Apple tree in pot

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All About Dwarf Fruit Trees

If you can garden, you can grow dwarf fruit trees. These small-sized trees provide an abundance of full-sized, homegrown fruit right at your fingertips!

What is a Dwarf Fruit Tree?

Dwarf fruit trees mature around 8 to 10 feet tall and wide. These small-sized trees will provide an abundance of full-sized fruit, but without requiring a large amount of room to grow.

Benefits of a Dwarf Fruit Tree

  • Remains a manageable size for growing in small spaces like a small yard or a container
  • Allows for care, maintenance, and harvest all from the safety of the ground
  • Reaches fruit-bearing maturity sooner than the same fruit tree in a larger size

Estimated ranges for “years to bear” are provided here: How many years until your tree bears fruit. If you are limited on space, even for an 8- to 10-foot mature dwarf fruit tree, you have the option of growing fruit trees in containers. Fruit trees, with adequate care and maintenance, will grow and produce fruit even in a container environment.

How are they dwarfed?

We often are asked how our dwarf fruit trees manage to stay smaller than their default standard size, and we hope it’s no surprise that there is no genetic modification or genetic engineering involved! In fact, it actually involves an old-fashioned, manual process: Selections from fruit tree varieties with desirable fruit characteristics are carefully grafted or budded onto a compatible rootstock.The rootstock that is used is selected for its natural characteristics, like hardiness and size control. Grafting is a process of propagation that dates back thousands of years! Find out more about grafted trees in our article, The Science of Grafting. We continue to research new and dependable rootstocks for Stark Bro’s trees. This involves studying and examining several different rootstocks – to see how compatible they are with a wide range of varieties – and their performance in our test orchards. The benefit here is the ability to offer growers fruit trees on reliable rootstocks as they are discovered!

Care for Dwarf Fruit Trees

When growing dwarf fruit trees, some may need extra encouragement to grow upright as they become established. This is a simple task you can do at planting time, or soon after, with tree stakes. Young trees growing in windy areas benefit from staking even if they are not dwarfs. Tasks like pruning don’t really vary between dwarf fruit trees and their larger counterparts when it comes to technique. However, dwarf fruit trees have less surface area than standard trees, so they require less work to maintain. With dwarf trees, you will still aim to prune…

  • damaged, diseased, and dead limbs
  • limbs that are growing inward toward the center of the tree
  • suckers and water sprouts (read more about these here: Removing Suckers & Water Sprouts)
  • about a third of the new growth (from that year) annually, while the trees are dormant

Dwarf fruit trees are a delightful addition to your edible landscape, whether you have a small space or room for a home orchard. If you can garden, you can grow fruit trees – and, with dwarf fruit trees, fresh homegrown fruit is right at your fingertips!

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Think you can’t grow fruit because your homestead is too small? Think again! I’m excited to have Lee from Lady Lee’s Home sharing her expertise on growing dwarf fruit trees today. Wyoming is generally too cold for fruit, but now even I’m wondering if I can’t plant one in a pot and keep it inside!

We purchased our house because of the gravel driveway. I know, it sounds silly…

You see, it gave me a bit of a country feeling even though we are on a small lot in the city. We have to be, for now, because of work.

When I set out to plan my garden, I didn’t even consider fruit trees. First, there isn’t room for them, and second, I assumed that by the time they start bearing fruit we will be living on our dream farm in the country.

Little did I know that there is an alternative. There is a way to grow fruit trees anywhere, even if you don’t have a lot of space, and that you don’t necessarily have to leave them behind.

They are called dwarf fruit trees, and to me, they are magical!

A dwarf fruit tree is a tree that will reach a height of maximum ten feet tall. Some of those trees can be as small as two or three feet.

The magical thing about those trees is that no matter how small they are, their fruit is a normal size.

How do Dwarf Fruit Trees Stay Small?

You would think that there must be some genetic engineering or genetic modification involved here to make those trees stay small… This is what I was thinking at the beginning. But, surprisingly, this is not the case.

Dwarf fruit trees are made using an old fashion technic called grafting. A scion, which is a branch (of a fruiting tree in this case), is grafted onto a rootstock.

Rootstocks are chosen carefully for their hardiness, drought tolerance, disease resistance, soil adaptation and size.

The fruit tree will only grow as much as the roots will allow it, for that, combining a branch with a specific rootstock allows us to control the size of the tree.

Our Experience with Dwarf Fruit Trees on the Prairie Homestead

Benefits of Dwarf Fruit Trees

There are so many benefits for dwarf fruit trees, here are a few:

Safety – Most, if not all of the maintenance the tree requires can be performed from the safety of the ground. No need to use ladders to reach the top of the tree for harvest or pruning.

Can be grown in containers – How cool will it be to go out to your balcony on the fifth floor to pick lemons? Dwarf fruit trees do great in containers.

Space – Dwarf fruit trees can stay very short and narrow. They don’t require much space to grow.

Easy care – pruning takes a fraction of the time compared to a full-size tree.

It’s also very easy to protect those trees during the winter. If you end up planting your tree in a container, place the container on wheels and roll it indoors during the winter.

Covering the tree with a net during the fruiting season will be an easy enough job and ensure that you harvest your crop instead of the birds. No need for a huge net and ladders.

Spotting a problem that needs further attention like a worm, for example, is easy enough since you can inspect all the branches easily.

