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Growing Dwarf Fruit Trees

By Jenna Beck

Tags: apple, avocado, balcony gardening, berry, container gardening, dwarf citrus, dwarf fruit, dwarf tree, nectarine, peach

Many people think growing dwarf fruit trees means small trees with small fruit, however you actually get a tree about half the size with full sized fruit. The great advantage of dwarf fruit trees, besides the huge variety available, is the opportunity of having your own miniature orchard. Planting dwarf fruit trees lets you have more variety in one space and saves you time pruning, with no need for a ladder at harvest time.

Varieties

Almost any fruit variety you grow as full size is available as dwarf.  Citrus, apples, peaches, nectarines, berries and avocado.  Many are grafted onto dwarf rootstock, such as citrus and ‘Pinkabelle’ pink lady apple, both of which have been grafted onto “flying dragon” rootstock. Some dwarf fruit trees are naturally dwarf growing.

Planting

You can plant your dwarf fruit tree year round. Just make sure it gets full sun and is supported with a stake (for around one year). Cherry, plum and apple trees need another variety of the same fruit type (which bloom at the same time) to help pollinate the flower in order for it to create fruit. All other fruit trees pollenate themselves.

Dwarf fruit trees can be grown in the ground or in pots.  For pots use a large pot at least the size of a half wine barrel with good quality premium potting mix.  Ensure the pot drains well and when watering, thoroughly soak the soil. Keep your tree moist so there are no air pockets around the root system.  If there are air pockets, your tree will dry out and die. Ensure you keep the fertiliser up using a food specific for fruit and citrus trees.

When planting in-ground, choose a position that receives all-day sun, is reasonably well sheltered from strong winds and has well drained soil. Improve your soil by digging in plenty of compost, and if you have clay soils consider mounding the soil up before planting. This will give water a chance to drain away rather than sitting on the clay around your tree’s roots and causing rot.  Mulch with well-rotted manure and sugar cane.  Ensure good deep watering during flowering, fruiting and summer.

As well as being useful as a food crop, fruit trees can also add beauty and fragrance to your garden. Citrus blossom fragrance in winter, the timeless beauty of flower blossoms from apples and peaches in spring and colourful autumn foliage are all reasons you should consider planting a dwarf fruit tree, or two.

 

For season-by-season fruit tree care, click here.

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Jenna Beck

Jenna Beck

  • AZapMarrickvilleNSW

    Thanks for the informaiton. You make it sound easy. As a renter, dwarf orchards seem possible now. Can take them with me…:) I bought an lime bush from flower power 2 months ago, along with a bot on their pot sale and I’m happy to say it’s starting to show new growth. While it’s not dwarf, I’ll now look at lemon and avocado – didn’t know you could get dwarf nectarines and avacoado. Thanks goodness for the Flower Power Members Reward Club…

  • Ritagal

    I like the idea of a dwarf lime. Too much worry over fruit fly with stone fruit.

  • Helen Steadman

    Wonder if anyone has an idea. I have a grafted avocado in a pot, it’s been there for round 6 months. About the last 4 – 6 weeks the leaves have gone droopy. My first thought was it needed water but watering doesn’t seem to make a difference. It was in front of a wall and I thought maybe it was getting too much reflected heat and moved it. No difference. We do have a terrible ant problem at the moment and it may be that ants have nested in the pot. Could this be the problem and if so what do I do? No other plants in pots seem to be affected accept for a pointsettia which I found to have white fly which I have sprayed. Notice there are lots of curl grubs in the ground itself and this could be a cause but I don’t want to fiddle too much with a sick plant. Help someone?????

    • FlowerPowerAustralia

      Hi Helen, It seems the soil may be the issue! You will need to get the soil as healthy as possible to help nurture a grafted plant. The Hort has suggested you use either Confidor tablets or Fongarid to help minimise the insects at the root, you may want to add a fertiliser to help with plant growth. Happy Gardening! The Flower Power Team.

      • Marie

        I believe Confidor is not for use on edible plants. I wouldn’t use chemicals unless you only want the tree for ornamental purposes

  • Dianne G

    We have had a dwarf lime tree in a large pot for 2-3 years now. The leaves keep curling up, we spray and prune but to no avail. We get flowers but have not had any fruit yet

  • Balcony

    Can I grow dwarf fruit trees in pots on an exposed northeast facing 7th floor balcony in inner sydney? There is a narrow balcony garden bed that is the balcony wall (20m) that I could also plant into, if the trees can survive in this aspect?

    • richard

      I have a meyer lemon in a pot – had it for 10 years – really healthy – needs plenty of sun, water and food, but I reckon you’d be fine on the balcony. I get 40+ beautiful lemons each year!

  • Kerrie

    Gosh i didn’t know dwarf avocados were available! I’d love to get one. How long before they bear fruit?

    • FlowerPowerAustralia

      Hi Kerrie, At the moment there is a short supplier of all avocados so I can’t tell you where to get one , but in the way of fruiting you can expect fruit within 3-4 years as they are grafted. Happy Gardening – The Flower Power Team!

  • Samantha

    Hi I’ll like a drawft mango tree mature one would be great , but anything is good

    • FlowerPowerAustralia

      Hi Samantha, unfortunately we don’t sell dwarf mango trees but we have some other options if your keen. Happy New year from the Flower Power team!

  • joseph

    Hi i was wondering if you have any dwarf avocado trees left in Sydney and which nursery/area would it be in? I was also wondering if they produce fruit all round?

    • FlowerPowerAustralia

      Hi Joseph, only at our Enfield store. They won’t fruit all year round, fruiting normally starts from mid to late summer. Happy shopping! The FP team.