People grow fruit trees in containers for a number of reasons – lack of garden space, ease of mobility or insufficient light in the garden proper. Some fruit trees do better than others when grown in containers. How about peaches? Can peach trees grow in pots? Read on to find out how to grow peach trees in containers and about container peach tree care.
Can Peach Trees Grow in Pots?
Absolutely; in fact, growing peaches in a container is an ideal growing method. Peaches bloom as early as March, so growing peaches in a container makes the tree easier to protect from sudden frost or winds.
There are a few things to consider if you want a container grown peach tree. First off, unlike apple trees, peaches have no dwarf rootstock to keep the trees small. Instead, some varieties naturally grow smaller. These are called “natural dwarfs” and while they produce full size fruit, the trees remain smaller, up to 6 feet (2 m.) in height or even smaller for container grown peach trees.
You can procure a bare root tree from the internet or a nursery catalog that will be shipped to you when it is the correct time to plant the tree in your region. Or you can purchase a bare root peach from the local nursery. These should be available towards the end of winter into the early spring and can be planted at most any time with the exception of the height of summer.
How to Grow Peach Trees in Containers
There are several varieties of natural dwarf trees to choose from when growing peaches in a container.
- Golden Glory is a natural dwarf variety that only gets to around 5 feet (1.5 m.) in height.
- El Dorado produces richly flavored fruit with yellow flesh early in the season.
- Honey Babe needs a cross pollinator that is also a dwarf.
There are also small nectarines trees, which are really peaches without the fuzz, that will do well container grown. Nectar Babe and Necta Zee are both good container grown nectarine options.
You will also need to consider your chill hours before selecting a tree. Peaches generally need 500 chill hours, so anyone living in the warmer south will need to purchase a “low chill” variety. Those in regions with temps below 20 F. (-6 C.) can grow any variety but will need to protect it.
Choose a spot in full sun, 6 hours or more of direct sunlight, to situate your container. For dwarf trees, use a container that is at least 5 gallons (19 L.) and has drainage holes. Place the container on a tray filled with a few inches of gravel or pebbles to allow for better drainage. Fill the pot half up with a loamy compost soil. Put the new tree into the pot and fill in and around the plant up to a couple of inches (5 cm.) from the top of the container. Make sure the graft line is not under the soil.
Container Peach Tree Care
Water the newly planted tree deeply, until water flows from the drainage holes. If the tree is bare root, there is no need to water again for another couple of weeks unless there is an extended heat wave. Otherwise, water the tree deeply whenever the soil dries out, about every 5-7 days in the spring and up to every other day in the summer.
Keep a close eye on the watering since container grown trees tend to dry out more quickly than those planted in the garden. Cut back the amount of water in late August or early September. This will slow the trees growth in preparation for winter.
Not only do container grown trees need more water than those in the garden, but they also require more fertilization. Apply a liquid fertilizer every couple of weeks. Choose a fertilizer that is made to facilitate flower and fruit production; that is one that is high in phosphorus. Taper off on fertilizing around the same time that you lessen the amount of water the tree gets.
Pruning is another factor. Suffice it to say that the tree should be pruned into a vase shape to facilitate harvest and production. If you want the tree to grow larger peaches, pinch off every other small peach. This will allow the tree to put more energy into growing the remaining fruit larger.
In colder climates, move the tree indoors and place it near a sunny window or in a greenhouse. Bring the tree back outside around April when exterior temperatures have warmed and all chance of frost has passed.
6 Tips for Growing Fruit Trees in Containers
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Growing fruit trees in containers is surprisingly easy, and there are some decided advantages. A small fruit tree in a container can be moved around to take advantage of different sun and shade patterns on a patio, deck, or courtyard. And if your garden soil is not ideal, filling a large container with a precisely formulated growing medium can make it possible to grow plants that would otherwise languish. Finally, growing in pots can make it possible to grow certain species that are borderline hardy in your region. Be aware, however, that potted fruit trees usually bear a lesser quantity of fruit than do garden trees, although the fruit may be ready for harvest earlier.
