An English Garden is not complete without at least one or two fruit trees. Nowadays you are very lucky if you have the space to grow a full sized tree or have bought a garden which already has a mature fruit tree in. But lack of space doesn’t mean you can’t grow fruit trees.
There are many cultivars of apples, pears, cherries, plums, peaches and nectarines which will grow happily in pots on your patio, courtyard or dotted here and there in your borders. Their blossom will add an extra dimension to the beauty of your garden.
You can buy ready trained trees in all shapes and sizes or if you can wait buy a maiden (one year old) and train it yourself. Look out for the dwarf, pixy, patio varieties or pyramids or stopovers.
Any container will do as long as it has good drainage holes and is bigger enough for the rootball to fit in easily. A good size pot to start with is about 12in or 30cm in diameter. A good tip is to put a layer of gravel 1-2 in. (2-5 cm) in the base of the container which helps to stop the soil from washing out and makes sure the soil can drain adequately.
You will need to repot your tree after a couple of years to allow the rootball to expand.
Most fruit trees grow best in full sunlight, however there are some that will do well in partial shade – look out varieties in your local garden shop/centre or browse through fruit tree specialist brochures. The best sites are those that are sunny and sheltered from winds. Remember to turn your tree round so that it is able to grow evenly.
You will need to remember to water your trees 2 to 3 times a week from early to mid spring, and in the summer they will need daily watering. Soil in plastic, metal and ceramic containers will keep moist longer than it does in clay or wooden containers, as the latter allow water to evaporate through the sides.
The more wind your plants are exposed to, the more water they will need. Wind can dry your containers out quickly, so check regularly even if doesn’t seem a particularly warm day.
If you decide to grow more tropical fruits then put your container on wheels or a plant trolley – this will make moving inside or away from the frost so much easier. It is also a good idea if you have repotted your fruit tree into a larger pot as these pots can become extremely heavy to move manually.
Enjoy your garden!
If fruit trees are not for you then why not grow some strawberries in tubs - see the link below.