Though it seems like you would need a large expanse of land to enjoy trees in your garden, trees for patio pots offer a solution to a smaller space whether you live in a rural or urban setting. Choose trees based on size. Many dwarf varieties and smaller species offer compact size. Be sure the size of the pot is large enough for the growth of your tree's roots.
Mugo Pine Tree
Mugo pine trees, Pinus mugo, are well-suited for use in patio pots because their dwarf variety has a slow growth rate of approximately less than 1 foot annually. Displaying green needle-like foliage that often becomes yellow-green during the winter season, the mugo pine tree also bears small cones that measure 1 to 2 inches in length and 1 inch in width. Mugo pines thrive in full sun to partial shade and prefer moist acid soil. Ideal soil pH is 4 to 6. Standard mugo pines grow to a height of 15 to 20 feet, with a width of 20 to 25 feet. Dwarf varieties reach a height and width of 4 to 5 feet.
American Boxwood Tree
American boxwoods, Buxus sempervirens--also referred to as common boxwoods, are ornamental evergreen trees with dark green leaves that display yellow undersides. Popular as a tree for a patio pot, boxwoods have a slow growth rate of approximately less than 1 foot annually. Thriving in full sun, boxwoods tolerate heavy shade and prefer well-drained soil for proper development of root systems. American boxwood trees grow to a height of 10 to 15 feet, according to the Clemson University Extension.
English yew trees, Taxus baccata, are well-suited for use in patio pots because of their slow growth rate and short to medium height. English yews display a red/brown trunk, glossy dark green leaves and small red fruits. Practice caution, though, because the fruit is poisonous and the toxic chemical taxine is found in the leaves and bark of the tree. Thriving in full sun to partial shade, English yews prefer well-drained, moist soil with a tolerance for either an acid or alkaline soil pH. English yews generally grow to a height of 20 to 25 feet with a spread of 15 to 20 feet, explains the University of Florida IFAS Extension.
Crape Myrtle Tree
Crape myrtle trees, Lagerstroemia indica, are flowering trees suited for use as potted patio plants due to their long life span and tolerance for drought. Displaying flower clusters in white, pink, lavender or red with green foliage, crape myrtle trees thrive in full sun. Excessive shade may increase susceptibility to diseases and will slow growth. Plant crape myrtle trees in well-drained soil. Crape myrtle trees grow to a height of just under 3 feet to 20 feet depending on cultivar, according to the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.