We are fruit tree specialists and can advise on all aspects of choosing and planting apricot trees.
Apricots trees belong to the species Prunus armeniaca, and originate from central Asia, where they have been cultivated for thousands of years. Apricot trees naturally prefer a continental climate and most commercial production takes place in Turkey, southern Europe, and California.
Apricots have excellent nutritional and medicinal properties, and they contain more concentrations of beneficial compounds than most other fruit. They are one of the best natural sources of Vitamin A.
Apricot trees are easy to grow in warm climates but can be challenging in temperate climates such as much of the UK and northern Europe. The main problem is not winter cold - all Apricots are very hardy - but inconsistent and variable weather, especially in winter and spring. Apricot trees prefer a simple regime of cold winters (with 500-700 hours below 5 degrees centigrade) and hot sunny summers, and do not like either the cold of winter or the heat of summer to be interrupted. Nevertheless, even in a temperate climate, if you can provide a south-facing wall for a fan-trained specimen then you have a reasonable chance of success.
The other challenge can be frost injury to the blossom, because apricots flower very early in the spring. Keen gardeners will use frost fleeces on nights when frost is forecast. It also helps to choose a sloping site where cold air can drain downhill away from the tree.
All apricots are self-fertile, and you only need to plant one tree to get a crop. However planting two trees (each of a different variety) will often produce heavier crops, as well as spreading the risk of frost damage.