The Best Way to Start Fruit Trees in Pots


In many regions winter temperatures dip far too low to grow fruit trees outdoors. For gardeners in these areas, the only way to start fruit trees is to grow them in pots. Certain types of fruit trees work much better for this type of gardening than others; dwarf varieties are especially good. Orange, lemon and apple trees all make good choices for growing in pots. The key to success is meeting each plant's specific soil, light and moisture requirements.

Step 1

Fill a large pot 3/4 full with a potting mix that drains well. Plant the fruit tree at the same level it was previously growing and water until the soil feels very moist.

Step 2

Place the pot in a location that receives full to partial sunlight. You can also place the tree in a sunny spot in the yard or on the patio as long as you move it back inside in early fall, before cold temperatures arrive.

Step 3

Water anytime the top inch of soil feels dry. When adding moisture it's important to add enough to dampen the soil well but not so much that it feels wet, as roots that remain too moist are susceptible to rot.

Step 4

Fertilize your potted fruit tree once every four to six weeks throughout the growing season using a balanced fertilizer. Stop feeding in early fall.

Step 5

Prune away any dead or damaged branches as needed. Cut the tree back to control shape and size in late winter, just before spring growth begins.

Step 6

Move your fruit tree to a larger pot every two years. This will prevent the tree from becoming root bound and will also increase fruit production.

Things You'll Need

  • Large pot
  • Potting mix
  • Balanced fertilizer
  • Pruning shears


  • University of Florida Extension: Growing Fruit Crops in Containers
  • Gardening Know How: Dwarf Fruit Trees -- A Planting Guide for Fruit Trees in Containers
  • Learn 2 Grow: Growing Fruit Trees in Containers
Keywords: start fruit trees, dwarf fruit trees, patio fruit trees, plant fruit trees, potted fruit trees

About this Author

Annita Lawson has been working as a freelance writer since 2004. Her work has been published in various web and print outlets, including The Dabbling Mum, A Virtuous Woman, and Pediatrics for Parents. Lawson is pursuing an Associate of Arts degree at Southeast Kentucky Community College. She enjoys sharing all that she has learned about parenting, healthy eating and living a frugal lifestyle.