Do You Want A Cooking Pear
or An Eating Pear?

That's the hot question: what kind of pear tree do you want? Are you going to make preserves or do you just want to use the fruit fresh, like in a fruit salad or eat from the tree?

Just because you live in Florida, it doesn't mean the pears you grow have to look and feel like baseballs -- or taste gritty.  It just means you need a low chill pear tree variety that produces soft pears -- that is fireblight resistant.  And while the native hard sand pear can be quite hardy and make good preserves, there are far tastier alternatives for recipes that are not full of grit -- and very fire blight resistant as well.

Pears are fairly easy to grow in North Florida, though they can be a bit slow growing at first.  They take a year or two longer to start fruiting than say a peach or a nectarine.  They also require a bit more pruning while young to be sure you establish an open canopy with proper branching at a low level.  When you purchase a 15g tree, the initial pruning to shape the tree has often already been done. 

Pear trees need more space than a peach or nectarine. They generally reach 18-20' tall, sometimes 20-30' at full maturity, and are 3/4 as wide as they are tall.

Pears come in four "classes":  
soft, hard, sand pears, and Asian pears.

Soft pears are the most used for fresh eating, and rarely used for recipes because they do not retain their texture as well as the firm varieties when cooked. A few varieties are self fertile, but most do far better if you have a second variety as a pollinator.

Hard pears are more fairly described as "very firm", as in excellent for cooking into pear cobbler or pear preserves.  Some people like them for fresh eating too, because they are quite crisp, but they generally have a smooth texture and are not gritty like traditional sand pears.

Asian pears are also very crisp,  and more round in shape with no neck. They can be uniquely flavorful, and the flesh has a smooth, delicate texture.  They are good both for fresh eating or for cooking.

Sand pears are truly hard pears and are often gritty.  They have been grown so extensively in the recent past, many people think they are native to the area, but in fact they are an introduction from China in the 1800's. They are vigorous growing and quite hardy, but most people consider them in-edible, and feed them to the livestock.

Hood Pear Tree

Pears can be grown in zones 4-9.
Just choose one suitable to your area,
with good blight resistance.


Most pears, soft or firm, will require another variety for pollination. Cross-pollination only effects the seed, not the quality or nature of the fruit.

Generally speaking, soft pears require another soft pear for pollination, within the same general chill hour range.

The exception is the hard Pineapple pear will cross pollinate with many of the soft varieties, and sometimes the gritty sand pears will cross pollinate as well.

Hard or firm pears generally need another firm variety withing the same chill hour range for pollination.

And Asian pears generally need another Asian pear for pollination.

SOFT PEARS  (European pears)

FlordaHome Pear

Hood Pear

Spalding Pear

is a tasty, sweet, crunchy-soft pear:  kinda like a Bosc, a little crispy. It has a greenish skin and is great for fresh eating:  ripens early July.

is the most like a Bartlett of all of our Florida pears -- quite soft, great for fresh eating:  ripens in  mid-July.

is an utterly delicious, soft eating pear with a complex mellow flavor typical of European pears, yet it has a crunchy, juicy sweetness like an Asian pear.

The fruit holds its texture well and is excellent for fresh eating or even for making preserves and jams.

Imagine biting into a mouthful of rice crispies and having juicy sweet water explode all over inside your mouth: that's an understatement of just how yummy a FlordaHome pear is!!!

​Texture is what you'd expect from a good sweet eating pear: neither grainy or bitter.

Hood is a golden yellow pear with a soft, buttery flesh. Flavor is a bit tangy, something like a Bartlett.  (Bartlett is the #1 pear for commercial production in the US.)

Spalding is one of the larger growing pear trees, potentially reaching up to 30' tall, though it can be heavily pruned to 15-18' if desired.

It is not widely distributed and is difficult to find except at small nurseries.

Vigorous, hardy, prolific, matures young, self fertile.

Good blight resistance

Good blight resistance

Excellent blight resistance

chill hours:   150

chill hours:  150

chill hours:  150

pollinators: Hood, Spalding,
Pineapple pear,  Baldwin, or
Ayers/Sugar pear.

pollinators: FlordaHome (best),  Spalding (best), Pineapple pear, Baldwin
or Ayers/Sugar pear

one of the very few truly self-fertile pear varieties;

will cross pollinate with: FlordaHome,
Hood, Pineapple pear, Baldwin

Ripens early to mid July in
North-Central & Central Florida.

