20160516A.JPGGardeners in Canada and the Northern USA often have a hard time growing pears. While most pears do fine in zone 5, in zones 4 and below, they’re likely to suffer from winter damage. Not only can flower buds freeze, but branches can die back and often the entire tree is killed by the cold.

Fortunately, there are a few cold-climate friendly pears that will do well in zones 3 and 4, sometimes even 2. A list of these follows.

Of course, cold winters are not the only reasons pears don’t produce fruit. Here’s an article called 10 Questions to Ask When Your Pear Tree Doesn’t Produce that might help you if you’re having problems.

European Pears (Pyrus communis)
Require another European pear as a pollinator.

  1. ‘Bartlett’ (‘William’) zone 4b (partially self fertile)
  2. ‘Flemish Beauty’ zone 4 (partially self fertile)
  3. ‘Blood’ zone 4
  4. ‘Clapp’ zone 4b
  5. Fan Stil® zone 4 (self fertile)
  6. ‘Harrow Crisp’ zone 4b/5
  7. ‘Harrow Sweet’ zone 4
  8. ‘Julienne’ zone 3 (partially self fertile)
  9. ‘Kenfer’ zone 3
  10.  ‘Loma’ zone 3 (partially self fertile)
  11. ‘Lorraine’ zone 3 (partially self fertile)
  12. ‘Luscious’ zone 3b
  13. ‘Northbrite’ zone 3 (partially self fertile)
  14. ‘Patten’ zone 4
  15. ‘Red Bartlett’ zone 4b (partially self fertile)
  16. ‘Savignac’ zone 3
  17. ‘So Sweet’ zone 2
  18. ‘Southworth’ zone 3 (partially self fertile)
  19. ‘Ste-Sophie’ zone 3
  20. ‘Summercrisp’ zone 3b

⚠️ Partially self fertile fruit trees sometimes produce reasonable crops without a pollinator, but conditions need to be excellent.

Ussurian Pears (also called Siberian or Manchurian pear) (P. ussuriensis and its hybrids)
Require another Ussurian pear as a pollinator.

  1. ‘Decabrinka’ zone 3
  2. Early Gold ‘Jefgold’ zone 2
  3. Golden Spice ‘zone 3
  4. ‘John’ zone 2
  5. ‘Kraznobkaya’ zone 3
  6. ‘Krazulya’ zone 3
  7. ‘Larinskaya’ zone 3
  8. ‘Ragugnaya’ zone 3
  9. ‘Severskya’ zone 3
  10. ‘Skazochnaya’ zone 3
  11. ‘Thomas’ zone 2
  12. ‘Ure’ zone 2
  13. ‘Verovaya’ zone 3
  14. Ussurian pear (P. ussuriensis*)

* Useful as a pollinator for hybrid Ussurian pears, but its marble-sized fruits are considered inedible.

Asian Pears (P. pyrifolia)
Require as a pollinator another Asian pear

  1. ‘China Green’ Zone 4
  2. ‘Chojuro’ zone 5 (4b) (partially self fertile)
  3. ‘Hayatama’ zone 4b
  4. ‘Kenko’ zone 4b (partially self fertile)
  5. ‘Shinseiki’ zone 4 (maybe 3b) (self fertile)
  6. ‘Shinko’ zone 4b/5 (partially self fertile)
  7. ‘Taylor Apple Pear’ zone 3b/4


Here are a few nurseries that have a certain choice of hardy pears:

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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