How to Plant Ultra-Dwarf Fruit Trees

Are you in love with honeycrisp apples and elberta peaches? What if I told you there were varieties of fruit tree that you could grow from a container on your balcony or patio? Well… There are! They are often referred to as “Ultra-Dwarf Fruit Trees.” 

What are Ultra-Dwarf Fruit Trees?

Simply put, ultra dwarf fruit trees are fruit-bearing trees that are about six feet tall. They can grow healthy in containers and make an excellent choice for patio gardeners.

My first experience with fruit trees was over a decade ago on my family’s organic hobby farm in Oklahoma. We found a selection of ultra-dwarf fruit trees at marked down prices and purchased about one of each. As I recall it, we planted apple trees, cherry trees, peach trees and plum trees. Pears and apricots. Several of each variety. Each found its permanent home in a section of our property that took up about about 500 square feet of space. 

My family sold the land about seven years ago. I’ve been missing our mini tree orchard ever since. 

So, as fate would have it, I ran to Home Depot for a few bags of fertilizer earlier this year. Lo and behold! There was an array of shabby, marked down, $15 ultra-dwarf fruit trees. I dug through the stack and found a promising looking honeycrisp, an asian pear and an elberta peach. 

How Big Do Ultra-Dwarf Fruit Trees Grow? 

Depending on the variety, ultra-dwarf fruit trees can range from 4 feet to 8 feet. Although this seems daunting, especially for urban gardeners, this is significantly smaller than most adult fruit trees and requires significantly less watering, space, and care, which also allows for gardeners to plant a greater variety and enjoy all sorts of wonderful fruits.

Can You Plant Ultra-Dwarf Fruit Trees in Containers? 

Technically, yes! If you are in a permanent home, we recommend planting directly into the ground with a fertilized soil. However, I do not have that luxury as a renter. I am successfully growing three ultra-dwarf fruit trees in grow bags. They are suitable for containers but require diligent care to ensure that they are warm in winter and protected from freeze. 

How Long Until Ultra-Dwarf Fruit Trees Bear Fruit? 

Like so many other aspects of gardening, fruit trees require patience and dedication. Most fruit trees take 5-7 years to bear fruit, whereas ultra-dwarf fruit trees might take as few as 3 years to reach maturity and develop fruit. 

How to Plant Ultra-Dwarf Fruit Trees

1. Dig a hole into the ground; OR fill a large container with a bit of soil and then proceed to dig a hole. 

2. Add soil designed for fruit trees or container gardens. 

3. Add fertilizer that increases yield

4. Gently remove your fruit tree from its wrapping and place it into a bucket of warm water. 

5. Once prepared, carefully place your tree’s roots into the hole. Surround it with soil and fertilizer to hold into place. Pack it tightly. 

6. Cover it with woodchips or mulch for drainage. 

7. Pour a full bucket of water  into the base of your tree. 

8. Water your tree about once a week for its first few years. 

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