How to grow cherry trees in pots

Written by samantha volz
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How to grow cherry trees in pots
Cherry trees can be encouraged to produce fruit in pots. (sweet cherry tree image by jim from

When most people picture cherry trees, they probably have a hard time picturing a tree growing in a pot. However, a number of cherry tree species can grow well in pots and other such containers. People may plant trees in containers due to bad climate or soil for the type of tree they want to grow; under the right indoor conditions, you could grow a tropical tree in Alaska if you cared for it properly. In the same way, cherry trees can thrive and produce fruit in a pot if properly cared for.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Gravel
  • Bucket
  • Soil mix
  • Pruning shears

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  1. 1

    Lay a 1- to 2-inch layer of gravel in the bottom of the pot to facilitate drainage. Settle the pot in a bucket or bowl to catch the draining water.

  2. 2

    Fill the container about halfway with a soil mixture of one part sand, one part peat, and one part bark or vermiculite. This type of soil will allow for good drainage for the cherry trees. Do not tamp down the soil; the soil must be loose enough to allow for drainage.

  3. 3

    Insert the cherry tree into the pot so that the soil line from its old container sits about 4 inches below the rim of the pot. Finish filling the pot with soil until the soil line sits about 3 inches below the rim of the pot. This allows appropriate room for watering.

  4. 4

    Water the soil thoroughly until it is completely moist. This will help encourage the plant to take root in its new container. Keep the soil moist at all times; empty the bucket whenever more than 1 inch of water gathers there, so that the roots are not damaged by excess water.

  5. 5

    Place the tree in an area at which it will receive maximum sunlight available for your home or garden. Cherry trees thrive in direct sunlight. Keep the cherry trees at a steady temperature; sudden drops or increases in temperature can result in damage. Cherry trees are resistant to most temperatures so long as they are watered properly; the trees grow well in hardiness zones 5 through 8, which range from southern Texas and Arizona to Michigan.

  6. 6

    Prune the tree to remove any dead or injured twigs or branches, using pruning shears. You can also prune the cherry tree into a desired shape or size, but the tree does not necessarily require additional pruning.

  7. 7

    Fertilise the cherry tree once per year, in early spring at the start of the growing season. Use manure or fruit-tree-specific fertiliser and apply carefully by following all product instructions; overfertilizing can cause poor fruit production.

Tips and warnings

  • Check your chosen pot or container for drainage holes in the bottom. Cherry trees need well-draining soil and a chance for the water to escape; sitting water can cause rot in the tree's roots and fruit.
  • Find a cherry tree at a reliable garden centre or nursery.
  • Cherry trees do not produce fruit until the branches are at least 2 years old.
  • Not all varieties of cherry trees can be grown in pots; some require other trees with which to pollinate, or specific climate conditions.
  • Sudden changes in light exposure can severely damage the cherry tree. If you are moving the tree indoors or outdoors for a change in growing, gradually increase or decrease the amount of light received over two to three weeks, to allow the tree to acclimate.

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