Plant a Delaware state flower and enjoy a peachy view

May 24, 2023

In 1638, Swedish and Finnish settlers in what is now Delaware built the first log cabin in North America. Delaware was the first to ratify the Constitution, so it is known as the First State. But in later years, Delaware was also known as the Peach State because of its 800,000 peach trees. So, in 1895, the peach blossom became the official state flower.

You can grow peach blossoms, even if you don't want to grow fruit trees, by planting ornamental peaches.

Even though their purpose is ornamental, some will produce fruit, although it probably won't be as delicious as a Red Haven peach.

Ornamental peach trees (Prunus persica) are sometimes called flowering fruit trees. The beautiful flowers bloom in the spring with clusters of either single or double petals. Single-petal flowering peaches will more likely bear fruit, but the double flowers are far showier.

Ornamental peach trees can often be dwarfs, so they will fit into almost any garden or landscape. You can even plant them in pots for the patio or deck.

Like all trees, ornamental peaches grow best in soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. They need full sun. Prepare for planting your ornamental peach tree by digging a hole twice the size of the root ball. Spread the roots out before filling in with dirt. Water your newly planted peach tree twice a week if there is no rain. For the first year, apply an inch of water to your tree every week. In the following years, be sure the tree gets an inch of water every 10 days.

You can fertilize your tree several months after planting; spread the fertilizer around the drip line of the tree. Later you can fertilize twice a year, first in the spring after the buds come out, and again in summer. Use a fertilizer with an even balance of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. You can determine which fertilizer is right by the three numbers on the labels, such as 10-8-10, which means 10% nitrogen, 8% phosphorus, and 10% potassium.

If you want the best of both worlds, you can plant the dwarf El Dorado peach, which grows into a small shrub with beautiful flowers and yellow peaches with a red blush. Another dwarf variety is the Bonanza, famous for its high yields of full-sized, flavorful peaches. Bonanza peach trees bloom with a profusion of stunning pink flowers that completely cover the tree in spring.

The Bonfire peach tree has large, spear-shaped, purple-red leaves that stay colorful throughout the summer. In spring before the leaves pop out, this elegant shrub is covered in deep-pink flowers. Each blossom has red veining, creating a stunning show in your garden, or as a potted plant on the deck or patio.

All of these dwarfs are small enough to grow in a large pot and will easily fit into any garden or landscape.

Plant your very own official state flower and enjoy the Delaware spring for years to come. Life in Delaware is just peachy.


  • Paul Barbano writes about gardening from his home in Rehoboth Beach. Contact him by writing to P. O. Box 213, Lewes, DE 19958.

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