Home Sweet Home: Growing Fruit Trees for House and Patio, Part II

Where There’s Light, There’s Fruit Whether moved outdoors in the summer or kept as indoor plants year-round, containerized trees require bright, indirect sunlight and regular watering. Citrus trees prefer 8-12 hours of sunlight in a day. Full-spectrum fluorescent grow lights are an easy way to supplement during fall and winter. Adequate light is especially important for springtime flower production. Mediterranean and tropical trees require temperatures of 55-88°F; indoor temperatures averaging 65°F are ideal. Choose a bright room with no drafts – your kitchen may be a great choice.
Getting the Soil Right
Most plants do best in a light, fast-draining soil mix. However, it’s always a good idea to check the individual requirements of your tree to determine the best soil mix as well as the best fertilizer. Some plants, such as blueberries, prefer high-acid foods, while others will do fine with a basic all-around plant food. Good drainage is important, so make sure your container has enough holes in the bottom. You can add a layer of gravel to the bottom of the pot or place the pot in a bed of pebbles in a dish or try; either of these techniques will allow air and water to flow freely around the rootball. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Before you water, test by sticking a finger in about an inch deep. If the top inch of soil is dry, it is time to water. Otherwise, wait. Humidity is also important: Mist regularly, especially in the winter. You can also use a humidifier, or simply place a saucer filled with gravel and water near your tree. Fruit-bearing plants and dwarf fruit trees are among the most rewarding plants you can grow. You’ll love what their lush foliage and cheery, fragrant blooms can do for your favorite room – and the fresh flavors you’ll enjoy are such a treat! Fun plants for the whole family, and they make great gifts, too.