Fruit trees offer many benefits to those who cultivate them, from attractive flowers to edible and fresh-tasting fruits. Growing fruit trees in containers allows you to bring them indoors during the winter, which means you can still grow tropical fruits, even if you don't live in a tropical climate.
A member of the dogbane family, natal plum (Carissa macrocarpa) is a fruit tree native to Northern South Africa. The evergreen has prickly branches, round green leaves and an irregular habit. The plant produces deeply fragrant white flowers which give way to tasty edible plums, which are a rich pink color. Dwarf cultivars of the natal plum can be grown as a container plant, ideally in a pot that gets put outdoors in the summer and indoors in the winter. Natal plum does best in USDA zones 9 to 11, in full sunlight (though it will tolerate some shade). The tree can be grown in cooler climates if kept indoors during winter frosts. Plant the tree in a well-drained soil, and water infrequently. The seeds within the fruit are rumored to be toxic, so eat the plums carefully.
A native of China, Meyer lemon (Citrus meyeri) is a small lemon tree that is ideal as an indoor or outdoor container plant. The tree boasts glossy,dark green foliage accented by pink-tinged waxy white flowers, which are quite fragrant. The tree produces juicy, thin skinned lemons that are sweeter than most other lemon varieties. Like most citrus trees, Meyer lemon does best in full sunlight (preferably in USDA zones 8b to 10). A well-draining soil and a pot with a drainage hole are essential components to the health of this tree, which will quickly be harmed by waterlogged soil. Water frequently in the spring, less so in the cooler months. Keep the tree outside in the summer, and place near a south-facing window, if possible, when indoors.
A native of tropical South America, the papaya (Carica papaya) is a low-maintenance tropical fruit tree that yields soft, creamy fruits punctuated by squishy black seeds. The papaya tree is an unusual-looking tree that has a succulent-like trunk, accented by long green branches and huge tropical leaves. The tree also has attractive white blooms. Papaya is ideal as an outdoor container plant, and will thrive in full sunlight in USDA zones 10 and 11. Plenty of sunlight is crucial for papayas, as the fruits wont taste as sweet if grown in the shade. A fertile, well-draining soil that is kept consistently moist during the summer is best for this tree.