Grow Fruit in a Small Space

Even if you have no garden soil in which to plant, you can still grow a fruit tree. Almost all fruit trees on the market are grown on dwarfing rootstocks, and grow well in large containers as long as they're well watered and fed.

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Potted Fruit TreeEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

When to Start: late winter
At Its Best: fall
Time to Complete: 1 hour

Materials Needed:

  • a large pot
  • broken clay pot pieces
  • potting soil
  • slow-release granular fertilizer
  • a dwarf fruit tree
  • pebbles or chips for mulch

Before Planting

Fruit trees grown in containers are almost totally dependent on the fertilizer and water you give them. To give your tree the best start and to help it establish, soak the root ball before planting because it's hard to wet dry roots thoroughly afterward. The best way to do this is to immerse the pot in a large bucket of water and leave it to soak for about an hour, or until the water stops bubbling. Then, lift the tree from the bucket and allow it to drain.

before planting fruit tree immerse it in waterEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Prepare to Plant

Choose a large pot with a wide base so that the tree isn't easily blown over, and stand it in a sunny, sheltered spot. Make sure the pot has plenty of drainage holes, or drill your own, and cover them with a layer of broken clay pot pieces to prevent soil from blocking them. Fill the base with compost, and add a sprinkling of slow-release fertilizer.

Tease Out Roots

Place the tree in the pot, adding or removing compost, until the top of the root ball is about 2 inches below the rim. Then lift the plant, remove it from its original pot, and tease out the roots from the root ball. This encourages the roots to grow out into the soil, stabilizing the tree, and helping it to establish quickly. Place the tree in the container.

Tease Out the RootsEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited
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