Dwarf Fruit Trees Perfect for the Apartment Garden

by Fern on July 31, 2009

in Fruits & Vegetables

If you live in an area with a relatively mild winter, you can plant fruit trees in late Summer and Fall in addition to Spring. The rules are more strict if you’re planting in the ground (it seems) but in my experience, you can plant fruit trees in containers any time they aren’t flowering or busy putting out fruit. And obviously those of you whose balcony is covered in snow in the winter, that wouldn’t be a good time either.

Check out these dwarf fruit and shrub varieties perfect for growing out on your balcony:

Columnar (or “Pole”) Apples

Photo by Lyubov

These apples don’t have horizontal branches, they grow fruit in clusters along their trunks. ‘North Pole’ has McIntosh-type apples, while ‘Golden Sentinel’ has yellow apples. The trees stay under 4 feet tall. Plant at least two trees as they need to cross pollinate. Check out this post with more info on growing apples in pots.


Photo by Martin LaBar

‘Sunshine Blue’ makes a great privacy screen because it’s evergreen and grows to 4 feet tall. In the Spring it’s covered with hot-pink flowers and in August and September, light-blue berries. ‘Top Hat’ is a tiny blueberry plant, growing only 18 inches tall and wide. But size doesn’t stop it from churning out tons of berries in summer. Again, plant more than one plant for pollination.



Photo by Hassocks5489

Kumquats look like grape-sized oranges. You eat both the skin and the fruit. You can also candy them or make kumquat marmalade. Grown in the ground, kumquats would grow slowly to 12 feet tall. But if you grow them in a pot you can easily keep them under 5 feet.

PrintFriendly and PDF

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

invisiblebees July 31, 2009 at 7:54 am

I think that little ‘Top Hat’ blueberry will have to find a place in our courtyard garden.

PS Kumquats, like the way the smell but not so much the taste. Need some good recipes to sweeten them up.


Martin LaBar July 31, 2009 at 10:32 am

Thanks for giving credit for the photo.


Fern July 31, 2009 at 12:25 pm

No problem Martin. The photo also links back to your Flickr page. I really appreciate photographers that allow bloggers to use their photos to illustrate posts.

Invisible Bees–You should! I bet blueberries would like your climate (most varieties need cold winters to do their best).


spencer July 31, 2009 at 5:07 pm

Very cool site. I live and work in the tropics and experiment with many of the same plant characteristics for compact, container growing.


Prue July 31, 2009 at 10:51 pm

Oh they look very cool. We have the ubiquitous lemon tree on the balcony, and a nectaree, a baby nectarine (present from a relative, probably not something I would buy myself but looks like fun!)


Genevieve August 4, 2009 at 8:07 am

The problem I have is finding fruit (beyond citrus and blueberries)to buy in fall! Everyone sells them bareroot in Jan and then you are out of luck if planting other times. I think fall’s a great time to plant them, though.

In my climate, we only plant citrus in spring after frost, so they have a year to establish before having to deal with frosty weather for the first time.

Blueberry season seems to be fall, thank goodness. I love planting in fall whenever possible.

Also? Kumquat marmalade is amazing.


Plants On Deck August 25, 2009 at 8:46 am

Thanks for the apple tip! I’ve been thinking about transforming some of my non-deck planters at the front of my house into food-producers and I think I may give this a shot. — POD


plantsondeck April 16, 2012 at 7:07 am

I’m *finally* giving Top Hat and Sunshine Blue a shot this summer. Fingers crossed!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: