Container Fruit?

Raw_Nature(5 OH)March 22, 2013


I am thinking about growing some fruit trees and various fruiting shrubs in containers.. I just don't know if its worth it...

Anyone growing fruiting plants in containers can you help me out..

How much yield do you get?
How old/big is the tree with the yield?
What rootstock?
How big is the container the tree was in?
How do you prune?

Appreciate it,

Note: I understand it greatly varies by size of container,etc. I'm just looking for rough estimates to see if it's worth it...

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Growing fruit trees in a container is more about enjoyment than production. You can get a few fruit but due to the size of most containers, the trees need to be dwarf and do not produce large crops. Search the internet and you will get loads of information.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 7:57AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

growing TREES in pots is very hard ... let alone doing it so well they bloom ... and then bear fruit ...

IMHO ... you have along way to go.. before you worry about pruning ...

personally.. what media you use in a pot for a tree is the most important viable a newbie to such must address ...

as i tree guy.. i like to suggest.. that a tree is twice as big underground as above.. [in a different shape mind you] ... and in thinking about that.. you should come to 'see' that the pot itself is an incredible restriction on success ...

yes it can be done.. but i wouldnt invest the 401K in winging it .. until you learn how to do it ...

sooo.. why not try one .... and i would start with a 25 gallon pot ... maybe you can find one in a recycle bin at a nursery .... and if you cant make your own media.. look into a large bag of cactus mix ...

and winter storage will be an issue also ...


ps: i actually used a half whiskey barrel for a 6 foot beech for 3 years once.. the downside to that was its incredible weight.. empty ... let alone sodden and full of tree ...

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 8:07AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I've found growing fruiting trees in pots pretty easy. But then I have a greenhouse. Mine have been in 3-15 gallon pots and all have borne fruit. I can't remember anything that didn't work: dwarf root or standard. But most need regular repotting or vigor declines after 4-5 years. That's where my back said no!

Here's three nectarine in a 15 gallon pot and all bore 6-12 fruit in the second leaf.

I've grown lots of other things like blackberries.

Blueberries including 18 lbs of Star fruit from a 15 gal potted bush:

Cherries worked really well in pots:

Once had nearly 100 potted trees and bushes but due to the weight and my back they are mostly gone. This was one corner of my greenhouse two years ago:

This post was edited by fruitnut on Fri, Mar 22, 13 at 10:40

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 10:37AM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

Fruitnut: very informative, thanks... Aren't 15 gal nursery pots similar in size to 5 gal buckets? So the trees do bear a handful of fruit in a few years... Did you find that be true with all the fruit tree in containers or? How much yield you get of the blackberries? It looks like they are choked out, you have a problem with meldew with that training method? How much does each blueberry yield in average roughly? Cherry yield roughly? Yours looks slot like mines going to be, minus the greenhouse! Not going go have room for my garage!!

Appreciate everything,

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 12:34PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


The blackberries did very well. Those are the western trailing types and that training method worked very well. Lots of fruit and very tasty. The thornless were as good as thorny and much better than the erect types like Kiowa.

Yield was good on most of the fruit trees. I could have left more but thin heavily because I'm all about eating quality. Sometimes quality in pots was better than inground and sometimes worse, more variable for sure.

My biggest pots weigh 120 lbs wet. That's bigger than a 5 gal bucket but probably not three 5 gal buckets.

I'd say 5 lbs sweet cherries from the tree shown. And 25-34 brix in general.

I still have the blueberries, cherries, and table grapes. The grapes are at about 12 inch shoot stage and it's looking like I'll need to remove 80% plus of the bunches in third leaf. Last year I got a decent crop in 2nd leaf.

My stone fruit bears in 2nd leaf. Figs first leaf. Got 40 figs off a new cutting in a 3 gal pot last year. And they were about as good as anything.

I'm pretty sure this is the first year from a spring rooted cutting. But I'm getting old may be 2nd year.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 1:20PM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)


You don't know how much your experience and help is appreciated!! Figs figs figs... My thought was instead of growing blueberries in a pot I can grow them in ground.. I was new less thinking about growing fruit that cannot survive my climate.. My first thought was figs.. Back before I registered go gardenweb, I was reading about figs, I think a man Al "tapla" or something is the man to talk to about that.. So the first year you get 40 figs roughly? Not bad.. Where do you buy your fig plants? Any good link to growing figs in cold climate in containers?


    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 2:20PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


Get fig cuttings if you can. I got my plants from the most famous fig nursery in CA. I also got root knot nematodes from same. The fig forum on gardenweb is dominated by short season, cold climate growers, almost to a fault for my needs.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 2:25PM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

Forty figs from a new cutting is amazing! I have some small figs that I picked up from Edible Landscaping last fall, and I'd be thrilled to get even half of that from each this year. How important do you think the small pot size was, fruitnut? I ask because I've read that restricting root growth encourages fruiting on figs. Also, are you heavy or light on the fertilizer? I have a hard time striking a balance between vegetative growth and fruiting on my container figs...

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 2:32PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


I'm probably on the light side on fertilizer on most things including figs. That picture is Vista, similar to VDB, but my favorite Strawberry Verte fruited the same way, a fig at every leaf node as long as it kept growing. Five months of harvest last year so a long season helps greatly.

I've planted those figs in the ground this spring so who knows I may not get a fig this year.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 3:05PM
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Oh fruitnut you just killed 2 birds with one stone. I didnt know blackberries did so well in pots. I have one in a spot that i have a much better use for but didnt have any real place to move them. Thank you.

My potted fig didnt grow very well last year. I dont seem to have too much luck with them so far.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 7:37PM
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Note that the blackberries pictured above are trained in a similar manner to commercial plantings; dense bundling of canes is widely practiced.

Never had a caneberry mildew problem here, where mildew occurs on other nearby plants.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 10:58PM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

Your postings about strawberry verte in the past really caught my attention, fruitnut, and I'm glad you mentioned it again. I think I'd choose a good fig over just about any other fruit, yet I've never had one of's definitely on my short list of new varieties to add. Your success with trailing blackberries in containers is encouraging, as well. I have a Black Butte that's just not happy in the dry, shady corner of the yard where it's relegated, so I might dig it up and try your container method.

I'll also add that I just came across a thread that you started in the Container Gardening forum a couple of years ago (linked below for anyone who's interested) that was very instructive. It was good refresher course for points that I've seen you make in the past about controlling vigor in order to maximize flavor and production, and it's a lesson that I really need to learn. I'm always a little too keen to give my potted fruits room to grow, and I probably root prune, repot, and refresh the potting mix a little too often.

Here is a link that might be useful: Highly successful organic mixes

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 11:01AM
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Thanks Shazaam for posting that link.

Fruitnut - very interesting points around fruit trees in container producing better fruit if not repotted too regularly or watered too much.

What is your experience with dwarf vs standard rootstock for containers. Particulary citrus?

Thanks in advance.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 7:15AM
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id be curious too what you use for rootstock, Id be interested in the cherries though

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 9:18AM
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