10 Fruit Trees that Grow Best in Pots

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Fruit Trees that Grow Best in Pots

A lot of people are keen to grow fruit trees, but don’t have a lot of outdoor space. If this is a situation you’re facing, there’s no need to fret! There are some amazing species that grow really well in containers. In fact, some of the fruit trees that grow best in pots just happen to be the tastiest around.

Are There Fruit Trees that Grow Best in Pots?

Some species are far better suited to container growing than others. This is because of the space they need for their roots, as well as the height they need to grow to. The fruits listed below are well suited to growing in pots for a variety of different reasons. Whether you’re growing outside in a small space, or inside your house or apartment, you’re sure to find at least a couple of species to grow this year.

1. Peach

Dwarf peach trees are great options for people who want to grow fruit in their container gardens. Since these trees are self-fertile, you don’t need to grow more than one of them in order to harvest delicious peaches for your table. Aim for Pixy or St. Julien cultivars if available, or else see what’s on offer at local nurseries and online tree distributors.

Growing peach trees in pots is a great option for people who live in colder growing zones. This is because you can bring the peach trees indoors in wintertime, instead of leaving them outside. Peaches are only hardy to zone 5, so northern growers are often disappointed that they can’t cultivate them. If you’re in a cold zone, bring your peaches indoors in autumn, and wrap them up to snooze until springtime. Just make sure to repot them every two to three years so they get plenty of new, delicious nutrients in their soil.

2. Fig

Do you like figs? If so, go out and get yourself a potted edible fig tree immediately. These luscious fruits can be grown indoors pretty much everywhere, and are self-pollinating so you only need one of them. 

Make sure you choose a large pot, as they need a bit of space to stretch their roots out. Use a standard potting soil mix as your base, and mix it with plenty of well-rotted manure or compost. You’ll also need perlite or volcanic rock for drainage. Keep it in full sun, but don’t overwater it. You’ll know it needs water when you stick your finger an inch into the soil and it comes out completely dry.

Just be careful when growing fig trees indoors, or anywhere near pets and/or livestock. The leaves are toxic to many animals, including cats and dogs.

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3. Apple

Among all the fruit trees that grow best in pots, apples are some of the easiest to cultivate. You can grow just about any apple tree in a container, but some varieties are much easier to grow in this manner than others.

For example, if you want to grow just one apple tree and you want it to bear fruit, you’ll need to buy a self-fertile variety. These are best for small patios and balconies, or to grow indoors. Otherwise, you’ll need at least two trees so they can cross-pollinate. 

Aim for varieties such as Falstaff or Sunset for self-fertile single growing. Also, be sure to grow your apple tree in a mixture of rich compost, regular soil, and a draining medium such as volcanic rock or perlite. 

4. Pear

Like apples and peaches, dwarf pear trees are absolutely perfect for growing in pots. Make sure to also get a self-fertile variety if you’re only growing one tree, and buy a pot that’s big enough to support the tree properly. It should be at least twice the width and depth of the tree’s root ball, so the roots can spread out well.

Use potting soil for your pear tree, and add extra drainage material if needed. If you do decide to only grow a single tree, look for Durondeau, Stark Honeysweet, Conference, or Collette Everbearing varieties. These self-pollinate easily, and are ideally suited to grow in smaller environments.


5. Pomegranate

Pomegranate trees don’t start to bear fruit until they’re two or three years old. Buy a tree that’s as mature as possible so you can harvest fruit early, and don’t worry about only growing one: they’re also self-fertile so they’ll fruit on their own. 

They need containers that hold at least 10 gallons of soil, and you’ll need to water yours deeply once a week. These trees need heat and full sunshine, and don’t do well with any kind of cold. You can grow them outdoors in the hottest part of the summer, then keep them in a sunny indoor spot indoors for the rest of the year.

6. Lemon

Did you know that you can grow a lemon tree from seed? It’s actually really easy to do! Just get an organic lemon from the grocery store, scrub the protective gel off some of the seeds, and plant them in potting soil mix. Keep the soil damp, in direct sunlight, and those seeds will sprout in a few weeks.

Lemon trees are ideal for growing in containers because their roots like to be constrained. You’ll need to keep pruning them so they don’t get too tall and “leggy”, and to encourage fruit growth. Buy a three- to five-year-old tree from a nursery to accelerate the fruiting process, if desired. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait several years for your seed-grown tree to start bearing fruit.

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7. Kumquat

Like lemon trees, kumquats grow really well in pots. They’re the citrus variety that’s happiest growing in a container, especially if they have the right soil combination. Aim for a 30-30-40 ratio of sand, potting soil, and well-aged compost. 

Make sure they get plenty of sunshine, whether you grow them outside on a balcony, or indoors near a south-facing window. If you grow outdoors, bring them in at the first sign of cold weather, and add some mulch onto the soil to keep the root ball warm.

8. Cherry

Cherry trees have very shallow roots, which make them ideal to grow in containers. They need well-draining, rich soil, so make sure to add amendments such as perlite, volcanic rock, or sand to the soil. This will prevent it from compacting, and will allow water to sift through it easily. 

You can grow either sweet or sour cherries, but make sure to get a self-fertile (aka self-pollinating) variety if you’re only growing one! There are only a few self-fertile cultivars out there, including Stella, Compact Stella, Sunburst, and Morello. When in doubt, talk to garden center staff so you don’t end up disappointed. Alternatively, grow a few cherry trees in containers so they can pollinate one another enthusiastically.

9. Plum

Plums have similar growing requirements to peach trees and other stone fruits. They need well-draining soil and a lot of sunshine, and need to be protected from cold weather. One great benefit to growing plum trees in pots is that you can move them around as needed.

Plop them into sunny spots during the summertime, then move them indoors when and if there’s a risk of frost. Make sure to keep the soil moist, but not wet, and offer them some fruit tree fertilizer once or twice during the growing season. Potted plums won’t produce as much fruit as conventionally grown trees, but you should still be able to get some beautiful yields from them!

Further Reading: 6 Fruit Trees that Grow in NYC

10. Olive

If you prefer savory foods rather than sweet, consider growing an olive tree (or four). Most olive tree varieties are self-fertile, so you can grow only one and it’ll still fruit. That said, you’ll get more abundant, healthier fruits if you cross-pollinate with another cultivar.

It’s best to grow at least two olive trees, so be sure to grow a beneficial pollinating cultivar within 20 feet of your chosen tree. Aim for a pollinator like Leccino, Pendolino, or Maurino for an abundant yield and healthier trees overall.

Fruit trees that grow best in pots still need a lot of care and attention in order to thrive. For example, their containers need to be at least a foot deep and a foot wide so they can stretch out their roots. Talk to experts at your local garden center or nursery to make sure you have good, well-draining soil for the species you choose. Most importantly, do your research to find out how much sun and water your tree needs so it can grow up happy, healthy, and strong.