Think you need a large garden in order to grow fruit? Then think again. Many fruits, including apples, cherries and strawberries, are ideal for growing in containers. That means you can grow fruit on a patio or even on a balcony.
Read our 10 tips for your best ever fruit harvest.
Many of today’s compact cultivars and modern rootstocks produce smaller bushes and trees, and are geared towards smaller gardens. Go for the rootstocks and varieties recommended below and give them the very best chance by placing your pots in the best possible spot – most fruits like sunshine.
Keep your plants well watered and fed, and you could soon be picking your own delicious fruits.
Here are the 10 best fruits to grow in containers.
Thanks to dwarf rootstocks, apples now grow very well in pots. Give them a sheltered, sunny spot. If you only have room for one plant, choose a self-fertile variety or a family tree, on to which several varieties are grafted.
How to plant an apple tree in a pot
Pot size: 45-50cm wide
Recommended rootstocks: M26 or M9
Blackcurrants are attractive plants and bees like the flowers. Mix a third grit into the compost and place in full sun. To encourage shooting from the base, plant them deep, about 6cm below the soil mark of the original container.
Pot size: 45-50cm wide
Recommended varieties: ‘Ben Sarek’, ‘Ben Connan’
Blueberries need acidic soil, which is easy to provide in a pot. They also have pretty fruits and flowers and attractive autumn leaves. Give them a sheltered, sunny spot and water with rainwater rather than tap if possible. Protect the ripe fruits from birds.
Pot size: 30cm
Recommended varieties: ‘Ozarkblue’, ‘Duke’
Cherries have masses of blossom in spring, summer fruits, and often vivid leaf colour in autumn. Sweet varieties need sun, while sour varieties tolerate more shade. They are shallow rooted, so water well in their first year and in any dry spells.
Pot size: 60cm wide
Recommended rootstocks: ‘Gisela 5’ for sweet cherries, ‘Colt’ for sour
Figs are perfect for containers as they fruit better when their growth is restricted. Give them a warm, sunny spot and keep watered. Not all figs are fully hardy in the UK, so be sure to choose a hardy variety, recommended below. Watch our video on growing figs.
Pot size: 35-45cm wide
Recommended varieties: ‘Brown Turkey’ or ‘Brunswick’
Gooseberries are very productive, so you’ll get plenty of fruit in small space. They grow best in a sunny, sheltered spot, although they will bear some fruits in shade. Leave space around the pot as gooseberries to ensure good air flow around the plants.
Pot size: 30cm wide
Recommended varieties: ‘Greenfinch’, ‘Invicta’
Peaches and nectarines
Peach trees are hardy, but their flowers are not, so growing them in a pot means you can give them a sunny, sheltered spot and protect their fragile, early flowers against frosts by covering with fleece. Repot every two years. Follow our peaches and nectarines Grow Guide.
Pot size: 45cm wide
Recommended rootstocks: St Julien A’, ‘Pixy’ and ‘Bonanza’
Plums in pots can also be moved to the right spot to protect early flowers from frost, covering with fleece if necessary. Plums need good drainage so add plenty of grit to your compost. Choose a self-fertile variety if you only have room for one plant.
Pot size: 60cm wide
Both summer and autumn-fruiting raspberries are available, enabling you to enjoy your harvest for months on end. If space is limited, go for summer fruiting varieties, which are less bushy. Give them a sheltered, sunny spot.
Pot size: Three summer-fruiting plants will fit in a 30cm pot
Recommended varieties: ‘Glen Ample’, ‘Glen Moy’
Strawberries are perfect for pots and alpine strawberries can be grown in a window box. Plant in late summer or early autumn and give them a sunny position. Make sure the crown is level with the surface of the compost. Discover how to create a strawberry hanging basket.
Pot size: Any container, at least 10cm deep
Recommended varieties: ‘Florence’, ‘Pegasus’, ‘Aromel’
Other ideas for fruit in small spaces
If you are growing fruit in a small space, try growing them as espaliers, fans, cordons, standards or stepovers. They take up hardly any room and will reward you with good harvests. Discover three ways to train a fruit tree.