Fruit Trees to Grow in Pots
By Editorial Staff
by Catalogs.com Info Guru Angela K. Van Winkle
Fruit bearing trees can be the prize of any gardeners collection, but not everyone has the space or desire for a full fledged orchard.
Beyond that, some fruit trees may not be able to survive the winter in zones north of 8 or 9. All these problems are solved by growing fruit trees in pots, where they won’t need acres of land and can be brought inside once temperatures plummet. Be sure to look for “dwarf” varieties when selecting trees for container growth. Standard varieties may not fair as well in cramped conditions.
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Apple trees are one of those tricky fruit bearers which usually (though not always) require you to grow at least 2 of them in order for them to pollinate and give up the goods. Even “self-pollinating” varieties may give a higher yield when planted next to a friend, so be sure to rely on the buddy system when selecting your apple trees.
“Dwarf” pear trees are usually not actually dwarf, but are grafted onto dwarfing rootstock. And, like apples, most pear varieties need a second pear tree in close proximity to pollinate and create fruit. Once you get them going, however, they will give you bushels of pears year after year.
8. Japanese Persimmon
Not to be confused with the American persimmon, which contains a long taproot and isn’t suitable for containers, the Asian varieties are 10-12 foot trees with abundant, sugar-sweet autumnal fruit. Fuyu persimmon trees are self-pollinating, so you can grow just one and still get a harvest.
7. Satsuma Mandarin
Satsuma mandarins make fantastic container trees. They are attractive, with dark green foliage and bright orange fruits, and only grow to 4-6 feet tall. They do, however, need 8-10 hours of direct sun a day during the growing season, or fruit production will suffer.
Reliance dwarf peach and Bonanza are some of the most prolific peach trees you can buy, and they do beautifully in a pot. They are self-pollinating and super sweet eaten out of hand.
It is important you definitely look for dwarf cultivars if you want to grow cherry trees in containers. And pay close attention to pollination. Some are self-pollinating; some are not. Varieties like Stella and Dwarf Northstar are particularly recommended for pot growing. Just remember, when fruit starts setting, to throw a fruit net over the top or you’ll lose most of your crop to birds and squirrels!
If you live in an area with long dry summers and very little danger of late frost in the spring (so… the Southwest, maybe?), you can grow apricots. Like cherries, these are classically very large trees so choosing the right varieties is crucial for pot growing. However, if you have just the right tree in just the right area, the rewards are beautiful and delectable.
Dwarf plum trees grow 6-8 feet tall and produce deliciously fragrant blossoms before setting luscious red to deep purple fruit. They grow best in hardiness zones 8-10, so bring it inside if the weather gets too chilly. Be sure to keep this one well pruned to keep fruit production strong.
2. Meyer Lemon
The Meyer Lemon may be the quintessential potted citrus tree. Compact and hearty even in northern climes (provided they’re brought inside when evening temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit), they produce sunny yellow lemons that tend to be sweeter than other lemon varieties.
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Fig trees are just about the perfect container tree. They are naturally compact and self-pollinating, and they only take a year or two to start bearing fruit. Many varieties, like Brown Turkey or Negronne fig will even provide two harvests a year. If you grow no other potted tree this year, grow a fig. It’s the sweetest conversation piece you will ever have.
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