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Growing Fruit in pots - containers. 

Most fruit can be grown well in a pot on a patio - or even on a balcony. Here's how!

Fruit trees – like most shrubs and small tree – can be grown well in containers or large pots. Growing apples pears and cherries in pots is particularly good if you have a small garden, or even a balcony!

Fruit tree grown in pots – any containers – will remain small, because of the root restriction of growing in a pot. However, the fruit can often be near same size as those grown on a tree that is grown in the open ground. It will help if you thin out the overcrowded trusses of apples, pears or cherries early in the year.

Pollination may be just a little bit of a problem if the container is grown on a patio or on balcony! This is simply because any pollinating insect will prefer to gather – and spread – pollen in a more plentiful area! So – unless you use a family tree, it might be better to plant a few varieties that will cross pollinate. In the case of apples, if there is a crab apple nearby, then pollination probably will not be an issue with any grown in a pot or container.

With peaches and nectarines, they are generally self-fertile so pollination need not be considered a problem. The same goes for all of the grape varieties. Figs, Plums, Olives, Blueberries and Cherries can all be grown in pots without the need for pollinators. For the beginner, please remember that an apple has to be pollinated with another suitable apple tree. A Pear will not do the trick!

Type of Pot or Container

Clay pots or half barrels are usually good, because of their stability. They are much heavier than plastic pots– but plastic pots hold moisture better. Do not think of growing your fruit tree in the container it was grown in at the garden centre of nursery. You will need a bigger pot.

An Olive tree grown in a pot. It will not get big enough to bear fruit, but it is a gargeous addition to the patio

  • Use a good all purpose compost with maybe 30% loam based compost mixed in to add a bit of weight.
  • Make sure that the plant is well supported, and not liable to blow over in winds.
  • Add a good long last organic fertiliser to the compost, or use Osmocote type pellets.
  • Add Water Retentive Crystals, to help conserve moisture.
  • Look at your particular fruit tree in the sections listed on here.
  • Be aware that plant roots can suffer frost damage in hard winters when grown in pots, so either protect your pot, or at least place them with other pots close together.
  • Keep the plant in full sun – but protect the pot from direct sunlight.
  • Re-pot them every two or three years.
  • Use a pot which is big enough – normally at least 16in dia.
  • Most cultural hints are the same as for open ground trees. Again, see the relevant section for your chosen fruit.
  • Water, Water, Water, and Water! Don’t forget to make arrangements if you go on holiday.
  • Start off with a suitable variety and size. Do not attempt to grow an apple tree that is already 6ft tall in this way. Ensure that your selected tree has been grown on a suitable dwarfing rootstock.

That’s it! Enjoy Growing your your Fruit tree in a pot!

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