and 15 feet tall.  The type of rootstock will dictate the ultimate height of the tree. Always prune peach trees while they are dormant. 

Although it has white flesh, this variety is surprisingly flavorful and bright. They are great for eating fresh off the tree. The flesh is firm and stands up well to canning or making preserves, too. The fruit matures in mid-to-late summer and is semi-freestone. The flesh will come away from the pit more easily when it is fully ripe. 

‘Belle of Georgia’

Close-up of Prunus persica 'Belle of Georgia' with ripe fruits in a sunny garden. Prunus persica 'Belle of Georgia' presents large-sized fruits with smooth, velvety skin that ranges from creamy-white to pale yellow when fully ripe, tinged with a delicate pink blush on the sun-exposed side. The leaves are broad and lance-shaped, with a glossy texture and serrated edges.
This heirloom peach tree has stunning spring blooms and produces sweet, freestone fruit.
Botanical Name: Prunus persica ‘Belle of Georgia’
  • Sun Needs: Full sun
  • Height: 18’-25’
  • Zones: 5-8
  • Chill Hours: 800

‘Belle of Georgia’ is an heirloom tree that dates back to the 1870s. It needs a significant length of cold weather. This tree blooms flamboyantly in the spring with branches heavy-ladened with pinkish-red blossoms. The flowers are striking to look at and smell wonderful. 

This is a fast-growing tree that bears fruit in about three years. The fruit is large and firm. These peaches are freestone and very sweet, making them versatile. They are great for eating fresh and make a wonderful dessert peach. 


Close-up of Prunus persica 'Red Haven' with ripe fruits in a sunny garden. The tree boasts medium to large-sized fruits with a smooth, velvety skin of a red-pink hue. The tree's glossy green leaves are lance-shaped with serrated edges.
This peach tree yields high-quality, smooth-skinned, all-purpose fruit.
Botanical Name: Prunus persica ‘Redhaven’
  • Sun Needs: Full sun
  • Height: 12’-15’
  • Zones: 5-8
  • Chill Hours: 800

‘Redhaven’ is another peach indicated to be successful in colder Zones 8 and north. In spring, ‘Redhaven’ produces tons of fragrant, pink blossoms and is highly decorative. This tree is a big producer of high-quality fruit. 

The peaches are medium-sized and have little texture to their skin. Where many varieties are quite fuzzy, ‘Redhaven’ is nearly smooth.  The sweet, yellow-fleshed fruit ripens in July. It has a great texture and is truly an all-purpose peach. The tree has an expansive spread and is attractive in the garden. 

‘El Dorado’

Close-up of Prunus persica ‘El Dorado’ in a sunny garden. This stunning peach tree features elliptical, dark green, glossy leaves with finely serrated edges. 'El Dorado' peaches are medium-sized and round, with a smooth skin that transitions from green to yellow-orange as they ripen with a red blush.
This miniature dwarf peach tree with early-ripening fruit is perfect for containers.
Botanical Name: Prunus persica ‘El Dorado’
  • Sun Needs: Full sun
  • Height: 6’
  • Zones: 6-9
  • Chill Hours: 500

‘El Dorado’ falls into the category of miniature dwarf. This tree only reaches about six feet tall, making it easily manageable. Don’t underestimate this peach tree because of its small stature, though. Dynamite flavor can come in small packages. What ‘El Dorado’ lacks in size, it makes up for in delicious fruit. 

This tree grows best in mild climates. Its small size makes this a great container plant, so you can grow it farther north and brought in for the winter.

The fruit ripens early in the season. The creamy, yellow flesh is rich in flavor. This freestone peach tree makes an excellent addition to small gardens.

‘Tropic Beauty’

Close-up of a peach tree branch with ripe fruits in a sunny garden. Prunus persica ‘Tropic Beauty’ is a visually striking peach tree cultivar known for its vibrant foliage and delectable fruits. Its leaves are glossy and dark green, with an elongated shape and finely serrated edges. 'Tropic Beauty' showcases an abundance of medium-sized, round peaches with a smooth, fuzzy skin. The fruits are characterized by their rich golden-yellow color with pink-red blush.
This heat-loving peach tree thrives in warm climates and produces early, delicious fruit.
Botanical Name: Prunus persica ‘Tropic Beauty’
  • Sun Needs: Full sun
  • Height: 20’-25’
  • Zones: 9-10
  • Chill Hours: 150-250

If you live in a warm climate and thought that you were out of luck for growing a peach tree, I’ve got great news! As its name implies, ‘Tropic Beauty’ peach is a heat-loving variety that needs a mere 150-250 chill hours. It is hardy in Zones 9-10 only, making it one of few that will thrive in Zone 10 at all. 

‘Tropic Beauty’ produces a bounty of pretty pink blossoms in the spring. The fruit is medium-sized with sweet yellow flesh that melts in your mouth. The fruits are semi-freestone and ripen very early, in mid-May. This tree is great for southern Florida and Texas gardeners. 

‘Red Globe’

Close-up of ripe fruits of Prunus persica 'Red Globe' among green foliage. Its leaves are large, lance-shaped, and glossy green, providing a lush backdrop to its abundant fruits. The tree produces large, round peaches with a velvety red skin.
Large, round ‘Red Globe’ peaches boast sweet and juicy yellow flesh.
Botanical Name: Prunus persica ‘Red Globe’
  • Sun Needs: Full sun
  • Height: 15’
  • Zones: 5-8
  • Chill Hours: 800

The phrase pretty as a peach was most certainly coined for the ‘Red Globe’ peach. These peaches are large with a wonderful rounded shape and deep red blush over pale yellow.

They are freestone peaches with extra sweet and juicy yellow flesh with just a touch of tartness. ‘Red Globe’ is often considered one of the prettiest and best-tasting peaches around. 

‘Red Globe’ is a mid to larger-sized tree, growing to about 15 feet tall. These tasty peaches are great for eating fresh, canning, baking, and any other use you can think of. This is a perfect peach!

Final Thoughts

There are many different varieties of peaches, each with its own set of wonderful traits and characteristics. The size and orientation of your garden, along with your climate, are important factors when choosing a peach tree.

You should choose one that will thrive in your climate and produce the right amount of fruit for your situation. Whether you choose a sweet and tangy yellow or a delicate and floral white-fleshed variety, there is a peach for nearly every garden.

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