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Fruit Trees in Containers?

Posted by minami 10 (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 8, 13 at 1:43

I'm a renter with a backyard, and want to grow some fruit trees. Does anyone have any good results/experience growing fruit trees in containers? Which are the best trees to grow in a container?

I understand I can google fruit trees in containers but I'd love to get some personal feedback. Thanks!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

I currently grow two Texas evergreen fig trees in containers in Zone 7. The trees are now five years old and I harvest about two gallons of figs each year. I move them into an unheated garage during the winter. You can do the same with other fruits that thrive in your zone. You are better off selected dwarf varieties since the containers are not typically large enough for standard size fruit trees.

This post was edited by CharlieBoring on Mon, Jul 8, 13 at 7:06

RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

pretty much any tree can be grown in a pot, its just a matter of either having them in really big pots, or getting trees on dwarfing rootstock. figs are really good in pots, and some people say they fruit and grow better in pots anyways.

at least in miami you dont really have to worry about bringing them inside for the winter. I do believe you can get an acai palm to work well in a pot. There is a type called "para dwarf" that usually fruits when the plant is 3 feet tall!

I would also try dwarf cavendish banana. they do very well in pots even up here in canada (as houseplants).

This post was edited by canadianplant on Mon, Jul 8, 13 at 7:20

RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

good advice not use soil. Use a commercial potting mix or make your own well-draining mix (see container threads). You will be fine.

RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

Hi- I have a few trees in containers. You really do need to make sure that the trees are dwarf or at least semi dwarf. You will do yourself a service to make sure you have your pots on wheels. Those pots are SO heavy when filled with soil and tree and then even heavier when thoroughly watered. If you need to move them during a frost or when you will be grateful for not having to lift them to move them around.

I have a pomegranite, a nectarine, a peach, 2 satsuma tangerine, a Meyer and a Eureka lemon, a caracara orange, a Mexican lime, a gala apple, an Asian pear, a brown Turkish fig and a Violette de Bordeaux fig. Oh...and a Kaffir lime and a Curry Leaf tree.

I had issues with the Meyer and one satsuma earlier this year but they are bouncing back nicely. Both problems appeared to be due to drainage issues. Make sure your pots drain well or the roots will get waterlogged.

The hardest thing is deciding what you have room for :))) I didn't realize how many trees I had until I started listing them. Good luck!

RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

Hey Jude,
What type of Asian pear are you growing in a container? what size container are you using? And how many years old is the tree? I have room for 2 half-wine barrels.

RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Sun, Jul 14, 13 at 19:16

The trees/fruits best adapted to containers are blueberry and probably fig. I've also grown grape, blackberry, sweet cherry, apricot, nectarine, pluot, plum, and more. I've used both dwarf and standard rootstocks. They work about the same and give similar size trees.

Any tree grown in a container will be dwarfed. You don't need a dwarfing rootstock but it might help by limiting root growth and thus delay becoming rootbound. The smaller the container the smaller the tree.

Most of my pots have been 5-15 gallon. They all work for all fruits above you just have to water more often in smaller pots.

Nine year old blueberry in 15 gallon pot. 18 lbs fruit one year.

9 year Star photo nineyearoldpottedStar001_zps17f01830.jpg

Three nectarines in a 15 gallon pot all on standard rootstock, Nemaguard, yielded 12 fruit per tree in year two.

 photo multipletreesinapot004.jpg

Four nectarine trees in a 30 gal pot. I've only used that size a couple times, too heavy.

 photo multipletreesinapot007.jpg

This post was edited by fruitnut on Sun, Jul 14, 13 at 19:21

RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

I hear you on weight... my whiskey barrels are on wheels so i can move them around easily. I tried to dolly them around and its a major pain. The other trees in the 15 gallon (about 15 of them) are easier, but still not good for the back (if i lift them)...i'm a young stud (ha ha!) ...but i usually just dolly them.

That blueberry is impressive.

One thing about fruit trees..if you don't pot them up fast enough, them seem to stunt out on me... as in..ieven if i repot to a larger container, they still grow very very slowly... good thing to always move up to bigger pots quickly, especially with fast growers like peaches...

RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

Great info above!

Fruitnut always impresses me with his input, and that blueberry bush certainly fits the bill.

I am in the same situation; renter wanting fruit trees. Last spring I bought concord seedless grapes and flavorcrest peach. They both have grown well and both are fruiting this year.

This spring I added the following: a few varieties of blueberries, blackberries, and raspberry bushes, 2 types of honeyberries, an arctic beauty kiwi, issai kiwi, three types of seedless table grapes, 2 more peaches, a plum, 2 nectarines, 2 apricots, 2 apples (4 variety grafted type), a 2 variety pear grafted type, 2 pawpaws, everbearing turkey fig, another fig, an illinois everbearing mulberry, and a bunch of strawberries.

