How to Grow Dwarf Fruit Trees

Overview

Dwarf fruit trees are miniature versions of the full-sized tree. Almost every fruit tree can be purchased in a dwarf variety at your local nursery. Citrus trees are the most common fruit trees that are dwarfed. These trees grow no bigger than approximately 8 feet tall but produce full-sized fruit. Dwarf fruit trees are typically grown in containers so they are perfect for someone who does not have the room for a regular-sized tree. The size of the tree is usually limited by the size of container that it is grown in.

Step 1

Choose up to a 10-inch container for a young tree. This will give the tree plenty of room to begin growing. When the tree is around 2 years old you will need to transplant it to a 14-inch pot. It's best to plant your tree in the area that you will be allowing it to grow. The tree can be heavy and hard to move. Dwarf fruit trees prefer a bright location that receives full sun.

Step 2

Place a layer of screen or mesh in the bottom of the container to prevent soil from coming out of the drainage holes. Add a 1- to 2-inch layer of fine gravel on top of the mesh. This will help give the fruit tree drainage.

Step 3

Add 2 to 3 inches of an all-purpose potting mix into the container. You can also mix 1 part peat moss, 1 part sand and 1 part bark for a good planting soil.

Step 4

Place the fruit tree into the container and cover the roots of the tree with more potting mix. The fruit tree should be placed in the container to the depth which the tree was previously grown. You can measure the previous container if you are not sure what depth to plant it. The final soil depth should be 1 to 4 inches from the rim of the container. Pat down the soil with your hands or a spade so that it is firm around the base of the tree.

Step 5

Water the newly planted fruit tree generously until water begins to drain out of the drainage holes. Allow the soil to dry before you water the tree again. This will generally be once a week, with 2 to 3 inches of water. If your tree is located outside and receives a steady supply of rainfall you may not need to water the plant. Check the soil before you water the tree.

Step 6

Fertilizer your fruit tree every 4 to 6 weeks in the spring with a 5-10-10 fertilizer during the growing period. For a tree that is less than 2 years old you will apply 1/4th of a pound. Increase the amount of fertilizer every year by 1/4th of a pound.

Step 7

Prune your dwarf fruit tree in the fall after all the fruit has matured and fallen off. Remove any damaged or diseased limbs. Trim away any branches that are crossing one another. These can prevent proper sunlight from filtering through the tree. Cut away any branches near the base of the tree. These should be cut with a sharp trimmer, flush to the base of the tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Container
  • Potting mix
  • Spade
  • Gravel
  • Mesh screen
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning sheers

References

  • Florida Cooperative Extension: Growing Fruit Crops in Containers
  • Gardening Know How: Dwarf Fruit Trees
Keywords: dwarf fruit trees, growing fruit trees, fruit trees

About this Author

Melanie Hammontree is a member of the Society for Professional Journalists and has been writing since 2004. Works include publications with "Hall County Crime Examiner," "Player's Press" and "The Gainesville Times." Hammontree has a Master of Business and is working on a Master of Journalism from the University of Tennessee.