How to grow cherry trees in containers

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Several species of cherry tree grow well in containers. Ornamental varieties are suitable for large pots, while smaller fruiting varieties will also thrive in well-tended pots. However, container fruit trees may not be as productive as ground plants in the garden.

Still, a container cherry tree can produce fruit and attractive cherry blossoms each year with proper care.

Buy a young cherry tree from a nursery or garden centre. Pick a large plastic, wood or clay container with drainage holes in the base. The size of the container will limit the tree's growth, so try to choose the largest you can fit in your growing area.

Pour soil-based compost potting mix into the container until it's about half full.

Remove the young cherry tree from the smaller pot. Loosen the soil around the roots and place the tree in the container. Fill the gaps around the root ball with potting soil. Aim for the surface of the soil to reach 2.5 to 10 cm (1 to 4 inches) below the container rim.

Water the soil deeply. Continue to water regularly, particularly in the summer and whenever the soil feels dry to the touch. Add a slow-release fertiliser every few weeks.

Place the container outdoors in a bright, sunny location. If branches turn brown and leaves drop off, prune back the dead twigs. The tree is either too large for the container or needs to be kept at a slightly smaller size.

Bring your container indoors or into a greenhouse in winter. Alternatively, insulate the container with mulch or another material to protect the tree from root frost damage.