What Are Comice Pears: Learn About Comice Pear Tree Care
By: Teo Spengler
What are Comice pears? They are the “lookers” of the pear varieties. There are the gorgeous, succulent fruits used in gift boxes at Christmas time, which earned them the nickname “Christmas Pear.” If you are thinking of growing your own Christmas pears by planting Comice pear trees in your backyard, you’ll want information about this popular fruit. Read on for information about growing Comice pears as well as tips on Comice pear tree care.
What are Comice Pears?
Comice pear fruit (pronounced ko-MEESE) has a distinctive shape that sets them apart from other pear varieties. Their bodies are plump and rounded, while the necks on these pears are stubby but well-defined. The fruits of Comice pear trees are usually green, but they often have a red blush over parts of the skin. A few strains are entirely red, including many of the newer varieties.
Originally cultivated in France as “Doyenne du Comice” pears, Comice pear fruit are delicious, with a rich, sweet, mellow flavor and a creamy texture. They are succulent and juicy, a true pleasure to eat.
Growing Comice Pear Trees
Luscious Comise fruit, arguably the most delicious pears available, don’t just have to be enjoyed at Christmastime as gifts. Growing Comice pears is also an option so you can have them right at your fingertips every year.
That said, don’t start planting the pear tree unless you live in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9. That means that gardeners in hot or cold climates should look elsewhere for another appropriate fruit tree.
Comise pear trees grow to 18 feet (6 m.) tall and wide and should be planted at least that far apart. The fruit trees also require a full sun location.
Comice Pear Tree Care
Regular irrigation during the growing season is an important part of Comice pear tree care. Although the trees are fairly resistant to drought, you’ll want to water to get better tasting fruit.
Growing Comice pear trees is fairly easy, and the trees don’t require much in the way of additional maintenance if appropriately planted. You’ll need some patience, however. You’ll have to wait three to five years after planting for the tree to produce fruit.
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Read more about Pear Trees
Comice Pear Tree
- Excellent Quality
- Sweet Juicy Fruit
- Vigorous Growth
- Fresh Eating, Baking and Canning
- Little Pruning Required
The Comice Pear is an ornamental tree that bears superior fruit. Plant several in the backyard for a small orchard, or just one in front for its natural landscape-enhancing beauty.
Enjoy a seasonal bounty of fresh, delicious pears when you plant our Comice Pear Tree (Pyrus 'Comice'). Dubbed the 'Connoisseur's pear,' the Comice has been a generational favorite among growers and foodies, beloved for its deliciousness as a fresh-eating pear as well as its delightful culinary potential.
This ornamental pear bears excellent fruit, whether you choose to grow just one out front for its beautiful look or several out back to create your own mini orchard. Buy it for its looks, buy it for an abundant crop you can count on every season, or both.
Comice pears are sweet and juicy with a firm texture that gives you that classic pear "snap" with every bite. The skin of the pear is light green and has a faint rosy blush that lets you know it was picked at the peak of perfection.
The crunch of this pear and the firmness of its flesh makes it ideal for baking, adding to a pear crisp, and for baking pies. Its flesh also makes it a great pear for canning, letting you preserve some of your harvest for enjoyment later on in the year.
The Comice Pear was first introduced in the 1800s in France and quickly sealed its reputation as being the pear to own. The Comice is revered among growers for its low-maintenance requirements and ease of growing.
Adaptable to a range of conditions, this pear tree is easy to love and easy on the eyes too. As winter turns to spring, watch in amazement as the Comice Pear Tree puts on a spectacle for you (and passersby) to enjoy. It comes to life with pristine white blooms that attract butterflies and other pollinators who follow its subtle fragrance instinctively.
The Comice Pear Tree basically takes care of itself once planted. Its upright, vigorous growth is easily maintained with minimal pruning, and its branches are tenaciously strong and stout
The Comice Pear is a lovely fruiting tree for your yard and will give you years of enjoyment with its spring display and superior fruit. Order today!
