How to Grow Container Fruit Trees


Fruit trees provide fresh fruit and add an ornamental value to the surroundings with the beautiful foliage, colorful and fragrant blossoms. Growing fruit trees in containers allows gardeners living in areas outside the best growing zones, or those who do not have the space required, to successfully grow fruit trees. Choose from such fruit trees as citrus varieties, cherries, apples, figs and peaches to grow in containers. Consider selecting dwarf varieties that grow best in containers, according to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Step 1

Pick the type of fruit tree you want to grow in containers. Select self-pollinating varieties, or more than one cultivar, when needed for fruiting. Ask about this information when purchasing your fruit trees. Acquire your fruit tree in spring for planting.

Step 2

Select a container for growing the fruit tree(s). According to the National Gardening Association, a good fruit-tree container is a 15-gallon pot, which can contain a 5-foot tree. Choose a container that's between about 70 and 125 pounds; this means you will have a difficult time moving the container fruit tree once it is planted. Use containers with drainage holes, and use a tray to catch the extra water.

Step 3

Place the container in the area selected to grow your fruit tree that provides at least six hours of full sun per day. Cover the drainage hole with screen to keep soil inside pots. Fill the container partially full with good quality potting soil, or a mixture of one-part sand, one-part peat and one-part bark (perlite or vermiculite), per the University of Florida.

Step 4

Carefully remove the fruit tree from its container to inspect the roots. Cut away any damages or weak roots, and untangle or shorten roots to encourage root growth.

Step 5

Set the fruit tree in the container, and add additional soil until it is planted at the same depth it was previously. Pat the soil down often to remove air pockets, and leave from 1 to 4 inches of space from the top of the soil to the containers rim (for watering). Supply water slowly to the container, until you see it draining from the bottom.

Step 6

Add a layer of mulch or gravel around the fruit tree to retain moisture in the soil, and enhance the look of the container. Check the fruit trees' container moisture level often, especially during hot temperatures. Allow the top inch or so of soil to dry, and then water thoroughly.

Step 7

Apply a balanced fertilizer after growth is seen on the fruit tree. Follow the directions on the label, and reapply monthly during the growing season of the fruit tree. Always water the fruit tree after fertilizing.

Step 8

Prune container fruit trees as needed, since most will not require regular pruning. Cut away any frail, diseased or broken branches and any branches touching or crossing the center. Prune branches back to control overall size, but allow the fruit tree to form a natural appearance.

Things You'll Need

  • Container with tray
  • Screening
  • Soil
  • Pruning shears
  • Shovel or hand trowel
  • Water
  • Mulch or gravel


  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst: Growing Fruit in Containers
  • National Gardening Association: Fruit Trees in Containers
  • University of Florida Extension: Growing Fruit Crops in Containers
Keywords: growing fruit trees, grow in containers, container fruit trees

About this Author

Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published on Yahoo!, the Travel Channel and Intel.