Fast Fruiting – Dwarf fruit trees reach fruit-bearing maturity very fast, usually within a year or two. No more waiting five years until you get to harvest fruit.

Choose your rootstock – Some nurseries will create a ‘custom’ tree just for you! Let’s say you live in an area that has very low rainfall, you can make sure you buy a fruit tree that is grafted onto a rootstock that has high drought tolerance. This will allow you to grow kinds of fruits you didn’t even consider before.

Mixed fruit – since those trees are grafted, sometimes you can find one tree that will give you few different fruits. For example, buy one tree that will give you nectarines, apples and plums.

Take your tree with you – this is my favorite benefit. Plant your dwarf fruit trees in containers, then, when the time comes, load them up, and off you go. It’s that easy!

Disadvantages of Dwarf Fruit Trees

Now, let’s look at a couple of disadvantages you should consider…

Length of life – dwarf fruit trees will live between 15-20 years vs. a full-size tree that lives between 35-45 years.

Supply of fruit – Obviosly a dwarf fruit tree will not supply you with the same amount of fruit a full-size tree will. It will probably be enough for fresh eating for your family, but you might not have extra for canning or freezing. Of course, you can grow more than one tree to solve this problem.

Just so you get a better idea of what to expect, a lemon tree should give you about 50 lemons a year. An apple tree should give you 50-70 apples a year. A nectarine tree should give you 40-50 nectarines a year.

No shade – Dwarf fruit trees will not provide you with almost any shade. If you are looking for a tree to sit under on a hot summer day with your sweetheart, you will have to go for full size.

How to Choose Dwarf Fruit Trees for Your Homestead

Try to find a local nursery that sales a variety of dwarf fruit trees on a regular basis. They most likely are going to have in stock trees that are known to do well in your area. You can also talk to your cooperative extension agent and ask for a list of fruit trees that do good in your growing zone.

Consider a few things…

Chill hours – fruit trees require a certain number of at or bellow 45 F every winter to end their dormancy and flower and bear fruit in the spring. If you live in Texas, for example, you might need to choose a “low-chill” tree.

Heat tolerance – Apples like warm days and cool nights. Peaches and nectarines love long, hot summers, pears and cherries prefer cooler climate. Make sure to choose a tree that can handle the summer heat in your area.

Cross pollination – some trees need a second tree close by to pollinate them. For example, Bing cherries like Black Tartarian cherries close by. In some cases, you will have to purchase two trees at once.

How to Plant Dwarf Fruit Trees in Containers

Use a 15-20 gallon container with holes for drainage at the bottom. Fill the bottom of the container with rocks to help with drainage. Fill half of the container with good potting soil, place your tree in the center and make sure it is straight. Add the rest of the potting soil then tamp the soil down around the roots to get rid of air. Water well after planting.

How to Plant Dwarf Fruit Trees in the Ground

Dig a hole 12-18 inches deep and wide in an area that gets 6-8 hours of sun daily. Place your tree in the hole, but make sure the grafted joint stays about two inches above the soil. You will see the joint clearly at the base of the tree. Cover with soil and compost, then mulch around the tree to help keep the soil moist. Water well.

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How Should I Care for my Dwarf Fruit Tree?

Watering – make sure not to over water, especially if your tree is growing in a container. Watring once or twice a week for both in ground and container trees is usually sufficient. You might need to water a bit more during the summer when there is fruit on the tree.

Pruning – usually done during winter when the tree is dormant. Just like full-size fruit tree, prune damaged or diseased branches, or ones that grow toward the center of the tree.

Winterizing – If your tree is growing in a container, consider moving it indoors. If it has to stay outside, or if it’s in the ground, mulch it well.

Staking – some dwarf fruit trees will need support especially during fruiting. Tying them to a stake should do the work.

Feeding – don’t forget to feed your tree. Add compost around it once in a while, water it with compost tea, or add organic supplements to the soil. Especially pay attention to trees that grow in containers.

Full sun – dwarf fruit trees need to be placed in full sun. At least 6 hours, 8 preferably.

So now you see that even if you have a small homestead, or even just a balcony you can still enjoy fresh fruits.

If you prefer to avoid the risk of climbing a ladder, or if you would like to be able to take your trees with you, make sure you check out dwarf fruit trees.

In a couple of summers, you’ll be enjoying a fresh, extra juicy peach from your homegrown tree!

Other Inspiration for Small-Space Homesteaders:

  • How to Raise Meat on 1/5 an Acre
  • How to be An Urban Homesteader
  • An Urban Beekeeping Adventure
  • How to Start a Hydroponic Garden
  • Dear Homesteader Who Longs to Leave the City
  • My favorite online nursery with dwarf fruit trees (affiliate)

Lee is a wife and a mother with a soul of a farmer and a passion for homegrown and homemade everything. She was born in Israel and raised in a small agricultural community where everything was grown, made and shared. She blogs about homesteading at LadyLeesHome.com

How to plant and grow patio fruit

We all know the health benefits of eating fresh fruit and there’s nothing nicer than being able to pick your own fruit from the garden. It will also taste much better than supermarket produce! Whatever the size of your garden it’s very easy to grow your own fruit trees and plants, even on your patio or balcony.

