Nectarine: Everything About This Sweet Tasting Stone Fruit

Nectarine (Prunus persica) is a soft-skinned peach in the Rosaceae family. The plant is grown in the warmer temperate zones of both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Nectarine, a genetic variation of common peaches, was probably domesticated over 4,000 years ago in China, and nectarine and peach trees are barely distinguishable.

A recessive allele’s expression is believed to be responsible for nectarine fruits’ smooth skin, which lacks the peach fruits’ characteristic fuzzy trichomes (plant hairs). In appearance, the stones and kernels of the two fruits are identical, and there may even be ones without stones. These fruits have a ripe flesh that easily separates them from the stone, or clingstones, which have flesh that tightly adheres to the stone.

The fruit is a great source of vitamins C and A and has red, yellow, or white skin. They are typically consumed fresh or baked in conserves, jams, and pies.

Common NameNectarine
Botanical NamePrunus Persica Var. Nucipersica
Plant TypeA Perennial Tree
Size (Fully Grown)About 20 To 25 Feet (About 6 To 7,6 Meters) In Height
Sun ExposureFull Sun
Soil TypePrefers To Grow In Well-draining Sandy Soil
Soil pHFrom 6.0 To 7.0
Flower ColorPink
U.S. Hardiness Zones5, 6, 7, 8, And 9
Native AreaChina

How Many Nectarine Varieties Are There?

There are over 4,000 different varieties that belong to the nectarine/peach family. Of these, hundreds can be classified as nectarines. But here are the names of the most popular nectarines that you should check out.

  1. Juneglo
  2. Fairlane
  3. Fantasia
  4. Armking
  5. Le Grand
  6. Mericrest
  7. Flavortop
  8. Goldmine
  9. Arctic Jay
  10. Fire Sweet
  11. John Rivers
  12. Desert Dawn
  13. Independence
  14. Double Delight
  15. Heavenly White

Origins And History Of The Nectarine Tree

About 2,000 years ago, nectarines, like peaches, possibly originated in China and were grown in ancient Persia, Greece and Rome. The word ‘nectarine’ means (surprise surprise) sweet as nectar, and the name’s obvious source is very likely to be this.

Nectarines were cultivated in Great Britain and imported to America by the Spanish in the late 16th or early 17th century. So, while the people were on their missions all over California, they brought the seeds along with them.

The first significant production in America was the south of San Francisco, California, in 1792. And today, over 95% of the nectarines produced in the United States are grown in the San Joaquin Valley in California.

Peach seeds will rarely develop into nectarine-bearing trees, and nectarine seeds may grow into nectarine-bearing trees or peaches. It is impossible to determine which fruit would develop on nectarine seed trees, so nectarine branches are grafted onto peach trees to ensure that nectarine crops are grown.

Physical Description Of The Nectarine Tree

Nectarine trees are incredibly similar in their appearance to peach trees and are barely distinguishable from each other. The tree’s shape and size, the leaves, even the buds pretty much look the same. There are more than 100 nectar varieties, both freestone and clingstone, the same as for peaches. But, nectarine plant parts detail is given below.

Leaves

Nectarines are typically smaller than peaches and have a firmer texture with a sweet, succulent taste. As we already mentioned, there are many varieties to choose from, including white nectarines, and the trees bear glossy green leaves.

Flowers

Peach blossoms (including nectarine) are usually pink and look very beautiful during the season.

Fruit

Nectarines are typically smaller than peaches and have a firmer texture that has a sweet, succulent taste. They’re shiny golden yellow with red blushes and with a pink tinge. The flesh of this fruit is also similar to peaches, and the color of that flesh is yellow.

When you’re in the supermarket, the best way to choose nectarines is to smell them and smoothly squeeze them. A fruit that is ready for eating will be fragrant but not too hard to press. But also remember to stay away from ones that are greenish or too hard, broken, bruised, or have blemishes.

Best Growing Conditions For The Nectarine Tree

In a sealed package, nectarines need well-draining soil, ample nitrogen, plenty of water, fruit thinning, and pest control. To know more about the optimal growing conditions for the tree, stay with us!

In What Temperature Do Nectarines Grow Best?

The best climate for the trees is one where the plant can experience a dormancy period. This means a winter temperature below 45°F (7°C) but never below -10 to -20°F (approximately -23 to -29°C because this might even kill the tree.

Soil And Sun

A well-draining sandy soil with a pH between 6 and 7 is the perfect growing medium for a nectarine tree.

When it comes to sunlight needs, like most other fruit trees, nectarines also need at least six hours per day, but eight hours is even better.

Water And Fertilizer

You might also realize that when the sunlight needs are similar to other fruit trees, so are the watering needs, and you are absolutely right. The plant is a heavy drinker and wants you to water it close its roots.

Despite that fact, you mustn’t overwater it, even though the grass around it starts to look dark green, or even worse, brown. But even though they love water, you should still grow it in soil that drains well.

When it comes to fertilizing needs, you can use a 10-10-10 fertilizer, and preferably an organic one. But remember that young trees need more fertilizing than mature ones.

If you’re still thinking about the best fertilizer type you can even make at your home garden, let me recommend using organic, home-made compost.

Is It Safe To Eat / Consume Nectarines?

Nectarines contain many minerals and vitamins, but is the plant safe for everyone, including people who have some medical condition? Let’s find out!

Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women

For pregnant women, most peaches, which include nectarine, are a great source of Vitamin C, potassium, iron, and dietary fiber, all of which are essential nutrients.

So, while you are pregnant, you can eat peaches, and, as we already mentioned what they contain, they have many benefits for pregnant women. Consume in moderation, though!

Children

As soon as your baby is old enough to eat solids, an age typically about six months, you can introduce fresh nectarines to your baby. But before you throw those peach halves into your child’s plate, remember to cut them into smaller pieces so your kid won’t have a choking hazard.

People With Allergies

Nectarine, like almost every plant on this planet, can cause an allergic reaction. So, what’s the best way to determine whether you are allergic to them? Of course, by eating it!

Another great way to know if you are allergic to nectarines is your other allergies. For example, an alder or birch pollen allergy means that you might have difficulties with plants like pears, apples, kiwis, potatoes, carrots, and celery. But also, herbs like parsley, caraway, coriander, anise, fennel, and nuts like hazelnuts, almonds, and peanuts might be on your no-no list.

People With Diabetes

People with diabetes always need to be on the lookout for foods that have a low GI value. The good news is that nectarines, among other fruits like apples, oranges, mangoes, pears, blueberries, kiwis, and strawberries, fall under this low GI category.

Breaking news! According to the latest research, fruits, including nectarines, peaches, and plums, have bioactive compounds fighting against obesity-related diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Pets

Without fear of experiencing any severe health issues, pets can eat nectarines because they aren’t toxic. But there’s always a limit to everything. So don’t offer too many of them to your pets because they contain plenty of sugar and ensure that your pet doesn’t eat the pit.

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