Growing Apples in a Container

red apple

One of the most popular fruits around the world are apples, and whilst it is more common for these to be grown on trees directly into the ground, it is also possible to cultivate this fruit in a pot or container. Before starting, it is important to mention that there are many different varieties of apples, and not all of them are suited to be grown in a pot at home or in a garden. A gardening enthusiast will normally resort to apple trees in pots if they are short on space. Furthermore, growing apples is a challenge for most people, especially with pruning properly and controlling pests and diseases.

Soil and Container

The apple tree fruits start from beautiful looking apple flowers, which is the normal process for most fruits. Larger containers are preferred when growing apple trees. For example, a large 90 to 100-litre pot or container should be enough to grow a fruit-producing tree. Most soil combinations should be good for the apple tree as long as it has good nutrients. For example, a strong combination is soil, compost and vermiculite. Make sure that the soil chosen is healthy, by having good air, water and minerals, along with organic material to help the growth of the apple plant.

The apple variety and strength of the root system will determine the maximum growth of the apple tree, therefore one cannot expect, in general, for a potted apple tree to grow very large. Furthermore, certain varieties might require support as they are growing up.

Photo by Tom Swinnen on


Choosing the right location to place your apple tree pot is important. Once planting is complete, and the tree starts growing, the pot will probably be a little heavy to move. Choose a spot that receives plenty of sun (apples produce best when grown in full sun, which means six or more hours of direct sun daily) but is also sheltered from heavy winds. Make sure the tree is well watered, with a good draining system. During the growing season (between late summer and late fall), feed well with a suitable fertilizer.

Photo by Maria Lindsey Content Creator on


Normally, apple trees are pollinated from other apple trees, therefore it might be useful to grow several trees together. Check out the flowering period of your trees to ensure pollination is completed at the same time. An alternative is to select an apple tree variety that does not need other trees for pollination. Examples of self-fertile apple trees include Golden Delicious, Braeburn and Granny Smith.

Photo by RP Photography on

Harvesting Apples

Apples are very challenging to grow and require lots of care and patience. Once all the work related to caring for the plant is done, you will want to pick the apples at the best possible moment to obtain the top quality fruit.

One of the first things to consider is to look carefully at the colour of the growing apples, as this will help you determine the right time to pick the fruit. If the apple is ready, it should be easy to separate the apple stem from the tree when given a slight twist. As we said earlier, different varieties will mature at different times of the year, therefore there is no one right time to harvest apples. If you realise that the apple is soft or too ripe, this can be used for cooking and included in many different apple recipes.

Have you ever tried growing apple trees in a container? Let us know in the comments below or on my Facebook page. Happy gardening!

Join our newsletter! Subscribe here to get fresh content delivered to your inbox.

Leave a Reply