Container gardening: How to grow fresh fruit on your balcony or deck

Growing fruit trees in pots….

Did you know that many fruit trees grow well in a pot? If you’re in rented accommodation or city-based apartments, abundant fresh fruit can be yours too! 

Citrus are a great option, with mandarins, lemons, limes and oranges all growing well in pots. 

But those aren’t the only options for you – you can even enjoy dwarf apple, plum and peach varieties, figs and feijoas too and let us not forget delicious blueberries! All of these do great in pots if given the right conditions.

How can I grow a fruit tree in a pot?

Choose a pot that is going to be big enough for your plant for up to 3 years. Your pot needs to be at least 35-60cm wide and be able to hold 40-80 litres of soil.

Most fruit trees have very similar soil requirements to one another, with the exception of blueberries, which prefer an acidic-based soil to thrive.

Place a good layer of stones or gap 7/14 in the base of your pot, creating a mound in the middle. This will ensure good drainage, which is imperative as fruit trees really detest wet feet.

Next, put a layer of compost and water, followed by a carbon layer of rotted leaves, and shredded, moist newspaper. On top of this, add your compost, rotted manure, bokashi, vermicast, and water it well.

Then, add a good layer of container mix and plant your tree, making sure it is planted below the top of the pot as this will allow space for a good thick mulch to be placed on top. Essential for moisture retention to give your tree the best start!

Plant your tree and be sure to push the soil in around the root base to prevent big air pockets, which will allow the water to run through. Once planted, put some sheep pellets or manure on top and cover with a thick layer of mulch. 

How much water does my tree need?

A fruit tree planted in a pot will require more water and food than one planted in the ground. 

My top tip: I highly recommend that you buy a base for your pot as, in the summer months, this will catch all the water that flows through and enable the plant to suck it back up.

Also, if you get into a routine of saving your shower or sink water over the summer months, this will give you enough available water for your plants.

What do I feed my tree?

A regular monthly feed of Liquid Kelp and EM (effective microorganisms), worm juice, bokashi juice or comfrey liquid will keep your plant healthy and vigorous.

What do I do when my tree outgrows its pot?

After three years, it will be time to replace the soil and restore the nutrients to keep your fruit tree producing for years to come, so be sure when choosing your pot to select one with a good open top to enable you to easily remove your fruit tree when the time comes.

Get ready to enjoy the abundance of fruit from your balcony or small back yard!

Keen to know more about growing fruit trees? We have dedicated an entire bundle in this quarter’s lessons in the Grow Inspired Academy! Find out more about joining our gardening members site here.

Happy gardening!

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