pear blossom
Photo by Janosch Diggelmann on Unsplash

As for most fruit trees, a pear tree of a certain variety generally needs another pear variety to act as a pollinator. In general terms, it is best to choose a variety that blossoms at the same time, so in the same flowering group in the table below, or in the group immediately before or after. So, for example, if you wish to plant the pear variety Winter Nelis (group C), you could choose Invincible (group B), or any one of the various group C pears such as Beth, Conference, Packham’s Triumph etc., or a group D pear such as Beurré Hardy or Doyenne du Comice.

Josephine de Malines is a particularly good pollinator for Comice pear.

Conference and Concorde are genuinely self-fertile, while partially self-fertile trees perform better with a pollinator. If you don’t have room in your garden for two pear trees, take a look in the surrounding area: as long as there is a compatible pear variety in the immediate area, the bees will be able to pollinate your tree.

Pears are particularly sensitive to frost because they bloom fairly early in spring, when bees are less active and blossom is vulnerable to spring frosts.

The mechanisms of pear blossom pollination are similar to those in our apple pollination section.

Pear pollination chart

Beth C Not self-fertile
Beurré Hardy D Not self-fertile
Concorde D Partially self-fertile
Conference C Self-fertile
Doyenne du Comice D Not self-fertile
Invincible B Partially self-fertile
Josephine de Malines D Not self-fertile
Onward D Not self-fertile
Packham’s Triumph C Not self-fertile
Sensation C Not self-fertile
William Bon Chretien C Partially self-fertile
Winter Nelis C Not self-fertile