Container Gardening

5 Trees You Can Grow In Containers

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I’ve had much interest in the fact that I have two trees growing in pots on my patio. One is a Ginkgo Biloba Jade Butterfly tree and the other is a Japanese Maple.

I purchased the Ginkgo Biloba tree about 4 years ago and it has since been repotted. As has the Japanese Maple, which I’ve had 2 years.

Both look healthy and are leafing out for spring.

Meyer Lemon Tree

Meyer Lemon Tree

A Meyer Lemon tree would make an excellent addition to any outdoor space.

The Meyer lemon tree is naturally a small tree. It might achieve a dwarf size of 7 feet. So it can grow nicely indoors or on your patio. It should have plenty of food production of lemons year-round.

While the plants can tolerate a bit of shade, they prefer at least eight hours a day of direct sunlight.

Meyer lemon trees can grow in almost any type of soil with good drainage.

Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Stick your finger into the soil at least up to the second knuckle. If you feel dampness at your fingertip, wait to water. If it feels dry, water your plant until you see water run out the bottom of the pot.

Bring your tree indoors or into a garage when the temperature is below freezing.

USDA Zone: 8 – 11

This tree is sold on Etsy and you can find it here.

Japanese Maple Tree

Coral Bark Japanese Maple
Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’

Japanese Maples have gorgeous leaves and will look quite nice on your patio. You can find the Coral Bark Japanese Maple here.

For a healthy container grown Japanese maple, you’ll need to plant the tree in a container that is about twice the size of the tree’s root system. The pot must have drainage holes to drain water.

Keep the soil moist but not wet. And use good quality potting soil to fill the pot.

My Japanese Maple can’t tolerate full sun in the middle of summer. Probably because it’s on a cement patio, even though it’s raised a bit on a plant caddie.

USDA Zone: 6-8

Celeste Fig Tree

Celeste Fig Tree

Another tree that will provide food for you is the Celeste Fig Tree. This tree is one of the most widely planted fig trees in the US.

This fig tree produces sweet fruit and is sometimes call the “Sugar Fig.”

A container suitable for planting fig trees in pots should be large. Half whiskey barrels are ideal. But any container large enough to accommodate the root ball plus some growing space is fine.

You can use regular organic potting soil or make your own mix as long as it is loamy, well-drained and contains plenty of compost or well-rotted manure.

Water deeply at least once a month in the summer to rinse away salt deposits as well as to get water to deep roots. Fig trees grown in containers will generally need to be watered more often, especially when outdoor temps climb above 85 F.

You can always transplant the tree in later years as it outgrows the container.

Placing the pot on casters makes for ease of movement if the tree needs to be moved during cool months to a protected area.

Figs crave sun, so choose a site with as much exposure as possible, preferably next to a south-facing wall. Plant new fig trees in the spring after all danger of frost for your area has passed.

USDA Zone: 7a – 10

This tree is also available at Etsy and you can find it here.

Dwarf Peach Tree

Dwarf Peach Tree

Another patio tree to consider is the Dwarf Peach Tree. You can find this one at Amazon. This particular one is 5 gallon but you can also purchase the 3 gallon size.

Make sure your container has plenty of drainage holes.

When planting, fill pot half-way with a loamy compost soil. Place the sapling into the container and fill under and around the plant. Fill the soil to within a couple inches of the top of the container.

Be sure to plant the tree so that the graft line (where the dwarf was grafted to its parent) is not under the soil.

A peach tree will benefit from being grown in a container since it produces flowers as early as March. It also bears fruit earlier than many fruit trees.

The container makes it easy to protect your peach tree by moving it indoors if frost or wind threatens the tree.

USDA Zone: 5 – 9

Ginkgo Biloba Jade Butterfly Tree

Ginkgo Biloba Butterfly tree

Above is a mature specimen of the Ginkgo Biloba Jade Butterfly tree. Mine isn’t that mature and filled out.

It is a deciduous conifer with a canopy of fan-shaped, beautifully variegated green, cream and butter-yellow leaves. In the fall the leaves turn bright yellow.

It is the only surviving member of a group of ancient plants believed to have inhabited the earth up to 150 million years ago.

Nurseries typically sell only male trees because female trees produce seeds encased in fleshy, fruit-like cone which, at maturity in autumn, are messy. The also emit a noxious, foul odor upon falling to the ground and splitting open.

Ginkgo biloba will grow best in part to full sun and is a splendid tree for the urban landscape. It is highly tolerant of many soils, pH, salt, and pollution. However, do make sure it is well drained.

You can find this tree for sale here.

USDA Zone: 4 – 9

If you are undecided about growing a tree in a container, I’d suggest going to a reputable nursery and talking to a tree expert.

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One Comment

  1. I have a small Meyer Lemon tree I got last spring from Home Depot. I have to look up how to best prune
    It as the branches seem to be growing out horizontally. I live in zone 7 and so I kept it the garage with a grow light for the winter. Last year it formed small, green lemons following it’s bloom. This spring has brought blossoms again and the scent is heavenly. Even if I never get useable lemons from it, it is worth growing for the floral scent!