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Help selecting a fruiting tree for sunny indoor pot

Posted by Oscarmatic CA z10/24 (My Page) on
Thu, Dec 5, 13 at 3:10

Hello. I would love to have a pretty fruiting tree in a container just inside my south-facing sliding-glass patio door. The container I plan to use is this one from IKEA, 12 1/2 x 23 1/2" galvanized, with Al's 5:1:1 soil mix.

My primary question is whether I can possibly expect to get fruit on any indoor-only potted tree? Or, would I be missing the garden pollinators - bees and whatnot - to do their work? (I'm not likely to go at it with a paintbrush.)

If indoor fruit is possible, I would love recommendations for plants likely to look good in this pot and do well in this location.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Help selecting a fruiting tree for sunny indoor pot

I can't really help on the choice of plant, apart from trying a Citrus of some sort, but I would recommend that you don't plant directly into that galvanised container. I would use it as a cache pot instead. We don't know if it has drainage holes, it will corrode very quickly, whatever their website says, and it will roast roots if it is placed in a sunny position. I've seen a lot of this kind of pot rusted out and looking scruffy after only a few months.

RE: Help selecting a fruiting tree for sunny indoor pot

I'm surprised this is galvanized, but I just went to Ikea's site and checked it out. It's got over 1" side walls. Surely it's not solid galvanized to be that thick. If not, then I wonder if the filler material would be enough to insulate the plant. Even air on the inside would help. The site doesn't say if it has drainage holes, but it does list artificial plants as coordinating items, which might mean they didn't intend it for direct planting. floral_uk brings up great points to consider. I've drilled holes in metal pots before, but they were the normal thin metal.

It is a beautiful and unusual pot! A great complement to the right plant.

Oh yes, liner pot

Thanks for the reminder about the liner pot. I definitely plan to use one, because I think the soil volume for the full container is excessive. With a liner pot, I'll both protect the nice-looking container (or be able to replace it without repotting) and use risers beneath to use less soil. I can also take advantage of the properties of some pot types that might promote better growth; I'm still researching and reading GW to select the type of liner pot I will use.

Deanna, the top of the pot is folded over, so although it looks like it has a solid thickness, it's more like a 1/2" shelf at the top. The metal is very thin, as you would expect at that price. It doesn't have drainage holes, and the base is 9 3/4" diameter.

Here's a few links from my further research about growing fruit trees indoors:

And below are further photos of the decorative pot and its location. I'm trying for an indoor-outdoor pot triptych to create a strong visual connection between the living room and patio space. Those are my two baba raspberries outside getting ready to go into their pots this weekend. (Tomorrow is 5:1:1 sifting day!)

RE: Help selecting a fruiting tree for sunny indoor pot

What does your local full service garden nurseries say about your request. In Florida, they regularly plant small calamondin trees for indoor fruit growing---with the proper light. Being a form of citrus, I'm sure your California sun would suit it perfectly.
The nurseryman would also be able to recommend a planting soil; for such indoor growing.
I too have reservations about using a galvanized doesn't sound like the ideal one for exhibiting a fruit tree indoors when there are other forms of material widely available.

No recommendation

Goren, I asked the owner of a local nursery, who advised me that no fruit tree can be grown indoors. So, hmph. I didn't find that likely. Other suggestions are very welcome.

RE: Help selecting a fruiting tree for sunny indoor pot

I have been growing a calamondin and kumquat tree indoors for several years.
I haven't been trying to get fruit on them, but the plants do grow fine and flower with the exposure from a southern window. They do seem to be heavy feeders.
It seems like most people consider calamondin to be the easiest citrus tree to grow indoors. The only problem is that calamondin isn't a particularly palatable fruit for eating straight. It's best used in jams and such rather than eaten like an orange.

They would probably do better if I let them spend the summer outside, but I've chosen not to do that since I found it is easier to prevent pest problems if my houseplants stay inside year-round.

I think you could probably grow other citrus trees indoors if you were willing to invest in supplemental lights for them.
Based on my experiences with the calamondin and kumquat, they are not particularly difficult to grow.
There are other houseplants that have given me a lot more trouble than these ones have.

RE: Help selecting a fruiting tree for sunny indoor pot

Few citrus plants do great in the average home. Are you expecting/wanting edible fruit or will flowers be "good enough"? The former would be more difficult to accomplish -- lack of pollinators and limits on plant size would be restrictive. Also, IME at least, citrus plants indoors seem to be particularly susceptible to pest like spider mites, scale, mealie bugs and whiteflies. (Don't know if others have seen the same issues.) This could necessitate the need for regular pesticide treatments -- including systemics -- which would make consumption of any fruit produced unwise.

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