Patio Fruit Trees

These dwarf patio fruit trees have been grafted on to a dwarfing rootstock to restrict their overall size (this doesn’t affect fruit size).Take a look at our range of dwarf fruit trees for sale to choose one for your own garden. These easy to grow fruit trees are ideal for smaller gardens.

Planting fruit trees

When growing dwarf fruit trees on the patio, you need a reasonable size container to grow them in – at least 30cm (12in) diameter. Fill your container with a soil based compost such as John Innes No. 3 as this will add stability to your container and won’t dry out as quickly as multi-purpose compost. Plant miniature fruit trees at the same soil level as they were in their original pots and water in thoroughly.

Position

A south facing aspect is preferable for growing fruit trees and produces the most abundant crop. Plum trees, peaches and nectarines all flower early in the spring so ideally their blossoms need protecting from frost by throwing fleece over the tree at night or bringing it under cover. Remember to leave access for pollinating insects during the day.

Care and maintenance

When growing fruit trees in pots you will need to feed your patio fruit tree with a balanced fertiliser during spring and summer to replace nutrients used up from the compost. After flowering and during fruit swell, feed your container fruit trees with a high potash feed every 2 weeks. Make sure the compost doesn’t dry out in hot weather as this may be detrimental to fruit production. After 2 years, remove your fruit tree from its container and comb out as much soil as possible from the root ball using a hand fork. Trim the roots back and replant the tree back into its original container with fresh John Innes No. 3 compost.

Pruning fruit trees

Pruning isn’t as difficult as you might think! Prune your patio fruit tree if there are any damaged or diseased shoots, or any that are crossing (as these may rub together and encourage disease).

Sweet cherries, plums and peaches need little or no pruning. If you do wish to lightly prune them to keep their shape, then do this in the summer to minimise the risk of silver leaf disease. When you prune shoots, always cut to just above a bud or where the shoot joins a main branch.

Apple and pear trees in containers will need pruning each summer to encourage fruit buds. Prune all the new season’s growth back to 2 or 3 leaves. In the winter, check your tree hasn’t become crowded with fruiting spurs (short branches covered with fat fruit buds) – if there is heavy congestion then they will need thinning out to continue producing quality fruit.

Thinning out the fruit

In July, if your patio fruit trees have a very heavy crop of fruit it is worth thinning them to get better quality fruits and prevent stressing the tree. Aim for each fruit to be spaced 5-8cm apart.

Patio Blueberries

Blueberries can be expensive from the supermarket but are very easy to grow at home! Choose a container of at least 30cm (12in) diameter and fill it with a mixture of ericaceous compost (compost for acid-loving plants) and soil based compost such as John Innes No.3. Plant the blueberry plant at its original soil level and water it in thoroughly. Place the container in a sunny position for the best crops, although make sure the compost stays moist. Blueberries need acid soil so water your blueberry bush with rainwater rather than tap water. Feed your blueberry bush throughout the growing season with a special ericaceous plant food.

Pruning Blueberries

New blueberry bushes don’t need pruning for 2 or 3 years. Only prune out any weak or wayward horizontal shoots in the winter, cutting to just above a bud or where the shoot joins the branch. On established bushes prune out the oldest wood (4 year old growth) during winter, at the base of the plant, to encourage new stems to grow.

Patio Strawberries

Strawberries are one of the easiest fruits to grow and there are a range of patio containers to suit any space. The advantage of container-grown strawberries is that they can be moved indoors to produce an early crop. Try a Strawberry Planter for your patio or balcony, or even a Vertical Garden Planter to grow your strawberries in a small space! You simply fill your chosen container with multi-purpose compost and plant your strawberries so the crown is just showing above the soil. Before planting, it’s best to add a slow release fertiliser to the compost for a heavy crop. Give your strawberries plenty of water, especially during dry spells. Cut off any runners (baby plants) that your strawberry plants produce as this will weaken the parent plant. See also our How to Grow Strawberries guide

Patio Raspberries

Even raspberries can be grown in containers on the patio as long as the container is of a reasonable size – about 60cm (24in) diameter. Use John Innes No.3 compost and plant 6 raspberry canes around the edge of the container. As with all patio fruit make sure the compost doesn’t dry out and feed your raspberries regularly with a high potash fertiliser throughout the growing season to encourage lots of delicious fruit.

Pruning Raspberries

If your raspberry plants are summer-fruiting then cut the fruited canes down to the base after they have finished cropping. Leave the new green canes as these will provide next year’s fruit. If your raspberry plants are autumn-fruiting then cut all the stems back to the base in February to stimulate new growth for the coming autumn. After 3 years plant the raspberry canes out in the garden.

The 10 best fruits for containers

Think you need a large garden in order to grow fruit? Then think again. Many fruits, including apples, cherries and strawberries, are ideal for growing in containers. That means you can grow fruit on a patio or even on a balcony.

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Read our 10 tips for your best ever fruit harvest.

Many of today’s compact cultivars and modern rootstocks produce smaller bushes and trees, and are geared towards smaller gardens. Go for the rootstocks and varieties recommended below and give them the very best chance by placing your pots in the best possible spot – most fruits like sunshine.

Keep your plants well watered and fed, and you could soon be picking your own delicious fruits.

Here are the 10 best fruits to grow in containers.

Many fruits, including apples, cherries and strawberries, are ideal for growing in containers. 1

Apples

Thanks to dwarf rootstocks, apples now grow very well in pots. Give them a sheltered, sunny spot. If you only have room for one plant, choose a self-fertile variety or a family tree, on to which several varieties are grafted.

