All stone fruit trees follow a similar order in the way they grow and produce fruit. Deciduous in nature, they often need a partner for flower pollination and require chilling hours to produce fruit, so they are best suited to cooler and more temperate climates. Just before spring, they splash out their blossoms, which signal the imminent arrival of better times. Falling in sync with the order of these trees as they flower and fruit is all part of becoming a hardcore gardener.

Full-sized growing varieties demand a level of space that is usually not available in the small-space garden, so one option is to plant compatible partners together in the same root hole. This will effectively stunt their growth – moderating size – while planting proximity ensure excellent pollination. Otherwise, look for dwarf varieties that self-pollinate or, even better, get a multi-grafted tree that can have two or three varieties on the one plant.


For any dwarf fruit varieties choose a pot that is at least 50cm wide and 40cm deep. As citrus have shallow root zones, favour width over depth. When choosing a pot for deciduous fruit trees, depth is more important to accommodate the long tap root. Choose a pot that is at least 40cm wide and 50cm deep.

Use quality soil ingredients when planting out your fruit tree, and primarily organic potting mix, but also some organic compost at a ratio of 3:1 respectively. Potting mix is designed to drain perfectly well by itself, making scoria or crushed rock in the base of the pot superfluous. Consider standing the pot on some brick feet so the drainage holes below are able to drain. No fruit trees like ‘wet feet’.

Water in with liquid seaweed solution and repeat this dosage every month as a tonic, particularly when you are setting up the plant in the first couple of season. Because you are growing in pots, the plant will need daily watering at warm times of the year, regulated depending on how mild/cold/wet your cooled times are.

No young plant likes to be uprooted, particularly young fruit trees, so stake your trees and use soft twine to attach to them (as it won’t damage the stems). This is most important with citrus that have shallow root zones and have evergreen foliage that will catch the wind whenever given the chance. To protect the root zones – as well as insulate soil temperature and reduce evaporation – mulch the soil to a depth of 3-5cm.


In ground: Water daily for the first 2 months while establishing and then cut back to 3-4 times a week in the warm season, otherwise 1-2 times a week during the cool season in the absence of rainfall.

In Pots: Water daily while establishing and through the entirety of the warm season, otherwise 3-4 times a week during the cool season in the absence of rainfall.


Mulch the peach tree with an organic mulch, such as sugar cane or pea straw. Make sure you don’t mulch around the trunk to keep away pests and rot. Water deeply, once or twice a week, depending on weather conditions. Feed once every autumn and late summer.


Peaches often ripen the moment you’re not looking and at that moment a few bird pecked holes will be the indicator that they are ready. If you don’t want to share with the birds get some netting around the tree, otherwise harvest with secateurs as much fruit as your upturned jumper can carry.


Try your hand at a multi-grafted plant, which is basically limbs of different varieties grafted onto one tree. This can only be done with compatible partners.


Cool/Mountainous: Mar-Nov
Temperate: Mar-Nov
Subtropical: May-Sep
Tropical: Not suitable


Adolescent tree


Full sun


Dig hole slightly deeper than the root ball, place in the hole and cover back over until ground level is restored


3–4 m




Well drained soil with good amount of organic matter


Pots, in-ground


At least 40cm wide and 50cm deep


Insect pollination and need a partner plant


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