Grow Fruit Indoors
Looking to bring a little sunshine indoors? Think fruit trees only grow in the warmer states such as California and Florida … and no way can you grow them in Zones 5 and 6? Well, I have great news for you … indoor fruit trees!
Instead of a planted palm or ficus, why not grow your own fruit tree indoors? While it may sound impossible and impractical, dwarf fruit trees are actually the perfect size to fit in any living room, sun room, kitchen or wherever you have good natural light. They are both edible and decorative!
What’s a Dwarf Fruit Tree?
Dwarf trees, which are the result of grafting a fruit tree onto a dwarf rootstock, makes it possible to grow these luscious fruits indoors. These types of trees can be easily purchased online and delivered to your residence in just a few days.
With the convenience of indoor fruit trees, you can grow fresh, homegrown fruit inside your own home. Reaching mature heights between 3 – 8 feet, these dwarf-sized fruit trees can easily be grown in containers.
The tree varieties that grow best indoors are those that make their home in warmer climates, such as citrus and exotic fruits. With choices such as lemons, limes, oranges, bananas … and more varieties, an indoor fruit tree makes a great addition to your home or an excellent housewarming or birthday gift!
Flower Chick’s Top 7 Favorite Types of Indoor Fruit Trees:
1. Indoor Lemon Trees
An indoor lemon tree is your best choice if you’re wondering what type of indoor fruit tree to start with (or just like lemons!). They’re easy to grow in a container, prolific with fruit, fast-growing, and inexpensive to purchase.
Meyer Lemon Trees are far and away the most popular type of indoor lemon tree to buy. They are low maintenance and produce an annual crop of robust, slightly sweet fruit. The first thing you’ll notice about the lemons is how much different they taste than the store bought variety. They’re noticeably sweeter and seedless too … Yay!
These are self-pollinating trees meaning you only need one. You don’t have to worry about having to pollinate it with your hands, or needing to buy a male and female dwarf tree in order for it to bear fruit. Just one tree will produce fruit within 1 to 2 years of planting, with lemons taking 6 to 9 months to ripen.
“I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade… And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party. ” ; )
2. Indoor Lime Trees
My favorite of the dwarf lime trees is the Persian “Bearss” Lime Tree which has a spreading form, nearly-thornless drooping branches, with delectably fragrant white blooms. This little lime tree is a prolific fruit bearing tree. The Bearss lime has a distinct spicy aroma and a tasty, savory blend of lime and lemon … minus the bitterness or acidity.
The seedless Bearss lime fruit has a dark to pale green rind that is smooth and thin. Each lime weighs in at approximately 2 ounces while half of that weight is juice.
Persian Bearss Lime Trees are the most widely produced and cultivated lime tree commercially and accounts for the largest share of fruits sold as limes in the United States. If you like limes like we do, treat yourself to one of these gems! Limes and lime juice are so good in a marinade, squeezed on stirfrys and fajitas, in smoothies, and of course in a rum and Coke, or gin and tonic!
3. Indoor Orange Trees
One of the best varieties of dwarf orange trees to grow indoors is the Moro Blood Orange Tree … a natural cross between a pomelo and tangerine tree.
This is an evergreen citrus tree that’s bred to be cold tolerant and disease resistant. If you live in zones 4 to 8, you can grow this vibrant tree in a container on your patio and move it indoors when the temperature drops and the weather outside becomes too harsh.
Producing beautiful, fragrant blooms in the spring … the Moro Blood Orange Tree is just a delight to look upon and smell! These blooms then turn to medium-sized sweet, juicy, blood-colored oranges with little to no seeds.
Interesting fact – blood orange flesh varies in color, from orange veined with ruby coloration, to vermilion, to vivid crimson, to dark, almost black flesh.
4. Dwarf Pomegranate Trees
Dwarf pomegranate trees bear juicy, delicious, highly nutritious fruit in addition to being a wonderfully ornamental plant. New leaves are accented with red on this handsome little tree.
Blooms appear from June through September even on new wood and produce a constant array of purple-red fruits. Easy care and drought tolerant, tolerates heat, and a variety of acidic soils. Does very well in containers and prefers full sun. Grows 3′ – 4′ tall and wide.
5. Indoor Fig Tree
The Brown Turkey Fig Tree produces small, bronze or brown figs that have a rich, sweet flavor that are perfect for eating fresh, canning, drying, or making delicious jam.
The figs are ripe when they turn a dark brown or bronzed color, and are slightly yielding to the touch. The flesh is red, juicy, and filled with crisp, edible seeds.
Brown Turkey Fig Trees are self-fertile and do not require a pollinator companion tree to grow fruit. You can increase the tree’s yields by growing it near a second Brown Turkey or another fig tree. They thrive in locations that get 6 or more hours of direct sunlight per day.
6. Indoor Olive Trees
Grow your own olives indoors for use at the table or for making your own high quality olive oil! One of the most cold tolerant and adaptable of all olive trees. This little dynamo can produce fruit at a very young age, even when only 1 foot high.