How to plant an apple tree in a pot

Pot size: 45-50cm wide
Recommended rootstocks: M26 or M9

2

Blackcurrants

Blackcurrants are attractive plants and bees like the flowers. Mix a third grit into the compost and place in full sun. To encourage shooting from the base, plant them deep, about 6cm below the soil mark of the original container.

Pot size: 45-50cm wide
Recommended varieties: ‘Ben Sarek’, ‘Ben Connan’

3

Blueberries

Blueberries need acidic soil, which is easy to provide in a pot. They also have pretty fruits and flowers and attractive autumn leaves. Give them a sheltered, sunny spot and water with rainwater rather than tap if possible. Protect the ripe fruits from birds.

Pot size: 30cm
Recommended varieties: ‘Ozarkblue’, ‘Duke’

4

Cherries

Cherries have masses of blossom in spring, summer fruits, and often vivid leaf colour in autumn. Sweet varieties need sun, while sour varieties tolerate more shade. They are shallow rooted, so water well in their first year and in any dry spells.

Pot size: 60cm wide
Recommended rootstocks: ‘Gisela 5’ for sweet cherries, ‘Colt’ for sour

5

Figs

Figs are perfect for containers as they fruit better when their growth is restricted. Give them a warm, sunny spot and keep watered. Not all figs are fully hardy in the UK, so be sure to choose a hardy variety, recommended below. Watch our video on growing figs.

Pot size: 35-45cm wide
Recommended varieties: ‘Brown Turkey’ or ‘Brunswick’

6

Gooseberries

Gooseberries are very productive, so you’ll get plenty of fruit in small space. They grow best in a sunny, sheltered spot, although they will bear some fruits in shade. Leave space around the pot as gooseberries to ensure good air flow around the plants.

Pot size: 30cm wide
Recommended varieties: ‘Greenfinch’, ‘Invicta’

7

Peaches and nectarines

Peach trees are hardy, but their flowers are not, so growing them in a pot means you can give them a sunny, sheltered spot and protect their fragile, early flowers against frosts by covering with fleece. Repot every two years. Follow our peaches and nectarines Grow Guide.

Pot size: 45cm wide
Recommended rootstocks: St Julien A’, ‘Pixy’ and ‘Bonanza’

8

Plums

Plums in pots can also be moved to the right spot to protect early flowers from frost, covering with fleece if necessary. Plums need good drainage so add plenty of grit to your compost. Choose a self-fertile variety if you only have room for one plant.

Pot size: 60cm wide
Rootstock: ‘Pixy’

9

Raspberries

Both summer and autumn-fruiting raspberries are available, enabling you to enjoy your harvest for months on end. If space is limited, go for summer fruiting varieties, which are less bushy. Give them a sheltered, sunny spot.

Pot size: Three summer-fruiting plants will fit in a 30cm pot
Recommended varieties: ‘Glen Ample’, ‘Glen Moy’

10

Strawberries

Strawberries are perfect for pots and alpine strawberries can be grown in a window box. Plant in late summer or early autumn and give them a sunny position. Make sure the crown is level with the surface of the compost. Discover how to create a strawberry hanging basket.

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Pot size: Any container, at least 10cm deep
Recommended varieties: ‘Florence’, ‘Pegasus’, ‘Aromel’

Other ideas for fruit in small spaces

If you are growing fruit in a small space, try growing them as espaliers, fans, cordons, standards or stepovers. They take up hardly any room and will reward you with good harvests. Discover three ways to train a fruit tree.

Do you want to enjoy freshly harvested fruits but don’t have the area to dig or don’t want to hurt your back digging soil and pulling weed?

Container gardening is the answer.

It’s the perfect solution if you want to grow in a small area or even indoors. But there’s one problem: not all kind of fruits can grow in a container. You need to know which one can, and which one can’t.

Now, if you’re thinking of starting a container garden and growing fruits in it, then today’s post is for you. I’m going to share 13 fruits to grow in containers and grown on your deck or in your home.

Here we go:

13 Fruits to Grow in Containers

1. Strawberries

Strawberries are great fruits to grow in containers. The reason is that they are perennial so you only have to plant them once. Then you can bring them inside during the colder months so the roots will be protected from frost.

Just so you know, the best option of strawberries is the everbearing strawberries because you get two harvests a year. One in June and one in late summer. This is better for container gardeners so you don’t get overrun at once.

But you will need a pot about 18 inches wide to hold around 10 to 12 plants. They also need excellent drainage and about 8 hours of direct sunlight.

Learn more about growing strawberries in a pot ›

2. Blueberries

Blueberries are a little different to grow in a container. You need at least 2 plants to get a decent harvest. They will produce from June through August.

So in order to grow blueberries in a container, you will need a pot that is 22 inches in diameter and 18 inches deep. Plus an acidic soil that is peat-based. With this concoction, you are well on your way to having enough blueberries to make an incredible pie.

Learn more about growing blueberries in a pot ›

3. Figs

Figs might seem like a random thing to grow in containers but really it is a great option. They only require a pot that is about 16 inches across. They are not finicky when it comes to soil either so it only needs to be well-drained.

