Best Apple Varieties to Grow

Apple varieties to grow

Can you tell a 'Granny Smith' from a 'Braeburn'? We pick some of the best apples to grow.

Little beats the fresh crunch and flavour of a fresh, homegrown apple – and they taste just as good in crumbles or pies.

When choosing your apple tree, take note of what Pollination Group the variety is in, as well as the rootstock the variety is grown on. All apple trees benefit from two or more apple trees growing nearby to produce a good crop. These two extra varieties need to be different to the original and should be in the same or adjacent pollination groups as the original.

Little beats the fresh crunch and flavour of a fresh, homegrown apple – and they taste just as good in crumbles or pies.

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When choosing your apple tree, take note of what Pollination Group the variety is in, as well as the rootstock the variety is grown on. All apple trees benefit from two or more apple trees growing nearby to produce a good crop. These two extra varieties need to be different to the original and should be in the same or adjacent pollination groups as the original.

This said, self-fertile apple varieties, ‘Granny Smith’ for example, will still produce a crop without other apple trees growing nearby. So go for a self-fertile variety if you only have room for one.

To find out more about different rootstocks, and the benefits of each, check out our guide to fruit tree rootstocks.

More on growing apples:

Check out some of the best varieties to grow, below.

Little beats the fresh crunch and flavour of a fresh, homegrown apple.

‘Granny Smith’

'Granny Smith' apples
‘Granny Smith’ apples

This revered eating (or dessert) apple is loved for its firm, crisp texture, giving it a good crunch when bitten into. ‘Granny Smith’ is in Pollination Group 3 – grow two or more apple varieties from Group 2, 3 or 4 nearby for successful pollination. Self-fertile.


‘Braeburn’

'Braeburn' apple
‘Braeburn’ apples

‘Braeburn’ is an eating apple with a sweet flavour and rosy red colour. This self-fertile variety is found in Pollination Group 4 and can be pollinated by other apples in Groups 3, 4 and 5. Use this variety to make a delicious tarte tatin.


‘Falstaff’

'Falstaff' apples
‘Falstaff’ apples

‘Falstaff’ is a self-fertile eating apple, known for being a heavy cropper with a good, tangy crunch. Great for juicing. Pollination Group 3. The closely related ‘Red Falstaff’ has skin that is flushed red when ripe.


‘Adam’s Pearmain’

'Adam's Pearmain' apples
‘Adam’s Pearmain’ apples

‘Adam’s Pearmain’ is a traditional English dessert variety with nutty flavour that is more savoury than others. This self-sterile variety is found in Pollination Group 2 – grow two or more different varieties in Groups 1, 2 or 3 nearby for successful pollination.


‘Bramley’s Seedling’

'Bramley's Seedling' cooking apples
‘Bramley’s Seedling’ cooking apples

‘Bramley’s Seedling’, often referred to as simply ‘Bramley’, is the classic cooking apple. Known for its sharp, acidic flavour, it makes a delicious puree and can also be used in cakes and crumbles. The first tree of this variety was grown from seed in 1809, and is still alive and productive. Self-sterile, Pollination Group 3.


‘Redlove Era’

'Redlove Era' apple
‘Redlove Era’ apple

‘Redlove Era’ is one of the few apples to have red flesh, with a flavour that is both sweet and tangy. Eat straight from the tree or try cooking with it – the red flesh will keep its colour. Self-sterile – grow different varieties nearby.


‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’

'Cox's Orange Pippin' apples
‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’ apples

‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’ is considered by many, chefs included, to have the best flavour of any apple. A versatile apple that can be used in sweet and savoury dishes, cider and juices. The downside is that it has poor disease resistance and dislikes cold, wet conditions. Self-sterile, Pollination Group 3.


‘Blenheim Orange’

'Blenheim Orange' apples
‘Blenheim Orange’ apples

This eating apple has a lovely spicy, russet flavour that’s well suited to cooking, particularly in making tarts and purees. Self-sterile, ‘Blenheim Orange’ is found in Pollination Group 3.


‘Lord Lambourne’

'Lord Lambourne' apples
‘Lord Lambourne’ apples

‘Lord Lambourne’ is a classic eating apple with a sweet, tangy flavour and crisp flesh. A great choice for eating fresh or making juice. Well-suited to colder, wetter areas. Pollination Group 2.


‘Captain Kidd’

'Captain Kidd' apples
‘Captain Kidd’ apples

‘Captain Kidd’ is a self-sterile variety in Pollination Group 3. It’s a good alternative to ‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’, being easier to grow but remaining an aromatic, crunchy apple. Ideal for juicing and making tarts.


Apple varieties that store well

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Not all apples will store well. Early- and mid-season varieties keep for a few weeks in the fridge, whereas late-season varieties can store for three months or longer. Here are some of the best:

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  • ‘Braeburn’
  • ‘Granny Smith’
  • ‘Gala’
  • ‘Meridian’
  • ‘Chivers Delight’
  • ‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’
  • ‘Adam’s Pearmain’
  • ‘Bramley’s Seedling’
  • ‘Egremont Russet’
  • ‘Spartan’

Little beats the fresh crunch and flavour of a fresh, homegrown apple – and they taste just as good in crumbles or pies.

When choosing your apple tree, take note of what Pollination Group the variety is in, as well as the rootstock the variety is grown on. All apple trees benefit from two or more apple trees growing nearby to produce a good crop. These two extra varieties need to be different to the original and should be in the same or adjacent pollination groups as the original.

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