Grow Your Own Miniature Fruit Trees

| 2/28/2017 1:06:00 PM

miniature lemon tree

When I wrote of choosing fruit trees for you home here, I didn’t mention the miniature fruit trees because they can’t survive temperatures below freezing. However, being able to harvest lemons, oranges, limes or even bananas is so much fun that you’ll be pleased to know it’s possible to grow citrus trees of your own, no matter where you live.

Although Ohio is hardiness zone six, I have had the pleasure and health benefits of having full-sized lemons for the past decade. It’s true that our potted lemon tree has to be drug into the sunroom to protect it from frost, but the annual harvest of two to three dozen organic lemons makes it worth the bother.

What makes a tree “miniature?” The “extreme dwarf” size of miniature fruit trees is mainly obtained from their rootstock. Even with this rootstock, most miniature fruit trees could reach eight to ten feet tall, but are kept at a more manageable height of about three feet. This is easily done with our miniature lemon tree because it’s kept in a container and is occasionally pruned. Therefore, the factors determining a miniature fruit tree’s size is its rootstock, pruning and being contained.

How to keep miniature citrus trees safe in colder climates: Most miniature citrus trees thrive in hardiness zones of nine to ten. In Ohio, bringing these trees indoors before reaching freezing temperatures is essential. We joke that it’s easy to prune a miniature tree—just make sure it can fit in the door! Look here for more on “how to prune.” Fortunately, very little pruning is needed when the tree’s roots are contained.

How to keep a miniature fruit tree productive: Having great harvests from miniature fruit trees requires both healthy soil and good pollination.

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