HOW TO GROW LOTS OF FRUIT TREES IN CONTAINERS?

In Today’s article, we will look into some important gardening tips and tricks on successfully growing fruit trees in containers. Topics like Which fruits trees to choose – Seed grown vs Cuttings grown vs Grafted Trees. Where to purchase high quality grafted fruit trees and some important repotting tips for newly bought plants whether from online nursery or offline.  

Let’s look into the Topics Covered in this episode:

  1. Plant Purchase: Seed grown vs Cuttings grown vs Grafted Trees.
  2. Repotting: Should I repot immediately after purchase?
  3. 10 Golden Rules to Follow while repotting a plant
  4. Common Care Tips for Growing Fruit Trees.

Let’s begin:

  1. Plant Purchase: I am sure most of us might have this question in mind: Growing from Seeds vs Growing from Branch Cuttings or Choosing to Purchase a Grafted tree. Which one do you thing you should opt for?
    First of all, growing from seeds is a great fun thing to do and we all have done it many times for gardening fun and experimenting. But the major disadvantage of seed grown tree is they are not “true to seed” – meaning they may not produce identical fruit tree and more over it might take ages for the seed grown trees to products fruits, but of course there are some exceptions.

Secondly, Plants grown from cuttings including the air layering method may produce the genetic clones of the parent tree. Fruit trees such as figs, pomegranates, mulberries and many others are generally grown by this method. But the major problem with this method is they do not have enough roots developed to support fruit production and more over there are only fibrous roots and no tap roots which are important for fruit trees for anchorage. Whereas Seed produced plants have a well developed tap root system and this concept is used in Grafting. The ‘root stock’ which is the lower portion of the plant with strong root system and the ‘scion’ which is the branch from selected delicious fruit tree which is grafted on to the root stock.

Having Said that, its time to choose which trees to purchase for your container gardening. It’s obvious that grafted trees, specially dwarf varieties are the best one to grow in containers.

  • REPOTTING:  Whether Purchased online or offline from a local nursery, people often have a misconception that immediately repotting a newly purchased plant into a larger container and a nutrient rich potting soil will make your plant grow like crazy. This is not always true.

Now let’s discuss some Very important points and concepts, that you must keep in mind if you want to keep your newly purchased plant healthy and avoid the so called repotting or transplant shock.

To answer this question, let us ask 2 QUESTIONS:

  1. When Do I repot a New Plant Purchased offline, that’s from a Local Nursery or Garden Store?
  2. When Do I repot a Plant Purchased Online? Like from nurserylive.com or amazon

Now, lets quickly look into the conceptual answers to these queries.

  1. If your plant just came home from a local garden centre or nursery, DO NOT REPOT IMMEDIATELY. Let it adjust to its new environment for few days or atleast a week before repotting it. This is because the Plants are already in shock at their new residence until they get used to new factors like light, temperature, and humidity conditions.
  2. Then in second scenario, that is when you purchase a plant online. Repotting immediately is the best solution in most cases. Because, it is very much likely that the plants would have travelled hundreds or thousands of miles and many days without any water or moisture before reaching its final destination. The plant will be going through a recovery period and an acclimation period during these days of transport in whatever medium the seller packs them in. So, Why let the plant re-acclimate twice in this situation.
  •  The 10 Golden Rules of Repotting:

Let’s quickly list them one by one:

  1. Water the plant the day before you plan to repot.
    1. Perform Repotting in the evening hours to prevent shock to the plant during sunlight that is the day time which is the active period for photosynthesis. Let it get overnight period of rest and recovery.
    1. To Remove the Root Ball, Gently Tap the rim of the pot to a hard surface like a table or a counter. This is to loosen the root ball instead of pulling it with force which can damage the roots or the stem. If the root ball resists to come out, run a knife between the pot and the root ball to loosen the root ball.
    1. Inspect the root ball for things like: any root worms or maggots, root disease and if they are root bound to decide whether you want to repot in a larger container or perform root pruning.
    1. Choosing the Right Container: For fruit and Vegetable plants especially if you are growing on terrace, choose fabric grow bags as your first preference. This is because they are not only light but also follow the principles of AIR PRUNING and can grow into healthy trees using this principle.

Then It’s also very important to choose a pot that is of appropriate size for the plant. Like, You should never pot a 6 inch pot plant into a 14 inch or a very large pot. Go Step by Step, Choose one or two steps higher, like 6 inch pot, you can plant in 8 inch or 10 inch pot and so on.

  • Drainage Holes: This is probably the most important factor you should consider. If you do not make enough drainage holes at the bottom of the pot, your plant will stand in water and lead to root rot and death of the plant. 
    • Choosing the Right soil: . As a general rule use a well draining nutrient rich soil with atleast 30 percent compost like vermicompost or decomposed cowdung. To make it well draining, you might have to add cocopeat or peatmoss to garden soil in proper proportions. Make sure you also add stuff like bone meal or soya bean meal for inducing flowering and fruiting.  Check the best Potting Mix recipe or formula from my post.
    • Partially fill the container with potting mix and then place the root ball  exactly in the center of the pot. Then add additional soil to cover the empty space.  Make sure the surface of that root ball is below the rim so you can cover it adequately with potting soil or compost and also this good space for properly watering your plant.
    • Gently tap the pot on a hard surface to remove air pockets and to level the soil from within.
    • Finally After Repotting, water the plant thoroughly and this remove the left over air pockets and stuff like that. Then to counter the Repotting or Transplant Shock, you can follow these simple steps: Water the plant with Epsom salt solution weekly once for a about a month. The dosage is 1 teaspoon Epsom salt per litre of water. Finally keep the plant in indirect sunlight or under a green shade net for atleast a week, before shifting to full sunlight. 
      Happy Gardening!
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