Fruit Trees for Small Gardens

We grow many varieties of fruit trees that are perfect for small gardens. They will take up little space and produce lots of delicious fruit for many years.

Growing fruit trees for small gardens is easy. Choose any on dwarf rootstocks and they won’t get very big. Lots of varieties are also naturally compact and slow growing. Some more vigorous varieties can easily be pruned to keep them a smaller size. Fruit trees are particularly suitable for pruning to fit in small spaces or along walls and fences. Many varieties have an upright shape so they grow in a column and don’t take up much space in the garden. Whatever type of tree you are looking for, the range to choose from is more exciting than ever.

Fruit trees for small gardens

Fruit trees can come in three main forms:

-Trees grafted onto dwarf rootstocks so their growth is restricted

-Trees that are trained by pruning into specific shapes

-Trees that are naturally slow growing or small in habit

Across these various forms there are countless options for your garden, whether you have a small garden, courtyard garden or you’re looking to add small trees to an area of a larger garden. Some trees can even be kept in pots.

Fruit trees on dwarfing rootstocks

Rootstock research and selection over recent decades has resulted in some excellent dwarf rootstocks. Fruit trees grown on these rootstocks have very low vigour and will only reach a height of two or three metres. Some varieties can be kept in a container, such as apples, pears and cherries. To find out more about keeping trees in pots, click here. Other types of fruit such as plums, gages and damson must be planted in the ground as they can struggle in pots. See the table below for the most common dwarf rootstocks used for fruit trees. For more information about rootstocks click here.

FruitDwarf Rootstocks
AppleM27, M9
PearQuince Eline, Quince C
CherryGisela 5
Plums, Gages, DamsonsVVA-1

Nearly all fruit trees can be grafted on dwarf rootstocks, so the choice is almost limitless. We have chosen a few of our favourites that we know make very reliable and productive small trees:

AppleScrumptious, Red Windsor, Rosette, Christmas Pippin, Herefordshire Russet, Tickled Pink
PearConference, Concorde, Onward, Doyenne du Comice
CherryStella, Sweetheart, Summer Sun, Morello, Stardust
PlumOpal, Haganta, Guinevere, Victoria, Jubilee
GageOld Green Gage, Cambridge, Oullins Golden, Stella’s Star
DamsonFarleigh, Shropshire Prune, Merryweather

Trained Fruit Trees For Small Gardens

Fruit trees can be pruned and trained into many different shapes. We grow the most common forms: espalier, fan, cordon and step-over. Careful pruning each year can produce attractive and productive trees that take up very little space in the garden.

Trained fruit trees for small gardens

Apples and pears respond well to pruning and are nearly all spur bearing so these can be pruned harder into more formal shapes. Spur bearing means they produce little buds along the branches that become flowers and then fruit.

Stoned fruit, such as plums and cherries, are tip bearing and can be prone to disease if pruned very hard, so these types are best just grown as fans where they are lightly trimmed and branches are tied back to a wall or fence. Tip bearing means most of the new growth comes from the tips so hard pruning makes them unproductive.

Apples and pears can be pruned anytime of year (we recommend a light prune in winter and another tidy up in July); stoned fruit should mainly be pruned in late summer after fruiting as fresh cuts in winter can bring disease. Some types of fruit, such as quince, are too vigorous or brittle to make into a trained shape.

We grow a wide selection of trained forms, including many popular and unusual varieties.

For more information about the different trained forms we grow, click here.

Naturally Dwarf Fruit Trees

Some varieties of fruit trees are naturally slow growing. They remain small even after many years. There are also varieties that grow up in a column so don’t take up much space. Even when grafted onto more vigorous rootstocks, they are never going to make big trees.

Below are our Top Ten Naturally Dwarf Fruit Trees:

FruitCan it be kept in a container?
Apricot CompactaNo
Apricot Garden AprigoldNo
Cherry CelesteYes
Cherry SylviaYes
Pear ObeliskYes
Mirabelle RubyNo
Mulberry Mojo BerryYes
Nectarine Garden BeautyYes – if kept indoors in winter
Fig Little Miss FiggyYes
Peach Garden LadyYes – if kept indoors in winter

We continue to develop our range of trees for small gardens so do keep checking our range!

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