Ripens mid to late July in
North-Central & Central Florida

Ripens in September

for zones 8b, 9a & 9b

for zones 8a, 8b, 9a & 9b, and 10a

for zones 8 & 9

Baldwin Pear

Ayers / Sugar Pear

is a semi-hard, soft eating, sweet pear; also makes an excellent cooking pear.

Baldwin is a large yellow pear with an attractive red blush. Ripens best after picking within 3-4 days.

very sweet, soft, melting flesh -- for fresh eating only.

This is an old Southern favorite, vigorous growing, fireblight resistant, and partially self fruitful.

more varieties to come . . .                                                                          

moderately low chill hours

​Fruit is yellow with a red blush and quite juicy.

Good blight resistance

Excellent blight resistance

chill hours:   approx 250-300

chill hours:  500-600

pollinators: Hood, Spalding,
Pineapple pear,   or FlordaHome.

pollinators: FlordaHome, Hood,
Pineapple pear, Spalding, or Baldwin

Ripens early to mid August to early September.

Ripens in early August

for zones 8b & 9a

for zones 8a, 8b, and upper 9a

HARD or 'Firm' PEARS  (usually hybrids)

Kieffer pears

Orient pears

Pineapple pears

Kieffer is the #1 pear for making preserves and best pollinated by the Orient.

Considered a "firm" pear, but NOTHING like the hard, gritty native sand pears.

Thought to be a cross between a Bartlett and a Chinese sand pear, it holds its texture the best of all the pears when cooked.  Sometimes eaten fresh as well.

best pollinator for the Kieffer pear.

Very flavorful, good cooking pear:  firm but no grit!

is a roundish, elongated pear with no neck, found at old homesteads throughout the South;

Golden colored fruit with red blush.

Hardy, vigorous trees are quite tolerant of hot climates.

produces large, round fruit, with a firm, white flesh, perfect for pear butters!

Vigorous growing, very prolific producer of tangy-flavored very hard pears suitable for cooking.

Excellent blight resistance

Excellent blight resistance

Excellent blight resistance

chill hours:  200-300

chill hours:  approximately 350

chill hours:  approx 150

pollinators:  best pollinated with the Orient

pollinators:  best pollinated with the Kieffer

pollinators:  FlordaHome, Hood, Spalding, Baldwin & Ayers / Sugar pear

Ripens in late August & September

Ripens in late August & September

Ripens early August

hardy for zones 5-9

thrives in zones 6 through 9

all of zones 8 & 9

Oriental Pears:

Sand pears


Korean Giant

Sand pears were imported from China and Japan in the 1800's and were widely grown in the South because they were extremely resistant to the fireblight disease that attacked many of the European varieties.

There are at least 40 different varieties that have been studied in FL & Ga alone.

Like most modern Asian pears, Shinseiki are typically smooth textured, crunchy, juicy and quite flavorful.  

Medium to large golden yellow fruit are round with no neck.

Korean Giant is very crispy and juicy, and one of the largest of the oriental pears.  Can reach as much as 2lbs.

aka 'Olympia'

Their legacy of durability continues, even though we now have many low chill European hybrids of soft pears that have very good blight resistance today.  Sand pear trees grow as much as 40' tall and are very showy, but the fruit has a gritty texture and is often fed to livestock.

one of the few self-fruitful pears; can be used as a pollinator with other Asian pears;

Extremely sweet

Excellent blight resistance

Good blight resistance

Good blight resistance

chill hours:  150

chill hours:  300-450

?  coming soon ?

pollinators:  self-fruitful

pollinators: self-fruitful, but can pollinate with any other Asian pear

pollinators:  Shinseiki,

Ripens late August & September

Ripens early August

Ripens mid-September

hardy in zones 5-9

hardy for zones 5-9a

hardy in zones 5-9a

not all varieties are available in all sizes:


3yrs+ to fruit

5-6' tall / trimmed

  • very little branching yet
  • 3/8-1/2" trunks above the graft


please specify variety:


2yrs+ to fruit

approx 5.5-6' tall

  • beginning to branch
  • 3/4" trunks above the graft
  • "de-leadered" i.e. properly pruned for optimal shaping



1yr+ to fruit

approx 6.5-7' tall

  • nicely branching
  • 1" trunks
    above the graft



bearing age

some have already had fruit

8'+ tall / trimmed

  • well branched
  • 1.25" trunks above the graft


super 15gal

serious bearing age

8-10' tall / trimmed

  • well branched
  • 1.5" trunks above the graft


limited availability

work in progress:    sorry, but the "add to cart" buttons don't work yet:  please contact us to order in the meantime 😀