Growing fruit trees is a rewarding hobby. Whether you’re interested in growing fruits in pots or in the open ground, from seed or from nursery stock, you’ll find many ways to satisfy your craving for home grown fruit.
|This is a grapefruit tree that I grew from a seedling. It flowered for the first time at 10 years of age. Now, at age 12, it is bearing its first full crop.The fruit is yellow and sweet but seedy. I’m still amazed that this huge tree grew from a little seed.|
I love all kinds of trees, but fruit trees most of all. They give you everything you could want from a tree.
They’re ornamental–some fruit trees are prettier than trees grown just as landscape adornments. Many fruit trees will give shade when mature. Some produce fragrant flowers. And, in addition to all of this, they bear fruit!
It is such a convenience to be able to stroll out into your back yard and pick a grapefruit for breakfast or a few lemons to make fresh lemonade with.
Growing Fruit Trees from Seed
If you want a particular variety you’ll usually need to purchase a grafted tree. In some instances, you could take cuttings from a mature tree of the type you want. This is a good way to propagate citrus and get a bearing tree more quickly than you would from seed.
Growing fruit trees from seed is a bit of gamble as there will always be a certain amount of genetic variability among seedlings. The fruit of the seedling may not be exactly like that of the parent. For me, this just makes it more of an adventure.
Seedling trees can take many years to come into bearing. Do your research and find out how long a wait you are in for before you plant. You may decide to purchase a grafted tree instead.
Growing Fruits in Pots
Growing fruits in pots can allow you to grow a greater number of plants than you may have room for in the ground. It is also a way to grow varieties that are too tender for your zone. You can move the pots into a frost-free garage or greenhouse for the winter.
Choose varieties that are known to do well in tubs. Use a high quality potting mix and mix in some slow-release fertilizer. Potted plants can’t send their roots far and wide in search of nutrients; they are completely dependent on you. Provide good drainage along with regular food and water and your containerized fruits will perform beautifully.
Growing Fruit Trees in the Ground
A seagrape tree growing at the Naples Zoo.
Plant bare root trees while they are dormant. Potted trees can be planted in spring or fall depending on the variety and your USDA zone.
Fruit trees should be sited in full sun in an area protected from high winds. Most of them will not tolerate standing water, so pick a spot that drains well. Plant trees that may be a bit tender in your zone on the south side of your property. Enrich the soil in the planting area with organic matter prior to planting.
Water the trees regularly their first year in the ground but do not feed them until they become established. You can start them on a feeding program in their second spring.
To grow a particular type of fruit, follow the links below: