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Dwarf Fruit Trees

Why Not Consider Growing Dwarf Fruit Trees?

You are a avid gardener but don’t have enough space to live out your passion for gardening. Dwarf fruit trees is the solution. The dwarf fruit tree is a smaller tree that still produce regular sized fruits.

Dwarf Cherry Tree

Miniature fruit trees are very popular with backyard and balcony gardeners who wants a variety of their favorite fruits. Growing your own dwarf fruit trees in your backyard or patio is possible with a bit of effort. Soon a mini orchard will be on the patio.

Dwarf fruit trees are perfect where you only has a limited amount of outdoor space. The dwarf fruit trees can actually be left in potted containers.

Soon you will have a large crop of fruit growing right on your patio or apartment balcony. Delicious fruit will be available in your house for seasons to come.

First decide the ideal spot you want to place the dwarf fruit tree. Take in consideration the amount of shade and sunlight the trees need.

Choose Fruit Tree Varieties

You can select from a vast range of trees like apple, peach, cherry. Select your fruit tree based on the amount of sunlight or shade it needs. Apple trees require plenty of sunlight with good air circulation. Space the dwarf fruit trees so it don’t get to overcrowded on the patio.

Planting is best done in late autumn. Protect the roots and keep them moist until they are planted. Reducing the size of the trees can be done in four ways.

Dwarfing Rootstocks

Branches of fruit trees are grafted to dwarf rootstocks to produce smaller trees. Their are several varieties of dwarfing rootstock available which restrict the tree’s growth.

For a backyard orchard, you can grow several smaller trees of your favorite fruit, one large tree with a few different varieties grafted on.

Some dwarfing rootstocks are better suited for dry and poor soil, where other rootstocks will need high quality soil. Miniature or dwarfing root are not the same across all fruit varieties. You can produce 3 to four foot high dwarf apples, but a dwarf cherry is still a tree 18 to 20 feet tall.

Your local nursery should be able to tell you what rootstock their dwarf fruit trees are grown on. Specialist nurseries will graft the varieties you want, on suitable rootstocks for your purpose.

If you want a apple on a rootstock for a cordon or espalier, ask your fruit nursery if they can supply you with a particular variety and rootstock combination best suited for your soil, and the type of pruning you want to do.

Dwarfing Rootstock

Genetic Dwarf Fruit Trees

Genetic dwarf trees are trees which are very short with fairly heavy branches. They are not regular sized trees made smaller and you may not be able to get your favorite apple or peach variety as a genetic dwarf.

These are most often peaches, nectarines, almonds, apricots and apples,small enough to grow in pots. Depending where you live , they may need winter protection.

Genetic Dwarf Fruit Tree

Controlled Pruning

Pruning methods produce fruit trees of a more manageable size. These trees may be on regular rootstock. Espaliers, where the tree are grown flat on a set of wires on a building or between posts, or cordons, where single straight branches are interwoven to create fence patterns are the two most common types of controlled pruning.

Many miniature fruit trees can be espaliered or grown as a cordon which decorate fences or for growing flat against the protection of a wall.

Pruning Dwarf Fruit Tree

Control Fruit Tree Growth in Pots

Fruit trees grown in Pots, with restricted soil and root growth, can be dwarfed in the same way a bonsai tree is dwarfed, with pruning of the roots and branches at the correct time of year. By growing the pot grown varieties on dwarfing rootstocks you can further restrict their size.

Most fruit trees can be grown in large pots (10 to 15 inches), with the exception of cherries which need larger pots, up to 18 inches. Fruit in pots should be grown in fertile soil with 1/3 of the soil mix being perlite or vermiculite to keep the soil from getting waterlogged.

You can use slow release fertilizer pellets, or feed them every two weeks with a high potassium liquid feeding . Fruit trees in pots should be repotted every year or two after leaf fall.

When your tree has reached it’s mature size, it should be root pruned every other year and replaced back in it’spot with roughly 20% new soil. Root pruning for this purpose should remove at least the outer inch of roots.

Dwarf Orange Tree


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{ 9 comments… add one }
  • shabbir ballim 03 Apr 2013, 12:39

    hello, i have been trying to purchase dwarf fruit trees in south africa , but i have been unsuccessful. please inform me if you know of anyone selling dwarf fruit trees. your help will be highly appreciated. regards shabbir

    • Deon 06 Apr 2013, 18:31

      Hi Shabbir,

      The best will be to go to reputable nurseries. They will assist you in all aspects of buying exct.



      • shabbir ballim 17 Apr 2013, 10:04

        thanks DEON, i tried alot of nurseries in the durban area without success. i came across a site from america (plantogram ) , the ideal nursery for what i am looking for . they stock all types of dwarf fruit trees. i was amazed at the variety they carry . i wish we had a similar nursery in south africa . check it out for yourself and you also will be amazed. regards SHABBIR

  • Mike 16 Mar 2017, 13:26

    Like Shabbir I to can’t find Dwarf lemon trees in the Fourways area. Are these trees available in SA?

  • Triple N 18 Jul 2017, 04:45


    Did anyone manage to find where to buy dwarf trees in SA

  • jane barrett 22 Feb 2018, 12:50

    I’m looking for dwarf fruit trees in gauteng can not find a nursery

  • jane barrett 22 Feb 2018, 13:56

    I am looking for a supplier of dwarf fruit trees in gauteng

  • Emily 07 Apr 2018, 22:39

    Hi, also looking for dwarf trees in the Gauteng area but unable to find..

  • Mincoza 16 Sep 2021, 13:57

    Why not grow your own dwarf fruit trees? Have look at this blogpost: https://www.gardeninginsouthafrica.co.za/so-you-say-you-don-t-have-space-to-plant-fruit-trees

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