There are many benefits to having fruit trees in your backyard, however, you may not always be able to plant the trees into the ground. The solution is to plant your fruit tree in a pot. Whether you like to eat the fruit straight off the tree or make it into some sort of jam, chutney, or other delights, it’s hard to beat the health and taste benefits of fresh, homegrown fruit.
There are several important things to remember when planting a fruit tree in a pot. They are:
- Pot size – needs to be at least one size larger than the pot that the fruit tree is in at the moment. I would recommend the minimum of 40cm pot.
- Soil quality – you need a soil that is rich in organic matter to feed the plant and something to hold onto moisture but still free draining enough to prevent water logging. In areas of high rain fall or high periods of wetness, I would recommend in adding some perlite to increase drainage to the plant.
- Feeding your fruit tree – in pots I use a slow release fertilizer to give the plants a continuous supply of food and nutrients. I also liquid feed them about once a month.
- pH level – Some fruit trees like blueberries require a very acidic soil with a pH level between 4.0 and 5.0. Most citrus trees like a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0. Stone fruit trees like a pH level of around 6.5 to 7.0. The instructions below makes a slightly acidic soil blend with a pH level of around 6.5.
Below is what I used to plant my fruit tree in a pot:
- 1 1 x 90 litre brick of coir garden soil
- 1 x Bag of premium potting mix
- 2 x Bags of cheap potting mix, such as a tomato mix which usually has a low pH level
- Slow release fertiliser
- A small amount of mulch
The pot used was a 120 litre pot and I had some soil left over.
How to Plant a Fruit Tree in a Pot
Soak the bricks of coir garden soil with water in a large container, allowing them to expand.
Using a wheel barrow or ground sheet, tip the 2 bags of cheap potting mix, the bag of premium potting mix and the soaked coir garden soil onto it. Mix them all together to make a nice consistent blend.
In the bottom of the pot place a small layer of rocks/rubble. This is to make sure the soil never blocks up the drainage holes.
Begin filling the pot up with the soil. Fill the pot up high enough so that your fruit tree will sit at the right level. A good indicator is if you place your potted fruit tree on top of the soil in the larger pot, the larger pot’s rim should be approximately 20mm above its base.
Measure out the required amount of slow release fertiliser as per the manufacturer recommendation and add 1/3 of that amount to the pot before placing the fruit tree on top of the soil.
Remove the fruit tree from the pot. If the fruit tree is root bound in the pot, untangle roots or remove root bound roots if necessary. If you have to remove roots, you should prune your plant. How much will you need to prune? That will depend on how many roots you have had to remove or how much root damage you have had to do. The generally rule of thumb is whatever happens below needs to happen above. So if one third of the roots are removed. I would prune the top back by one third. This also can depend on what fruit tree it is.
Place the plant in the pot and begin filling around the sides with soil.
When halfway up the roots with soil, add another third of the fertiliser
Fill the pot with soil and push down to compact. Add extra soil if needed.
Put the last 1/3 of fertiliser on, water thoroughly and add mulch to finish.