If you are not necessarily looking to grow an espalier fruit tree for its fresh fruit but rather for its ornamental value, go for a quince! They are undemanding, vigorous, low-maintenance, and thrive in partial shade ~ a very interesting alternative to apples, pears, and other fruits. The fruit of the quince is not delicious eaten fresh, but makes great specialty jellies and marmalade, and is incredibly fragrant!
Lat.: Cydonia oblonga
The quince is an undemanding fruit tree, but needs a well-aerated soil that is not too heavy. It loves the sun; walls in partial shade are sufficient when it is grown as an ornamental plant. Quince can be found in local tree nurseries or ordered online.
When cultivated on an espalier, quinces are treated as shaped trees; they lend themseles easily to wall training. They can grow to a height of about 6 metres, and bring large white flowers in May / June. The fruits are strongly fragrant (delightful and distinct), somewhat hairy, and become edible, if at all, only on southern-facing walls in in full sun (and vineyard climates) in late October or November. In other, less optimal conditions, they are still loved as a commercial (hard and tart) fruit for jelly, compotes, 'quince bread / cheese,' cider, etc.. The furry down on the skin must be removed before consumption. There are "apple" quinces and "peach" quinces, depending on the shape of the fruit. For an espaliered quince, one pruning to thin out the branches per year is enough.
The table at the bottom of this page indicates which trellis designs can be used for a quince espalier. Choose a trellis in our heavy or massive wire rope ranges; for smaller espaliers you can also use a medium or easy basic trellis. Quince can also be grown on wooden trellises. The climbing aid needs to be strong enough for the tree once it has grown to size; that is, the trellis must anchor the trunk framework and be correspondingly stable. The main axes of the trellis should be about 60 cm apart. Any distance to the wall can be chosen. More details under "shaped trees."