Everything is growing relatively well. I've had a slight problem with oriental fruit moth, and a fair amount of difficulty with the blueberries (still really don't know if I have fixed the blueberry issues, or what was even wrong), but nothing seems to be negatively affected by being in a pot, at least so far.

Advice on limiting weight is spot on, and something I didn't consider until too late. now, moving them is a major pain. This weekend I built a bigger platform attachment for my dolly and it made moving them much easier. I have my trees/bushes crammed into a tiny backyard and needed to spray my stonefruits and didn't want the overspray to drip onto the ripening berries on my berry bushes that are right next to them, so I had to move the bushes to spray.

A couple other suggestions:

Multi-variety grafted trees are a really good use of space, if you are limited by that or don't feel like having to move a bunch of pots that could have been consolidated into a single pot whenever you move.

You mentioned trees, but I'd recommend you look into bushes as well. They fruit faster and seem to grow well in pots.

The pots will get a lot hotter, a lot faster, than normal soil, so mulch well, remember to leave a few inches for mulch, and water more frequently in hotter weather. Avoid black pots as they will get especially hot.

Make sure the pots have good drainage holes. I had to enlarge a few of mine after planting bc after a day of rain the soil turned into soup and would have killed the plant if I didn't notice quickly enough.

Dwarf root stock is very important. The IL Everbearing Mullberry is supposed to get like 35 feet tall, and I can tell already that it is going to be problematic. The berries, which grew in the first season of my having the tree, taste so good that I am going to try and prune it like crazy so I can keep it.

If you are going to get grapes or kiwis or any other vine, make sure you situate the trellis system within the pot, rather than placing the pot near a fence or external trellis, as they will get completely intertwined in no time and moving them will become nearly impossible.

All kind of obvious, but those are the pitfalls I've run into this far and ones I've heard from others with potted fruits.

Within the past month, I have been adding strawberries to the potted trees. I think this will help keep the soil cooler to avoid excessive heat, and also a cool use of space. Not sure how the competition between the trees and the strawberries will affect each other as they both grow, but so far, so good.

Good luck!

RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

I grew mangos from seed in containers way too small (3gal) in Florida and they actually fruited - one had 7 mangos, squirrels got them all. There are 'condo mangos' available that will produce well in containers, given light & a good potting mix.

In FL, I also enjoyed growing pineapples in containers. Not huge producers, but there is nothing like a homegrown pineapple.

RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

Hi everyone!

Swakyaby-sorry, I didn't realize that you asked about the Asian pear. Mine is a semi-dwarf shinseiki. It's in a 10 gallon pot [I think]. I'm really bad at sizing of pots. It's a really tall skinny tree and I have no clue how old it is. I've had it for one year. It's probably 5 foot tall but it doesn't have any branches to speak of. I wasn't expecting to get any fruit on it. I thought I had to have a pollinater. Not sure I spelled that right. I had a bunch of blooms and it turned into 8 baby pears all in one clump. I just cut off 4 of the smaller today. That hurt. :) I have more blooming that just happened. One looks like it is a baby pear and the others don't have the bulb behind the flower.

When the tree goes dormant in the winter, I am going to repot it into something bigger. The pot I used is definitely too small. I think the half whiskey barrel is a good size.

I tried to take a picture of the whole tree but its so tall and I have so much going on in the yard, by the time I back up to get the whole tree in the frame, you can't really tell what you're looking at so I posted a pic of the pears before I thinned them.

RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

Thanks for the info, Hey Jude. I'm unsure whether a tree that grows tall and skinny is suitable for a container.


RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

You're probably right but I have to work with what I can do. :) Small mostly cement patio situation. Secomd year of learning as I go gardening.

I saw a beautiful Asian pear at Home Depot last week. It was so hard to walk away from it. It was a mini-dwarf...beautiful shape. Short and branched out. If I didn't already have the one I have, I would have bought it.

RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

If you prune it correctly, you can control the growth.

RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

A mini-dwarf Asian pear? Sounds like it was born to be kept in a container. I would buy that in a heartbeat.

The problem with pruning a semi dwarf tree to exist in a container is that it would too quickly become root bound, I would think.

RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

"I'm a renter with a backyard, and want to grow some fruit trees. Does anyone have any good results/experience growing fruit trees in containers? Which are the best trees to grow in a container? "

This is my first year that I'm growing stone fruit trees in cointainers. I'm growing Flavor delight aprium, two bella gold peacotums, an ultra-dwarf stella cherry, one spicezee nectaplum,a multi-graft tree (burgundy plum and goldkist apricot) and my two proprietary plum hybrids--a myrobalan plum x moorpark apricot, and a myrobalan plum x mariposa plum hybrid.