There is a learning curve to everything, but it really isn’t any more difficult to grow trees in containers than it is to grow them in the ground, provided you follow some simple guidelines.
Growing Fruit Trees in Pots
It’s not hard to grow fruit trees in pots. Whether you are trying to regrow a pineapple or want fresh lemons whenever you want, only a few considerations are necessary.
Do you prefer plastic, clay, or some other material for your pot? For example, plastic is lightweight and resistant to fungi and mold. Then, although terracotta pots are heavier, they allow water to evaporate faster, and don’t heat up as much in the sun.
Finally, you’ll need to select the best kind of potting soil and compost, which may vary according to whether you’re raising citrus, apple, fig, or other types of fruit. Get advice from your local garden center plus you can find guidance online and in gardening books.
There are many advantages to growing fruit trees in pots. These dwarf trees will still give you the delicious fruit you want at almost any time of year, but you can also move them around as needed. When the weather is colder, you can move them inside where they can benefit from the warm interior. During warm weather, transfer them to the patio or deck so they can take advantage of the sun’s rays.
Now I’d like to show you all the delicious kinds of fruit trees you can grow in pots. Note that there are also many other kinds of trees, like indoor palm trees, that you can grow in a pot, as well.
Growing an Apple Tree in a Pot(huandi/123rf.com)
Yes, you can grow apples in pots. They just need to be big enough to handle the tree. The trick to growing apple trees in containers is using cordons. These are frames you can buy or build.
The cordons encourage the tree to branch out like a bush. Or, choose to dwarf rootstock by trimming back excess in the root ball. With these two methods, your trees will focus their efforts on fruit instead of their height.
Another trick is to raise more than one apple tree at a time so they will pollinate each other. For example, try Fuji and Honeycrisp together, or Pink Lady and Jonagold. And if you enjoy cooking apples, raise Sierra Beauty, Liberty, or Gordon varieties.
Take care to plant your apple trees in the right type of soil, water them as directed, and watch for pests who like apples as much as you do. With some care and attention, your apple trees will be producing delicious apples that you can enjoy right off the tree or gather to make some yummy homemade recipes.
Apricot – Perfect for Container Gardening
Dwarf apricot varieties like Stella and Stark Golden Glow thrive in containers. And you can prune back any other kind of apricot to raise it in a pot.
If you live in an area with balmy winters, try Blenheim, Flora Gold, and Gold Kist because they are low-chill. They don’t need a long cold season to grow fruit.
Water-soluble fertilizer, one of the uses for coffee grounds, tends to be best for apricots. They do well in sunny locations where their soil never completely dries. And their fruit is ready to harvest when it’s firm and yellow.
Cherry Tree – Ideal to Grow in a Large Container(malleo/123rf.com)
Most cherries fertilize themselves (except for Bing), making it possible to experiment with only one tree. But that may not be enough if you truly love this tasty fruit.
And fair warning, the birds will love it, too. If you place your container outdoors, prepare to hang netting as a defense once the cherries ripen. Popular varieties of cherry include Stella, Lapins, Duke, and Morello. These grow well in partly shady places.
You can raise them as a bush from dwarfing rootstock or on an espalier against a wall. And keep them well-watered so that they develop juicy fruit.
Fig – Grow this Fruit Tree in a Container(deyangeorgiev/123rf.com)
Figs are decadently delicious alone or with strawberries in a strawberry-fig jam. You may have thought you couldn’t be growing fruits indoors in containers if you live in a colder climate, but you’re wrong.
While you’ll be raising them strictly inside in the winter, that’s not a problem as long as you have pots with adequate drainage.
And, you can plant them in a smaller container, then upgrade as their root ball fills the space. Fig trees don’t need a lot of pruning, but they can reach 15 feet in height if you don’t trim them back once in a while.
