Determine the kind of fruit you would like to pot so you'll know if you need to grow one or two trees. If your favorite fruit grows on trees that are self-pollinating, you will only need one tree. Self-pollinating fruit tree varieties include citrus and peaches. If you enjoy apples, you'll need to pot more than one type of apple tree, as they are cross-pollinating. Cross-pollinating fruit trees rely on different varieties of the same species to produce fruit. Most fruit trees produce fruit when they are between two and three years old.
Select a large clay pot, at least 12 inches in diameter, with good drainage. Terra-cotta pots are good choices for fruit trees, as they absorb water naturally and provide a healthy, moist environment for most plants.
Fill the bottom of your large clay pot with gravel to help with drainage. Mix a few handfuls of organic compost in with the potting soil to add nutrients. Fill the pot about halfway full. Look for large clay pots, potting soil and organic compost at your local garden supply center.
Remove the fruit tree from the container and place it on top of the potting soil. Knead the soil around the bottom and sides of the root-ball to help spread the roots. If you plant a bare root fruit tree, soak the roots in a bucket of water for a few hours before placing the tree in the soil. Spread the bare roots on top of the soil to give the fruit tree a good start.
Add more potting soil on top of and around the root-ball. Most fruit trees only need soil to cover the top of the root-ball. If your tree appears to sit too low or too high in the pot, remove it and adjust the soil. You should only fill the soil to within 2 inches of the rim of the pot. The space will allow water to swell before it recedes.
Water your potted fruit tree immediately. If the soil compacts after watering, add more soil as needed. Water your potted fruit tree every few days; fruit trees need at least 1 inch of water each week to thrive. Mist your fruit tree every other day. Fruit trees enjoy water on their leaves.
Fertilize your potted fruit tree every five to six weeks during the spring and summer. Select fertilizer that is especially formulated for fruit trees.
Prune dead material from your fruit tree immediately. If shooters appear in the soil around the tree, remove them. Annual pruning will vary depending on the kind of fruit tree you grow. Plan to prune between 10 and 20 percent of your potted fruit tree's old growth each year.