If you’ve ever thought of growing a fruit tree but don’t have the proper outdoor environment you may have thought you were out of luck. Fortunately, there are smaller versions of traditional trees known as dwarf fruit trees. Growing dwarf fruit trees makes it possible to grow a fruit bearing tree, even indoors. These smaller tree varieties are excellent options for growers with limited space, or those that lack the outdoor space to grow a full-sized tree in.
What Are Dwarf Fruit Trees?
Dwarf fruit trees are standard fruit trees that have been specifically bred to not grow as large as they normally would. Through a process called grafting, gardeners are able to create perfectly healthy, fruit bearing trees that don’t grow nearly as large as they typical would.
This makes it perfectly possible to grow dwarf fruit trees indoors. While you may not get as much edible fruit as you would from a traditional tree, it’s still possible for these trees to bear fruit.
Keep in mind that dwarf fruit trees can still grow quite large. Certain varieties can reach upwards of 6’ tall, although it is possible to limit most to under 3’. When selecting a dwarf fruit tree you should always be aware of its maximum potential size.
What Are The Benefits Of Dwarf Fruit Trees?
Growing dwarf fruit trees is a great way for those that lack the space to grow a traditional tree. Here’s a couple of the key benefits of growing dwarf fruit trees.
- Smaller size and footprint
- Easier to harvest
- Can be grown indoors
- Bear crops sooner
Overall, they make a great option for those looking to grow fruit trees indoors. In most cases, any fruit tree grown indoors is going to be a dwarf variety to help limit the space it needs to grow.
How Are Dwarf Trees Made?
Many people assume that dwarf fruit trees are the result of genetic modification, but that’s not the case. Dwarf fruit trees are actually made by grafting two different trees together.
When doing so, the gardener first takes the top part of the tree, called the scion. This is the part that bears the fruit and determines which fruit your dwarf tree will bear. Whichever plant the scion came from is what type of fruit the new tree will produce.
They then take the bottom part, or rootstock, and graft these two together. The rootstock controls the ultimate size of your dwarf tree, along with characteristics like how cold hardy the tree is.
After they graft these two together, they now have a brand new dwarf fruit tree. Remember that the scion controls the fruit produced, and the rootstock the overall size of the plant.
Caring For Dwarf Fruit Trees
Caring for dwarf fruit trees is very similar to their full sized siblings. For starters, lots of sunlight is a must. Even dwarf fruit trees are going to be 8+ hours of sunlight per day if you want them to bear fruit.
You’ll also want to be keeping up with a watering and feeding schedule. This is going to vary by the specific plant, but it’s generally going to be more than most other plants. Fruit trees of all kinds are heavy feeders and are going to need good amounts of water.
You should also make sure to plant them in a container that has proper drainage. You’ll also want to use well draining potting soil that doesn’t hold water. While fruit trees like a lot of water it’s still possible to overwater them which can lead to root rot. You can use any commercial soil, but there are also many fruit tree specific blends which may produce better results.
In any case, caring for fruit trees takes a decent amount of work and more maintenance than many other plants. It’s definitely worth it though, there’s nothing quite like biting into a fresh fruit that you grew yourself.