An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Apple is a very healthy and delicious fruit. That is why one of the most popular fruits in the world. Growing an apple tree is not difficult as long as you know how to care for it. Apple can be grown in gardeners or in containers. If you want to grow apple in containers, follow the below guide on how to grow apple in pots.
If you want to grow apple tree for its fruit, we highly recommend that you don’t start from seeds. Seeds require a large space to grow and it is highly like that your tree will fail to bear fruits if you grow it from seeds.
1. Choose The Right Apple Tree
To grow apple in a container, you will need to buy a dwarf apple tree from your local nursery tree. There are a lot of choices available for you but we recommend the following varieties:
You can control the production and size of these varieties that usually does not exceed 8 feet. These varieties are also known to be resistant to pests and diseases.
2. Self-Pollinating varieties
It is true that there are some self-pollinating apple varieties but these varieties are suitable to grow in containers as their size is large and they require a vast space. However, if you are planting a dwarf variety, you should grow two apple trees from two different types so they can self pollinate each other.
3. Choose A container
You should start with using a relatively small container. 5-6 gallon standard container that is at least 12 inches deep and wide will be perfect for the initial growth of your tree. However, you will need to change the container and use a bigger container every year in order to meet the growth requirements of your tree. It is crucial to transplant your tree into a larger container once it stops its vertical growth which means that the plant is root bound.
Many of you would ask why don’t we grow it directly in a large container? Growing a young apple tree directly in a large container will hinder its growth. Therefore, you should gradually upgrade the size of your container. You can stop changing the container once your tree reaches the desired height. Then, you can use a permanent pot. A 20-25 gallon container would be ideal.
This is one of the most crucial tips on how to grow apple in pots. Apple trees require sunlight exposure to growing. Therefore, you should choose a sunny location to place your pot in. However, if you live in a hot climate, expose your tree only to morning sun and shield them away from evening sun because it would be too hot and it may burn your plant. You should also keep in mind that air circulation is very important, don’t place your tree too close to a wall or in a sealed place.
Apple trees are sturdy but they don’t like too much heat or cold. Thus, it is better to grow them when the temperature is moderate. Extremely cold will not kill your trees but it will make them go dormant. However, extreme heat is fatal especially if you don’t water regularly.
This is one of the most essential tips on how to grow apple in pots. Just like other fruits, apple trees need regular watering to grow especially if they are grown in pots. You should increase the watering rate during the formation of flower buds and reduce it when the tree becomes dormant in winter. Be careful not to over water your tree. Consider using a self-watering container.
You should water the tree at the roots. Deep watering will promote the growth of healthy roots. Too much water will cause root rot. Therefore, make sure not to waterlog the soil and avoid wetting the foliage because it encourages diseases and pests such as powdery mildew.
7. Soil Requirements
It is recommended that you avoid using soil from your garden. You should buy a good quality potting mix that is deep, fertile and well-draining. The potting mix should also be slightly acidic and rich in organic matter.
This is one of the most important tips on how to grow apple in pots. Apple trees are heavy feeders and they need fertilization. When the tree is young, half-strength balanced liquid fertilizer every two weeks. When the tree grows, any fruit fertilizer is recommended. Keep in mind to reduce fertilization in fall and stop it completely in winter.
As we mentioned below, for a healthy productive apple tree, you will need to report your tree every year into a larger container until it reaches the height you desire.
Young apple trees are not strong enough to survive winter, especially in cold climates. Thus, you may want to overwinter your plant by wrapping the pot with bubble wrap. This will keep your plant warm and protect it from frost and extremely low-temperature degrees.
Regardless of the dwarf variety, you are growing, pruning is essential. Pruning allows having control over the size and the shape of your plant. This is extremely important as you may want or need to take your plant inside your house. You will need to prune off dead, damaged or diseased branches. You should also remove branches that are crossing each other or growing inside towards the main trunk. Pruning should be done in late winter or summer.
12. Picking Flowers and Fruit Thinning
After 2 to 3 years from planting your tree, it will start to develop flowers. It is essential that you remove all blooming flowers to prevent the tree from bearing fruits. Thus, instead of developing fruits, the plant will redirect its energies into growing.
Fruit thinning is also quite important as it will help your plant better quality fruits. After you plant starts producing fruits, wair for a few weeks then remove fruits are growing to close to each other.
13. Pests and diseases
the Apple tree is a delicate plant and even if you grow in a container, it will still susceptible to pests and diseases. The most common pests and diseases are aphids, moths, apple blossom weevil, scab, powdery mildew, and brown. There are a few more pests and diseases that may attach your plants.
You should start harvesting your apple tree as soon as a few fruits start to fall from the plant. Learn more about harvesting apple in this post.
These are the best tips on how to grow apple in pots. These tips are effective, experimented and recommended by experts gardens. Apply them and you will be rewarded with a high yield of delicious apple fruits.