Puttering In The Garden
Yesterday, my mom and I harvested about 70 Comice pears from a small tree in my backyard. Our tree is crammed into a small space in between our house and a fence that is only about 6 or 7 feet away from the house and runs parallel to the house. The tree has grown upright in between the house and the fence. This tree was planted by the previous owners of the house. They didn’t pick the best spot, because the tree doesn’t have enough room to grow any wider. However, our Comice pear tree has managed to produce an abundance of pears nearly every year (except the years I didn’t net the tree). This is an example of how a fruit tree can be grown in a small space in a backyard and still produce high quality fruit.
In my opinion, Comice pears are the best tasting variety of pear. In fact, they are one of the best tasting fruits. The comice pears we have harvested from our tree taste even better than Bartlett pears. Our comice pears are very sweet. They are sweeter than Bartlett. Bartlett pears tend to have a bit of tartness, although I am a big fan of those pears as well. We also have a Bartlett pear tree.
Like all pears, Comice pears need to be picked while they are still unripe, and then ripened indoors. The worst thing about Comice pears is having to wait so long to eat them. Comice, Bosc, and D’Anjou pears need to be kept in a refrigerator for at least a month after harvest. After a month in cold storage, they can be brought to room temperature to ripen properly.
PEAR Doyenne du Comice
Large Classic gourmet pear. Green skin flushed red with white, melting juicy flesh of rich flavour. Tastes like sweetened cinnamon. Mid to late season. Upright and vigorous habit. High chilling hours needed to set fruit.
As most pears need cross pollination, the planting of more than one variety is recommended or the growing of a double grafted tree.
Pollinators include - Beurre Bosc, Williams bon Cretien, Winter Cole, Winter Nelis, Nashi Hosui and Nashi Nijiseiki.
Communis - A vigorous rootstock growing to 8-10 metres. Rootstock is tolerant to difficult soil.
BA29 – A Semi vigorous rootstock growing to 4-5 metres.
Quince C – Dwarf rootstock growing to 4-4.5 metres.
Prefers well drained fertile soil.
Sunny and sheltered is best. Plant 4-5m apart from other trees.
Pears are best in areas with cool to cold Winters and mild Summers.
Water well during the early stages, during long dry periods and when the fruit is developing.
Pears are best with a preventative spray program. At a minimum a winter oil and copper application should be made, followed in Spring at bud movement and ten days later by another copper spray.
Pears are spectacular specimen trees for their ornamental value, especially in Spring and Autumn. Along with apple trees, pears are the best fruit trees for formal espalier.
Varieties range in ripening time from mid Summer to early Autumn.
See pollination chart. Plant at least one pollinating variety to ensure good fruit production.
10 things you need to know about growing pears
Nothing beats the melting succulence of a fresh, ripe, well-grown pear.
Words: Jenny Somervell
I love these versatile fruits poached in red wine. They taste great with walnuts and sharp autumn greens, or with bacon and ham. They elevate the simplest food to gourmet status.
Pears are the most reliable fruit in our garden. They crop heavily, to the point you need to plan how to manage the supply. Up to 30-40kg of fruit per tree is not unusual.
They are also long-lived. New Zealand’s oldest fruit tree is a pear planted in Kerikeri in 1819 by Samuel Marsden.
Another reason I love pears is that out of all the fruit trees in our garden, they give me the least grief. They don’t succumb to pests and diseases like their stone-fruit neighbours. They are a great organic option. We can enjoy them without beating ourselves up for forgetting to spray.
The added bonus? Pears are beautiful trees. Plant them where you can walk among them. In spring, the large, snow-white flowers are a delight. The shiny, dark green, oval-shaped leaves are attractive, healthy and shade-giving in summer.
Come late summer, I love the effect of my red-skinned pears drooping from their espalier wire. In autumn, the trees turn beautiful, burnished shades of red and orange, a display that rivals any ornamental tree.
10 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GROW
As a rule, pears thrive where apples thrive, but tend to be more tolerant.
• Pear trees will grow where many other fruit trees won’t, tolerating heavier and sandy soils, and wetter conditions than apples, as long as their feet are not wet in winter, which they detest.
