@allotmentalice’s Speedy Guide to… Growing a Patio Orchard

Apples and pears do well in pots given the right tlc


Who says you need a field to grow an orchard? Dwarf fruit trees grow brilliantly in pots, giving you a mini orchard in your own backyard…

  1. Apples, pears and plums grown on a dwarfing rootstock only reach around two metres tall. Try an ‘M27’ rootstock for apples, a ‘Quince C’ for pears or a ‘Pixy’ for a plum, and if you get a self-fertile variety you won’t need to worry about hand pollination either. Try Apple ‘Discovery’ or ‘Bramley’ for cookers, Pear ‘Concorde’ or ‘Conference’ and Plum ‘Victoria’.
  2. Choose a sheltered spot with plenty of sunlight and a container around 24 inches in diameter, with good drainage. Bare root trees also benefit from a good soak in a bucket before planting.
  3. Half fill your pot with well-rotted compost or peat free, soil-based compost and place your tree in the hole. In-fill with soil and, if it’s a windy site, give it a stake too – small stems can easily snap.
  4. Keep them well watered and fed, a mulch around the base helps retain water, and in the spring, throw a little fleece over the buds if a frost threatens so you can protect the developing fruit.
  5. Dwarf stocks need little pruning but it’s always worth checking them over to remove dead, diseased or crossing wood to allow plenty of air and light in.
  6. It’s worth thinning fruit on apples, pears and plums – to two fruits per cluster – to allow the tree to put all its energies into larger, better tasting fruit on its small frame.

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