The 5 Most Popular Fruits in the U.S. and How to Grow Them

The 5 Most Popular Fruits in the U.S. and How to Grow Them

Jun 12th 2024

The United States is a fruit production powerhouse. Its diverse climate allows people to enjoy some of the most popular fruits in the U.S., from citrus favorites to juicy berries. This $28 billion industry supplies our own tables and reaches markets worldwide. While large-scale farms are the primary source of our fruit, homegrown produce is growing. This shift towards urban living and backyard gardens has sparked a desire for people to cultivate their food.

This guide simplifies the process, giving you the knowledge to grow the top fruits popular by state and how to enjoy them in your garden.

Fruit Production in the USA

The United States is a major contributor to the world's fruit production, ranking 7th globally with over 22.6 million tons harvested annually. This fruit production is integral to the U.S. agricultural economy, with exports reaching international markets. Some popular fruits like apples, oranges, grapes, and strawberries make their way from farms to grocery stores, food chains, and even canneries, which are major consumers of this harvest.

Interestingly, this production is concentrated in just a handful of states, such as California, Texas, New York, Oregon, North Carolina, and Michigan. Fruits are particular and thrive in specific weather patterns, rainfall amounts, and climates, making these regions the perfect homes for our favorite fruits.

The Top 5 Favorite Fruits and How to Grow Them

While large-scale commercial farms provide most of our fruits, homegrown produce plays a surprisingly significant role. A Purdue University study reveals that 40.1% of women and 30.3% of men in the U.S. cultivate their own gardens. This number is even higher in households with children.

Growing your fruit offers numerous benefits, promoting physical and mental well-being. Let's explore the top 5 popular favorite fruits in the U.S. and see how you can cultivate them independently.

1. Apples

The United States is the world's second-largest apple producer, with ever-growing demand for these fruits. Filled with fiber and vitamin C, they're a delicious way to boost your health. While organic options comprise 7% of U.S. apple production, growing your own is easy. You can enjoy homegrown apples with well-drained soil and plenty of sunshine (8 hours).

  • Apple States: Washington, New York, Michigan, California, Michigan
  • Growing Zones: zone 4-7

Planting and Care

Choose a well-lit location with slightly acidic soil (pH between 6 and 7). Prepare a spacious planting hole for the roots. Make it twice the width but equal to the depth of the root ball. Add compost or fertilizer to the soil to give your new tree a healthy start.

Carefully place the tree in the hole, ensuring the graft union (the bulge where the top meets the rootstock) sits a few inches above the soil line. Backfill the hole with soil and water it. During the first year, water your tree regularly (about 1 inch per week).

An apple tree typically takes 3-5 years to produce a full harvest. You can plant multiple apple trees together to aid pollination and healthy growth, spacing them generously at least 30 feet apart. Prune young trees occasionally for healthy structure and good fruit production.

Tip: Drip irrigation is a sustainable and water-saving option. It delivers water directly to the roots and minimizes evaporation.

2. Oranges

Oranges are a major crop in subtropical North America, and they are enjoyed fresh or juiced for their excellent vitamin C, and potassium. Unlike apples, a single orange tree can provide fruit, making them ideal for home growers. Some of the citrus plants can also be grown indoors as houseplants.

  • Orange States: California, Florida, Texas, Arizona
  • Growing Zones: Zone 9 to 11 (subtropical regions)

Planting and Care

Find a warm and sunny spot for your citrus tree. The soil should be well-drained and slightly acidic. Choose a location sheltered from strong winds. For plantation, dig a hole one and a half times wider than the root ball but only as deep as the root ball itself. Plant the tree in the hole and fill it with soil, gently compacting it. Water the tree thoroughly halfway through filling the hole and again once finished. After a few weeks, boost your citrus with a citrus-specific fertilizer.

Water your citrus trees regularly, at least once and twice weekly, during hot summers. It can take you between 8 to 15 months to enjoy fresh organic fruits. Avoid planting ground covers near the base to optimize your tree's health and fruit production. This ensures they receive the essential nutrients for optimal growth.

