Growing Fruit Trees in Containers


Growing fruit trees in containers is a method for producing home fruit in small spaces. According to the University of Florida, most tropical and subtropical fruit trees can be grown in containers. The main advantage is the portability of bringing the plants indoors during freezing temperatures. Fruit yields may not be as great as trees grown in the landscape, but the number of trees is only limited to the space available for the large containers.

Step 1

Place the large container on the rolling plant stand. The rolling plant stand will aid in moving the heavy container and tree.

Step 2

Insert the metal screen over the lower drainage holes of the container. The screen will keep soil from washing through the drainage holes. Layer 2 inches of the pea gravel over the screen. The porous gravel aids in water drainage from the base of the root system.

Step 3

Mix equal amounts of the peat moss, sand and composted bark for the potting soil mix. Fill the container 1/3 full with the mix.

Step 4

Remove the dwarf fruit tree from the nursery container. Cut back any roots that have curled around the inside of the original container with the pruning shears. These roots will deter new root growth.

Step 5

Set the root ball inside the large container. The height of the top of the root ball must be 1 to 4 inches below the top rim of the large container. Adjust the height by adding or taking away soil from beneath the tree's root ball. Fill in and around the tree's root ball with additional potting soil. Press the soil down with your hands.

Step 6

Water the tree into the potting soil. This will take several fillings of water. The goal is to remove any excess air from around the roots and improve the root-to-new-soil contact.

Step 7

Add a mulch or the remaining pea gravel as a top dressing to the potted tree.

Step 8

Check the soil moisture on a weekly basis. If the top inch of potting soil is dry, water thoroughly. Allow the water to drain from the lower holes.

Step 9

Fertilize the tree using a fruit tree water-soluble fertilizer. Follow label directions for fertilization rates and frequency of feeding.

Step 10

Prune the stems of the tree when the branches become leggy.

Step 11

Move the container-grown tree into and out of sunlight gradually. When bringing the tree indoors for the winter, reduce the amount of light over a period of two to four weeks. This will mean moving the tree under shade during the day.

Step 12

Prune all dead limbs and keep the tree a compact size.

Things You'll Need

  • Large container (10 to 20 gallon size)
  • Rolling plant stand
  • Metal screen
  • Pea gravel
  • Peat moss
  • Sand
  • Composted bark
  • Dwarf fruit tree
  • Pruning shears
  • Mulch
  • Tree water-soluble fertilizer


  • University of Florida: Growing Fruit Crops in Containers
  • Texas A&M University: Home Fruit Production
Keywords: fruit trees indoors, container-grown trees, container fruit trees, dwarf fruit trees

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.