Have you ever considered adding edible fruit trees to the interior rooms of your home? It’s easier than you might think. What’s more, there are certain cultivars that lend themselves nicely to specialized design styles, such as minimalist, farmhouse, and transitional.
If you live in a cold-winter climate, you may have fruit trees growing on your patio that won’t survive sub-zero temperatures. These, you’ll need to bring indoors, while still allowing for that all-important, cold dormancy period.
Keep reading and I’ll introduce you to 16 indoor fruit trees that, with a little care, will thrive.
- Dwarf Indoor Fruit Trees Rootstock
- Potted or Bare Root Indoor Fruiting Plants
- Indoor Fruit Growing Tree Shapes
- Self-Pollinator Vs Self Sterile
Choosing Fruit Trees To Grow Indoors
When selecting which fruit tree to buy, there are a few factors that you need to consider before making that purchase. Firstly, decide where they will be located in your home. Bear in mind that all indoor fruit trees need access to a good deal of sunlight and, depending on the species, can vary in maturity size.
Secondly, I recommend choosing a variety that is known to do well in your hardiness zone. Just because they are being grown indoors won’t make them immune to a winter chill.
Finally, these trees can be high maintenance and a little more ‘demanding’ than your average houseplant. They may need more care and attention compared to other plants.
Keeping these considerations in mind when choosing will provide you with the best chances of success and satisfaction that you have found your best match.
Dwarf Indoor Fruit Trees Rootstock
When you buy a dwarf fruit tree from a retailer, it is most likely to have been cultivated through grafting rather than as a result of a genetic abnormality.
The process of grafting involves merging a healthy branch from an organic fruiting dwarf with the trunk (or rootstock) of a non-dwarf specimen. The two must be of the same fruiting tree variety.
Potted or Bare Root Indoor Fruiting Plants
Fruit tree saplings can be purchased bare-root or in containers. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of each to help you make a decision on what is best for you.
Depending on your growing zone potted specimens are available to buy at any time of year. Since they weigh heavier (thanks to the soil and container they get shipped and stored in) and are more cumbersome, they tend to be the more expensive option. The good news is they are less likely to suffer root shock as they settle into their new surroundings.
When you purchase bare root trees, you’ll need to supply your own soil and container. They are cheaper to buy and – once settled – their roots tend to establish and grow faster. In contrast, nurseries will only sell and ship these during the warmer months.
Indoor Fruit Growing Tree Shapes
Pruning is an important part of indoor fruit tree care, maintenance, and healthy growth. It also encourages better fruit yields in healthy specimens.
Professional growers have developed a number of tree forms, which are achieved through pruning. The form you adopt for your specimen will largely depend on the variety of fruit trees you grow.
Open-Leader Form is largely used for pruning peach and nectarine varieties. This involves encouraging the growth of two or more trunks where the initial trunk is severely cut back. The major benefit of this tree form – other than its glorious bulbous shape – is that sunlight is able to reach more of the tree.
Central-Leader Form is widely adopted for shaping plums, apples, and pears. Pruning in this form ensures that branches grow from just one main trunk and form an even conical shape.
Self-Pollinator Vs Self Sterile
Self-pollinating varieties are a good idea if you only have space for one tree because they pollinate their own flowers and set fruit. Choose apricots, nectarines, peaches, or sour cherries if you are planning on growing just one indoor fruit tree.
You will need two different cultivars of the same species when growing self-sterile trees in order for cross-pollination to occur and therefore if you want them to fruit successfully. Fruit tree examples in this category include apple, plum, pear, and sweet cherry.
Small Indoor Fruit Plants Care
It’s nice to know that you don’t have to live in the tropics or have a conservatory in your home to grow fruit trees indoors. But, whether you grow them permanently indoors or bring them inside for the winter, they’ll need some extra attention to remain happy.
The upside of growing these indoors is that you’re not at the mercy of nature to provide what your fruit trees need.
Conditions like light, temperature, soil quality, and watering can all be carefully controlled. Allowing you to enjoy the fruits of your labor, no matter the season.
Light And Temperature
All the trees you’ll see prefer indoor temperatures between 15°- 32°C (60-90°F) and at least 6 hours of direct sunlight (with moderate to high humidity) during their active growing period.
Some need a few months of “cold dormancy” in order to flower and fruit the following spring and summer. These need to be moved to a cold spot, in winter, like a basement or garage. Without this period of dormancy, they won’t flower in the following year.
