British Columbia: fruit trees in balcony containers

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by GeorgeBar, Jun 14, 2010.

  1. GeorgeBar

    GeorgeBar Member

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    A newcomer here looking for a bit of help, information, advise, ...

    We are looking for small fruit trees/bushes that can be grown in pots on a very hot sunny roof-top patio. In particular sour cherries. We've discovered there is a variety called Evans that is supposed to be a small tree -- about 6 to 8 feet tall. Is there anything smaller than that, say in the range of 4 to 5 feet?

    Are there any small apple, plum, or nectarine trees that would grow well in pots?

    Thank-you in advance as I've got the pie dough ready to roll out.

    GeorgeBar
     
  2. Grant Gussie

    Grant Gussie Active Member

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    The size of a fruit tree is dependent on the rootstock it is grafted onto (fruit bearing trees are rarely grown on their own roots as this guarantees a tree too tall to be harvested safely). Most commercial bearing trees grow to about 16 feet tall, but there are extreme dwarfing roof stocks that keep the trees less than 8 feet tall with pruning, like M-27 for apples and Gisela 5 for cherries. Just buy a tree from a reputable fruit tree specialist to find an extreme dwarf rootstock. You don't need to buy a special fruiting variety, like Evans cherry, as any variety can be grafted onto the rootstock.
     
  3. GeorgeBar

    GeorgeBar Member

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    Grant

    Thank-you for the information it was most helpful. Now I know we should be able to find trees that will be suitable for large containers.

    We will look around and use the terminology that you've given us.

    GeorgeBar
     
  4. mort

    mort Active Member

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    My sister has a number of young dwarf apple trees in pots on her balcony in Vancouver and she has actually had a few to eat from them! No harm in trying.
     
  5. GeorgeBar

    GeorgeBar Member

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    Mort

    That's good to hear that someone has been successful at growing fruit in patio containers. I'm looking forward to trying it.

    GeorgeBar
     
  6. Vili Petek

    Vili Petek Member

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    Richmond BC
    I grow an espaliered apple tree in a half barrel container on my balcony. As long as your rootstock is dwarf, you may espalier the tree and make the branches grow horizontally.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Espalier

    My next container tree will be a fig tree, I hear they produce more figs in half barrel containers.
     
  7. mcdoidge

    mcdoidge Member

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    We are trying fruit trees in containers this year... we found an "natural dwarf" nectarine at David Hunter in Surrey, bought two apple whips from Derry @ http://derrysorchardandnursery.ca/--she has a large variety of apples (etc) on various root stock and we also picked up a Dwarf Stella Cherry at David Hunter as well. The nectarine (in a 2'x2' wooden container) is doing very well against the south facing backyard wall of the house under the eaves, but the cherry and apples are suffering from something unidentified (can't see any bugs except a few ants... might just be bad weather... not sure).

    FYI

    Have fun!
     
  8. Polar

    Polar Active Member

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    I have an Elstar apple on dwarfing rootstock - I think M27 - that I bought at the UBC apple festival 3 yrs ago. It’s still very small. It’s in a container a bit smaller than half an oak barrel. It has tons of flowers every year but I end up with at most 3 small apples. They are tasty though! I wonder if its because early flowers and on a deck make it such that they are not getting pollinated. My technique using a q-tip and going from flower to flower may be at fault too.... It is flowering now, April 20th. I live on the Sunshine Coast, near the ocean.
     
  9. Polar

    Polar Active Member

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    By tomorrow, many of these buds will be completely open.
     

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  10. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    According to information on the Web, the Elstar apple variety needs to be cross-pollinated with another compatible variety.
     
  11. Polar

    Polar Active Member

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    You are absolutely right! I was looking for self-fertile when I bought it as it was to go on my patio! How could I have missed that! So many beautiful choices, that’s why. And the Elstar I sampled on site was so tasty that it likely blinded me from the other details.
    Thanks for the heads up, I’ve gone to pick up a partner for it!
     

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