Fig trees naturally bush, but you can train them into one main trunk. It’s important to note that some people have an allergic reaction when handling figs, so always use gloves when working with your tree or the fruit just to be safe.
Olive Tree – Easy to Grow in a Large Pot(mazvone/123rf.com)
Since you might enjoy olives as a garnish for your drinks or your meals, wouldn’t it be handy to grow them in your home? They prefer six hours of light each day, so place the pot in a south-facing window. Dwarf olive trees thrive in a cactus mix that’s well-drained.
Plus, they do well in drier air indoors. Be sure to confirm the variety you choose is fruit-bearing like Picholine or Arbequina. And plan to expose them to cooler temperatures to encourage them to produce fruit.
Orange – Perfect for Small and Large Pots(dedivan1923/123rf.com)
Orange trees might make you think of sunshine and summer, but they are sensitive to frost. If you live in a zone with winter temperatures below 35°F, move them indoors during cold weather. They make great indoor fruit trees.
When you plant orange trees, it’s easiest to choose one from a nursery instead of starting with seeds. Try the Calamondin variety if you’re new to growing oranges.
Pot the rootstock with the graft scar above the soil level, but cover the roots. And orange trees prefer moist ground, plenty of sunlight, and frequent feedings of fertilizer.
Did you know that the first peach trees came from China? Now they thrive around the world in climates like USDA hardiness zones 5 through 8. And they love sitting in full sun.
For best results, keep these dwarf fruit trees well-watered. You can slow down the water evaporation by spreading mulch over the soil. And try potting mix that contains vermiculite and peat moss to conserve moisture.
Pear Tree – The Perfect Fruit Tree for Container Gardening(belchonock/123rf.com)
Like apples, pear trees grow like bushes from dwarfing rootstock or with cordons. You can also put them on an espalier, which is like a lattice, so they grow against a wall.
Some kinds, like Anjou, Bartlett, and Kieffer, can pollinate themselves, and that means you only need one pear tree. But that doesn’t mean you can’t raise more than one because if they cross-pollinate, you’ll end up with more fruit.
Other popular types of pear include Bosc, Comice, and Seckel. And note that Asian varieties like Chojuro and Shinseike require another compatible tree to pollinate them.(sgoodwin4813/123rf.com)
Grow fruit trees in a container like plum trees for an easy project. They will produce lots of fruit without the need for pollination as most varieties are self-fertile.
Keep an eye on them in the middle of the summer to make sure the plums are at least two inches apart. Thinning out their fruit ensures the tree will have a bumper crop next year, too.
Plant plums against a wall to grow as a fan or use dwarfing rootstock. They like full sunlight and a thorough watering each week so that the soil doesn’t get completely dry.
Pomegranate – Easy to Grow Even in a Small Pot(volff/123rf.com)
Since pomegranate trees can reach 30 feet in height and are fast growing trees, choose the dwarf variety for your container garden. The diminutive Punica granatum var. Nana only grows to 3 feet.
Gardeners recommend terracotta containers and soil with good drainage for raising pomegranates. These fruit trees do well in rooms with a lot of light, like southern or eastern exposure. And they prefer temperatures above 40 degrees.
You’ve just seen how you can enjoy a private orchard indoors by growing fruit trees in containers. It’s amazingly easy and you have the benefit of fresh fruit without harmful pesticides.
Whether you grow a pineapple plant or pomegranates, in most cases, all you need is plenty of sunshine and a little diligence to take care of their needs.(eugenesergeev/angurt/yongkiet/ivanoel/123rf.com)
If you like this article about fruit trees you can grow in a pot, please share this information about how to grow fruit trees in containers with others on Pinterest and Facebook.
One of the most popular varieties on the market, the Elberta Peach Tree is hardy down to -10 degrees but still produces sweet and juicy peaches. Their harvest time is anywhere from late July to September, depending on the climate. And though the Elberta Peach is a self-fertile tree, it will yield a higher crop when paired with another tree.
