So many fruiting plants excel on the patio, in fact it's harder to think of fruits that are not suitable than it is to imagine the almost limitless choice you do have. Why the fruiting plant is not employed more often in this way is a mystery and a gardening trend that surely must take off soon. These days, with the art of the dwarfing rootstock perfected, fruit trees are virtually made for the container and remember that many soft fruits are ideal too.
Many of our fruiting plants and trees are beautiful in their own way. The very idea of drooping boughs laden with tempting fruit is at once satisfying, comforting and almost hedonistic. Fruit tree blossom is itself one of springs quintessential pleasures - and it's fragrant too. With this potentially bountiful harvest so close at hand - at the back door so-to-speak, it is more convenient to harvest them and easier to keep pests at bay too. Who wouldn't want to sit out in that comfy chair surrounded by drooping boughs laden with slowly ripening plums, apples and cherries...? They are not more difficult to cultivate in this way than they are in the garden. Yes, you must water, daily if it is hot or dry, but then so you must anything that you grown there. Pruning isn't a heavyweight chore because the stocks we are going to recommend are naturally dwarfing or miniature - they just don't grow that much anyway. You will find that containing them in a pot will actually increase the amount of fruit that is produces; it is one of those strange but true oxymoron's. Here is a complete synopsis of what you can grow. Apples on the mini M27 rootstock. Varieties? All of them; just make sure if they aren't self pollinating to grown two that go together - we can help you with that.
Pears Concrode on Quince C stock is ideal. A naturally compact yet heavily yielding tree and self pollinating too. It has a lovely sweet flavour and stores too so you don't have to gobble them all at once!
Plums on Pixy. As mentioned before, perfect! The fruits turn out so sweet and well flavoured. Ring the changes with Gages and Damsons too.
Cherries On Gisele 5. The finest summer treat of all? You just ave to see a Cherry tree on this amazing new rootstock in full fruit, gives new meaning to the term dripping with fruit. You won't have realised just how easy it is to grow big crops of perfect cherries.
Figs Love being confined in a pot and they fruit right from the word go. The big indented foliage is rather nice too, as ornate as the most handsome indoor foliage plant. Fresh Figs are luscious and unctuously sweet.
Blueberries are ideal in pots. As Summer progresses the bushes get a frosting of brilliant ultramarine blue as the berries ripen all over the branches... In the autumn you get firecracker shades of crimson, orange and ochre gold.
Strawberries suit a container, trough, window box all their own - or you can even grown them in a hanging basket or as a productive understory beneath the main characters. All varieties are suitable.
Gooseberries Not the most attractive of characters but the half standard form has enough formal outline to make them an appropriate inclusion on the patio. You could also grow the smooth-as-silk-stocking ‘Pax' just so as you don't rip garden visitors to shreds as they relax on the recliner.
Apricots Oh yes, Isabelle is compact and ripens wonderfully nectar-sweet golden amber fruits... the very early deep pink blossom is a joy.
Peaches & Nectarines The most satisfactory fruits of all for the patio perhaps, they have everything - and they don't half crop too.
A Mulberry Tree Slow growing, perfectly happy in a tub or half barrel, this sedate tree of character makes a wonderful shady refuge. It will yield earlier in life grown this way and is something really different and desirable to include. For the trellis, entranceway or arch how about Kiwi Fruits which have wonderful felty leaves like brilling green velvet - reason enough to grown them, they will lap up the sunny seclusion of your patio - and Grape Vines - handily placed so you can reach up from your sun bed and pluck a few grapes straight into your mouth... poetic license perhaps but definitely possible! Before you ask, regretfully we can't supply the glamorous maiden to do it for you!
Pot Sizes An 18inch container is the rule of thumb for most fruit trees but you can go bigger if you wish. It doesn't have to be a huge container. Always use a hearty soil based potting compost like John Innes no 2. Feed either annually with a long lasting Osmocote tab or fortnightly with a liquid seaweed extract. So whats stopping you? Ditch the barbecue [how often did you use it this summer anyway] and those sad looking Bizzy Lizzies and half brown conifer and get cracking with something Really worthwhile and save on your grocery bill too!