Indoor Fruit Trees For Low Light
“Low light” can have several meanings. It could reference the amount of sunlight a tree receives, the intensity of that light, or if it’s natural vs artificial.
Most indoor fruit trees will thrive with just 6 hours of natural sunlight, per day. If you live closer to the poles (north or south), remember that sunlight will be less intense in winter, so some trees may require more.
In general, free-draining, loamy soil works best for fruit trees. But, the soil pH will be most important.
When it’s too low, nutrients are absorbed in excess of what trees need. Too high and nutrients are locked in the soil, unavailable to roots.
Apples, cherries, nectarines, pears, and plums grow best in a 6.0-7.0 pH range. Apricot, peach, and quince trees prefer a more neutral to alkaline pH of 5.5-6.5.
Pots and Containers
Yes, you will want to match the pot to your decor. Thinking in more practical terms, though, will help you make the best choice.
Number one, proper drainage holes are an absolute must, to avoid root rot. Number two, large fruit trees require a substantial amount of soil, making them heavier.
For big trees, pots made from lighter, durable materials are best. Especially if you need to move them around to catch the best light.
Ceramic, terra cotta, and stone choices are better for tiny trees that can sit on your kitchen counter, year-round.
How much water your tree will need, per week, is also dependent on size and variety.
Apples, pears, and citrus prefer their soil to remain on the moist side. While cherries, pomegranates, plums, peaches, nectarines, and figs like their soil to significantly dry out between waterings.
If the water drains too quickly, perlite/vermiculite may need to be added to the soil, to hold water long enough for the roots to absorb it. If it drains too slowly, coco coir or wood chips will loosen the soil.
While watering and soil structure are vital to tree health, pruning increases fruit yield and quality. Trimming also maintains your tree’s shape and size.
How does cutting branches away improve fruit numbers and taste? Late-winter or early-spring pruning focuses the tree’s energy toward vigorous, spring growth. Fewer branches allow sunlight to pass through to the canopy’s center, stimulating new growth on which new buds (bearing fruit) will grow.
If left unpruned, trees will become densely branched and will only bud on the tips of the outermost branches.
Fruiting Tree And Plant Ideas For Indoors
So, I’ve outlined what fruit trees can be grown indoors, how they need to be cared for, and what you need to consider before you buy them. It’s now time to furnish you with ideas on what ones to grow.
Each fruit tree I have selected comes in a wide range of cultivars, which means the choosing part gets even more exciting and can be tailormade to your preferences. For example, if you have the room, you could grow two self-sterile types for double the fruit and double the enjoyment.
Alternatively, you may wish to pick just one beautiful, self-pollinating type as a feature in your living room, family room, or kitchen.
Dwarf Apple Trees
Mini-apples come in many, different varieties. Yet, all grow to a potential, mature size between 5-7ft tall with a 3-6ft spread.
Indoor dwarf apples start fruiting a full 5-7 years earlier than their full-size counterparts. But first, producing fragrant pink and white blooms and lush foliage on either upward-arching or columnar branches.
Dwarf apples perform best in cooler climates, although they can tolerate a few days of hot weather from time to time.
Hardy varieties grow best in zones 3 to 5, while those labeled as ‘long-season’, prefer zones 5 to 8 for optimal growing conditions.
Dwarf Peach Trees
Dwarf peach trees vary in terms of maturity size. Before choosing one for your indoor space, note its full size, how well it would fit, and how easy it would be to move around if need be.
Some cultivars remain small enough to grow nicely in any sunny room. While others require a larger, heavier pot, that’s better suited to a larger space.
Depending on the variety and environmental conditions, a newly-planted, dwarf peach tree can produce up to 4 bushels of fruit in just two years (one year sooner than full-sized trees), in zones 5-9.
Dwarf Apricot Trees
Indoor dwarf apricots can mature to 8-10ft tall and wide, providing an abundance of full-sized fruit without needing to be outside.
Given their size, apricot trees would be happiest in a bright, warm sunroom. They have an outward-spreading growing habit that renders tear-drop-shaped leaves and pale pink blossoms that give way to juicy fruit in mid-to-late summer.
Most dwarf apricot cultivars require a period of cold dormancy in order to fruit and, therefore, grow best in zones 5-9. In warmer climates, without the requisite cold-weather dormancy, fruit quality, and crop yield can be diminished.
