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Fruit trees in pots  RSS feed

 
Angelika Maier
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Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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There are various reasons one would like potted fruit trees:
- No space or you are renting,
- You want to grow something which needs winter protection,
- You want to make use of odd spaces like a concrete slab or close to another tree trunk (i.e. gum tree)
- Drainage problems

What are your experiences? How much fruit do you get? Which trees are most suitable?

I know that citrus grow very well in pots as do figs.
How about:
Avocado, Papaya, Litchi, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Banana...and others?
What potting mix are you making up? And how big are your pots?

I know that for some fruit enough summer heat is essential.
 
wayne fajkus
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I potted a Meyers lemon this year as well as two blueberries.

Lemon was done for cold protection in winter. I got a couple of bloom sequences over the past year but only one lemon. Not sure if it's a pollination issue? I've had it one year. It's healthy and growing. I planted it in a compost made from cleaning up after a livestock show. All The Bits And Pieces Are Scraped Up And Piled Up For A While Then sold. Everything was broken down in the compost. No visible hay, etc

This year I planted blueberries. I potted it for soil reasons. It doesn't thrive in our soil type. I planted it in 100% peat moss. It's doing well. Blueberries are on the plant as we speak.


 
Angelika Maier
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Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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I think of planting some avocados in pots because the only avocado which makes it through the winter here is bacon.
But I don't know if it is really worthwhile.
 
Dan Vio
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Location: SoCal
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I've been container gardening at my current location for the past six years and each year I seem to add 'just one more' tree. Whenever possible I buy dwarf varieties - or semi-dwarf if that's all that's available. In addition to citrus (lime, mineola, etc) and fig, over the past few years I've added Fuji apple, asian pear as well as cherry (multi-varieties grafted onto a single tree), almond (dwarf 'Garden Prince'), plum, pomegranate and avocado (semi dwarf 'Holiday'). I pot in very large triple fired terra cotta pots or wine barrel halves and have had fairly good luck with all these trees, though several of the newer ones (cherry, pomegranate, avocado) potted up two years ago have grown well but not producing much yet or not at all (avocado). I don't mind using plastic or resin pots for ornamentals; but for food plants, I prefer wine barrels or terra cotta.

Love my fig tree because it's such a reliable producer, pest free (except for birds and squirrels). Surprised how quickly my two year old pomegranate tree has grown. It's a good 8 feet tall now and has started fruiting.

In our dry southwest climate (thus the large wine barrel pots for most of my trees), plants grow quickly; even the avocado tree does well most of the year, but doesn't appreciate those few winter days in the 30s (lost my first 3 year old avocado tree this way). I (aim to) use Dr. Earth's organic fertilizer monthly during the growing season and fish emulsion weekly. If your climate is wetter and cooler, you may want to use smaller pots for fear of drowning small trees planted in large barrels.



 
Angelika Maier
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It could be the case that you need two avocados for pollianation, this depends on your climate, in cold climates you don't need that but in hot climates you
need an avocado of the A variety and one of the B.
 
James Slaughter
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I think after 15 years or so trying different methods of growing fruit (I have 25+ fruit trees growing on an average size suburban block), I'd suggest not bothering with pots for the majority of fruit species. Many of the trees will become root bound. Repotting is a painful and tedius process (even if you're not "repotting" as such, but root trimming and topping up with fresh mix). Fruit grown in ground has less issues, is more resilient to dry periods, and over the long haul requires much less maintenance. If however you are lacking the ground space for more traditional growing then these would be my tips and some good selections of varieties to grow:

- When setting up the plant in its pot think about methods for making certain the plant is able to drain properly. A good method is to not actually water the top of the pot but apply the water in a bottom reservoir, deep enough to hold a reserve but not deep enough to promote root rot.
- Mulch the tops of the pots, occasionally scrape off the top surface and top up with fresh mix and mulch (unless the species you're growing is very averse to root disturbance).
- Place them in an area which is protected from winds, or alternatively find a way of securing them from falling over.
- Liquid feed through the growing season - weak applications on a weekly or fortnightly basis. Remember, they're totally dependant on you for their potential for a worthwhile harvest. Urine is a good option, seasol, liquified worm castings, fish emulsion, etc.

