How to Grow an Apple Tree in a Planter


Apple trees provide delicious fruit and visual interest to the garden. If the growing conditions are right, you can grow an apple tree in a planter, as opposed to putting it in the ground. A dwarf apple tree would be best suited for growing in containers, given its size, but you can also purchase a 1-year-old sapling (usually about 4 to 6 feet tall) for planting.

Step 1

Put 2 inches of small gravel at the bottom of the planting container. This will increase drainage.

Step 2

Fill the container hallway with potting soil. Use the shovel to push the soil up against the sides of the pot, to make a basin in the middle for the apple tree's roots.

Step 3

Place the apple tree in the center of the pot. Use your hands to loosen and spread out the roots. Be careful not to rip any of them.

Step 4

Backfill the container with potting soil to cover the roots. Tamp it down to eliminate air pockets as you fill it. Continue to scoop in soil until the container is completely full.

Step 5

Water the apple tree thoroughly, until the water runs out of drainage holes at the base of the pot. Check the soil moisture every day by inserting a finger a few inches down. For the first few months of growth, keep the soil moist by adding water whenever it feels dry. In dry weather, you may need to water the apple tree twice a day.

Step 6

Feed the apple tree once a month. Use a fertilizer that has a nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium ratio of 5:20:10. Use a slow release granular formula or liquid formula. Water after fertilizing to help the food reach the roots.

Step 7

Prune the apple tree lightly in the first three years of growth, if at all. In the fourth year, the tree may be getting too big for the pot and need to be cut back to size. If you need to do heavy pruning, do it in the late winter or early spring before growth begins.

Things You'll Need

  • 5-gallon planter
  • Pea-sized gravel
  • Shovel
  • Potting soil
  • Apple tree
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning sheers


  • University of Florida: Growing Fruit Crops in Containers
  • Mid City Nursery: Growing Fruit Trees in Containers
  • North Carolina State University: Growing Apple Trees In The Home Garden
Keywords: grow an apple tree in a planter, grow apple tree, apple tree in container

About this Author

Kelly Shetsky has been a broadcast journalist for more than ten years, researching, writing, producing and reporting daily on many topics. In addition, she writes for several websites, specializing in medical, health and fitness, arts and entertainment, travel and business-related topics. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Marist College.