The Best Fruit Trees to Grow Indoors
Growing fruit trees indoors allows you to grow your own fruit, such as lemons, limes, grapefruits and bananas, regardless of your climate. Indoor fruit trees are usually also very ornamental, smell wonderful, help purify the air, and give you the assurance of healthy fruit free from unwanted chemicals or pesticides. Not all fruit trees are suitable for growing indoors, however. Dwarf varieties of citrus, and those that don't require massive amounts of sunlight to set and ripen fruit, are the best fruit trees to grow indoors.
Dwarf Meyer Lemon
One of the most popular fruits to be grown indoors, the Dwarf Meyer Lemon produces edible fruit, often in large quantities. It is also ideal for indoors, because unlike some citrus varieties it does not require a lengthy hot spell to sweeten the fruit.
With beautiful leaves, edible fruit and uses for most of its parts, including the rinds and leaves, the Kaffir Lime is well-suited to growing indoors. This lesser-known lime variety is often used in Thai and creole dishes, but it's also handy for use with meats such as fish, chicken and pork, in sauces and in drinks.
The juicy and delicious kumquat does well indoors if the plant is dwarfed or pinched off to limit its height. The fruits are both ornamental and delicious.
Oro Blanco Grapefruit
Developed as a cross between a Duncan grapefruit and a pummelo, the Oro Blanco Grapefruit grows well indoors and will produce sweet fruit without being placed outdoors or in a warm location.
Super Dwarf Cavendish
The Super Dwarf Cavendish, also known as Novak, is a small banana tree that grows well indoors and produces edible miniature bananas. They are sensitive to sudden temperature changes, however, and may produce fruit slowly if temperatures are cool.
Fruits You Can Grow Indoors
Growing fruit indoors isn’t a great way to feed a household, but as horticultural endeavors go, it can be a lot of fun. Trees are particularly good for indoor container growing because they live year-round, and many can be brought outside in the warm months (this often provides a much-needed health boost after a long winter indoors). Most fruit trees that work well indoors are dwarf varieties that stay small and, in many cases, produce small fruit. If you have questions about the viability of any type or fruit plant in your climate, ask a local extension service or at a trusted nursery or garden center for recommendations. Fruit is generally harder to grow than most vegetables and certainly most herbs. While it’s reasonable to grow vegetables—indoors or out—with the expectation of feeding yourself with fresh, organic produce, fruit is much more hit-and-miss. That said, there’s plenty to love about fruit plants. The fruits mature throughout the winter, and they stay on the branch so you can eat them over several weeks. Bring it outside during warm months, but be careful not to shock it with a sudden dramatic temperature change. Like other citrus trees, Meyer lemon trees are troubled by whiteflies, spider mites, mealybugs and scale. While the flesh of the fruit is not good for eating, the rind adds a sour element to cooked dishes. Kaffir lime trees grow to 4 to 6 feet tall in containers. Dormancy is important for fruiting. At the other end of the spectrum, dwarf varieties (such as Petite Negra) can be very small and can bear fruit when they’re no more than 12 inches tall. If you have the space, a strawberry pot makes for a decorative indoor container. Strawberries bear fruit starting in early summer and can be coaxed to produce well into fall. They like a lot of sun and flower in early spring, followed by fruit.