My most vigorous tree is Flavor delight aprium: fast growing with very beautiful foliage. Followed by spice zee nectaplum, then by my two plum hybrids, then by bella gold peacotums.

The soil that i used was a mixture of miracle-gro moisture control, desert sand, and mulch.

RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

Here is a picture.

RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

I don't grow fruit trees in containers but do grow sub-tropicals in containers. Here's a Philodendron. I had it over 35 years. All the leaves had to be removed as it was damaged by a frost, but the plant is super hardy and grew back well this summer. Many of my other tropicals suffered more. I was out of town and a hard freeze hit.

RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

I started out with all my trees potted b/c I had not prepared the ground first. I second the advice regarding black pots and watering. Personally here in Colorado the best thing is to have a drip system on the pots. If a pot dries out it's hard to get it back to a moist soil situation; the water just runs down the sides of the pots and goes out the bottom. Trees are happier and more productive if the soil is relatively consistently moist. This keeps the roots cooler as well.

RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

Drew51 - I would like to see a better picture of your rain barrell.

RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

I bought the barrel at Sam's Club. The eves splitter was purchased online, I can't remember where? The barrel holds 55 gallons. I have a 70 gallon trash can next to it, and use the plastic gutter extension (seen between them) to route to that can. The gutter splitter has a handle to route to barrel or downspout. It doesn't take long to fill the barrel. Extensions would be nice, but the wife won't let me add anymore.
FYI on the far left with the bricks on the ground is a Chinese magnolia, to the right of that on the fence is a currant being trained as a cordon. It has yet to reach the top of the fence. On the other side of the house the currant is inches away from the top and ready to be split, well almost, another week or two.

RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

Drew51 - I am considering setting up a rain barrel system. My plan is to have the downspout dump into a braun 60-gallon plastic trash barrel which will have an overflow opening which dumps into another 60-gallon braun trash barrel. The last barrel will have an overflow opening which dumps the water into my channel removing it from near the house. Do you get enough benefit out of the rain barrel to make it worthwhile?

RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

I Am doing very well with the following

1)  blue berry plants in 5 gallon buckets photo IMG_4505_zpse8fa4bcf.jpg
1) blue berry plants in 5 gallon buckets

2)  nagami kumquat right,  sweet lee tangerine left photo IMG_4502_zpsdcf94de0.jpg
2) nagami kumquat right, sweet lee tangerine left

3)  meiwa kumquat tree among sweetpotatoes photo IMG_4503_zpsf7f25afb.jpg
3) meiwa kumquat tree among sweet potatoes

4)  Poncirus trifoliata in 5 gallon bucket photo IMG_4499_zpsb79c6991.jpg
4) Poncirus trifoliata in 5 gallon bucket

5)  Sweet lee tangerines in bottomless gallon food tin photo IMG_4501_zpsc6c02638.jpg
5) Sweet lee tangerines in bottomless gallon food tin

6)  Sweet lee tangerine in ground photo IMG_4500_zps1180a735.jpg
6) Sweet lee tangerine in ground

7)  hardy chicago fig in 5 gallon bucket photo IMG_4504_zpsa3e15cfb.jpg
7) hardy chicago fig in 5 gallon bucket

8)  Hardy chicago fig in 55 gallon drum photo IMG_4498_zpsf8e79e43.jpg
8) Hardy chicago fig in 55 gallon drum

9)  brown turkey fig trees in 55 gallon drums photo IMG_4497_zpsda5dab4d.jpg
9) brown turkey fig trees in 55 gallon drums

Thats it for container fruit. The citrus is the hardest to grow but they grow true from seed. look up the fruit variety to see if your choice grows true,

RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?


"Nine year old blueberry in 15 gallon pot. 18 lbs fruit one year"

Hi; Is this an exceptionally good harvest or is this somewhat typical for this bush.

I have 13 drums at 55 gallon each to be used whole or cut to size for planters.


RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

Hello I am new to this forum and really want to have at least one container fruit tree on my deck this year.

My deck gets the best sun.

I am in zone 6 Pennsylvania.

Last year I started blueberries and strawberries in containers on my deck and they are overwintering in an unheated sun room.


What is the easiest dwarf fruit tree to grow in a container for a newbie like me in zone 6 PA?

Can it stay in a container overwinter?

If it needs to go in unheated room-----a smaller height would be important.