But as non-finicky and drought tolerant as they are, they do still require full sun. Plus, you’ll need to water them daily during the hottest periods of summer since water evaporates faster with container gardening.

Learn more about growing figs in a pot ›

4. Tomatoes

Yes, I threw this one in here to kind of give you a curve ball. But in reality, tomatoes are considered a fruit.

So of course, they can be grown in containers too. They will need some support when they start to take off as their fruit gets a little heavy. But if you plant them in a large enough container, they should do quite well.

Read this article if you’d like more information on growing tomatoes, and this one for tomato trellis/cage ideas.

5. Pineapple

When I came across this option for growing fruit in containers, I’ll admit, I got a little excited. Why? Because I love pineapple. After reviewing this recipe, you’ll understand why.

But I digress, so establishing pineapples as fruits to grow in containers isn’t difficult. You just cut the crown off of a pineapple. Then soak it in water for a day or two. Then you’ll plant it in a gallon sized container and place in the sun. With a little time and care, you’ll have your own homegrown pineapple.

Learn more about growing pineapples ›

6. Cantaloupe

This is an option for growing fruit in a container that I definitely want to try. We grow cantaloupes every year in our garden and nothing beats the fresh taste.

But you will need a large container to grow cantaloupe. You treat them as if you were growing them in your garden. The only thing is to be sure you provide a trellis or stick to support the fruit and give the vines a place to grow.

Learn more about growing pineapples ›

7. Bananas

You can actually get a dwarf option of a regular banana plant. They are perennials so you only have to plant them once if you prune them back and bring them indoors during the winter to protect the plants from frost.

However, you will need a large container with drain holes so the plant doesn’t drown. Isn’t that just the neatest thing, though? You don’t have to live in the tropics to have your own bananas anymore. And to make it even better, they are fruits to grow in containers that you can move anywhere that is convenient for you. This is just one more way to help you give up on the grocery store, too.

Learn more about growing bananas indoor ›

8. Watermelon

This is another plant that I had never considered growing in a container, but now that it has been brought to my attention, I do believe I’ll have to try it. I think I’d like the container options because it keeps the vine neat and not growing all over your garden.

But it is recommended that if you raise watermelon in a container that you use one that is self-watering because watermelons require so much water. They can be grown indoors or outdoors. The only stipulation is that they have to be given sunlight daily. But you can do this by direct sunlight; artificial sunlight; or even through a window.

Learn more about growing watermelon in a pot ›

9. Currants

I am probably going to hear a loud gasp across the homesteading community, but I have never actually eaten a currant. I have an awesome recipe for currant jam though that I’d love to try out when I plant some currants in the near future.

After realizing I can grow them in a container, I’m thinking I just might plant them next year. They don’t require a lot of effort growing them in a container. All you need is a large pot; lots of water; and they need an adequate amount of compost mixed into their dirt. The currants can be grown as bushes or trained to go up a trellis as well. That makes them that much more appealing to me.

Learn more about growing currants ›

10. Gooseberries

This is another plant option I passed up this year and am thinking of reconsidering next year. Now that I know that they can be planted in containers I no longer have to miss out on growth opportunities due to worries of running out of space.

So if you are unfamiliar with gooseberries, they basically require the same care as currants do. You will need a large pot to grow them in, but you can give them all of the same soil and fertilizing requirements as you do the currants. But where currants are apparently awesome for homemade jams, gooseberries apparently make amazing pies.

Learn more about growing gooseberries ›

11. Fruit Trees

I began researching more about growing fruit trees indoors after I first discovered you could grow Meyer Lemon trees indoors all of those years ago. You can grow virtually any dwarf version of a fruit tree in a container. It is awesome because you just put them outside during the summer and bring them in over winter.

So you can grow cherries, peaches, apples, pears, Meyer lemons, limes, and oranges too. I have my cherry, peach, apple, and pear trees planted outside as of now. But I have grown limes, lemons, and orange trees indoors. The only ones that didn’t survive were murdered by my cats. So I’ve always had pretty good luck with growing fruit trees indoors and in containers.

Learn more about growing fruit trees in a pot ›

12. Mulberries

This is another one I’m going to try my best to plant next year. Now that I know it can go in a pot on my back patio, I now have no excuse not to grow them!

So the deal with mulberries is that you usually need to buy the dwarf option of the plant and plant them in a large container. The only downside to mulberries is apparently the ripe fruit will leave hideous stains on your patio or porch. So keep that in mind if growing them in a container.

Learn more about growing mulberries in a pot ›

13. Passion Fruit

Passion fruit is such a beautiful fruit. Often times, we just assume that we can’t grow things because of where we live. Well, container gardening has changed all of that. Regardless of where you live, there is a great chance that you can still grow passion fruit in a container.

So passion fruit is a perennial vine so you should only have to plant it once. I don’t know about you, but perennials have a special place in my heart because I do only have to plant them one time. The only special treatment passion fruit has is that it needs a sturdy trellis for its heavy harvest.

Learn more about growing mulberries in a pot ›

Well, there you have 13 great ideas for fruits to grow in containers, add more life to your patio, and help you get away from the grocery store.

