How to Grow Apple Trees in Pots? Because the size of the tree is determined by its roots, select a tree that has been grafted onto a container rootstock. Apples grown on dwarfing M26 rootstocks can reach a maximum height of 2m if grown in a large pot (around 50cm in diameter).
Choose a sunny, protected location for the container before planting, as it will be too heavy to relocate once planted. Throughout the growing season, keep the tree thoroughly watered and feed it with a liquid seaweed.
Considering the Chilling Period
Apple trees require an annual cold-weather cycle in winter called chilling to set blooms. An apple tree’s chilling period is determined by the total number of hours it receives per year while the temperature remains below 45 F (7 C) but above the freezing point.
The average chilling hour needs for apple tree kinds are around 800-1000 hours, but this might vary depending on the type you choose. Choose low chill apple cultivars if you live in a mild winter area, and high chill apple varietals if you live in a harsh winter climate. This easy approach will increase the yield of your container-grown apple tree.
Choosing a Pot for the Apple Tree
Growing apple trees in an overly large pot may result in overwatering and excessive moisture in the growing media, which is a no-no for the plant. To begin, a regular size (5-6 gallon) pot 10-12 inches deep and broad is ideal. Change the container size gradually every year or two at the start of the growing season or when you see the plant is root-bound. When the plant stops growing, you’ll know if it’s rootbound or not.
Upgrade your pots in order by selecting one size larger pot than the preceding one. Stop changing the pots after your apple tree in a pot has reached the appropriate height. As a last resort, a 20-25 gallon pot might suffice. After that, you’ll need to undertake regular pruning and root cutting to keep it looking good.
How to Grow Apple Trees in Pots?
1. Position to Grow Apple Trees in Pots
The apple tree, like other fruit trees, thrives in the sun. On hot summer days (in warmer climates, USDA Zone 8-10), you can transfer the container to a location that is protected from the afternoon sun. Choose a sunny, wind-free site. Also, remember to promote proper air circulation around your apple tree. If you’re planting it on your balcony or rooftop garden, keep it away from the walls.
Growing apple trees necessitates a mild winter and a temperate summer. Apple trees cannot be grown in conditions where the temperature is constant or is very high. Apple trees can withstand cold weather by going dormant in the winter.
3. Watering to Grow Apple Trees in Pots
Growing apple trees in pots involves frequent watering, particularly in the first year. Deep watering will encourage the establishment of healthy roots. Also, throughout the winter, reduce watering.
Apple trees in containers frequently die due to root rot in soggy soil and excessive and frequent watering, so avoid this. In any case, avoid the possibility of repeatedly overwatering the plant. Also, avoid overhead watering because it promotes the formation of powdery mildew.
4. Soil to Grow Apple Trees in Pots
Apples prefer deep, fertile, and well-draining soil; avoid using soil that clogs the drainage. When grown on the ground, sandy loam to sandy clay loam soil is preferable.
To grow an apple tree in a container, use a potting mix rich in organic matter with a slightly acidic to neutral pH. (6-6.8). To improve your growing medium, combine compost and well-rotted manure.
Apple Tree Care
1. Fertilizer to Grow Apple Trees in Pots
Fertilize your apple tree once every 2-3 weeks during the growing season with a balanced liquid fertiliser diluted to 1/4 strength.
Once the tree has reached maturity, apply any fruit fertiliser. Resume reducing fertiliser feeding in late fall, stop fertilising in winter, and don’t start before the warm weather arrives in spring.
In a year or two, repot the young apple tree. Repot in a larger pot after spreading roots from the sides and bottom.
Growing apple trees in pots requires you to safeguard the plant’s roots from strong frosts and freezing temperatures. Wrap the container in bubble wrap for this.
Picking Flowers and Fruit Thinning
Dwarf apple trees begin to bloom in 2-3 years. Remove all blossoms during the first flowering year to prevent the tree from setting fruits. This will allow the plant to focus its energy on growing.
Fruit thinning enables the plant to produce higher-quality fruits. Wait a few weeks after fruit set before removing any fruits that are growing too close together.
Harvesting Apple Tree
In 3 to 7 years, the apple tree will be fully mature and ready to bear fruit. Pick one apple off the tree when it’s time to harvest and taste it to see if the rest are ready. Pulling the fruits from the tree may injure the stem. Instead, use a rotating motion approach to twist it.
They can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 6-8 weeks. Otherwise, freshly harvested apples taste exquisite; continue to eat them on a daily basis and enjoy.
A containerized apple tree is vulnerable to aphids, moths, apple blossom weevil, scab, powdery mildew, brown rot, and other pests. By keeping a watch on them, you can easily control all of these.
Also Read: How to Grow Strawberries in Pots?