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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What is a Good Patio Container Fruit Tree?

Q. I live in a 3rd floor condo that faces south. I get about 7 hours of direct sun and have containers on my patio with
spinach, tomatoes and peppers that are doing well so far. I was wondering if there are any types of fruit trees that produce and thrive in a patio container?

A. Yes, there are. I worry a bit about the weight that this will place on your patio. Make sure it can handle this type of load before you attempt containers there.
            There are light weight soil mixes that can be used to lessen the weight load on the patio. These mixes frequently use amendments like perlite that replace heavier components of the mix.
            A good citrus to grow in containers in our climate is cumquat. It is tolerant of very low
Cumquat fruit about 1 1/2 inch long
temperatures, as far as citrus goes, and stays very small. Tender citrus to use would be limes and calamondin, sometimes called calamansi, but they will need protection from winter cold temperatures.
Citrus espalier or some might call "trellis"
            You can use any of the genetic dwarf fruit trees in containers. I would trellis the tree near an available wall. If you select a genetic dwarf fruit tree the container needs to be large.
Citrus in an espalier
            If your patio is protected from wind and cold you might consider kiwi, passionfruit, giant passionfruit or dragonfruit.


  1. I have a south facing back yard on the edge of Cottonwood canyon (a wash), so I get lots of wind. I have a large container and want to plant a fruit tree. Can you recommend some dwarf varieties that are wind tolerant. Also, on your list of fruit trees that grow well in the desert, did you note dwarf varieties?

  2. Where is Cottonwood Canyon? I know there is one just outside of Salt Lake City.

  3. Without knowing your climate I would just tell you to use a dwarf fruit tree compatible with your climate. So if you are in cold climates look at dwarf apple such as Babe. If you are in a more moderate climate that can grow peaches, use a miniature peach such as Bonanza. Always look for dwarfs or trees on dwarfing rootstocks. You can also trellis these trees on patios to give yourself more room.