Now, let’s talk about some quick tips on growing fruits in a pot:

Fruits to Grow in Containers Gardening Tips

  1. Just because they grow in a container, doesn’t mean that they don’t need sunlight. They still need it, some of them need it a lot, some of them not so much.
  2. Drainage is the most important thing to consider. It’s the number one factor why people fail to grow plants in a container.
  3. Potted plants don’t have access to nutrients, make sure to feed your plants by adding fertilizer every week or two. It’s impossible to grow in a container with it, especially fruits.
  4. Bigger plants need bigger pots, it’s common sense but some people keep ignoring it.
  5. One plant in one pot will produce more than four plants in one pot. Do not overcrowd your plants.
  6. Make sure to use the best potting soil. More potting soil = better, there’s no such thing as “over soiling”.
  7. Some plants can’t be neighbors, and some are the best neighbors. Make sure to find out what are the best and worst neighbors for the plant that you want to grow.
  8. Some of them will die, it’s inevitable, your job is to find out why. If one of the pots showing signs of disease, quarantine it.
  9. Find out how big should each plant grow up to so you know if it’s lack of nutrition and doesn’t grow normally.
  10. Different plants need a different amount of water. Don’t over water, and don’t under water.

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Apple

Soil and Water Requirements

Apples trees can grow in a wide range of soils from medium textured clays to gravelly sands. However, poor soils will produce poor results and the best crops are found on fertile sandy soils and loams.

Soils should be well drained. Wet soils lead to poor aeration and increased incidence of crown rot in apples (Phytophthora cactorum). Generally, rooting tends to be shallow, and wet soils will restrict development, resulting in poor anchorage of the tree and a reduced area of soil from which nutrients can be extracted.

Soils with high organic matter contents are normally better structured and allow good rooting.

Irrigation is necessary on dry soils, particularly when establishing and growing young orchards. Trickle irrigation and fertigation are increasingly used. In young orchards fertigation helps increase early tree growth and brings trees into bearing earlier. Sprinkler irrigation can be used to protect the tree buds and fruitlets against frost damage.

Sowing of a grass mulch between the tree rows is common practice, which together with any clippings, helps to increase water holding capacity, infiltration rate, soil aggregation and recycling of nutrients.

Apples prefer a slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH between 5.8 and 7.0). Extreme soil pH values result in nutrient tie-up or toxicity and poor tree and fruit development. It is important to amend the pH in acidic soils by incorporating lime before planting.

Rootstock

Optimum planting density depends upon cultivar, rootstock and likely pruning strategy. Choice of rootstock governs tree size and the efficiency of nutrient uptake.

There are four general categories; vigorous, semi-vigorous, semi-dwarf and dwarf.

Choice of rootstock should suit the soil (pH, structure, humidity) and other local conditions (frost hardiness, pest and disease resistance, etc).

For apples, the dominant rootstocks used are the Malling types (M. and MM. series).

Orchard Systems

A wide range of planting systems are used for apples. All aim to produce high, early yielding, top quality crops. Ease of harvesting and management are also key factors taken into account.

Modern systems use higher densities than older established orchards. Today, normal densities range from 400-2,500 trees/ac, whereas 50 years ago, 28-41 tress/ac would have been more commonplace. In higher yielding, fertile soils and sites, growers can plant up to 4,000 trees/ac and expect 26t/ac yields.

This increased density has been made possible following the introduction of dwarf rootstocks which produce higher yields in the first 10 years of production than were previously possible.

Tree canopies are manipulated to produce four basic shapes of tree – spherical canopies, conical canopies, flat fan shapes, or Y, A or V shapes.

Spherical shapes were most commonly used in traditional European and North American orchards and largely allow the natural shape of the tree to develop.

Conical shapes are now more common. They allow good light penetration by limiting the width of the top of the tree. They require minimal branch and leader manipulation.

Flat fan systems are increasingly common in high density orchards to bring forward bearing, increase yield and make harvesting easier.

V-shaped, or angled canopies on the Tatura or other types of trellis, again allow good light penetration by most effective alignment of the tree. They produce very high yields at maturity and allow the producer to more effectively crop alleyways.

Tree Manipulation

Newly planted trees invariably need to be pruned. The exact pruning depends on the desired shape of the tree.

During full production, all trees need pruning and thinning of fruits to ensure an optimum leaf to flower/fruit ratio and to allow for air circulation through the tree and light penetration to improve fruit quality and size.

Pruning also helps to ensure that water and nutrients are available to an optimum number of well-positioned fruits.

Major pruning is normally carried out while the trees are still dormant in late winter. Pruning in summer is done to remove weak-bearing water sprouts and to allow light into thick canopies.

Pruning in late summer is not recommended as it can delay dormancy and predispose trees to more winter injury.

As a general rule it is better to prune little and often rather than to severely cut back the tree in one pruning session. Such severe pruning generates vigorous vegetative growth acting as a strong sink for nutrients and water, and thereby affecting fruit quality and bud differentiation.

It is desirable in many years to reduce the crop load that results from a heavy bloom and a good “fruit set”. Allowing too many fruits to remain on the tree will reduce fruit size and tree vigor and can cause the tree to bear biennially (every other year).

Five to six flowers bloom on each bud of an apple tree. If all of these were allowed to mature, fruit size would be very small and the tree would become under-nourished and not flower the next year. The crop is thus thinned, leaving about one fruit for each 3 to 5 buds.

Crop Protection

Top quality fruit production requires good disease, pest and weed control.

Many disease-causing pathogens (fungi, bacteria, viruses, and nematodes) attack apple trees.