Fragrant, white blossoms in spring are followed by an abundance of small, brownish green to purplish black tasty fruits in summer. Easy to grow in containers indoors, these olive trees can be kept to a maximum height of 2 – 5 feet … and can even be grown as bonsais.
Very rugged and drought tolerant, preferring well-drained soil. A self-fertile little tree. The fruit can also be eaten fresh when green, light purple, dark purple, or nearly black. Olive oil is usually made from the ripest, darkest olives. Indoor Olive Trees are perfect for gathering quick, fresh olives for adding to recipes, drinks, and snacks!
7. Dwarf Banana Tree
The Dwarf Musa Banana is a fast-growing plant that grows 5-6′ tall and has big, shapely, leathery-looking leaves. It usually bears tasty, yellow 5” bananas within 2 – 3 years of planting.
You can grow this banana tree in a container outdoors then bring it indoors before a frost hits. It’s a good-looking, conversation starter … especially once it fruits.
They grow quickly when it’s warm, rewarding you with one new leaf every week or so, they look truly stunning and unique all the time, adding a tropical interest to any area.
If allowed to reach its statuesque proportions, it will dominate in a graceful balanced way that very few houseplants can ever match.
Indoor fruit trees are easy care … but most need to be placed by a sunny window to do their best. Despite being indoors, citrus trees stay hungry, and they love nitrogen. I feed mine monthly with Citrus Tone.
Citrus trees require outstanding drainage. Soggy bottoms will kill them so make sure they adequately drain …water must flow right through the pot and out. Fruit trees hate having “wet feet”, and overwatering is the most common cause of their poor health. Do water deeply, but only water again when the pot is close to dry.
Avoid using fertilizer sticks in a citrus pot. They can burn the trees’ roots. Using organic fertilizers decreases the chances of damaging your plant. If you use synthetic fertilizer, never exceed the recommended dose.
They don’t like to be overwatered, but underwatering can also cause problems. Signs of under-watering include: the soil pulls away from the sides of the pot; when you water, the water sits on top of the soil for a while before draining; water runs quickly through the pot and out; the leaves droop, and turn crisp; and branches die.
Start with a small container when planting a young citrus tree since it will be easier to maintain proper soil moisture than in a big container. If the soil stays too wet in a large container, the young tree with a small root system may rot and die. A new citrus tree will grow fine in an 8-inch diameter container to start out. Two to three year old trees will need a 10 to 12 inch diameter container. Eventually, you’ll need a 16 to 20 gallon container for long term growth.
I prefer to use plastic or terra cotta containers for indoor fruit trees. Very important – be sure they have adequate drainage holes. Plastic containers are the lightest weight and easiest to move in and outdoors with the seasons. However, the glazed terra cotta containers can look more attractive when the plants are being grown indoors as houseplants.
Another tip, before reusing pots, make sure to wash them. Old pots can harbor insects and diseases. Give them a good scrub in hot water, soap and a diluted bleach mixture then rinse well. Your trees will thank you!
Misting provides humidity for your tree, which they enjoy. Just use a regular spray bottle with the nozzle setting on mist or fine (the mist should be gentle). Use tepid water, not hot or not cold.
A “good offense is the best defense” approach is the best way to prevent pest problems on your indoor fruit trees. Inspect them regularly for bugs or signs of disease, maintain good cleanliness, and don’t overwater or allow them to sit in water.
Citrus trees, as a rule, are bothered by few pests when grown as a houseplant. The three best way to prevent or minimize insect pests are 1.) frequent inspections of your plant 2.) cleaning up debris 3.) keeping your tree healthy.
When you first bring an indoor citrus tree into your home inspect it for pests. The key is to take action early and nip any problems in the bud, so to speak. Check your tree every time you water it for signs of bugs.
Misting your tree daily can definitely help prevent unwanted insects from making themselves at home. If you take your fruit trees outside in the warmer months, do a diligent inspection of the leaves, trunk and soil before bringing the plant indoors.
Cleanliness is very important for the overall health and fruit production of your indoor fruit tree. Pick up dead leaves and keep them off the soil. Gently wipe the leaves off with water to remove dust. Do the same with your other houseplants so they do not cross infect one another.
Insect infestation and disease are most likely to occur if the tree is weak or malnourished. Keep your tree in tip top shape by not overwatering, ensuring good drainage, and regularly fertilizing.
We hope we inspired you to grow a fruit tree indoors! There are many easy care, low maintenance varieties that are not only good looking accent plants, but prolific fruit producers.
Treat yourself and buy one today … or purchase one for a friend. Dwarf fruit trees are rewarding little powerhouses and make welcome gifts for birthdays, housewarmings, or holiday presents … a long lived, gratifying family of plants.
Have you grown an indoor fruit tree? If so, what are some of your favorite varieties? Reach out via our Contact form – we love hearing from our readers.