Image by Elliott Brown
By Nikki Phipps
(Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden)
Dwarf fruit trees do well in containers and make care of fruit trees easy. Let’s learn more about growing dwarf fruit trees.
Planting Guide for Fruit Trees in Containers
Growing dwarf fruit trees in containers makes them easier to prune and harvest. Younger trees bear fruit faster. You can find dwarf varieties of almost any common fruit tree, but citrus trees are the most commonly grown.
Containers for growing dwarf fruit trees may include those made from plastic, metal, clay, ceramic, or wood, as long as there is adequate drainage provided. A general rule of thumb, however, is to start with a container approximately six inches wider than that from which the tree is initially placed in at the nursery.
The miniature fruit tree enjoys well-drained sandy soil of moderate fertility, which is suitable for most dwarf fruit trees.
Care of Fruit Trees in Containers
Care of fruit trees begins with suitable light conditions. Most miniature fruit trees grow best in full sunlight, but some may also do well in partial shade, depending on the type of dwarf fruit tree you have. Generally, container grown fruit trees should be placed where they will receive maximum sunlight.
Regular pruning is sometimes necessary for proper care of fruit trees to maintain the shape of your miniature fruit tree. Most pruning is performed during dormancy, just before active growth begins in spring. However, summer pruning may be done to remove undesirable growth and maintain smaller tree size.
Your potted miniature fruit tree should be moved indoors during cold spells and placed away from drafts.
They should also be watered only as needed, depending the species of fruit tree, the type and size of its container, and its surroundings. For most dwarf fruit trees, the soil surface should be allowed to dry out some before watering. Fertilizing, however, should be done more often, at least once every 4-6 weeks during the growing season.
When growing dwarf fruit trees, you should repot them one size up about every two years.
Grafted Dwarf Fruit Trees
A popular way of increasing fruit production is to graft several varieties onto the one miniature fruit tree. The growth habit of the dwarf fruit tree is a major consideration when deciding to do a multi graft. Grafting fruit trees with similar growth habits will prove to be more successful, as a stronger variety will outgrow a weaker one. An alternative to the multi-grafted tree is growing two separate varieties together in one large container.