Fruit selections -
- STRAWBERRY GUAVA - Absolute winner in this situation, giving you huge crops year in year out. Highly recommend.
- BLUEBERRIES - and other berries - all are good choices. A trellis system will be needed for the brambles.
- STRAWBERRIES - Have always done better in containers for me than on the ground.
- CITRUS - Most do well, though still do much better in ground.

So for me, berries and bush type fruits are the best way to go, being easier to maintain, extended yield, and easy to repot / transplant / propagate. They also offer many of the best nutritional benefits. Cheers.
 
Zach Muller
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Location: NE Oklahoma zone 7a
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I had my semi dwarf peach in a pot for the first season after purchase. It is grafted and was about 6 ft when I got it. I got an ok crop from it and not very much vegetative growth. Once in the ground it grew a lot and also produced a good crop. Now I am trying potted lemon and fig, but they are tiny right now so it will be a while before production starts. I use compost tea as my only fertility additions.
 
Joy Oasis
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wayne fajkus wrote:

This year I planted blueberries. I potted it for soil reasons. It doesn't thrive in our soil type. I planted it in 100% peat moss. It's doing well. Blueberries are on the plant as we speak.




This is very interesting. Does peat moss alone is enough to support the plant? You really used nothing else except peat moss?
 
Rick English
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Location: Central Pennsylvania, USA
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I am growing citrus trees and a pomegranate in containers using air pruning.

Here are two threads with details on how it works:
http://www.permies.com/t/47057/gardening-beginners/starting-seeds-air-pruning-ve

http://www.permies.com/t/43106/trees/optimize-benefits-RootMaker-Pots

Placing these mesh pots/bags in a water basin (like a kiddie pool) allows them to self-water.

I am a few months into my experiment with it, and my trees have doubled in size, so they are happy with the arrangement so far.
 
Melissa Nicole
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Location: Zone 7b; Mohave Desert
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First I have never seen an avocado or papayas produce in a container. There are some dwarf bananas that do well in large pots. As far as vanilla beans they are actually a vining orchid that is native to Madagascar. In most places they require a greenhouse cause they are cold sensitive with humidity requirements. They can also be considered invasive in the greenhouse cause they want to grow quite a bit before flowering. Back when I was still growing orchids it is one I chose to pass on due to its growing habits.
 
Angelika Maier
pollinator
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Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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I just had another idea: four old roofing sheets some timber and screws make a square pot. That could be used were you put sheep underneath
 
Joy Oasis
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Lazlo Rose wrote:

Placing these mesh pots/bags in a water basin (like a kiddie pool) allows them to self-water.

I am a few months into my experiment with it, and my trees have doubled in size, so they are happy with the arrangement so far.


I think having airprunning pots of the ground to alow air from the bottom too,would be even better, but then of course,much more watering would be required. Maybe it would work in the climates with lots of rain? I do that for my seedlings and they grow somuch better than in regular pots.
I garden in the community garden plot, and no standing water is allowed, and not much space to do elaborate contraptions. I also love, that worms and fungus and other things can form a community, when things are in the ground. I do grow trees in pots however (because rules do not allow any trees in the ground), so might have to think, if I can figure out some small settings for them. I saw people using lined round laundry baskets for air prunning growing.
 
Rick English
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Location: Central Pennsylvania, USA
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Mosquitoes are definitely a problem here, so I try to fill the basin with just enough water that it dries up in a day or two, and then I try to water when the trees seem dry. Our weather has been pretty wet the past month, so I have been dumping water out more than putting it in, so I think no basin might work just fine too, as long as you check it frequently.

One thing I would watch, is that if you place an air pruning pot directly on the ground, you might get roots growing directly into the ground, which would make moving the tree again without damaging its roots a tough project.

I had a friend who once left a tree in a plastic pot from a nursery grow out into the ground through the drainage holes, because it sat in the same spot for a year. We could figure out a way to save the tree.
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