Potted fruit trees can make your balcony or rooftop an edible paradise.
Fruit trees can flourish in pots as long as they are grown on a dwarfing rootstock. To select the proper type of tree for your balcony, ask a specialist supplier for advice. To ensure good pollination, make sure there are enough trees, as sometimes one won’t suffice.
This doesn’t apply to peaches, apricots, and cherry trees since most of their varieties are self-fertile, so in most of the time, one would be enough to ensure pollination. On the other hand, pears and apples do need a second tree.
The quintessential orchard fruit – apple trees can be grown on a dwarfing rootstock as a bush, or as an espalier, U, or double U-shaped cordon. Some of the varieties of apples you can grow are Fuji, Gala, and Honeycrisp. They will all pollinate one another.
The fruit of pear trees can be damaged by late frosts as they usually flower early. If they blossom in frost, a good thing to do is cover the branches using fleece. You can grow many varieties like Moonglow, Bartlett, and Doyenne du Comice on a dwarfing rootstock as a bush, or as an espalier, cordon, U, or double U-shaped cordon.
To ensure fruiting with cherry trees, usually, you need only one tree. In case you have problems with birds, install bird netting over your tree. Once the tree is established, expect beautiful blossoms and lots of delicious fruit. You can grow cherry trees against a warm wall, or on dwarfing rootstock as a bush. Acid cherries and Morello thrive near shady north-facing walls. Other tasty cherry varieties you can grow on your balcony are Stella and Lapins.
These sturdy trees deliver heavy crops. Some plum varieties are self-fertile so you need just a bit of pruning during the summer, but some aren’t. To make sure the tree continues giving fruit each year, you can thin out developing plums during midsummer, making a 2-inch distance between them.
It’s easy to train fig trees into fan shapes by tying the branches against a warm wall since their roots prefer to be confined.
For cooler climates, tie sleeves of plastic bubble wrap loosely around the baby fruits to protect them. To allow air circulation, leave the sleeves open-ended. Remove fruits larger than peas in the fall. Pinch out the growing shoots of the fig tree at the beginning of summer to make sure only 4 leaves stay per shot.
Plant the fig tree in a soil-based mix or soilless potting mix in a 19-inch diameter pot (or larger). Keep the tree in a well-sheltered and sunny area, as well as well watered. Throughout the growing season, feel free to feed your tree organic liquid seaweed fertilizer every 2 weeks.
Peaches and Apricots
Pixie-cot or Pixzee is a great variety of apricots, while the tasty Bonanza is a dwarf variety of peaches. You can grow them both as fans or freestanding trees in pots.
These hardy fruit trees are dormant during the winter, and blossom in early spring. That’s why their flowers can be damaged by frost. If your tree is in blossom during a frost, and you live in a cooler winter climate, move it inside your home. Another option is to cover the tree with horticultural fleece. Apricot and peach trees are self-fertile, but still, pollination can be helpful in this process. Gently rub some pollen on the surrounding flower when it’s opened, using a soft brush.
The flowers of the calamondin orange tree are beautifully scented, and the fruits are small and round with too sour a taste to be eaten raw. A good way to use them is to make marmalade or include them in your cooking. This is the only citrus tree that can live through the winter indoors. It can even be grown inside throughout the entire year.