Helena du Roussillon is a late-ripening French apricot, with a firm juicy flesh when fully ripe. The skin is a light orange flecked with red.
This is a good variety for eating fresh, having less acid content and more sugar than most apricots.
Helena du Roussillon® is a protected variety.
Sorry we have not been able to produce any trees of this variety this season.
We may still be able to propagate it to order for you. Please contact us for more details.
Helena du Roussillon is in flowering group 4. Helena du Roussillon is self-fertile and does not need a pollination partner, although fruiting may be improved if there is a compatible tree of a different variety nearby.
Important: advice about pollination
Helena du Roussillon usually flowers in late March in the UK, which is slightly later than average - helpful in the UK spring climate! Like most apricots the blossom is pretty but short-lived - around 6 days. It is reliably self-fertile and generally disease-resistant.
For best results in the UK this variety must be grown in a sheltered spot in full sun, and generally does better in drier areas - you should aim to try to recreate a bit of the Mediterranean in your garden! Contrary to what you might think, the tree is cold-hardy, but for successful fruit production it needs good weather in early spring. It is also drought-tolerant.
As with many apricot varieties, if spring weather is good, the tree will frequently set too many fruitlets. Although this is a vigorous variety, it is important to thin the crop immediately after flowering has finished.
As the name suggests, Helena du Roussillon comes from France, and is named after the major apricot-growing region of Roussillon, which borders the Mediterranean. Grape and apricot growing often go hand in hand in this area, since both fruits require similar growing conditions but their growth and harvest periods are complementary.
Helena du Roussillon is best considered a modern "re-issue" of a traditional Roussillon apricot. An old variety called Rouge du Roussillon had been grown in this region for centuries, but as is often the case with traditional varieties it was not standardised and was effectively a wild population with variable performance. Its main characteristics were the sweet flavour, relatively small fruit size, and red-speckled skin. During the second half of the 20th century growers and researchers attempted to standardise and clean up this old variety, and the result was a range of three new varieties which inherited the same characteristics but produced more consistent fruit which was easier to market as a premium product. Helena du Roussilon (sometimes known by its trade name Aviera) is one of these selections of the original Rouge du Roussillon, along with sister varieties Avikandi and Royal Roussillon.
Helena du Roussillon is grown commercially on a small scale, making up 1%-2% of total French production (compared with Bergeron, which has 25% of the market). Helena du Roussillon apricots can be sold as "Rouge du Roussillon" when grown in designated orchards from the area in which the original Rouge du Roussillon was grown.