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Grow an orchard on your back porch or patio

Most people have probably heard of raised garden beds. With them, you can plant flowers or vegetables just about anywhere, even on a patio or a paved surface. However, probably not as many people know that you can do the same thing with trees. For instance, you can take a lemon tree or an apple tree and place it in a planter to start your own mini orchard.

A container orchard can thrive on a porch, a patio, and, in some instances, even a balcony. To get started, you only need a few materials. If you’d like to learn how easy it is to get involved in this rewarding pastime, keep reading. 

In this article: Garden State Bulb Meyer Lemon TreeEdibles Key Lime Tree and Bonanza Patio Peach

What is a container orchard?

Just like it sounds, a container orchard is when you grow trees, such as apple trees, peach trees and lemon trees, in containers. While this may be the only option for people who do not have a large yard, it is also suitable for people who plan on moving, but don’t want to leave their orchard behind.

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A container orchard takes advantage of dwarf trees — trees that have a compact stature. With proper planning and care, it is possible to have a container orchard where the trees mature at just 6 to 10 feet tall. This makes it possible to grow trees on a patio or a porch.

Container orchard tips

Six hours of sunlight per day is sufficient for most potted trees.

Since nutrients are not replenished in a pot, make sure to feed (and water) your trees so they can thrive.

The ideal solution for watering your container orchard is to use a drip irrigation system.

While pruning the branches of your potted tree is desirable for shaping, it is essential to prune the roots each spring, making sure they aren’t spiraling or filling the container.

If you live in a region with prolonged freezing temperatures, you should move all potted trees inside to an unheated garage for protection during the cold weather.

Items you need to start your container orchard

Garden State Bulb Meyer Lemon Tree

When you’re starting a porch orchard, you need a tree. This lemon tree is self-pollinating and it can be planted indoors or outdoors to produce fruit in the first year. When planted outside, the tree attracts butterflies and birds, and it can grow to up to 10 feet tall.

Edibles Key Lime Tree

Another citrus option is key limes. This compact tree matures at 6 to 12 feet and yields fruit nearly all year long. Besides its culinary benefits, a key lime tree makes an attractive addition to your patio or yard. It is covered in deep green glossy leaves and features a flourish of fragrant white blossoms.

Bonanza Patio Peach

If sweet and juicy is your jam, a peach tree might be perfect for you. This Bonanza Patio Peach only grows to a maximum of 6 feet, making it a dainty addition to your garden. In fact, it is so small, it can fit on a balcony. Plus, the pink spring blossoms provide a stunning spring spectacle.

Edibles Fuji Apple Tree

If you’re a gardening novice, the Fuji Apple Tree is a low-maintenance, entry-level option that offers a bountiful harvest. When the apples reach their full color in late September or October, they are ready to be picked. You can use them for fresh snacking, baking and more.

Sand and Stable Kehlani Pot Planter

Whether you start your patio orchard indoors or outdoors, you need a planter. This option has a spacious design that makes it suitable for larger plants and smaller trees. It is made with a weather-resistant resin that features a leafy vine décor and can be drilled for drainage to protect sensitive roots.

Bungalow Rose Keilson Ceramic Pot Planter

If you prefer a more traditional, old-world planter, this ceramic option has a rustic natural stone color. You can get it in small, medium, large and extra-large, depending on your needs. All sizes are round and feature drill hole options for drainage.

Miracle-Gro Fruit and Citrus Plant Food Spikes (12-Pack)

You have a few options available when it comes to nourishing your plant. One option is using Miracle-Gro’s plant spikes, which contain only natural ingredients that are gradually released into the root zone over time. You only need feed once per season to give your tree the nutrients it needs to thrive.

Scotts Evergreen Flowering Tree and Shrub Continuous Release Plant Food

Another easy-to-use option when it comes to nourishing your potted trees is this continuous-release plant food. It is safe, simple to use — just apply directly — and lasts for up to two months. It only takes a 1/2 tablespoon for every 1 square foot of soil.

Anphsin Large Plant Covers

Depending on your region, you might need to give your container orchard a little help with protection from the elements in the colder months. Anphsin’s large plant covers are made of lightweight, breathable, nonwoven material that lets your small trees get plenty of air and sunlight so you don’t have to remove the cover every morning.

Prices listed reflect time and date of publication and are subject to change.

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