I saw ads for fruit cocktail trees...........anyone ever tried those?

well I have many questions but for a first year fruit tree on the deck------zone 6 -----what might you recommend?

thanks in advance!


RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

If you want something very, very easy, then a fig tree would serve you well. It would likely require winter protection in your zone, but your unheated sun room should be ideal.

RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

Let me start with, I am no expert.

I am diverging a little from your question, sorry.

Your plants are in an unheated sun room. Some sun rooms are pretty warm through the winter. This could be a problem. Some plants need a minimum number of "chilling hours" to fruit. Living in northern Ohio, this is not something that I have needed to learn about. But you may need to move your plants outside for the winter to get fruits. (Maybe not) You might consider starting a new thread asking about winter chilling hours for your fruits in your region.

The rule of thumb is that plants will over winter unprotected in pots if the plants are rated 2, may 1 zone colder than your area. If you are in zone 6, your plants will probably be ok unprotected outside in pots if they are rated for zone 4, maybe zone 5. You can probably overwinter zone 6 plants by burying the pots in leaves. I live in zone 5. I have overwintered sweet cherries, blueberries, plums, mulberries, and gooseberries in pots. I drag all the plants together and bury the pots in leaves. I pile the leaves a couple of inches deeper than the pots because the pile soon settles to a a few inches lower than the top of the pots. However, the trapped moisture might be harmful to your deck. I also think the roots would remain warmer if the pots where directly on the ground, not the deck. The deck might not be the best spot for over wintering marginal plants. But I'm not sure. If you can overwinter your plants on the ground, it might be better to select plants rated down to at least zone 6, with preferences for those rated down to zone 5 or 4. Then plan to leave them outside.

Regarding a smaller height to fit trees into the sun room. I keep all of my potted trees short enough for me to reach the top. They stay pretty small on their own in pots anyway. However, most of mine (including my blueberry bushes) are too wide to go through a standard door.

Don't let my response deter you. I've only being growing fruit for a few years. I've learned a lot on this forum. Most of my fruit is grown in pots. Last year, we ate fresh picked fruit every day from the end of May through mid August. Hopefully, this year we will have fruit through fall. The fruit in grocery stores is picked long before it's ripe, and it's not fresh. Garden fresh is wonderful. And it's not that hard.

I would say make sure you use a well draining pottingsoil. Be aware that your pots will probably need to be watered every day. And for me, bird nets are a necessity if I want to eat any fruit.

Please continue to ask questions.

RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

I opened this thread to tell you about FIG TREES. Why
------1) you can't buy fresh figs in the grocery store.
------2) They taste fantastic, just let them shrivel lightly on the tree--OOOOEEEE YEEEHAAA
------3) They are damn near fool proof.
------4) They are extremely attractive and insect free. your squirrels will not know what they are.. i am 3 years in and squirrels still don't know.
------5) They take neglect well. IE If you fail to water them they just loose there leaves and fruit but live.
------6) If killed to the ground they will send cains up and produce fig like a tomato plant the same year ( Hardy Chicago fig)
------They do well in scorching sun and can take temps to 130F.
See pics
Hardy Chicago fig Stalk with figs 2013
hardy chicago fig in 55 gallon drum 8-14-13 photo IMG_4526_zps53f88fa1.jpg

2 inch cutting + 11 months = 30 delicious figs + nice tree in 5 gallon bucket.
Hardy Chicago fig in 5 gallon bucket 7-28-13 photo IMG_4508_zps7ca134e4.jpg

These trees can go down to 10 F

good luck with your choice

The three rules of container gardening are

Don't grow citrus trees



They are exceedingly difficult, Just check out the citrus forum and look at all the desperate cries for help. then look at any other forum and you will see that any thing else is easier. Here is a link for you to check for your self.

Here is a link that might be useful:

RE: Fruit Trees in Containers?

There are many thing you can grow. Apple trees of any kind grafted on bud-9 rootstock. nanking sour cherry. Meteor and north star sour cherry. black an raspberry plants. Stay away from tropical and subtropicals except figs. There is not enough sun on our cloudy side of the mississippi river. Strawberries, pepper plants do very well and I take mine in after the growing season and can often harvest another 10 to 30 peppers per plant. Peaches and apricots on dwarfing rootstock.

The smaller the fruit size the easier to grow in containers. crab apples are easier than granny smith. cherry tomatoes are easier than better boy. and so on. The longer it take for a fruit to ripen the longer you have to protect it from nasties. My summer Rambo apple ripens in june-july with 3 bushels. The squirrels get 1, I get 2. My arkansas Blacking apple produces 4 bushels in october-november. I have Gotten a total of 6 apples in 10 years, squirrels get the rest.

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