Nectarine Growing Guide

5 Steps to Nectarine Planting Success

  • Choose a sunny, sheltered spot in well drained, fertile soil. Winter or early spring are the best times to plant nectarine trees in New Zealand. 
  • Prepare your soil with organic matter like compost and sheep pellets.
  • Add a layer of citrus & fruit mix to plant into.
  • Feed your nectarines in spring and summer to encourage maximum flowering and fruiting.
  • Water well, particularly when trees are getting established and during long, dry weather when fruit is developing.

Follow our full guide below to a bumper crop of homegrown nectarines.

Nectarines are a popular summer stone fruit that happily grow in most areas of the country. Homegrown nectarines taste so much better when left to ripen fully on the tree, not to mention containing significant amounts of vitamins A and C. 

Nectarine trees are small with flowers that appear in spring. Being closely related to peaches, nectarines have very similar growing characteristics and habits. They require cold winters and hot summers to thrive, they can often be a little hardier than peach trees.

prepare

Nectarines are either ‘freestone’ or ‘clingstone’ meaning that the flesh easily comes away from the stone or it doesn’t. Choose a variety that is suited to your climate, and they can also vary as to earlier or later harvest.

Nectarines are self-fertile, although planting more than one will always ensure a better crop. They may be affected at flowering by frosts in the south and some cultivars are poor croppers in the north.

Popular nectarine varieties include: Fantasia, Goldmine, Queen Giant, Red Gold, Snowqueen, Tasty Gold, and Theo King. 

If you have a smaller space or are looking to grow in pots and containers, look out for the following dwarf varieties: Garden Delight, Nectar Babe & Flavourzee. 

The ideal spot for a nectarine is open and in full sun, shelter and sufficient sun will help with fruiting and colour. Don’t bother planting nectarines if you have sun for less than half a day. They will also tolerate a range of soil conditions but will not tolerate waterlogged soils, even for short periods.

Like building a house a good foundation is the key to success in your garden. The better the soil, the better your plants will grow.

If you are starting with an existing garden bed dig in organic matter like Tui Organic Sheep Pellets and Tui Compost to your soil. This will help make the soil more friable for root development and moisture retention. Then you can add a layer of Tui Citrus & Fruit Mix.

plant

For successful nectarines, grafted trees are the best option. Plants grown from seed will never be true to type and will take many years to produce fruit.

Plant young trees in winter or early spring. With heavy soils, planting in spring is best. Make sure the planting hole is at least a metre wide to accommodate the full root spread. If planting more than one tree, allow 5 metres between trees.

The best times to plant are early in the morning or late in the day, so the plants aren’t exposed to the hot sun straight away. Always water plants well before and after planting. 

Planting nectarines in the garden

  • Soak plants in a bucket of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic and allow to drain. This will help prevent transplant shock and give your plant a healthy boost.
  • Add a layer of Tui Citrus & Fruit Mix to the planting area.
  • Dig a hole, approximately twice the depth and width of the root ball of your plant.
  • Gently loosen the root ball of your plant and position the plant in the centre of the hole.
  • Fill in with Tui Citrus & Fruit Mix.
  • Press soil gently around the base of the plant.
  • Water your plant well and continue to water regularly.

Planting nectarines in pots and containers

  • Water plants thoroughly before potting.
  • Half fill your container with Tui Citrus & Fruit Mix.
  • Gently take the plant from the current container, loosen the root ball and remove any loose or dead plant material and roots.
  • Position the plant in the centre of the new container and fill with Tui Citrus & Fruit Mix up to 3cm from the top.
  • Gently firm the mix around the base of the plant. The mix should be at the same level on the plant as it was in the previous container.
  • Water your plant well and continue to water regularly.

nourish

Feed your plants and they will feed you. Nectarines use nutrients from the soil as they grow, so replenishing the nutrients ensures they will grow to their full potential, improving flowering and fruiting so they produce abundant and juicy crops.

Feed nectarine trees in spring and summer with a balanced fertiliser such as Tui Performance Naturals Citrus & Fruit Fertiliser. If you’re wanting to feed for longer, Tui Enrich Fruit, Citrus, Tree & Shrub Controlled Release Fertiliser will feed for up to six months and is formulated with high levels of potassium for optimum flowering and fruiting.

Water nectarines well, particularly when trees are getting established and during long, dry weather when fruit is developing. Apply Tui Mulch & Feed over summer to help retain soil moisture.

While your nectarines are growing regularly apply Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic for healthy plant and root growth to make plants more resilient to frost, heat, pests and diseases including brown rot, blight and powdery mildew. 

Well watered, well nourished peaches will have a better chance of keeping insect pests and diseases at bay.

Harvesting 

Nectarines ripen between January and March, depending on the variety. Colour, size and softening at the stem and of the fruit are indicators of maturity. Pick with care using secateurs to prevent bruising and damage to fruit spurs. Birds will also enjoy tucking into nectarines and can smell a ripe one from quite a distance, netting may be required to deter birds when fruit is ripening.

Pruning

Ensure your nectarine tree stays healthy by pruning in winter or early spring before it begins to produce new growth. Remove any unhealthy branches and thin out any bushy areas in the leaves.

tui tips

  • Netting may be required to deter birds when fruit is ripening.
  • Spraying with copper and spraying oil as a clean up spray over winter will be beneficial to your peach tree and help protect against fungal diseases.
  • Check out our information here if leaf curl is an issue on your trees. Some varieties are more susceptible than others.

For tips on growing other fruit tree varieties follow our Fruit Tree Growing Guide >

When should I plant
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