Home Growing Fruit Nanaimo Peach Tree: Winner in the Maritime Northwest

Nanaimo Peach Tree: Winner in the Maritime Northwest

Nanaimo Peach Tree: Winner in the Maritime Northwest

Spend a few minutes on my blog perusing summer posts, and you’ll easily grasp my love of growing and eating fresh fruit, and note my undeniable love of the peach, especially. Well after twelve years of trying to harvest a decent peach on an island better suited for cloud-cover, lichen, moss and raindrop cultivation, I have found a peach variety that stands up to such conditions with juicy aplomb: the Nanaimo Peach.

homegrown nanaimo peaches
Nanaimo peaches: sweet as candy!

The Nanaimo peach is a peach leaf curl resistant variety from Canada. Its namesake island city, three hours to the north on Vancouver Island, shares a similar climate to Vashon Island, Washington, where I live. Nanaimo is also known around these parts for a delicious baked confection born from the kitchens of this harbor city: the Nanaimo bar, a three-layered bar cookie worthy of a swoon or two. Ah but I digress, back to the peach.

nanaimo peach tree

I planted this Nanaimo peach about five years ago, and like most fruit trees, the first year it slept; the second year it crept; and the third year it leapt. And this year, well, I had a respectable harvest of peaches, 20 or so handsome orange orbs with few blemishes, and of medium size. And I grew these without a drop, spray or dusting of any pesticide.

nanaimo peach fruit

You may ask what’s the big deal? Can’t you grow a peach tree just about anywhere? I fear the answer is no, no you can’t. In the coastal Pacific Northwest it’s a challenge, stemming from a shortage of heat units and poor pollinating conditions during spring bloom (namely incessant rain, the kind Seattle is famous for).  Now, west of the Cascades on the sunny side of the state, the area boasts perfect peaches of prodigious proportions.

Why Nanaimo Is My Number One Peach Tree Choice

  • Truly Peach Leaf Curl (PLC) resistant
    • the first couple years PLC will be present, but as the tree matures the tree seems to build greater resistance to the disease
  • Healthy Tree, few problems, vigorous grower
  • Pollinates readily even in less than desirable spring rains and cool temperatures
  • Seems to be self-pollinating
  • Deliciously sweet fruit (no bitterness or high acid aftertaste)
  • Easy to remove fruit from tree when ripe, a simple pull and light twist will release fruit
  • Drought tolerate, that is needs less water than my other orchard trees 

What Peach Leaf Curl Looks Like

betty peach tree
Betty peach tree said, “I’m out of here” after one season.

The sad tree above, a peach tree cultivar named Betty, was sold and touted as a peach leaf curl resistant variety. I would dispute that selling point, as I’ve never had a peach tree succumb to peach leaf curl so quickly and die. And this tree is a mere ten feet away from the super-healthy, thriving Nanaimo peach tree. While their growing and site conditions were the same, the results were night and day.

Nanaimo Peach ripe
Nanaimo Peach: sweet, slightly fuzzy, and richly colored

So if you are looking for a backyard peach tree, I plead my case and share the evidence that Nanaimo Peach beats the leaves off other peach leaf curl resistant varieties, namely Frost, Avalon Pride, Oregon Free, Muir, and Q-1-8. I’m still quite fond of another resistant variety, a white peach named Charlotte.

Oh, and guess what I'm having for breakfast?
Peach Pie: the real breakfast of champions!

nanaimo peach pie

How about I leave you with two of my favorite peach recipes, and my well wishes:

Update: Also, I ordered the tree from One Green World Nursery.

Nanaimo Tree Sources: direct links (no promotion paid, just for your information)

I wouldn’t be surprised if other fruit tree nurseries offer it this next year, such as Burnt Ridge Nursery or Peaceful Valley Nursery.


  1. I live a short 40 minutes away from Nanaimo (on Salt Spring Island!) and I have never heard of a Nanaimo Peach…..think I shall be doing some hunting very soon!

    • Hi Joan, I love Salt Spring Island, have been a couple times. The last time I was there I ate a really delicious little orange apricot looking fruit. It may well have been an apricot, but that would be a challenging tree to grow there, and this fruit was pretty widespread and at several local self-serve farm stands, but no labeling. I’m a bit confounded as to what it was. Any ideas? Small, orange, and with a light blush of red on it, ripe around July 10. Thank you!

  2. What a gorgeous looking peach! I’m originally from Vancouver (Canada) and one of the highlights of summer was the foray into the Okanagan Valley for the peaches grown there. I can still taste those juicy, delicious morsels from heaven. But you’re not exactly in a peach-growing area, so congratulations on your success. Your peach pie looks absolutely scrumptious!

