Tips For Growing And Training Fruit Trees In Containers

There are many different fruit trees you can grow in containers on your deck or patio, so you can enjoy fresh fruit, even when you don't have space for a home orchard. Trees grown in containers have similar needs of trees grown in the ground, like pollination, trimming, water and other care, to thrive in their environment. 

Choosing Fruit Trees and Pollinators

If you choose to grow fruit trees in containers, you need to know if it needs a second tree for proper pollination. If your tree blooms are not pollinated, you won't have any delicious fruit. There are trees that do not require a second tree because they are self fertile.

  • Figs
  • Nectarines (certain varieties)
  • Plums
  • Cherry
  • Apricots
  • Peaces

Other trees do need a second tree of the same fruit to provide proper pollination.

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Nectarines (certain varieties)

Choosing Containers and Locations

For most fruit trees, choose pots that are at least 15 gallon in size. Clay pots are durable and heavy, so they are less likely to tip over. Plastic is also a durable option, and it is lighter weight, making it easier to move and handle when needed. You can use a commercial potting mix, as long as it is well-draining and a slow-release fertilizer made for fruit trees. The container you choose should have a few holes in the bottom or on the sides to allow excess water to drain out. 

Place containers in an area of the deck or patio that receives full sun, which is 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day. You also want a location where the trees are protected from harsh winds. 

Caring for Container Fruit Trees

Container-grown fruit trees rely on you for water and nutrients, since they cannot get them from the ground. Over-watering is a common problem with container-grown plants, so only water when the soil looks dry. Dry soil is lighter in color than moist soil.

You will need to repot fruit trees when they outgrow their current container. One sign that trees roots are outgrowing a container is constantly dry soil. 

Container fruit trees require pruning to control size, encourage fruit production and maintain overall tree health. However, they need less pruning than trees grown in the ground. To properly prune them, only remove the foliage from the inside branches, so that most of the growth is on the outside of the plant. You need to allow the tree to increase in size, so don't over-prune. Once the tree has reached a desired height, you can prune the tree to control size. 

If you have limited space, but would like to enjoy growing your own fruit, you can contact a local landscape company, such as Mead Tree & Turf Care Inc, for advice. The professionals can help you choose trees that grow well in containers and assist you choosing pollinators when needed.