Dwarf fruit trees are the best way to make a city rooftop look like a verdant paradise. They are worth it even if you only have a small balcony, barely fitting a few plants. A single pear tree or a line of peaches, apricots, plums, and apple trees, these precious and adorable dwarf fruit trees will bring structure and a sense of maturity to any open spot on your property.
How to Choose between Dwarf Fruit Trees
Dwarf fruit trees are great for pots if they are grown on a dwarfing rootstock. Ask a specialist supplier for help when selecting the right one. Check for the number of trees for a good pollination. Some only require one tree to bear fruit, while others need several, so it is easy to pick according to the room you have.
How to Plant and Grow Fruit Trees
Feel free to grow them in pots that are 1-foot in diameter and 1-foot deep minimum. You can opt for the galvanized dustbins, as they are the ideal size, look rather elegant, and cost little at an average hardware store. You can also use halved wooden barrels or terracotta pots, or even plastic and rubber planters. If they lack them, drill some drainage holes into the base.
It is also necessary to anchor the tree to some support, because a fruit tree in leaf can have trouble with the wind. As they are able to live for many years, plant them in a soil potting mix that slowly releases nutrients. In addition, place them in sunny spots for a great and sweet crop.
Every two weeks, feed the dwarf fruit trees from blossom time, until mid-autumn. Use high-potash feed like liquid seaweed, and keep them watered well. Feel free to mulch the surface with shingle or cocoa shells, to keep the moisture in. The traditional time for planting is the dormant season, starting in mid-fall and ending in early spring, but you can plant them year-round. Pruning depends on the tree type.
A typical orchard dwarf fruit tree that grows as a bush on a dwarfing rootstock, an espalier U-shaped cordon, or a double U. Different dessert varieties include Gala, Fuji, and Honeycrisp, and all pollinate each other. You can also try Jonagold, Pink Lady, Cox, and Ashmeads Kernal. Gordon, Liberty, and Sierra Beauty are great cooking varieties.
Ripe pears trees are wonderful, but because they flower early, potential late frosts can really damage their crops. Cover the branches with fleece if the forecast expects frost, just to be sure. Pears grow as a bush on dwarfing rootstock, or as a cordon, espalier, U or double U. Good dessert varieties are Bartlett, Moonglow, and Doyenne du Comice.
Modern cherries are self-fertile plants, so can only have one tree for a good crop. Birds will be a problem however, so a netting may be necessary. Blossoms are beautiful and a lot of fruit is on the tree when it is established. Grow them as a bush on a dwarfing rootstock, or as a fan against a wall that is warm.
The best varieties are Lapins and Stella, and if you have a shady wall that faces north, a morello or acid cherry will thrive as a fan and produce tart cherries, delicious when cooked.
These trees are known to deliver heavy crops, and they ask next to nothing in return. Pruning is the bare minimum, and most of the sorts are self-fertile. They only require thinning of the developing fruits, because they tend to produce tons of plums one year, and nothing the next. Thin then during midsummer about two inches apart. Grow the plums either as a bush on dwarfing rootstock, or as a fan. Try the greengages, a sort with a unique buttery texture and sweetness.
Peach and Apricot Trees
There is no going back once you try an apricot or a peach from your own dwarf tree. Make sure to buy a tree with suitable dwarfing rootstock. A good peach variety is Bonanza, while Pixzee or Pixie-cot is the best among dwarf apricots. All can be grown as a freestanding tree in pots, and only require little pruning. They can also work as fans.
Both plants are hardy during the dormant wintertime. The flowers are normally in danger of frost damage, because they blossom early in the spring. Bring them inside when they blossom if there is frost on the weather forecast, or cover it with horticultural fleece if it is against a wall.
Thy are both self-fertile, but they can use some pollination to ensure a good crop. When the flowers open, use a soft brush to dab the pollen gently, and then rub it onto a surrounding flower. Try to get a peach tree resistant to peach leaf curl, as it is a nasty fungal disease to deal with.
It is a special thing to have a sprawling, fan fig tree in a pot. The hand-shaped leaves release a sweet fig scent when you brush past them, especially during hot days. The fruits are amazingly succulent and tend to swell through the entire summer until they practically burst open, revealing the sweet and dark flesh.
Figs are an ideal dwarf tree plant for pots because they prefer their roots are confined. They are also easy to train into different fan shapes by tying their branches against a warm wall.
To have a healthy crop in cool climates, protect the baby fruits during winter by tying some sleeves of plastic bubble wrap loosely around them. It is important to leave them open-ended so air can circulate through. You should remove any fruits that are larger than pea by fall, and pinch out the growing shoots in early summer. Only five leaves should remain per shoot.
One reliable sort is Brown Turkey, with delicious purple flesh fruit. You can also try Panachee and Black Mission. Plant them in a soilless potting mix, or a soil-based mix, in a pot not smaller than 18-inches in diameter. Put the pot in a sunny and sheltered spot, and keep watered well. Feed it with some liquid seaweed once every two weeks during the entire growing season.
Calamondin Orange Trees
Calamondin orange (X Citrofortunella microcarpa) dwarf tree is arguably the best choice for beginners. The beautiful glossy trees produce intensely scented flowers all the time, and they develop small and round fruits. Bear in mind that they are too sour to eat raw, but make for a delicious and tangy marmalade. You should also try to cut them and add to a cool drink. Their biggest benefit is that they are the only citrus plant, which can be kept inside during winter. It can even be grown inside year-round.
There you have it, eight different dwarf fruit trees to make your home more beautiful while giving you some tasty and scented fruits. Which one is the most appealing to you? We encourage you to try more than one!