Keeping Trees in Pots

Being able to keep trees in pots adds versatility to a garden. We grow many fruit and ornamental trees suitable for growing in containers. Ideal for the smaller garden, or where space is limited like a patio or terrace.

For best results, choose one of our patio trees which are supplied in a terracotta coloured pot. Look out for this patio symbol which indicates which trees can be grown in a container.

The below advise will help you get the most out of your tree.

Fruit trees in pots

The most suitable rootstocks are M27 (apples), Quince Eline (pears) and Gisela 5 (cherries). Fruit trees in pots will not have much vigour so will require only a light prune in winter to encourage some extension growth each year. On dwarfing rootstocks they will produce fruit within the first few years and if well looked after can crop for over 10 years.

Ornamental trees in pots

The most suitable varieties for keeping in a container are supplied in the terracotta coloured pot. It is worth noting, however, that any small tree can be kept in a pot if it is well looked after and the container is big enough.

Recommended varieties are Patio Malus, Prunus incisa varieties, dawrf Cotoneaster, Acer palmatums, dwarf conifers and many shrubs such as Euonymus and Viburnums. Fastigiate/upright varieties are also particularly good for containers.

Pot Size

The ‘Patio’ pots we supply are fine for the first year but thereafter we recommend planting up into a half-barrel or 40L container minimum.


During summer months it is essential that trees in pots are kept well-watered. A little water every day will keep the tree healthy.


Trees in pots will benefit from some Natural Tree Liquid Feed fertiliser, spring is the best time to add this when the growth is fresh and vigorous.


Most patio trees will require little pruning as they do not have a great deal of vigour, however, some light pruning may be beneficial. Pinching out tips of fresh growth and cutting off any dieback is sensible. Some varieties will have individual pruning requirements.

For more information on pruning see below.

How To Prune Ornamental Trees

How To Prune Fruit Trees


Keeping containers free of weeds aided by a bit of mulching will help the trees flourish. We would not advise planting lots of flowers in with the tree as they will compete for water and nutrients.