Jen likes writing about cats, gardening and travel. She lives in the UK.
Growing Cherry Trees in Containers
There can be nothing better than picking fresh cherries from your very own trees. But, what if you only have a very small garden or just a small patio or backyard? Can you still grow your own cherries? Well, yes you can, since they can be grown successfully in pots and containers.
One cherry tree or two?
To successfully achieve a good crop, you will need at least two trees, as most cherry trees are not self-fertilizing and will need another tree for pollination. If you only have space for one tree, you can get varieties that are self-fertile. Another option is to buy a tree that has cultivars grafted to it. You can also buy two dwarf varieties to fit better in smaller areas.
- The trees require a suitably deep pot or container. A minimum depth of 60 cm is ideal.
- Use mulch. Pots can dry out quickly, so keep the pot mulched on top with bark, or use shingle for a more decorative look. The mulch will help retain moisture in the compost.
- Once the fruit has appeared, water the tree regularly. It is important not to water sporadically, as drenching one day and then leaving to dry out completely can result in the fruit skins cracking as they swell too quickly or shrivel up from lack of water.
- Water regularly and deeply. A regular good soaking will encourage the roots to grow deep into the pot and increase the strength and health of the tree. Plants with shallow roots are more prone to the risks involved from infrequent or inadequate watering.
- Your trees will appreciate feeding once the fruit have set. Use an organic seaweed feed to keep them happy. An all-purpose organic feed is ideal, but avoid feeds heavy on nitrogen or you’ll have a tree heavy on foliage but light on fruit.
How do I keep cherries for me and not let them get consumed by pests or birds?
There are a number of ways to protect the trees without resorting to chemicals. A physical barrier of netting will stop the birds from feasting on your fruit, and grease bands around the trunk will prevent harmful creepy crawlies from climbing up from the ground. Positioning the trees amongst other herbs and flowers that deter harmful (but attract helpful) insects will also help.
Should I prune a cherry tree?
Keep the tree healthy by pruning away diseased or deadwood. This allows air to circulate around the branches, gives the sun a chance to shine on all the branches, and will encourage healthy growth. Avoid pruning during the winter months as it can increase the chances of the tree being affected by disease.
Where should I place the potted trees?
Cherry trees are quite attractive, especially when in blossom. Make the most of this by locating yours in a position where you can enjoy looking at them. They will tolerate partial shade but will be much happier with plenty of sunshine and will give a better crop as a result. The added advantage of having your trees in pots or containers is they can be moved as circumstances dictate. So if particularly strong winds threaten the blossoms, you can move the pots to a more sheltered spot until the weather improves. Also, their location can be changed as the direction of the sunlight moves through the months to maximise their exposure.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Kai Kipgen on May 27, 2019:
I grow a self-fertile cherry tree in a pot and I have not been having successful harvest!
Cameron on November 05, 2018:
I am growing some cherries in pots (in the uk). Do I need to put them somewhere sheltered and shady over the winter, for example a little wooden enclosure with a Perspex ceiling in the garden.
DAVID FARRELL on March 31, 2017:
Have very poor soil so front garden which is being gravelled with pebbled boarder Japanese style. So I would like to grow a cherry tree but in a suitable pot/container
Angelina Chamizo Checa on July 14, 2016:
I would like a cherry tree. I live in a temperate climate. Congratulations on these achievements.
Danielle on January 18, 2016:
I've had a cherry tree in a pot for 3 years; it has beautiful flowers, plenty of tiny green cherries after the bloom, but most of them shrivel and fall...I usually end up with only 4 or 5 ripe cherries! ??
BlondinWV on May 25, 2015:
Jasmith1...I live in Zone 6 in the USA, (Northern WV) and wondered if I planted cherries in a container, do I have to bring it in during the winter? How tall would the tree get when it bears fruit, and how soon would I expect to see fruit after planting?
Jen Smith (author) from UK on January 26, 2015:
Hi, Thanks for your comments! Losing produce due to splitting and cracking sure is a good learning curve to watering on a regular basis
John R Wilsdon from Superior, Arizona USA on January 24, 2015:
Your admonition about not watering sporadically is important. I found that I was causing my peaches and tomatoes to crack from excess swelling when I watered too much and then didn't water enough. Watering on a regular basis and not allowing the wells to flood after a slow flow is important. There is little more satisfying than growing your own. Great advice in this hub. Good job.
Jen Smith (author) from UK on February 17, 2012:
I haven't grown Ranier cherries but I have asked about and you can get dwarf varieties that would work in pots. Normal varieties grow up to 35 feet high! Thanks Tams R.
Jen Smith (author) from UK on February 17, 2012:
Thanks Jakob. We try to avoid using chemicals if we can. Glad you found this useful. :)
Tams R from Missouri on February 16, 2012:
I love Ranier Cherries. I wonder if you can do the same thing with them. Interesting article.
Jakob Barry on February 16, 2012:
Nice topic for a hub. Love the fact you mentioned not using chemicals and resorting to other means to keep the tree healthy and insects away.