Best fruit trees to grow in pots: our top choices for containers

Best fruit trees to grow in pots: our top choices for containers

Popular, dwarf fruit trees to grow in pots
If you’d like to grow your own fruit at home but have limited space, try growing fruit trees in pots.

Fruit trees grow well in pots as long as they are grown on a dwarf rootstock, which means they grow to about half the size of a regular fruit tree.

Most popular fruit trees are available in dwarf or mini varieties including apples, pears, oranges and cherries.

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growing citrus tree in a pot
You can use just about any type of container to grow fruit trees including plastic, timber, terracotta or ceramic pots as long as they’re at least 1 foot (30cm) wide and 1 foot deep. Half wine barrels also work well.

The best time to plant fruit trees in containers is during winter or early spring when the trees are still dormant.

Place your fruit tree in a nice sunny spot and feed it regularly with a liquid seaweed solution.

lemon tree in a pot
1. Apple Trees
Dwarf apple trees look great growing in pots or tubs, and they’re perfect for backyards, courtyards or sunny balconies.

If you don’t have much space, it’s best to choose a self-pollinating variety so that you only need to grow one plant to get fruit.

Apple tree in container
2. Orange Trees
Oranges and other citrus fruits will grow well in pots situated in a sunny position.

Orange trees need at least 8 hours of sunlight a day and grow best in warm climates where winters are mild, but they can still be grown in cool climates with a bit of care during winter.

Orange fruit tree
3. Cherry Trees
Some cherry trees take up to four years to produce fruit, but in the meantime you can enjoy their beautiful white or pink blossoms during springtime.

Birds love to eat cherries, so netting may be needed.

The best time to pick cherries is when they’re fully ripe because they don’t continue to ripen after they’re picked.

RELATED: How to Keep Cherry Trees Small

Cherry tree
4. Pear Trees
Pear trees grown in containers need at least six hours of sunlight each day.

Pears are one of the earliest flowering fruit trees and can be damaged by frost.

The trees can be covered if they’re in flower when a frost is forecast.

Pear dwarf fruit tree
5. Plum Trees
Plum trees can be grown in containers but the fruit will need to be thinned to avoid the branches getting too heavy.

Thin out the fruit so that each fruit is about 2 inches (5 cm) apart.

Plum trees need regular fertilizing once fruit production has started.

Plum tree
6. Apricot Trees
Apricot trees are frost hardy when dormant over winter, but the flowers are susceptible to frost damage.

The best time to pick apricots is when the fruit changes from green to yellow / orange in color and feels slightly soft, but still firm.

Apricot tree
7. Peach Trees
Peach trees are another popular fruit tree that can be grown in containers.

Both peach and nectarine trees are available in dwarf varieties.

Most dwarf varieties grow to a height of 6 – 8 feet (1.8 – 2.4 m) and are self-pollinating.

Peaches should be picked when they are fully ripe with no green on the fruit.

Peach tree
8. Fig Trees
Fig trees are a good choice for growing in containers because they don’t mind having their roots confined.

Fig trees prefer to grow in climates with warm summers and cool winters.

Suckers that grow around the base of the tree can be removed throughout the growing season and used to grow more plants.

Figs should be picked when they are slightly soft and smell sweet. Figs don’t continue to ripen once they have been picked, so it’s best to pick them when you need them.

RELATED: How To Grow Fig Trees In Containers

Fig tree
9. Avocado Trees
Avocado trees grown in containers are restricted by the size of the container as well as pruning.

Young avocado trees are susceptible to sunburn, so they may need shading in the hot afternoon sun.

Avocados mature on the tree, but they don’t ripen until they’re picked.

Avocado tree growing in pot
10. Lemon Trees
Lemon trees grow well in pots and can reach 10 – 20 feet (3 – 6m), but the height can be controlled by pruning.

Lemon trees are more sensitive to cold temperatures than other citrus trees and will need protection from frost.

Grafted lemon trees should produce fruit in 2 – 3 years.

For the first year or two, it’s best to remove any fruit that starts to grow, as it can stress the plant, and the branches may not be able to support the weight of the fruit.

Lemon tree
11. Lime Trees
Lime trees need at least 8 hours of sun per day and moist but well drained soil.

The trees can be moved indoors or to a garage if winter temperatures fall below 25 degrees F. (-4 C.)

Limes are best picked with they are light green and slightly soft when squeezed.

Lime tree growing in container

Tips for Growing Fruit Trees in Pots and Containers
If you don’t have room for two trees, it’s best to buy a self-pollinating variety or a tree that has cultivars grafted on to it.
Before planting your fruit tree, place the container on a plant stand with wheels to make it easier to move around if required.
Fruit trees need full sun, so it’s best to position them in the sunniest part of your garden or balcony.
Young fruit trees will require staking to protect them against strong winds.
Containers and pots can dry out quickly in warm weather, so your fruit tree may need to be watered weekly, or even daily in really hot weather.
Fruit trees will benefit from a good quality fertilizer during the growing season.
Remove the tree from its container every 2 – 3 years and cut the roots back so that it doesn’t become root bound.
In cold climates you can store fruit trees in a sheltered area or garage over winter.