3. Bananas

Americans love bananas, consuming an average of 26.62 pounds per person each year. While the U.S. has some commercial banana farming, it falls short of meeting its demand. The sustainable solution is to cultivate your own banana orchard or indoor plantation. It's a sustainable way to reduce your reliance on imports and enjoy organic fruits.

  • Banana States: Texas, Louisiana, Arizona, Mississippi, South Carolina
  • Growing Zones: Zone 7 - 11 (semi-tropical region)

Planting and Care

Bananas are typically propagated through division, meaning you can take suckers (baby banana plants) from a mature plant. Carefully dig up the mature plant and choose a healthy sucker that's 6-8 inches tall.

Using a clean, sharp tool, separate the sucker from the main plant and plant it in its new location. To retain moisture, apply a layer of mulch around the base of the new banana plant. Feeding your banana tree with fertilizer throughout the growing season helps with better growth.

Water your banana plant regularly, especially during hot summers, aiming for 2-3 weekly watering's. Using sprinklers helps maintain humidity around the plant. Planting bananas in clusters is a smart strategy. This creates a natural mini climate that offers wind protection, regulates temperature, and boosts humidity levels around your banana plants.

4. Grapes

America is a grape giant and ranks among the top 10 producers in the world. 99% of all the U.S. grape production comes from California. The biggest share goes into wine production but is consumed in jams, juices, and fresh food. The best thing is that you can cultivate your grape garden. American, European, and French American hybrid grapes are perfect for backyard vineyards. Let's explore how to grow your grapes:

  • Grapes States: California, Washington, Oregon, New York
  • Growing Zones: Zone 7 - 10 (Mediterranean climate)

Planting and Care

Plant your grapevines in early spring at a sunny location. Unlike other fruit trees, grapevines require a sturdy support structure like an arbor to climb and grow. Before planting, soak the roots of your grapevine for 2-3 hours to rehydrate them. Prune away excess canes, leaving only the most vigorous ones to promote strong root development.

Dig a hole at least twice the width and depth of the root ball for proper root development. Place the vine in the hole, ensuring the lowest bud on the remaining cane sits slightly above the soil surface. Backfill the hole and water deeply.

Grapevines benefit from compost or manure as a source of nutrients. Water them regularly during the growing season, about 1/2 to 1 inch per week. In late winter, before new growth appears, prune your vines to encourage a strong root system and trunk. This pruning will also influence future fruit production.

5. Strawberries

Americans cultivate 26.7 million hundred pounds annually as a key producer of strawberries. They're rich in magnesium, vitamin C, and antioxidants. From smoothies and desserts, strawberries are a versatile and nutritious food staple. Can you grow your strawberries? Yes, read DripWorks growing guide here:

  • Strawberry States: California and Florida
  • Growing Zones: Zone 4 to 9

Planting and Care

Choose a south-facing location with well-drained soil that has a pH between 5.3 and 6.5. Aim for at least 8 hours of sunlight per day. Plant your healthy strawberry plants as soon as possible after purchasing them. During plantation, space your plants generously, allowing 18-24 inches between each one for optimal growth. Gently spread the roots and position the plant at the same depth it was in the nursery container.

To enjoy delicious homegrown strawberries within 60-90 days of planting, water your strawberry plants regularly, about 1/2 inch of water per day. Fertilize your plants regularly throughout the growing season to ensure healthy fruit production.


While large-scale farms provide most of our fruits, there's something truly special about cultivating your own. It may require some initial planning and effort, but the taste of fresh, homegrown fruit is unparalleled. The key to success lies in two key areas: selecting fruits suited to your climate (growing zone) and proper watering practices.

How much and how often you water your plants directly affects their health and fruit production. Drip irrigation systems, hoses, or sprinklers are excellent water-saving options that deliver moisture directly to the roots, promoting optimal growth. With more than three decades of experience, DripWorks offers top-rated drip irrigation kits and landscaping tools. Visit our blog for more info and get growing!