Updated: Nov 3, 2021
Planting fruit trees seems impossible, doesn't it? It's not. You will be surprised at how easily fruit trees can be grown in containers, as many gardeners who grow fruit will tell you. If you have a bit of patience and lots of light, you absolutely can eat fruit grown in your own backyard.
Fruit trees are an essential part of every home garden. They provide tasty and nutritious fruits, and their branches add a cool ambience to your environment.
You can grow delicious fruit in containers in your own backyard/balcony or in a container for your patio or indoor space. A variety of fruit plants can be grown in different conditions, but the most important thing to consider is what fruit tree types thrive in your area.
Here's a tip: what fruits do you find most often at your local farmers' market? In this way, you will know what kind of fruit tree to plant and what appearance you want for your yard.
We will be exploring the basics of planting fruit trees in containers to yield the best results, but first, these key tips:
1. Select dwarf or semi-dwarf tree species for container fruit tree planting. They will produce the same amount of fruit as normal-sized trees and have the advantage of being portable.
2. Select the right type of soil. The best type of soil for container plants, including fruit trees, remains potting soil.
3. Invest in quality pots. Plastic pots are the most preferred type for fruit trees, they hold an optimal amount of water and heat and don’t crack under the pressure of roots (like terracotta/clay would).
4. Train your trees for long-term container living. Do this by allowing the plants to get rootbound before moving them to slightly bigger pots.
5. Buy fruit stock from reputable gardeners. This includes seeds and nursery fruit plants. Buying from reputable gardeners ensures that you’re buying good, fruiting stock.
The best time to plant fruit trees in containers is during winter or early spring when the trees are still dormant. Check out this blog post to find the best fruit trees to plant!
Location and Lighting
Even dwarf fruit trees grow big. To grow fruit trees successfully, you need to plan the space properly. One advantage of container gardening is that you can move the containers around for optimal conditions as the seasons change. Choose a location that gets consistent sunlight to encourage growth and fruiting, and don’t place young trees in the line of a strong draft.
Planting fruit trees in small pots and containers will not encourage deep root growth. Because of this, it is very important to plant directly into very large containers, like barrels. It is recommended to make enough drainage holes of about 16 to 18cm, fruit trees don’t like wet feet.
Use commercial soil mix for planting fruit trees, and add your own mix of compost and soil additives to make sure it is well aerated and nutrient-rich. Mulch your fruit plants to prevent the soil from drying out too fast.
Fruit trees love nitrogen. It is their super nutrient that must be added continually throughout their growth. Use fertilizers rich in nitrogen for supplying adequate nutrients to your fruit tree.
Fruit trees are water-loving trees, so they need frequent and consistent watering in their younger stages. As they mature, they need less watering. Ensure that their soil is always kept moist but not wet. Drainage is very important to avoid soggy soil.
Nursery and transplanting
Fruit trees can be planted from seeds (if you want the long-term option), but for container planting, we recommend purchasing nursery-grown trees. It increases the chances of fruiting for your fruit trees and gives them a better chance of surviving. Plus, you don't have to wait too long for harvest time.
Even though pruning can encourage branching in younger plants, continuous pruning might negatively affect a tree's rate of photosynthesis. Your fruit tree should only be pruned when it has dead or sick leaves and branches.
Harvest and storage
When it is time for harvest, pluck your fruits as they ripen to encourage more fruits to develop. Fruit trees might flower for two more seasons before they start producing fruits.
Fruits can be eaten as is, or made into delicious salads, smoothies, jams and baked goods. If you are patient enough to wait for your trees to start producing fruit, you will enjoy delicious rewards from your container garden.