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How to Plant a Dwarf Fruit Tree

By Katherine Kally ; Updated September 21, 2017

You can plant dwarf fruit trees in your yard or garden or in containers on your patio. Dwarf fruit trees typically only grow between 5 and 8 feet tall, but they produce regular-sized fruit. Like other fruit trees, some dwarf fruit trees are self-pollinating and some require two different varieties of the species planted near each other in order to produce fruit.

Planting in Containers

Select the container for your dwarf fruit tree based on the age of the tree. A 6- to 9-inch container is adequate for trees up to two years old, but older, full-grown dwarf fruit trees will need a larger 10- to 14-inch container.

Line the bottom of the container with gravel to help with drainage. Mix in several handfuls of compost with potting soil formulated for fruit trees. Fill the planter slightly less than half full with the mixture.

Set the root ball of the dwarf fruit tree on top of the soil and compost mixture. Separate the roots and then cover them with more potting mix. Some species of dwarf fruit trees need more soil covering the roots than others; follow the planting instructions for your specific tree.

Water your fruit tree immediately after planting it. Make sure that your fruit tree receives at least 1 inch of water each week.

Feed your tree every six weeks during the spring and summer with fertilizer specially formulated for fruit trees. You can expect to enjoy the fruits of your labor when your tree is between two and three years of age.

Planting in the Ground

Dig a hole that's twice the width of your dwarf fruit tree's root ball, and sprinkle compost in the base of the hole.

Make a mound with loose dirt in the center of the hole. Stand the root ball of the fruit tree on top of the mound. Make sure that the graft line of the tree is about 3 inches above the ground. If necessary, add or remove dirt from the mound. Spread the roots in all directions.

Fill the hole with soil, packing it firmly around the tree. Overfill the hole by at least 2 inches so that when the soil settles, the fruit tree's roots will still be covered.

Stake the tree with stretchy fabric tied around the trunk and to a wooden stake in the yard until the tree is established. Water the tree and add organic mulch around the base. Follow the watering and fertilizing instructions for container trees.


Things You Will Need

  • Dwarf fruit tree
  • Large planter
  • Gravel
  • Potting mix (for fruit trees)
  • Compost
  • Water
  • Fertilizer (for fruit trees)
  • Shovel
  • Stretchy fabric
  • Stake
  • Organic Mulch

About the Author


Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.