Peach trees prefer a Mediterranean climate which is warm and on
the dry side. They also come into flower earlier than many fruit
which makes the flowers very prone to frosts in many areas. For
these reasons, peach trees will grow very well in containers.
The container grown peach is portable and can be moved inside if
a frost threatens. They can also be moved to the sunniest
For a container grown peach tree you definitely
need one of the dwarf varieties, Bonanza is an excellent choice.
If you want to buy online, we can personally recommend Blackmoor
click here for their page on this variety of peach tree.
You will need a large container, 45cm / 18in is a good
size, although 30cm / 12in (no less) will do the job. The base of the
container must have drainage holes because peaches will not grow in
waterlogged or heavy soils.
Line the bottom 3cm / 1in of the pot with horticultural
grit or small stones and pebbles. This will ensure excess water drains
away. Then fill the pot about half way up with a John Innes type
loam-based compost. Normal potting compost is not substantial enough,
you need a compost with loam in it. These are readily available at
garden centres and nurseries.
Now take the peach tree from its existing pot and place
it in the container. Adjust the depth of the compost in the container so
that when you place the new peach tree in you container, the top of the
soil is about 2cm / 1in from the top of the container. This will allow
you to water it without overflowing and also apply a small layer of
mulch later on.
Fill round the edges of the peach tree and the container
and firm down the loam based compost, not too much pressure though.
Water the pot well and place in a sunny position.
Care of Container Grown Peach Trees
Any container grown tree will need to be fed and watered frequently,
especially in warm dry conditions, and peach trees are no exception.
Originating in China and liking hot conditions with occasional drenching
rainfalls, you should try and mimic these conditions.
As far as watering is concerned, allow the soil to dry
out then water thoroughly. The best way to do this is to have a tray on
which the container sits. When the soil is dry and you water it, leave
some water in the tray to ensure the soil becomes saturated. Then leave
it as far as watering is concerned until it becomes dry again.
The rules for feeding your container grown peach tree
are to feed it often, it will grow quickly in a container. Normal liquid
feed is ideal and the tree should be fed once every ten days or so. A
mulch over the surface of the soil in March is a good idea.
Encouraging Peach Fruit to Form
Peach trees produce fruit earlier than most fruit trees and this means
they also produce flowers early in the year, early March to April. These
flowers are easily damaged by frost and if they are, this will affect
fruit production. So, if a frost threatens when it is producing flowers,
move it to a warmer area, inside a greenhouse or even better indoors.
Ideally, move the tree into a conservatory or greenhouse from late
December until early April.
The above is fine for the flowers, but moving the tree
under cover will prevent insects from pollinating the flowers. Even
without putting the tree under cover there are few insects in early
spring to pollinate the flowers. So, a bit of hand pollination will go a
long way to encouraging the production of fruit.
Misting the tree with water will encourage pollination.
The best way though is to use a soft brush. Lightly brush each flower in
succession transferring the pollen from one flower to the other, that's
what the bees would do if they were around in early spring!
Pruning and Thinning Fruit
Some of the dwarf peach trees, such as Bonanza which we recommend above,
require almost no pruning. These trees are slow growing and very
compact. If your peach tree is getting a bit too large, simply prune to
When the tree starts to produce small fruits, pinch off
every other one. A couple of weeks later pinch off more fruit. A dwarf
fruit tree will produce smaller fruits the more fruits you leave on your
tree. We suggest that when the peach tree is three years old, leave 15
to 20 well-spaced fruits on the tree to ripen. From four years old
onwards leave 20 to 25 fruits on the tree.
When Are The Fruit Ripe?
A difficult question, but the best idea is to try one! Ripe peaches will
"give" a little when you press your thumb gently into the fruit near the
stalk. For the best taste, eat the peaches as soon as you pick them. If
kept in cool conditions they should remain fresh for a couple of days
after picking. Peaches do not ripen very much after they are picked,
they just go bad! They are best left on the tree until you want to eat
Pest and Disease
See the section on pest and diseases
Generally, container grown peach trees are relatively free from pest and
disease, more so than a peach tree grown in the ground. keep your eye of
for bugs and remove them by hand as soon as you see them.
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