Growing peach trees in containers is possible, though they may not produce large harvests of fruit like their ground-planted relatives. A very large container is needed to house the root system and it must have good drainage. Consistent watering and fertilizing and good cultural practices will help ensure a healthy tree that will mature to develop fruit each year. Peach trees are quite sensitive to waterlogged soil so container planting can help to alleviate this issue in areas with swampy soil conditions.
Select a container at least twice if not three times the diameter of the peach tree root ball. Minimize the need to transplant by choosing a large container that will accommodate the tree three to five years out. Ensure that there are multiple drainage holes at the bottom of the container.
Select a growing location for the container that will give the peach tree full sun exposure daily but will protect it from harsh, cold or drying winds. Place the container in this location and them begin the planting process.
Prepare an easy-draining, nutrient-rich soil for your peach tree by mixing sterile bagged potting soil with several pounds each of compost and well aged manure.
Cover the bottom of the container with an inch of gravel to provide extra drainage and keep the soil from escaping. Fill the container halfway up with bagged potting soil, compost and well-aged manure. Set the tree in the container and adjust the soil to bring the top of the root ball up to within an inch or 2 of the lip of the container to create a watering moat.
Back fill the remaining soil, compost and aged manure to secure the tree, tamping down lightly with your palm. Water in deeply until water dribbles out of the drainage holes. Add more soil around the root ball as it settles.
Water your container-grown peach tree deeply once every seven to 10 days or so. Allow the surface soil to dry out to a depth of an inch between waterings but no more. Scale back watering in cool or rainy weather and increase watering in dry and hot weather to maintain even moisture.
Refrain from feeding the peach tree until you see new green growth, then apply a complete balanced fertilizer formulation with trace nutrients. Look for a product with a guaranteed analysis of 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 and small amounts of magnesium, zinc, iron, manganese and copper.
Water the fertilizer in deeply until the soil is drenched and mulch over lightly with more compost or shredded bark to cover the fertilizer and soil surface. Feed regularly according to the package directions to keep the leaves a deep green color, but err on the side of less, not more fertilizer.