1. Planting: Plant your Elberta Peach Tree in well-drained soil in a location where it will receive full sun (at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day). Protect your Elberta from heavy winds by planting on the sunniest side of a building or your home. When you're ready to plant, dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball and just as deep. Then, place your Elberta and cover the roots with soil, watering occasionally as you go along to remove any air pockets. Finally, gently pat the soil down until the roots are completely covered.
2. Watering: Keep the soil around your Elberta Peach Tree moist. Generally, watering once a week by leaving a hose at the base of the tree for a couple of hours is sufficient. Once the soil around the tree has dried, water the tree again. During times of extreme heat, your tree may need additional water.
Tip: Yellowing of the leaves is a sign of overwatering while leaves that are dry and brown can be a sign of underwatering.
3. Fertilization: After your tree has been in the ground for 6 weeks, apply 1 lb. of a balanced fertilizer formula such as 12-12-12. In addition, apply ¾ lb. of fertilizer in the spring before the tree pushes out new growth. Repeat this process in the summer and fall as well.
4. Pruning: Your Elberta Peach Tree will need to be pruned the first two years in order to maintain an open center shape and encourage fruit production. Prune your tree in late winter or early spring using pruning shears, making your cuts at a 45-degree angle. Trim away any broken/dead branches and any that are criss-crossing by making your cut right below the dead wood.
Tip: Once your tree begins to fruit, thin your peaches out to allow space to grow and mature properly. Thinning out your peaches will help to increase your overall production. Peaches on the top and outside of the tree will likely be ready to pick first. They will be fully ripe when there is no green left on the skin and they come off with a slight twist.
How to Plant and Care for a Peach Tree in Tennessee
While peaches grow well in Tennessee, you will have to provide slight winter protection and will need to regularly care for the peach tree to maintain a healthy, fruiting tree. Peaches ripen in late summer in Tennessee, typically in July and August. Varieties of yellow peaches recommended for Tennessee include Surecrop, Redhaven, Sunhigh, Elberta and Loring. The Georgia Belle is a white-fleshed peach that fares well in Tennessee.
Choose a location that receives full sun in March or April, the recommended time to plant a peach in Tennessee. Test the soil using a pH kit or call your local county extension to schedule a soil test. Peaches prefer a soil pH of 6 to 6.5, which is slightly acidic.
- While peaches grow well in Tennessee, you will have to provide slight winter protection and will need to regularly care for the peach tree to maintain a healthy, fruiting tree.
Add 1.2 oz. of sulfur per square yard to a sandy soil and 3.6 oz. sulfur per square yard to other soils to lower the pH by one point. Work the sulfur into the soil by turning it over with a shovel.
Dig a hole as deep as the peach sapling's container and two to three times as wide as the container. Roughen up the soil at the bottom of the hole by jabbing it with your shovel. Remove any sticks, stones, weeds or roots in the hole so your peach tree won't have competition.
- of sulfur per square yard to a sandy soil and 3.6 oz.
- Work the sulfur into the soil by turning it over with a shovel.
Remove the peach tree from its container. Untangle any curled roots and break apart the root ball by massaging it with your fingers. Tangled roots can choke and kill the peach tree, so spread them out with your fingers.
Place the peach tree in the hole at the same depth as it was planted. Spread the roots out in the soil. Backfill the hole with dirt.
Water the newly planted peach tree until the soil becomes saturated and compresses around the plant roots. The University of Missouri recommends using 1 to 2 gallons of water.
- Remove the peach tree from its container.
- Tangled roots can choke and kill the peach tree, so spread them out with your fingers.
Continue to water your Tennessee peach tree. According to the University of Georgia, mature trees (six years and older) need 125 gallons of water per week, which is equal to 1 inch of rainfall. Younger trees should receive 6 gallons of water per every foot of diameter of the tree canopy. So a tree with a 10-foot spread would need 60 gallons of water per week.
