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Gardening small? Many fruits grow in containers

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 14, 2014 at 1:09 pm •  Published: January 14, 2014

Many fruit growers are going to pots, and small wonder. Containers are great for tight spaces, easy to manage, convenient for harvesting, and provide better soil than is found in most gardens.

"They also allow growing more experimental fruits, such as warm climate or tropical ones, if pots can be moved inside in winter,'" said Leonard Perry, an extension professor with the University of Vermont.

Everything from blueberries to persimmons, citrus to currents can be grown in containers. And don't forget that old standby, the clay strawberry pot.

Some potted fruits, though, may surprise.

"Pineapples are one of the easiest warm-climates fruits to grow in pots," Perry said. "There are even some grapes suited for containers."

Potting fruit does pose challenges different from those encountered when growing fruit in the ground. Some things to consider:

— Pot size: You can get by with smaller containers and less re-potting if you choose wisely. It all depends on the plant. "You may need to re-pot every three to five years, trimming off some of the older roots, to keep plants vigorous," Perry said.

"Blueberries are one of the best choices for containers. Look for one of the newer cultivars bred for containers — a half-high or low bush. These can be grown in pots a foot or so wide. For dwarf fruit trees, use plastic containers or a whiskey barrel half, 18 to 24 inches wide," he said. "Casters on the bottom make containers easier to move about a patio, or inside in winter in colder climates."

— Watering: Plants in containers dry out more quickly than those in the ground, and need more frequent watering.

— Fertilizing: It's safe to wait a few weeks before fertilizing since most container soils include fertilizers. Water-soluble, slow-release fertilizers generally work best. Their small capsules gradually dissolve when watered, adding nutrients to the plant mix.

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