Fruit Salad Trees | Can fruit trees grow in pots?

March 25, 2019

Fruit Salad Trees | Can fruit trees grow in pots?

Fruit Salad Trees are fast fruiting and space saving, and they grow well in pots! Imagine growing up to six different fruit on the same tree on your balcony! Here's a full rundown on growing different fruit on the same tree in a pot, from the size of the pot, to watering, fertilizing and balancing.

What is a good size pot for my fruit tree?

Start with a small 30cm pot for the first year. Then as the tree grows, you can transplant into a larger pot each year. This gives the roots a new mix of soil, potting mix and fertilisers. The whole tree will respond well to the new environment, continue to supplement the tree with fertiliser a couple of times throughout the year.  
Planting straight into a very large pot is also possible but remember to add fertilizers 2 – 3 times a year and change the soil/potting mix at least every couple of years.  It's important to be diligent with fertilising regularly in a bigger pot where the soil is not changed regularly.

What is a good potting mix to use for my fruit tree?

Even good potting mixes are quite porous so, we recommend 50/50 good topsoil with good potting mix, any amount of compost is good, also mushroom compost. 
Adding slow-release fertilisers with trace elements is good.  e.g. in a 9 litre bucket of soil/potting mix add quarter cup of slow release fertiliser, or other fertilisers like cow/sheep in the same bucket ratio would be 3 cups, however, the stronger fertiliser like chicken manure, you would only use 2 cups to the bucket, 5 cups or more for bland horse manure. This is a guide. Only use one application each time. Cow is best!

Repotting your fruit tree

Check out the root system, if the roots are wrapping around outside and quite tight in the pot, you will need to decide whether you want to maintain that same pot size or take the tree up to the next size pot. It is desirable to transplant during these cooler months, however, transplanting can actually be done at any time of the year. During the warmer months, wait until the cool part of the day to plant out. 

Upsizing the pot for your fruit tree

When potting up to the next size, knock off half the soil at least. Have a good potting mix/topsoil ready, perhaps with a few handfuls of Osmocote (slow release fertiliser) mixed with it, tease out the roots so they are not tightly woven and replant with the new soil, watering well to avoid air pockets. Water well each day and keep in semi-shade for about 3 days. 

Fertilise every 3 – 4 months during growth periods, cow manure is best (the older the better – it's well balanced), not always using the same commercial fertiliser e.g. blood + bone, but vary the diet. Apply winter pruning, see above.

Maintaining the pot as your fruit tree grows

To maintain the same pot size, those tightly congested roots wrapping around the outside of the root system need to be cut off. Then shake off at least half the soil and repot into the same size pot with fresh soil mix, adding fertilisers such as Osmocote (mix with the new soil) or cow manure (the older the better). Other fertilisers are ok too but don't always use the same thing with the commercial fertilisers e.g. blood + bone.

Be sure to reduce branching by the winter pruning as a "balance" to compensate for the loss of its roots. Continue each year with this process and also check the inner core root system, thin out as well when it develops a thicker root system.

Follow these 9 steps for planting your fruit tree in a pot

Plant your tree late in the day when the weather is cooler if you have the option.

  1. Quarter fill a bucket and pour over the tree to wet the roots, and then remove from the bag by cutting it with a knife.
  2. Knock off about half of the existing soil and tease the roots out.
  3. Place in the centre of your pot ensuring the tree is pointing straight up.
  4. Fill with potting mix leaving a 2-3cm gap
  5. Add a layer of fertilizer but make sure it doesn't touch the stem of the tree so that it doesn't rot the trunk.
  6. Sprinkle with a slow release fertilizer
  7. Water to settle the soil
  8. Add a thick layer of mulch to hold the moisture
  9. Lastly, keep a tray under the pot to catch excess nutritious water so that your tree can reabsorb.

How large will my Fruit Salad Tree grow in a pot on my balcony?

When planted in the ground, Fruit Salad Trees grow to between 2-3 metres high. In pots, the size of the tree is determined by the size of the pot, a tree growing in a pot the size of half a wine barrel would be half the size of a Fruit Salad Tree growing in the ground.

  • Citrus Fruit Salad Trees are dwarf trees, and will grow to 2 metres by 2 meters in the ground, or half in pots.
  • Apple Fruit Salad Trees are 2-3 metres wide by 2 metres high.
  • Stone Fruit Salad Trees are 3 metres by 2.5 metres high.

Which Fruit Salad Tree will grow in my climate?

We graft Fruit Salad Tree combinations to suit all of the Australian climates. Check out our interactive climate map on our homepage where you can click on your region and find the Fruit Salad Tree for your place. Check out our current specials below! Happy harvesting.

Moving your fruit tree from the pot to the ground

Some people decide to plant into the ground after some years in a pot simply because they want more fruit from a bigger tree, and so they allow it to grow to its full height. If possible, early winter is the best time to transplant into the ground. Use seasol to nurture your tree and reduce stress. 

Watch this short video demonstration of Scott planting in pots here.

Here at Fruit Salad Trees, we stock a wide range of fruit trees, which all boast different fruit on the same tree. Each fruit variety retains its own flavour, appearance and ripening time. We graft citrus, stone fruit and multi-apple trees. 




Shop our wide range of trees now and check out our current specials here!



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