Cut any limbs on your newly planted peach tree back to 1 inch just after planting. Allow the peach tree to grow until the summer, then prune away any suckers that grow off the tree trunk or from the graft site.
Scatter 1/2 cup of 12-12-12 fertilizer around the base of your peach tree one month after planting. Water the fertilizer to work it into the soil.
- Continue to water your Tennessee peach tree.
- Scatter 1/2 cup of 12-12-12 fertilizer around the base of your peach tree one month after planting.
In subsequent years, apply 1 to 2 lb. of 12-12-12 fertilizer for each year of age in the early spring, before the peach has begun growing for the season. So a three-year-old peach tree would receive 3 to 6 lbs. of 12-12-12 fertilizer.
Prune the young peach again in June of the first year, a few months after planting. Select three to four string limbs (evenly spaced around the tree) and cut off all competing limbs. Then cut back the trunk so it is three to four inches above these branches.
- In subsequent years, apply 1 to 2 lb.
- Prune the young peach again in June of the first year, a few months after planting.
Paint the bottom 24 inches of your peach tree trunk with white interior-grade latex paint. This prevents peach trees from sun scald and prevents winter injury in Tennessee peach trees. Apply the paint in the late fall, on a warm day.
Prune the peach tree again in late winter once frost danger has passed. Remove competing limbs as you did in June. Trim off one-third of the growth on your scaffold or main limbs to promote branching. Remove suckers and any limbs growing toward the trunk or parallel to the trunk.
Growing peaches and nectarines
Planting peach and nectarines
Bare-rooted trees should be planted on a mild day any time from November to March. Container-grown trees can go in at any time.
Although they’re hardy in the UK (apart from the far north), the blossom and young fruits are vulnerable to frost. Grow your trees against a south- or west-facing wall, or in a pot, which you can move under cover for winter.
Peaches and nectarines will tolerate most soils, but before planting dig in plenty of well-rotted garden compost or manure. If you have clay soil, improve drainage by filling the bottom of the planting hole with rubble. Plant your tree so the top of the rootball sits level with the soil’s surface and the stem is at least 20cm away from the wall. Prepare a framework of wires ready to tie in the stems as they grow.
To plant a tree in a pot, fill the bottom with pea gravel (to improve drainage and stability), then fill with a soil-based compost. Leave a gap between the compost and top of the pot for easy watering. Never let compost dry out.
How to care for your peach and nectarine crop
Water regularly, especially when fruits are forming. At blossom time, sprinkle a general fertiliser, such as pelleted poultry manure, around the tree. Follow with a mulch of garden compost or well-rotted manure.
Even though peaches are self-fertile you can encourage fruiting by hand-pollinating flowers using a soft brush and misting with water. When fruits are cherry-sized, thin out to one per cluster.
When the fruits are swelling, apply a high-potash liquid fertiliser, such as tomato feed, once a week.
After harvesting comes pruning. Peaches and nectarines flower and fruit on one-year-old shoots, so remove as much of the old growth as possible. Cut back a fruit stem to where a new shoot has grown, then tie in the new growth as a replacement.
How to harvest peaches and nectarines
Peach and nectarine fruits are ripe when they have coloured up and feel slightly soft. They should come off the branch with a gentle twist.
How to store peaches and nectarines
Peaches and nectarines bruise easily and don’t store well. You can freeze peaches and nectarines, but when defrosted they should be used for cooking.
Preparation and uses
Delicious eaten raw, added to fruit salads or poached in wine with a little sugar.
Peaches and nectarines: problem solving
Control aphids and red spider mite with an insecticidal soap. Peach leaf curl is a fungus that affects the emerging leaves in spring. It causes red blistering and distortion. Covering trees with polythene in late winter and early spring will stop rain splashes spreading infection.
Peaches versus nectarines
Both of these fruit have identical growing needs, but fuzzy-skinned peaches are slightly hardier than their smoother-skinned relations. Nectarines grow best when they’re trained against a warm wall or fence, in a sunny, sheltered position.