If you can’t decide what kind of fruit tree you want but you don’t have room for an entire orchard, what are you supposed to do? Choose only one? Why settle? Mixed plants are one of the best things that ever happened to indecisive gardeners. One of the neatest innovations in fruit trees is the fruit cocktail tree, which grows multiple fruit varieties all on one tree!
Fruit cocktail trees have been around since the early ’40s, nearly as long as the canned fruit cocktail we ate as kids. These trees are not hybrids, instead they are multiple trees grafted together to create one trunk and branch sections that support different types of fruit. Only trees (and fruits) that are related can be grafted and grown together. Citrus cocktail trees may have lemons, oranges and limes on one tree. Another popular choice is a tree that produces nectarines, peaches, plums and apricots. Apple trees may also be grafted together to create trees that produce several apple varieties. Grafting is also done with cherry and pear trees, respectively.
While fruit cocktail trees are more of a novelty than something for a serious grower, they are incredibly beautiful in bloom and produce plenty of fruit for canning, freezing and juicing, but not so much that it is wasted. One of the challenges, especially with the grafted plum trees, is that one portion of the tree may grow stronger than another and require more pruning than the rest. Other than that, fruit cocktail trees make a gorgeous and productive yard accent that can really surprise friends and neighbors!
If you’re wondering how they graft cocktail trees (or have ambitions of grafting your own), check out this video: