Growing Mediterranean Fruit on Vancouver Island

A Tour of Fruit Trees and More

by BC Farms & Food  -  Permalink
May 8, 2015

Bob Duncan, owner of Fruit Trees and More in North Saanich, BC, takes us on a tour of his demonstration orchard and nursery and shows how to grow Mediterranean fruit on Vancouver Island.

By using microclimates, partial shelters, an unheated greenhouse, and by choosing varieties best suited to the south coast BC climate, Duncan has found ways to grow subtropical fruits that normally could not thrive in this northern climate. The video includes tips on how to grow Mediterranean figs, lemons, oranges, olives and loquats, as well as warm weather fruits and nuts such as peaches, nectarines, almonds and apricots.


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18 Responses leave one →
  1. 2022 August 12
    Louise Boutin permalink

    I really enjoyed the video and would like to say I have bought from Bob and Verna and WOW what an experience.
    Their trees and deep knowledge of the culture of these plants is unsurpassed. What a treasure to have here on Vancouver Island. I now live in Ucluelet and have not visited in many years. Thanks for all the memories Bob and Verna, especially that bite from a red flesh apple, I still dream of that one.

  2. 2021 February 11
    Roy l WHITAKER permalink

    I’ve been in Sequim, WA, just across from Victoria, for three years and am trying my luck with Desert King and Sultane figs, Puget Sound apricots, and, soon, with Fantoio and Ascolana Tenera olives. While impressed by your optimism about and success with these and other semi-tropical fruits, I note that your garden is well sheltered by trees, I have no protection from strong west winds which appear to be stunting my fig trees’ growth and could threaten my olives. I’m familiar with the cold winds of southern France, and assume there must be some fruit trees specially bred to withstand wind gusts and low temperatures. Would appreciate any insights or tips.

  3. 2020 November 2
    Melissa Gogolinski permalink

    I’m wondering where I can source some of these less common trees? I live in the southern Okanagan and would like to try Almond and perhaps a few others that wouldn’t normally be grown in this area. We currently have peach, apricot, plum, nectarine, grapes, walnut and hazelnut, all doing very well.

  4. 2020 October 7
    Amanda Lim permalink

    I am interested in growing fig and pomegranate. I live in Langford on a mountain. What would be the best type of fig plant or pomegranate plant?

  5. 2020 April 5
    Judith Sitter permalink

    I would love to visit your orchards this summer depending on the Covid-19 situation. We live on Pender Island and had success with a lime tree in a pot on our deck last summer. We brought it in the house for the winter but I have noticed a wet sticky liquid forming on all the leaves. Is this aphids? I have washed the leaves with soap and water but to no avail. Many leaves have a flat brown spot which is easily removed. So you have any suggestions as to how I can get rid of this infection?

    • 2020 September 2
      Jay permalink

      I don’t know if anyone responded to your question but I do believe your lime tree has soft scale. It is a sucking insect that drips sticky liquid and can devastate citrus plants. My two pink grapefruit trees picked up scale when I brought them into my office building for the winter.

    • 2020 September 2
      BC Farms & Food permalink

      For scale on citrus trees, cleaning the leaves by hand with water can remove the scales and the sticky liquid which attracts ants. Once clean, improve the growing conditions by adding compost. We’ve found that a fish-based compost was especially effective.

  6. 2018 September 9
    Beverly permalink

    Hello. I would like to know if I would be able to grow Coronation grapes in Port McNeill. I am about 5km. From the ocean. Thanks

  7. 2018 July 8
    Tina Fagan permalink

    Awesome video, I did not realize all the types of fruit we can actually grow on Vancouver Island. I was hoping to grow apricots in our back yard, as they are my favorite as well. The backyard is south facing, but we live up in Courtenay. Is there anything special I should do to ensure the life of the tree or will it even be possible to grow it up here as we might just be a little colder then in Saanich?

    Thank you,

    • 2019 January 29
      Hilde H McLean permalink

      I live in port mcneill and managed to grow apricot trees at the back of my shed on a south facing wall with a plastic overhang(roof) and sides.
      Not a green house open ended. Just enough heat to make the difference though.

  8. 2018 January 25
    M. Hamzah permalink

    Thank you for a beautiful video. Growing trees is a passion of mine since I was a farm boy in one of the Mediterranean mountains back in Middle East. We still have over 200 apple trees, few Pear trees, Chestnut trees, Walnut trees. Unfortunately, it is too cold for Peaches and Apricots to grow over there. However, here in Burnaby, B.C I have tried Olive trees 3 times unsuccessfully but I am still trying it in a pot. Persimmon tree (Very successful, Aprox 200 Persimmons a year), Mediterranean Walnut successful (Squirrels are not leaving many), Green and Black Figs are very successful, different grape varieties (Not sure yet, last summer was the first year). This spring, the plan includes a Peach tree, an Avocado tree, An Almond Tree (Maybe), a Chestnut tree and more grape varieties. I was not able to find a Chestnut tree in BC but I am still looking and trying to start it from a seed just like I did with the Walnut tree I have. Does anyone know where I can get a chestnut and an Almond trees? Thanks.

    • 2018 May 10
      A. Clarke permalink

      We have chestnut trees and are getting more next spring. Please have a look at our website if you like – great to know that you are growing so many interesting fruits. We should all form an uncommon fruit club in the Lower Mainland! Best wishes

    • 2021 July 8
      Smilja permalink

      I assume you are looking for edible chestnut tree. I purchased 2 this spring in Victoria, BC from Eco-Sense Living, Victoria,BC 3295 Compton Rd. V9E 1C8
      I found it under Ann Baird on Marketplace.
      Ann and Gord have very interesting place and nursery. I just contacted Ann asking for medlar tree. They grafted some in spring it would be available.
      I hope it helps.

  9. 2017 November 25
    Ann McGregor permalink

    I have a new pergola (south facing) … I would like to grow grapes or other climbing plants.
    Is fall a good time to actually put them in the ground?

    • 2018 January 3
      Bob & Verna Duncan, Fruit Trees and More permalink

      Although Fall is an ok time for putting the plants into the ground, Spring is also just fine.

  10. 2016 July 31
    caroline m. permalink

    wow, what an amazing video and eye opener. I’m at the planning stage of an edible garden and have heard a few “you can’t grow this or that here” , thanks for sharing tips & techniques that can help me turn you can’t into you can.

  11. 2016 January 25
    Ted Grippo permalink

    Good Day,

    Do you have a contact number for Bob Duncan


    Ted Grippo

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