Diseases may damage the fruit directly, making it unattractive or inedible, but they can also weaken the tree by injuring or invading the leaves, trunk and branches.

Damage to the tree reduces productivity and increases susceptibility to winter injury or attack by additional pests.

Over 50 types of insects attack apple trees, foliage, or fruit. The most serious are those insect pests that directly damage the fruit.

These include apple maggot (railroad worm), various types of caterpillars such as leafrollers, fruitworms, and codling moth, plum curculio, and rosy apple aphid.

Insects and mites, e.g. aphids, caterpillars, scale insects, spider mites, and leafminers feed on foliage or branches, weakening trees and restricting growth, and bloom and fruit set.

Grass or other vegetation, which competes for nutrients and moisture, should not be allowed to grow within at least 15-20 inches of the trunk of the tree.

Where there is a risk of hail, netting is used to protect the developing fruit.

Harvesting

Fruit should be harvested before it is fully ripe, but after it has had time to mature. This varies according to cultivar and different fruit varieties will often ripen at different times over a three-month period.

As the fruit mature, the starch changes to sugar and the aroma and flavor develops. Sugars are the major soluble solid in fruit juice and therefore soluble solids are often used as an estimate of sugar content (referred to as °Brix).

Immature fruit has a starchy taste, an undeveloped aroma and is very hard and crisp when cut. Mature fruits are firm but not hard.

Since there are variations in a wide number of quality parameters each year, considerable practical experience is needed when determining best harvest date.

Storage

Storage conditions are vital to long-term quality and shelf life. Fruit needs to be harvested with minimal bruising, cooled quickly and kept in controlled atmosphere conditions, so as to avoid any further physiological changes to the fruit.

High relative humidities (90-95%) should be maintained in order to minimize moisture loss from fruit. Controlled atmosphere conditions with lower oxygen and higher carbon dioxide levels decrease metabolism and fruit breakdown.

Practices that leave the picked fruit in high temperatures for long periods will result in a rapid deterioration in quality.

Apples that are earlier maturing (summer and autumn apples), produce higher levels of ethylene in storage and are more prone to breakdown than later maturing cultivars (winter apples). They thus have reduced storage potential.

Apple Tree Planting Guide

Planning

First you will need to find a place that is well-drained; sandy loam soils are best. It is also very important to keep your trees in full sunlight as this will allow them to grow vigorously, and ultimately, produce the best fruit. Be careful to avoid frost pockets when planting as these will damage your fruit.

Planting

Now it’s time to start digging. You will need to dig a hole 3x the width of the size of the pot, and just as deep as the root ball. The dirt that you have taken out of the hole should be well mixed 50/50 with aged mushrooms compost, rotten pine bark, aged manure or compost. Now you can remove the plant from the pot, be careful not to hurt the root ball, and gently place it into your fresh dug hole. To avoid burying it too deep, make sure your plant is positioned with the top most roots at the soil line.

Once your tree has been placed in the hole, start filling it in with the mix soil, and push lightly to pack it. Your apple tree should be watered thoroughly for the roots to settle and to eliminate air pockets. The best soil for apple trees is slightly acidic soil (pH 6.0-6.8). You can purchase a soil acidity test or take a sample to the Cooperative Extension agent near you for testing.

Fertilizer should only be applied at correct times of the year. NEVER PUT FERTILIZER IN PLANTING HOLE!

To protect your tree, please provide a 4 foot diameter around the base, weed & grass free. This will provide a water basin, therefore minimizing anything else taking water and nutrients from the tree. During spring and summer, about 4-6 inches of mulch should be placed a few inches away from the trunk to provide good air circulation. The best mixture of mulch during spring is weed- free hay and compost. During summer time try a mixture of grass clipping, and weed- free hay. If desired add some pine bark and pine needles.

Depending on the landscape, and what your uses may be for your apple trees, try spacing them 15-20 feet apart. But no more than 20 feet to ensure the trees cross pollinate.

Fertilization

No matter what type of fertilizer you choose (chemical or organic) make sure that it contains iron, zinc, magnesium, molybdenum, copper and boron. While these minor details may seem unimportant to you, your apple trees growth and production depends on it. Depending on the age of your plant, application of the fertilizer should be adjusted. Follow the chart below:

10-10-10 or 10-0-10 with minerals

1 cup for each year of tree’s life

-Max out at 9 cups for mature tree

Espoma Citrus Tone (Organic)

6 cups for 1 year old

10 cups for 2 year old (4-6ft)

18 cups for 7-9ft tree

24 cups for tree over 9ft

Be sure the evenly spread fertilizer under the entire canopy of your tree, avoiding a 5 inch area around the trunk. After that is done be sure to water your tree. In zone 8-10 fertilize 3 times a year in late February, late May and late July/early August. Further north (zone 7), fertilize in March or after the buds break. NEVER fertilize after August (June in zone 7), because this will start new growth to late in the year and lead to freeze damage.

Water

During the first year, the tree is newly established, meaning it is very critical for your plant to be watered. On light soil water twice a week, but on clay soil once a week will do. When watering your tree be sure to soak the root system entirely. This will usually take 40-50 minutes. Once the tree is established, it should receive at least one inch of water each week. Water regularly, especially during dry spells. This can cause fruit to prematurely drop is not well irrigated during the dry spell.

