What Size Pot To Use?

awestruckMarch 7, 2014

I am planning on growing some fruit trees and wonder if I can grow them in pots? I want to grow soursop, red bananas, mangosteen, and a few others. Could I grow them in a 20 gallon fabric pot? Thanks for any help.

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shazaam(NC 7B)

I grow a variety of temperate climate fruits in pots, but I don't have any experience with tropicals. That being said, I'd think their needs wouldn't be all that different, and 20 gallons sounds very reasonable. I'm a fan of fabric pots, but, especially if you choose a fast draining potting mix, be aware that they'll require more frequent watering than plants in plastic pots.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 11:18AM
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Jay Part Shade (Zone 10B, S21, Los Angeles)

Absolutely, I currently have 10 fruit trees in 15 gal Root Pouches and another 80 or so pouches in sizes ranging from 1 to 15 gal for other plants, mostly veggies.

I went with 15 rather than 20 only because 15 is more manageable -- 20 is just too heavy, especially with a tree in it. I'm a young guy and my back starts hurting moving these 15 gal bags around. I have a flatbed dolly I use when moving the trees from the back to the front yard.

Also, 15 keeps the tree root pruned to a good size. You'll still have to prune the tree, but you're preventing large trees from getting too huge. I want more trees rather than larger trees, so I want to keep the trees as small as possible while still providing fruit, kinda like a large outdoor bonsai.

I currently have: Sir Prize Avocado, beaumont guava, red malaysian guava, dwarf bearss lime, dwarf satsuma mandarin, semi florida price peach, semi satsuma plum, semi 20th asian pear, LSU purple fig, and tiger panache fig. Be careful, once you start collecting trees, it's hard to stop.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 2:49PM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

"I went with 15 rather than 20 only because 15 is more manageable..."

That's a good point. If you need to lift the pots regularly, awestruck, then I agree with Jay that I'd keep the size at 15-gallons or less. Because I want to move some of my trees and vines to 20-gallon pots, I just invested in one of these:

As my wife pointed out, when compared to the cost and hardship of a back injury, $170 is a bargain.

"Be careful, once you start collecting trees, it's hard to stop."

No kidding. Every year I say "no more," and then I order more.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 3:49PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I prefer my trees in the ground, as I use the other space for tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetables,and blueberries too! OK, tell me about these fabric pots, and what's a good source to purchase?

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 4:26PM
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Jay Part Shade (Zone 10B, S21, Los Angeles)

I have both Smart Pots and Root Pouches (both Grey and Black versions) -- the grey Root Pouches are the ones to get, they're priced right, thicker, sturdier and much cheaper than Smart Pots. My wife thinks they look funky modern, which is better than her giving the veto. Check out the link below -- I've ordered 100 bags from Greenhouse Megastore. I don't know why, but their prices are better than anything else out there, including local hydro stores and Amazon. Root Pouches also come in a thicker black version and an even thicker brown version that's more expensive, but at $3.60 for a 15 gal grey bag or $1.31 for a 5 gal, they're really hard to beat considering how superior they are to plastic pots and other bags on the market.

I have everything in the bags -- peppers, squash, a half dozen kinds of tomatoes, edamame, corn, kale, lettuce, artichokes, etc. In the yard, I put the bags on 2x4s to keep the roots from growing into the ground.

The pic below has trees in the background, various veggie seedlings, artichokes, corn in the black bags, etc. That's about 1/3 of my bags, the rest are in other places that get good light.

And definitely get a dolly, I got a $34 one from Amazon called the "Olympia Tools Folding Platform Truck" -- it's fantastic, best $34 ever spent since I can haul around bark, peat and trees without killing myself. I find myself moving pots all the time.

Here is a link that might be useful: Root Pouches

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 5:30PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Very cool, thanks, yes I have a dolly already, actually two of them.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2014 at 5:54PM
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Wow. I guess I don't have my settings to receive the answers to my posts! Thanks so much to all of you for your answers to my questions. I was just about to post another message, but thought I would check and see if any of my posts were answered first. That's encouraging to know that 15 gallon pots can be used instead of the 20 gallon ones. I want to plant an avocado on my balcony, but the balcony is probably no higher than 10 feet, if even that. I want fruit I can reach or even cover when a frost comes, if I have to (I've already lost plants due to freezes). I have gotten my Smartpots through amazon.com, mainly because of gift cards given to me, but I will look into the gray root pouches as well. Thanks so much again!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Everyday Organic Gardening Blog

    Bookmark   March 11, 2014 at 1:01AM
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