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It is a great treat for us gardeners and allotment holders to have fresh, healthy and delicious fruit at our finger tips, but increasingly the majority of us do not have an acre or two to turn over to an orchard! Most of us however do have room on our patios for growing dwarf trees in containers. Below I have listed some of the benefits of these trees:-

  1. Because these plants are grafted on to a dwarfing rootstock they will never grow into a large tree.  They will remain small reaching an eventual height of around 100cm (39.4in) and a spread of around 45cm (17.7in) if grown in containers.
  2. Little experience is required to achieve good results
  3. Can be grown on paved areas
  4. Can be moved to the best aspect e.g a sunnier or more sheltered area
  5. As well as bearing fruit, the trees are also ornamental, especially when flowering
  6. Attractive to pollinators
  7. Although these trees will not bear as much fruit as a large tree, this can be a good thing as you will not have a glut of fruit that you are unable to eat.

Growing Instructions

Patio trees should be planted in pots at least 30cm (12in) in diameter. Larger pots will need less watering but will be heavier to move around.  Use a good quality, soil-based compost such as John Innes No.3 to aid stability and retention of nutrients. Pot up the tree at the same soil level as it was grown previously, with the graft above soil level.  Leave a gap at the top of the pot so there is room to add water.  Water the trees regularly, especially in summer. Feed the trees with a potassium-rich feed in spring and summer. Place the potted trees in a sunny, sheltered spot. Most fruit trees will require a little winter pruning, although do not prune cherries in winter as this may leave the trees prone to silver leaf disease.

One of the U.Ks top gardening retailers Thompson & Morgan have put together a collection of five of these patio trees for an excellent price to provide an entire patio orchard:-

Collection comprises:
Apple ‘Golden Delicious’ – This easy to grow variety produces good yields of attractive golden-green apples that store well over a long period after harvesting. Rootstock: M9

Apple ‘Gala’ – A reliable cultivar producing attractive, red flushed fruits with a surprisingly sweet flavour when eaten straight from the tree, and make a delicious juicing apple. Rootstock M27

Pear ‘Conference’ – The best known of all pears, ‘Conference’ is excellent eaten as a dessert pear but also exceptional when cooked. The long bell shaped fruits with firm flesh can be eaten hard or fully ripe with a smooth juicy flavour. Rootstock: Quince A

Plum ‘Black Amber’ – This heavy bearing Plum produces plenty of rounded, firm purple fruits with a deliciously juicy texture. Rootstock: Ferlinane

Cherry ‘Sylvia’ – This dwarf cherry tree is perfect for the patio where it makes a great focal point in spring as pale pink cherry blossom cloaks the branches. Rootstock: Gisella 6

To view the above collection at Thompson & Morgan click here

Mark Snelling

Images copyright Thompson & Morgan

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