In spring, indoor cherry trees present soft clouds of pink and/or white blossoms. Followed by vibrant, green foliage.
Dwarf cherries have both sweet and sour notes and trees grow to a mature size between 5 and 8ft, in zones 2-7.
Dwarf cherries are one of the last fruit trees to bloom and the first to harvest. They are capable of starting to produce fruit within 2 years of planting.
Many cherry tree varieties perform well in low light conditions, however, indoor cherries should ideally be placed near a sunny, south-facing window for sweet fruits. Where it will receive full sun for a few hours per day, in winter. Then, you have the option of moving them outdoors when temperatures are steadily between 32° and 45°F.
Most varieties of dwarf plum trees will provide a flourish of Spring cheer as early as March thanks to its colorful display of pink and white blossom, which is shortly followed by a flurry of foliage.
Take particular care when choosing dwarf plums as whilst all will provide a dazzling show of foliage color and fruit, some cultivars are purely ornamental. That said, ornamental plum trees typically flower much sooner than eaters and can grow to be much larger.
Edible plum varieties can potentially reach 8-10ft tall and wide. Providing the perfect feature planting for large, sunny, indoor rooms, in zones 5-9.
Dwarf banana trees add a balmy, tropical element to any indoor decor with most doing well in zones 4-11. Yet, each is unique. The Dwarf Cavendish banana displays large, sweeping leaves that cradle purple buds and white flowers, which then develop into edible bananas, in zones 4-11.
A personal favorite of mine is the Dwarf Red banana with its swathes of burgundy and dark green patterned foliage and fruits with a distinct burgundy peel. The fruit within is perfectly edible and retains the same texture and color as a standard banana.
Indoor bananas need full sun, from a southern direction, to prevent leaf scorching. Since these require high humidity, it’s best to use a humidifier or sit the pot on a pebble tray.
When grown in their native surroundings of The Mediterranean, Citrus trees are accustomed to between 8 and 12 hours of warm sunshine, per day. Because of this need, dwarf lemons perform best in zones 8-11.
A cultivar suitable for pots and containers such as the Meyer Lemon Tree will thrive in a warm, sun-drenched corner of your home in zones 3-7 and would be perfectly happy on a sunny outdoor patio in summer too. Just be sure to move them indoors when temperatures drop from Fall onwards.
These fruits offer an interesting taste combination – something sweet and tangy. Fruits begin to appear following a showy display of aromatic, white blossoms in spring.
In indoor pots, dwarf lemons will only grow 4-6ft tall. For a 6-10ft tree, plant your dwarf in a larger pot.
If it’s a sweet citrus, dwarf cultivar that you are looking for then I recommend the pixie mandarin. This fruit tree is small enough for even the most indoor space growing to a maximum height of 10ft tall.
These produce easy-to-peel and satisfyingly sweet tangerines during the warmer summer months, and in winter – provided they are kept away from drafts and cold temperatures – will maintain their lush green, shiny foliage.
To broaden their appeal further, you can expect dainty, white, highly-scented blossoms followed by deliciously sweet and juicy, immune-boosting fruit, in zones 4-11.
There is a broad spectrum of dwarf fig cultivars to choose from, ranging from single-stem to multi-trunked forms. When deciding on a variety for an indoor area, I find the elegance of a single-trunk fig tree can provide drama and style. These varieties typically grow to a maximum height of just 6ft and will need to be located in a bright spot with maximum sun exposure, in zones 8-11.
Choose a multi-trunked variety such as Fignomental Dwarf Fig if your planting or growing space is minimal. These won’t grow beyond 2 1⁄2 ft tall, and will only require a shallow pot in which to grow and can make quite the statement when placed on a counter or tabletop.
Figs thrive with a lot of sunlight. Position them in a south-facing window in spring and summer. Then, supplement natural rays with an LED grow light, in winter.
With a petite, mature height of just 3ft tall, Dwarf pomegranate trees produce singular, orange-red flowers that hang through long and rounded, green leaves. They are often used in lifestyle magazines to offer a pop of color in a highly stylized room theme and undoubtedly take center stage as a feature indoor tree.
To see a Dwarf pomegranate cultivar at its full potential, you’ll need to wait up to 5 years before you see any fruit although flowering may begin after 2 or so years. Since pomegranate fruit production relies on maximum sunshine, I recommend planting in zones 7-11 where long, hot summers are guaranteed.
