Have you ever fancied growing your own ornamental or fruit trees but have a small garden or balcony and don’t think you have enough space? There are trees that thrive in a container on your patio or balcony so you can enjoy their aesthetic qualities or five a day at home.
This week, we are celebrating National Tree Week takes place from November 28, to December 6 and is championed by the Tree Council. It is the UK’s largest tree celebration annually launching the start of the winter tree planting season. Trees planted in the autumn experience much less stress, require less watering and aftercare than trees planted in spring or summer as the soil is still warm and moist, meaning the plants can root and acclimatise.
The ideal types of tree to grow in pots are slow-growing or dwarf varieties, here we take a look at the most popular and what containers to use:
Choosing your container
For planting trees, we recommend a container that is around 50cm in diameter – our range of extra-large pots are ideal. Make sure your pot is durable and robust in construction, made of an insulated material such as terracotta or wood, frost proof and warm in order to protect your trees in colder weather.
Choose a sheltered spot for your container and tree as it will be hard to move once planted. Half fill with a loam-based compost with some bone meal to help with root establishment. Place the tree in the pot and continue to fill with more compost, firming in gently. Water well and place the container on pot feet to aid drainage.
Trees to try
Dwarf rootstock apple trees grow well in pots. Varieties such as ‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’ ‘Golden Delicious’, ‘Greensleeves’, ‘Hereford Russet’ and ‘Red Windsor’ are our choice varieties for their aromatic, juicy fruit with distinctive flavour.
When you are choosing a pear for a pot you must make sure it is grafted onto a container rootstock. The ideal choice for a Pear tree in a patio container is the ‘Concorde’ or ‘Conference’ variety. It is a naturally compact short tree that is self-fertile and will produce a bumper yield of fruit every time.
Figs actually thrive being restricted in a container and actually produce more fruit due to this. Their attractive large lobed leaves also make them an extremely decorative tree to have, and are easy to look after. ‘Brown Turkey’ is considered the most prolific fruiter and by far the most often grown in UK gardens.
Japanese maples are small, deciduous trees, known for their spectacular display of bright red and orange-coloured leaves in autumn. Place the plant out of the wind and out of the direct sun. Keep it well watered in summer and don’t let it dry out. They grow slowly and stay compact so don’t need any pruning, just remove any dead or diseased branches.
Bring a taste of the Mediterranean to your outdoor space with an olive tree. Ideal for containers, olive trees will be best suited to a sunny position – ideally south or west facing. They do not like wet conditions, so when planted in a pot, they must have free drainage. It is best to let the soil dry out between watering, and they require little watering in the winter.
Renowned for their fragrance and widely used in topiary, a potted bay tree makes an aromatic and stylish addition to a kitchen garden. With leaves that are great for picking all year round for cooking, a bay tree also adds a feature statement when framing doorways, patio or balcony. Well-drained soil is essential for a happy bay tree so place on pot feet to aid drainage. Pruning is best done during the summer, and they will need to be kept snug with horticultural fleece or bubble wrap if the temperature drops below -5°C in winter.
Conifers are low maintenance, attractive forms and bring all year-round colour to gardens. They are extremely versatile, coming in an amazingly diverse range of shades, textures, shapes and sizes. Many of which can be grown successfully in containers to provide great focal points in an outdoor area. ‘Cupressus Wilma’ is ideal for growing in large pots and containers near doors and windows where the lemon scent can be enjoyed when brushing against the foliage, whilst Sawara Cypress ‘Baby Blue’ will illuminate pots with its silver-blue sprays.
Do you have some container tree displays in your garden? Tag us with #gardenesquegarden