You’re probably very familiar with fruits that grow on trees, like apples, cherries, peaches, and plums. But what about bushes and shrubs? There are so many different species out there, some are sure to grow on smaller plants, right? Well, check out our list of fruits that grow on bushes to discover which of your favorites thrive on shrubberies.
A List of Fruits That Grow on Bushes
Fruits can grow on a number of different types of plants. For example, kiwis, grapes, and honeyberries grow on vines. So do Cucurbit family fruits such as melons, pumpkins, and squashes.
Before we can dive into the many bush fruits out there, it’s important to determine what, exactly, constitutes a “bush”.
What’s the Difference Between Trees, Bushes, and Shrubs?
Most people can recognize the difference between a tree and a bush, but what about a bush and a shrub? A lot comes down to the little details.
For example, when it comes to botanical nomenclature (say that three times fast), there are some hallmarks to look at. Trees tend to grow quite vertically, with branches that spread out from a main trunk. They tend to be more than 10 to 12 feet tall.
The words “shrub” and “bush” are often interchangeable, depending on your region’s dialect. This is rather like how the same body of water will be described as a “stream” by some people, and a “creek” by others. Or “frosting” and “icing on cakes.
Generally, a shrub refers to a plant is less than 10 feet tall, and has perennial woody stems. These are generally formed in all directions, so they can aim downwards, upwards, or sideways. A shrub’s stem will be less than 3” in diameter, and there will only be one set of roots at the plant’s base.
So? Is it a Bush or a Shrub?
The definition of a bush is basically the same. What makes a bush a bush rather than a shrub is usually how it’s shaped. If a plant’s stems and leaves are haphazard and almost touch the ground, it’s generally considered a bush. Their foliage can be sparse or tangled, but generally has a wildness to it.
In contrast, shrubs tend to be formed a bit more neatly. People often plant these decoratively, and then shape them by pruning them into fancy designs. Boxwood is a good example of a shrub, as people prune these into hedges, animal shapes, etc. In contrast, a holly bush is still decorative, but very wild-looking. And painful to fall into.
If you’re in TL;DR land by now, let’s sum things up in one easy sentence:
Trees are tall plants with many branches and leaves, while bushes/shrubs are shorter ones. There you go.
Pretty much every berry you can think of grows on a bush.
Blackberries, blueberries, mulberries, currants… all of these grow on woody plants that don’t get much taller than about 10 feet. This drops them firmly into bush or shrub land!
The exceptions to these are strawberries and haskap (honeyberries), which grow on runner vines, as well as elderberries. Those tasty black berries develop on trees rather than bushes.
Check out our full list of 75 fruits that are considered berries here.
These delicious North American fruits are absolutely worth discovering. They grow on average-sized bushes, and their flesh tastes like vanilla-banana custard.
Not only are pawpaws ideal for a perennial permaculture garden, they’re amazing if you have walnut trees nearby. This is because they’re immune to the juglone that walnut trees excrete. Walnuts kill most other plants nearby, but your pawpaw bushes will thrive beneath them.
3. Rosehips (Roses)
The fruits that grow on Rosa rugosa and other standard rose bush species are both edible, and medicinal. You can bite into the raw fruits for vitamin C-packed snacks, or cook them into jams and jellies. Some people also like to dry the fruits out and use them in tea.
However you choose to enjoy yours, know that they’re packed with vitamins, and amazingly good for you.
4. Bush Tomatoes
These are also known as “determinate” tomatoes. They grow on sturdy stalks rather than vines, and bush outwards to a specific size. Unlike vine tomatoes, bush varieties don’t produce all the way until frost hits. Instead, they flower and fruit once in the season, and then they’re done.
You can find bush tomatoes in a wide range of different sizes, colors, and flavors. They don’t need to be staked and tied like vining tomatoes do, and grow exceptionally well in pots. Try growing Micro Tom topiary tomatoes this season! They’re super-tiny bush tomato plants that only grow a few inches tall, but produce prolifically.
Related Post: Best Planter Boxes for Tomatoes
Now, pineapples are a bit tricky. They grow on low-lying bushes, but can either be classified as berries, or as “collective fruits”, depending on whom you consult. However you choose to classify them, they’re remarkably tasty members of the Bromeliaceae family, which includes air plants like Tillandsias.
Here are a couple of fun facts: a single pineapple plant can live over 50 years. They’ll bear a single fruit per season, but you can look forward to harvesting them for the better part of a lifetime. Oh, and when you’ve finished eating the fruit, chop off the top and plant it. It’ll grow into an entirely new pineapple plant! You’ll just have to wait three to five years for it to start fruiting.
Although quince bushes are grown primarily for their flowers, you can eat their apple-flavored fruits too. Of course, you can’t eat them raw, as they’ll do terribly things to your gastrointestinal system. Instead, you’ll need to cook the quince fruits and transform them into jam or jelly.
As you can see, there seem to be many fruit species that grow on smaller-sized shrubs. In fact, if you were to travel around the world, you may discover that the list of fruits that grow on bushes is pretty much equal to the fruits that grow on trees.
Whatever sized plants they grow on, at least we can agree that these fruits are absolutely delicious.