When fruiting does commence, you will be rewarded with a subtle, yet tart flavor that differs significantly from the pomegranate of a full-sized tree.
It stands to reason that larger fruit requires a larger structure to grow on and that is certainly the case with dwarf grapefruit, which can grow to 12ft tall. For that reason, make sure you have a space large enough to accommodate these larger dwarves as they get bigger.
Keep in mind that dwarf grapefruits – just like all other citruses – will require a lot of light throughout the year. These dwarf trees are best grown in zones 9-11.
Delightfully fragrant, white flowers, similar to orange blossoms, erupt in spring, bearing full-sized, healthy fruit thereafter. You can also expect an abundance of lush, green foliage and strong branches to form an attractive canopy.
For a deliciously juicy and seedless fruit with a pinkish-yellow rind, a great choice would be Ruby Red Dwarf Grapefruit.
If it’s the aromatic and unmistakable summery scent of lime that you desire, then the Key Lime cultivar is a great example of how you can be transported back to balmy East-coast vacations simply by keeping one in your home. At the modest size of just 2ft tall at full maturity, a dwarf lime certainly won’t look out of place on your kitchen counter either.
The structure of this indoor fruit tree consists of a single trunk and short branches that support fragrant clusters of white blooms and deep green foliage.
Taste and color are unique to each lime cultivar, and only some are seedless. Again, patience is required if you choose this as your indoor fruit tree choice since you will need to wait up to 3 years before you can expect to see full-size limes.
Place your dwarf lime in a very sunny spot, in warmer months. Then, keep it away from cold drafts, in winter, for year-round fragrant greenery.
Full-size pear trees can grow as tall as 35ft. But, dwarf specimens only mature to a third of the size. Fitting nicely in a sunroom or family room with tall ceilings. But, since pears are self-infertile, two will need to be paired together in order to produce fruit.
Dwarf pears form a broad crown on a single trunk with arching branches that house small, white flowers and purple anthers, in spring. When pollinated, delicious pears and thick green foliage follow.
Dwarf pears typically begin producing fruit three years after planting, in zones 5-8. With an increasing yield, year after year.
Back in Victorian times, quince trees were used to adorn interior rooms, as a symbol of wealth and status. Today, whilst the meaning of growing fruit trees has changed, the majesty of their presence remains, not to mention the health benefits that come with growing your own produce.
If pruned regularly and with care, dwarf quince trees will remain compact, growing to just 6ft tall once fully mature. They are best suited to larger, indoor spaces, in zones 5-8.
These historic fruiters herald spring with pretty white or pink blooms nestled among green, leathery leaves. In autumn, full-size fruit with bright yellow flesh will be ready for picking.
For a dinky, little fruit tree for small spaces or compact rooms, how about a mini-kumquat cultivar? They generally come in various sizes, ranging from bountiful 6ft trees for large rooms to dainty 2ft tall specimens for your kitchen table.
With sufficient water and light (6 hours per day), the dwarf kumquat will bloom in the springtime with a showy display of delicate white flowers that grow either tightly clustered or as individual blooms that nestle beneath the stems of bright, green leaves.
Sour, bite-sized snacks with a sweet peel appear, after the first year of planting. Delicious whole or added to salads and baked goods.
Nectarines offer the same sweet, juiciness of a peach when you bite into them, but they just don’t have the fuzzy skin.
Dwarf nectarine trees grow best indoors in zones 6-9. They require at least 6-7 hours of full sun, per day so find a sunny, draft-free spot for them in your home. In spring, they present with clusters of dainty white flowers and come harvest time, a mature specimen can produce up to 30 lbs of fruit.
The maximum size of most dwarf nectarine cultivars is 10ft tall but some grow to just 4ft. Be sure to check with the tree nursery to ensure that you get the pot size correct.
FAQ Fruit Trees for Indoor Growing
Best Indoor Fruit Trees And Plants Final Thoughts
There was a time when edible gardening practices were relegated to the outdoors. Indoor fruit trees prove you’re no longer limited by that and, as we’ve seen, the options are endless.
As far as decor, dwarf fig and citrus varieties offer soft contrast to the clean, square lines of modern and minimalist spaces. Apples, peaches, citrus, and pears fit perfectly in the farmhouse and transitional styles.
Which one can you imagine in your home? For years of indoor growing enjoyment to come, just remember to keep in mind maturity size, sun requirements, and especially your growing zone before selecting which one to buy.