Pruning

If you live in the South, your tree should be pruned to an open center habit. At the time of planting, select 3-4 scaffold branches spaced equally around the trunk and clip the other branches flush with the trunk.

During the second dormant season, top the scaffold branches 36 inches away from the trunk to encourage secondary branching. The tree must have good air circulation in the interior.

Pruning should continue for the next five years to train the tree to grow upward and outward by thinning out crossing limbs. The tree can also be held to there place with allotted space by mold and hold cuts, which are devigorating heading cuts made into two year old wood. This can be done by topping back the main scaffold limb to a weaker outward growing shoot.

Once your tree has reached maturity, it should only be pruned during it dormant season. The branches should be thinned out and head back long shoots as needed to maintain tree shape. Remove the water sprouts. If left unpruned the tree will start to get bushy and lack vigor, therefor producing small fruit, and inferioring with quality apples. While pruning , remove and dead, damaged, or diseased branches. Head trees back with mold and hold cuts to maintain height for ease of picking. See picture below:

Pollination & Chill Hours

Apple trees require a cross-pollinator and a certain amount of chill hours to produce fruit. If your tree does not get either of these elements it will fail to produce an edible fruit. Please see our Apple Chart for pollination and chill hour requirements needed for your variety.

Harvest Time

Now it’s time to harvest the fruits of your labor! When picking your apples, look to see if the background color lightens, changing from green to gold. Harvesting the apples at different stages in the ripening process can yield you many different flavors. A slightly ripe apple can be great for making pies or apple cider, while fully ripe apples are much sweeter and can be enjoyed with just a rinse under the sink. For extended shelf life store apples in the refrigerator.

Apple Tree Planting Guide: Growing An Apple Tree In Your Yard

Most apple tree planting guides will tell you that apple trees can take a long time to fruit. This will depend, of course, on the variety of apple tree you purchase. Some will produce fruit earlier than others.

Soil for Growing an Apple Tree

One thing to remember about growing an apple tree is that the pH of the soil has to be just what the tree needs. You should have a soil test done if you are thinking about how to grow an apple orchard or your trees might not survive.

Having a soil test done by the extension office is great because they provide the kit, do the test and then can give you a report of exactly what your soil needs in order to have the proper pH. Adding whatever is needed should be done to the depth of 12 to 18 inches (30-46 cm.) so that the roots get the proper pH, or they can burn.

How Do You Plant Apple Trees?

Most apple tree planting guides will tell you that higher ground is better for growing an apple tree. This is because low lying frost can kill the blossoms on the tree in the spring. Growing an apple tree on higher ground protects the blossoms from an early death, thus ensuring a good crop of apples.

Apple tree growing info also advises not to plant the trees near the woods or streams. Both of these environments can ruin the tree. Growing an apple tree requires full sunshine. You will know when to grow apple trees when you can actually dig the hole necessary to plant the tree. Obviously, springtime is best, but make sure the ground is good and thawed.

When planting apple trees, pay attention to how the root ball goes into the ground. Growing an apple tree will require that you dig your hole double the diameter of the root ball and at least two feet deep.

When you cover the roots with soil, you tamp it down as you go so you can ensure that the roots are completely touching the dirt. This makes certain your tree is going to get all the nutrients necessary from the soil because the air pockets were removed.

Apple Tree Care

When caring for an apple tree, you can add fertilizer, but don’t fertilize at planting time because you can burn the roots. Wait until the plant has established itself and then feed it according to the instructions on the fertilizer package. Most of the time, if your soil has the proper pH, you won’t need to fertilize your apple trees.

Album: Honey (1968)
Charted: 2 1
Get the Sheet Music License This Song 
  • See the tree, how big it’s grown
    But friend it hasn’t been too long
    It wasn’t big
    I laughed at her and she got mad,
    The first day that she planted it
    Was just a twig
    Then the first snow came and she ran out
    To brush the snow away
    So it wouldn’t die
    Came runnin’ in all excited,
    Slipped and almost hurt herself
    And I laughed till I cried
    She was always young at heart,
    Kinda dumb and kinda smart
    And I loved her so
    And I surprised her with a puppy
    Kept me up all Christmas Eve two years ago
    And it would sure embarrass her
    When I came in from workin’ late
    ‘Cause I would know
    That she’d been sittin’ there and cryin’
    Over some sad and silly late, late show
    And honey, I miss you and I’m bein’ good
    And I’d love to be with you if only I could
    She wrecked the car and she was sad
    And so afraid that I’d be mad
    But what the heck
    Though I pretended hard to be
    Guess you could say she saw through me
    And hugged my neck
    I came home unexpectedly
    And caught her cryin’ needlessly
    In the middle of a day
    And it was in the early spring
    When flowers bloom and robins sing
    She went away
    And honey, I miss you and I’m bein’ good
    And I’d love to be with you if only I could
    One day while I was not at home
    While she was there and all alone
    The angels came
    Now all I have is memories of honey
    And I wake up nights and call her name
    Now my life’s an empty stage
    Where honey lived and honey played
    And love grew up
    And a small cloud passes overhead
    And cries down on the flower bed
    That honey loved
    And see the tree how big it’s grown
    But friend it hasn’t been too long
    It wasn’t big
    And I laughed at her and she got mad
    The first day that she planted it,
    Was just a twigWriter/s: BOBBY RUSSELL
    Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group, Broma 16
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 77

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