• They grow best in a fertile, well-drained, clay loam – the roots are deep, so shallow soils are best avoided.
• They like cool to cold winters (for chilling), mild summers and not too much spring rainfall.
• They require a spot with full sun for good fruit set, but it needs to be sheltered as they don’t do well in strong winds.
• The flowers appear about September, later than stone fruit but earlier than apples, which means they can be more prone to frost damage than apples, especially earlier varieties like Packham’s Triumph.
• A compatible pollinator is needed for successful pollination and fruit set.
• Pears can get tall – a fully-grown tree on its roots may reach 12m at maturity. However, most home garden pears are grafted onto quince rootstocks, which keep height to 3m or so. Espaliers work really well too.
• Mature trees are highly productive – be ready for lots of fruit.
• Most varieties will need to be picked while hard, then ripened off the tree to avoid mushy flesh.
HOW TIMING IS THE PERFECT TRICK TO PERFECT PAIRS
The soft, grainy inside of a ‘sleepy’ pear.
The biggest lesson we have learned is it’s all about timing when it comes to harvesting. For the first two years we nearly gave up on our pears because of mushy, mealy fruit. We didn’t realise pears had special picking requirements.
Pears need to be picked while still hard, chilled, and then ripened at room temperature.
They ripen from the core outwards. If left on the tree to ripen, by the time the outside flesh is ready, the centres will have gone ‘sleepy’, unpleasantly soft and grainy, and perhaps even brown in the middle. Not nice.
WHY THE OLDIES ARE THE GOODIES
Many of the best home garden varieties are heritage varieties from the 19th century.
Pears are grafted onto two rootstocks. Pear rootstock produces vigorous large trees that need space. Quince rootstock produces smaller trees which can be bought pre-pruned into pyramids, espaliers and fans, and even double worked with compatible pollinators.
We chose dwarf heritage varieties on quince C rootstock, which only grow 2.4-3.5m high. We wanted variety in a small space and didn’t fancy climbing ladders to prune and pick. While they need strong stakes, dwarf trees have the advantage of fruiting earlier and lower, and are very productive in a small space.
Pears are only partially self-fertile and most crop much better when paired with other varieties known as pollinators that flower at the same time. We had to choose carefully, given our limited space, to make sure we gave our trees the best possible pollination odds.
Other considerations are spreading harvest time, the intended use of fruit (dessert, preserving etc) and keeping qualities. We wanted gourmet pears, compatible pollinators, and a range of uses, so we chose:
• Buerre Bosc
• William’s Bon Chretien (green and red varieties)
• Taylor’s Gold
• Winter Cole
• Doyenne du Comice, a fabulous dessert pear
4 TIPS TO PICKING THE PERFECT PAIR
In general, pears ripen from late summer to early autumn. Start looking early though. This last, hot summer, my William Bon Chretien pears were ripe weeks early.
Once they size up, watch them like a hawk
At the point they are ready to pick, all you may see is a slight colour change as the skin lightens. Some varieties may develop a faint, warm blush. Deep green varieties will turn a slightly lighter shade.
If you cut and taste fruit, it will be hard and woody but you can detect a slight sweetness. Windfalls may be a hint too.
Be gentle and the pear will tell you
Lift a pear with a cupped hand until it is horizontal – if it comes away with the stalk still attached, it is ready. If it holds firm, it needs slightly longer.
Once picked, fruit should be refrigerated. William Bon Chretien can be chilled a day or two, while winter pears such as Comice and Beurre Bosc prefer 2-6 weeks for optimal chilling. Also, the colder pears are chilled (down to -1°C commercially), the longer they will keep.
Warm it up
Once chilled, they can be ripened in a warm room in a few days. The longer they are in cool storage, the quicker they will ripen.
Test ripeness by gently pressing on the skin near the stem, but not too hard as the skin is very sensitive, even when the flesh is hard. Ripening can be kick-started by putting a pear in a paper bag with a ripe banana or apple, both of which emit copious ethylene gas which speeds ripening.