  3. Hi Tom
    I am Catherine, the tall Brit who said hi to you in the flower shop a few weeks ago.I am new to Vashon, you offered help…
    Well I am looking for crab apples.I have an awesome rowan tree and made a batch of rowan apple jelly last week….but they say crab apples are best…also does anyone grow Bramleys here?

    • Hi Catherine, I grow Bramleys, but no fruit set this year. It tends to be a biennial producer. I don’t have any crabapples this year either – deer got to them already. But, let me give you a link to the VAshon Fruit Club which may have access to crabapples: https://vashonislandfruitclub.wordpress.com/contact-us/
      Also consider going to the Saturday FArmers Market on the Village Green and ask the farmers if they have any for sale coming up. Good Luck and Welcome to Vashon Catherine!

  4. It is so thrilling and surprising when one gets rewarded by nature after a long patient wait.

    In Canada, we are celebrating the long August week-end and many families would welcome your wonderful peach pie. Sharing is part of being a good neighbour!!!!

    Question: Any plans for peach jam?

    The Niagara Falls area use to be famous for their peaches (now taken over by many vineyards).

    Enjoy and please give Buddy a big hug from the Furry Gang and V

    • Vincent, they didn’t produce one peach, neither the Frost nor the Indian Free. I may do some severe pruning to maybe snap each tree out of it. I’ll see of that works.

  5. Thank you for your peach update. Im in SW Washington State. I just dug up my Mary Jane leaf curl resistant peach which was dead from total infestation of leaf curl. My Charlotte experience echoed yours, some leaf curl but get some peaches. My Indian Free never made a peach. My Oregon Curl Free was good for 2 years then died from canker. I have Salish / Q-1-8 which has no leaf curl at all. Was perusing catalogs, where every variety is wonderful and nothing gets diseases, and saw Nanaimo. Might order one this fall. Your info is very helpful.

    • Thanks Daniel, and I actually have confidence in the Nanaimo peach. It’s produced two years in a row even with our record-breaking rains during bloom time.

  6. Hi Tom. I’ve been reading your website for over a year now and we got very excited about the info on Nanaimo Peach tree. I started communicating with OneGreenWorld over a year ago and without a lot of details, it has been a fiasco. The people running their ordering department have real communication problems. So, here I am well into spring of 2019 and no peach tree. I will try the other two places you mention and hope they understand how to conduct business and take care of customers. In the meantime, have you tried any more peach trees? Thank you for trying out various things and sharing info so the rest of us here in the PNW can benefit from your knowledge.

    • Hi Georgia, oh I’m sorry about the difficulty in obtaining the Nanaimo Peach tree. I understand though, as I tried to get a couple more without any luck. I may try growing from seed this fall and see what happens, I’ll keep you posted. (Please, remind me if I forget.) I’m researching now to see if peach seeds really are true to the parent. Most sources say yes but I’m looking for a extension paper and a little research behind the answer. 😉 I’ll keep you posted. Oh and as far as other peach trees goes, I’ve had really good luck with Peregrine, the most popular homegrown peach in the UK. While it isn’t Peach Leaf Curl Resistant, it does produce a gorgeous and deliciously juicy sweet white peach. I grow mine in my greenhouse, but under an eave on a south facing wall would work too, just don’t forget to keep it water properly.

  7. Hi Tom,

    I am going to try peaches one more time and at my age this will be my last try. I have had Frost and it was awful and always covered in curl. The nursery in Portland is out of Nanaimo for this year. A place called Rolling River in California sent me a email that they have them in stock. I am also looking at Oregon Curl Free and Salish Summer, from reading you are not in favor of Oregon Curl Free. I live in Bellingham and it rains here all of the time so I know I still will have to spray with copper. I would appreciate your recommendations.

    You mentioned your Orcas pear tree, well, I have had one for ten years and it produces heavily every year. I have had several pears over the years and the Orcas is the only one I would ever keep. I get boxes of Hugh pears every year from this one tree, just do not let them ripen on the tree as you will get a lot of core rot.



  8. Hi Jim, I just didn’t have much luck with Oregon Curl Free and Salish Sea. I did have better luck with a white peach named Charlotte, which seemed pretty immune to peach leaf curl. Also Indian Free peach, though a super late ripening peach, say first of October, was a sweet/tart little peach that had potential. Nanaimo is still my favorite peach tree in an unprotected environment. Currently, I’m resurrecting my collapsed high tunnel greenhouse and will replace the trashed peach trees from last February. They were all split below the graft.

