If space is limited, you can grow apple trees in pots.
Because the roots determine the size of the tree, choose a tree that has been grafted onto a container rootstock. Apples on dwarfing M26 rootstocks grow to a maximum height of just 2m tall if grown in a large pot (around 50cm in diameter).
Before planting, choose a sunny, sheltered spot for the container to sit in, as it will probably be too heavy to move once planted. Keep the tree well watered and feed regularly with a liquid seaweed throughout the growing season.
Half-fill the pot with a loam-based compost such as John Innes No.3, mixing in a little blood, fish and bone meal for good root establishment.
Adding blood, fish and bone meal
Add the tree and back-fill with more compost up to the trunk’s ‘soil line’ (the level of the soil in its nursery pot) firming in gently as you go.
Adding the tree and compost
Add a mulch of garden compost or well-rotted farmyard manure on top of the compost to lock in moisture and keep out weed seeds.
Mulching the apple tree
Raise the container up on pot feet to help excess moisture drain away, then give the tree a good drink of water to settle it in.
Watering in the newly planted apple tree
Pollinating your apples
In general, one apple tree can only be pollinated by another, so it’s best to grow two or more together. When buying, make sure your trees will be flowering at the same time for pollination to occur. If you only have room for one apple tree, choose a self-fertile variety like ‘Egremont Russet’, ‘Braeburn’ or ‘Falstaff’.