Have you ever dreamed of having your own fruit orchard? Imagine being able to pick fresh apples, pears, plums and redcurrants, direct from the plant, instead of paying over the odds for fruit from your local supermarket. The good news is that you can grow fruit at home, in containers, and it isn’t difficult at all.
Many gardeners are put off growing fruit because they wrongly assume that they need a large garden with plenty of orchard space. In fact, this is not the case at all. Container gardening works perfectly for fruit trees. In fact, it has a lot of advantages if your garden is small or you only have a balcony. There is slightly more work involved in tending fruit in containers, but the rewards are well worth the extra effort.
Dwarf Fruit Trees
If left to their own devices, full-size fruit trees can take over a smaller garden. Growing dwarf fruit trees in containers will ensure they stay relatively small and compact. You will still be able to harvest a nice crop of fresh fruit, but so long as you select the right containers and take care of your fruit, they should thrive.
Always buy healthy, good quality plants from a reputable grower such as Carpenter’s Nursery. It is much easier to cultivate a healthy plant than it is to restore a sick plant back to life.
Select the Right Containers
Select suitable containers for your fruit trees and bushes. Since fruit trees can become quite large, even in a container, the container needs to be suitable for the root ball. You should repot your plants and trees every year or so, to prevent the roots outgrowing the pot.
Fruit trees and shrubs need full sunlight, so place your containers in a nice sunny spot. Keep your plants well-watered, but don’t overdo it. Too much water will encourage the fruit to drop early. Use a good quality compost when planting a fruit tree in a container and add fertiliser and broken pot at the bottom for extra drainage.
Some species will need to winter inside a greenhouse to protect them from inclement weather, but hardier species can easily winter outdoors.
Top Fruits for Container Gardening
- Strawberries are super easy to grow, which makes them a fun project for the kids. Strawberries are perfect for small containers, particularly on balconies. You may need to protect them from the birds, however.
- Lemons are a popular choice for container gardeners. They add a touch of Mediterranean glamour to a backyard, but although you can grow lemons in cool, temperate climates, they prefer hotter climates.
- Apples are perfect for container gardening, but buy a dwarf species that self-pollinates, or you will need more than one variety. Dwarf apple trees look lovely in containers and are perfect for smaller spaces, such as balconies.
Other fruits suitable for container gardening include figs, nectarines, peaches, and cherries.
Be aware that you will need to prune fruit grown in containers, but they should remain manageable with the right care.