    As far as pears go, I so agree with you on the Orcas pear, and have a new NW favorite pear: Aurora. That is one crazy good pear and a better keeper than Orcas, so a nice complement to extend the season. Conference pear is also a winner. Good luck Jim, I hope this helps you. Tom

  9. Appreciate your post on Nanaimo peach. Peach is my favorite fruit, but you know what the results have been. (I live in Spanaway, just south of Tacoma.)
    But I do have a question. My trees suffer from the double whammy of leaf curl and gummosis. Does Nanaimo offer me any hope?
    Yours truly,
    Jon Holdaway jonholdaway@hotmail.com

    • Hi Jon,
      Well I have good news, I’m now just growing two peaches in the elements outside in rain, sleet and snow: Nanaimo and Indian Free. Those are the only two that don’t succumb to foliar diseases. I have one Frost tree left but it’s coming out for good. I grow other varieties but in my high tunnel greenhouse. No problem when covered during the winter rains. I’m confident Nanaimo will perform well for you. It also pollinates well, unlike a lot of peaches in the Pacific NW. Indian Free is a little trickier in that they aren’t ripe until October. They need a full sun area. Take care!

    • Hi Brenda, Thank for your inquiry but I fear I don’t sell Nanaimo peach trees, I instead grow them for their fruit. Onegreenworld.com is the only source for the tree that I know of. They may be sold out already as the demand is high. They do allow you to waitlist for next year’s inventory, though. Good luck, happy growing! Tom

  10. Hello Tom and Buddy!

    We’re inspired by every aspect of your Vashon Odyssey. Just bought a little farm up on Whidbey Island, squarely in the rain shadow. We’re using your painting ideas to brighten up more than a few angles of our new home, as well as planting an acre of orchard around it. We would love to get some Nanaimo peaches going…Do you happen to have any seeds laying about? All nurseries appear sold out of seedlings. We’re getting ready to graft a dozen+ apple strains on M27 rootstock. 20 gal pots for now, then roots-in-the-ground spring ’23. Your quiche posting launched us on a Lorraine journey, eventually branching to salmon. Buddy’s relax-and-take-a-nap messaging always reminds us to prioritize more lazily. Thanks for the great ideas and stunning pics!

    Roy and Ting

    • Hi Roy and Ting,
      What a great note to receive this foggy Saturday morn, when my engine is idling in the breakfast nook frittering the day away. Buddy is my enabler; I’m just following his lead. Your place on Whidbey sounds wonderful and I’m excited to for you and all the possibilities before you. As for Nanaimo peach seeds, I have none left for the season. I planted some myself with no sign of life yet, and dispersed the others to interested growers. Hopefully, I’ll have a lot more seeds to share this summer. So remind me when the time nears for ripe peaches. Ummmm, dreaming of that now. So great to meet you and I look forward to hearing about your orchard and homestead activities. Buddy sends his best, too. Cheers Tom

  11. Tom, do you think you could send me few stones from the Nanaimo peach? I live on Vancouver Island and the peach growing here is quite a disaster. Of course getting a Nanaimo tree is not possible – or is it?

  12. I was glad to stumble across this blog. Fortunately, One Green World has Nanaimo peach trees. Alas, they’re out of stock, so I’m on their waiting list.

  13. Nanaimo news:

    I’ve been on Raintree’s Nanaimo “notify when in stock” list for almost a year. Since it has remained out of stock, I finally contacted them to ask about it. Will they ever be in stock?

    Raintree replied with a very helpful message: They’ve had a Nanaimo crop failure, so they’re not likely to have any anytime soon.

    An orchardist friend of mine says Raintree is more of a clearing house than a grower, in which case the crop failure may have been some key grower somewhere. That would help explain why every nursery everywhere is “sold out” of Nanaimo trees.

    Just FYI, as I know lots of folks are looking for Nanaimo. Let’s keep at it!

    Happy Solstice.


    • Happy Spring! Just wanted to circle back and let you know our Raintree-sourced Nanaimo Peach trees are finally planted and budding out. Thanks for turning us on to such a wonderful treat! As you know, Nanaimos have been in very short supply recently. I was on 3-4 waiting lists for over a year, but then Raintree finally delivered, literally. For those who may approach you, you can tell them Raintree’s bareroot Nanaimos look like very good quality trees, well developed, already pushing after a month. Enjoy spring! Hello Buddy!

  14. I had Nanaimo on my wishlist at One Green World for several years. It finally came in this spring and is now in my garden!


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