Growing patio fruit
If you only have a small garden but want to grow fruit, you can grow these colourful patio fruit plants in a container on the patio or in the garden.
These small fruit bushes and trees will give you a good crop of nutritious, fresh fruit, straight from the bush. Easy to look after and attractive with pretty spring blossom and bright autumn foliage you can't go far wrong with these fantastic little pot grown fruits.
Here are some tips on growing fruit in containers on patios, to get you the maximum harvests and healthy plant growth.
Choose a container that suits your outdoor area and the style of your property. There are lots to choose from in garden centres and nurseries.
Choose an appropriate sized pot, (for a bare-rooted or potted plants, choose a 30cm (12in) diameter pot to transfer to) ensure it has drainage holes at the bottom.
Before planting, soak the rootball or bare roots of your delivered plant in water added with a little general fertiliser- this will give it a great head start.
Fill your pot with a John Innes 3 compost, perfect for young and maturing trees. (For cranberry and blueberry bushes choose an ericaceous soil). As you fill the pot, place the tree at a height, so that the soil mark on the trunk is level to about 2cm (3/4 in) from the very top of the pot. Fill the pot to this level and firm the compost down so that if you tug at the tree, there’s quite a bit of resistance.
Water the top 2cm (3/4 in) of the pot and let that absorb into the soil and repeat.
Set the pot in as sunny a position as possible.
NB – Don’t be tempted to plant patio trees directly into a large 45cm (18in) pot. If there’s too much surrounding soil to the pot, the soil can get wet and cold – which is not good for developing roots.
Better to pot up in degrees (e.g first a 30cm (12in) pot then a 45cm (18in) pot as the tree grows and you notice roots just start to form around the soil edges, if you lift the pot
Aftercare of bush and tree fruits in containers
As the tree grows you will need to re-pot again. Try to choose a dry but dull day to do this. Follow the instructions above placing the tree into a 40cm-45cm (16-18in) diameter pot.
If there is a frost forecasted, cover your patio trees on a night with a double layer of horticultural fleece. This will protect young growth and developing buds, especially if it’s a late frost occurring in April or even May.
Alternatively bring the pot indoors overnight. It may be useful to invest in a sack barrow, for easy moving.
Containerised fruit trees have only a limited volume of soil to get its nutrients and water, so they get thirstier and hungrier quicker. In spring and summer and early autumn, water twice a day, morning and evening.
Feed with general purpose fertiliser as according to packet instructions, until the trees start to flower and then change to a feed high in potash like tomato feed.
In winter, water to keep the soil moist only and feed with a high-phosphorous fertiliser like bone-meal about once a month until spring. Don’t over-water in winter, as this can cause root rot.