Growing Fruit in Containers

Many of the fruits Raintree Nursery offers are well suited to spend their whole life in a container. People who don't have land to plant into the ground or people who want to garden on their deck or patio can enjoy container fruit gardening. The information below will help you get started.

For more information we offer the following books:

Following is a list of fruit that grows well in containers. Click on any of them to go to the page to find out more information about that plant or to order the plant. 

This year we have added Brazelberries to our list of great plants for containers. Go to our berry section to find the dwarf Raspberry  Shortcake and also the dwarf Peach Sorbet and Jelly Bean Blueberries.             

We have listed an approximate-size pot that your plant will eventually need. However, it is important to start out by putting the plant in a pot only slightly bigger than it is currently in. Each year -- in the winter with deciduous plant, or as needed -- you can repot into a pot a couple of inches larger and deeper.

If you put a small plant into a big pot, its roots only take up a small area in the middle of the pot. Most of the pot doesn't have roots, so the water in the pot only gets taken up by the area with roots. The rest of the pot retains its water and will have an adverse affect on your plant.

Eventual size pot for various plants:

Medium Pot (20+ gallon)

30 gallon wine barrel

10 to 20 gallon pot

Long, narrow planter

Shallow container (15+ gallon)

In addition to the plants listed above that can be grown outside by most gardeners, the ones listed below are tropicals or subtropicals and can only be grown outside in USDA Zones 10 or some in USDA Zone 9.  People in colder climates can grow these plants as beautiful edible house plants and bring them outside in the summer.

Edible Potted Houseplants

Here are some tips for successful container growing:

  • Use warmer Micro Climates on your patio or in your yard. A south-facing patio or wall provides a lot of extra heat to help ripen your fruit.
  • Espalier and fan shapes work well for potted fruit trees.
  • New everbearing raspberries, strawberries and blackberry cultivars great for containers.

Techniques to succeed at container growing:

  • Select the right pot for the right plant.
  • Select the right potting soil.
  • Select the right fertilizers and remember watering correctly is the key. Most people over water.

Tips on the right potting soil mixes for each of your edible fruiting container plants:

Citrus: Needs acidic, well-drained soil mix. Use conventional potting mix, make sure no lime was added, mix 30-50% with sand, pumice or perlite. Allow to dry between watering and provide bright light and humidity in winter. If tips of stems start turning brown and dying back reduce water, roots are not getting enough oxygen.

Blueberry, lingonberry, cranberry, huckleberry: Needs acidic well-drained yet moisture retentive soil mix. Rhododendron mixes work well, or use 50-70% medium bark, 15-30% peat moss, and 10-20% pumice or perlite. Keep blueberry and cranberry evenly moist, allow lingonberry to dry between watering. If lingonberry start showing brown leaves or stems, they are staying too wet, there is not enough oxygen for the roots.

Olive: Prefers pH 6.8-8.2, but adapts to most soils. May have poorer performance in fir bark based soil, which is what many commercial mixes are based on. Experiment with peat, sand, compost, perlite, and/or pumice.

Goji berry: Needs pH of 7.0-7.2, well drained, add kelp meal for micronutrients, allow to dry between watering.

Always use an artificial (non-soil based) soil mix in containers. Soil becomes compacted in a container.

Soil Mix Recipe

  • Medium bark 30-50%
  • Peat or peat/compost 30-50%
  • Pumice or perlite 20%
  • 2 Tbsp lime/dolomite lime for each 5 gallons
  • 1 Tbsp bone meal or rock phosphate
  • 1 Tbsp kelp meal

pH should be about 6.0-6.3.