How to plant an apple tree in a pot

How to plant an apple tree in a pot

Short on space? Follow our guide to growing an apple tree in a container.

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If space is limited, you can still enjoy the crisp, juicy freshness of just-picked apples by growing 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 stay about 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’ll probably be too heavy to move once planted up. Keep the tree well watered and feed regularly with a liquid seaweed throughout the growing season.

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Follow these easy steps to plant your apple tree in a pot.

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You Will Need

  • Loam-based compost
  • Garden compost or well-rotted farmyard manure
  • Large pot or container

Total time:

Step 1

Adding blood, fish and bone meal
Adding blood, fish and bone meal

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.

Step 2

Adding the tree and compost
Adding the tree and compost

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.

Step 3

Mulching the tree
Mulching the apple tree

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.

Step 4

Watering in the tree
Watering in the newly planted 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.

 

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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’.

Watering can