There are a surprising number of types of fruit trees that can be grown indoors. While often fruit trees conjure up images of orchards or huge specimen trees, there are lots that can be successfully grown inside.
Many types of citrus top the list of the best indoor fruit trees, while the likes of figs, olives, and apricots can fruit inside. Modern dwarfing varieties are often the best fruit trees to grow indoors, as while the trees remain compact they can grow lots of full-size delicious fruit.
Any indoor fruiting tree is going to require care and patience, as well as a lot of light and heat. We take a look at 10 of the best indoor fruit trees and which varieties you should consider for your home.
10 indoor fruit trees for homegrown crops
When thinking about planting fruit trees in pots, always pick a suitably-sized pot and ensure that any container has drainage holes in the bottom and a saucer underneath for catching excess water. Don’t go straight for the largest pot possible, pick one around two inches larger in diameter than the tree’s root ball.
Pay close attention to watering plants and, when watering plants in containers, check the moisture levels a few inches deep using your fingers. Any of the best fruit trees to grow in pots will need regular fertilizing to keep the nutrient levels maintained and pruning, with clean and sharp pruning shears, to keep their shape.
Lemon trees can grow happily indoors and bring fragrant flowers and fruit to a space. The key to how to grow a lemon tree indoors is to give it lots of bright and sunny light, so be sure to put your plant in front of a south-facing window.
Artificial grow lights can be used to supplement natural lights in the winter. Lemon trees can fruit indoors for many years if given enough light, water, and fertilizer.
Jackie Ready, Director of Customer Support at Fast Growing Trees, recommends citrus trees, which includes lemons, as her ‘top recommendation’ for indoor fruiting trees and highlights the ‘Meyer’ lemons as ‘easy to care for and maintain’.
‘The great thing about citrus is that there are many different varieties of citrus, and they don't require chill hours like many other fruit trees and bushes would need and which makes them hard to grow indoors,’ says Jackie.
‘The flowers on these trees smell amazing, and kids love them and can help with all the care.’
Limes are another citrus tree that can be fantastic additions to an indoor space. The fruits are commonly used in cooking, baking, and cocktails, while the aromatic leaves are also used in cooking and also to make teas.
There are two main popular dwarf citrus trees that are best suited to growing indoors, they are ‘Key Lime’ and ‘Kaffir’ limes. ‘Key Lime’ produces small fruits that have a thin skin, and are famous as the key ingredient of a key lime pie, however they will need hand-pollinating. The ‘Kaffir’ fruit has a more bitter taste and is commonly used in cooking.
A lime tree can be an ornamental plant with glossy leaves and fragrant flowers and its scent is regarded to have a calming effect. Any citrus tree pruning takes place in spring and primarily thins out the branches to allow more light penetration and air circulation into the tree.
Orange trees can be grown as dwarf varieties perfect for an indoor space and ideally want full sun and temperatures between 60-90˚F to produce fruit.
The best variety of orange to pick for an indoor fruiting tree is the 'Calamondin' orange tree. It's small size also makes it one of the best fruit trees for small gardens. This mini-orange is a cross between a kumquat and a mandarin orange and produces yellow-orange thin-skinned fruits with a tangy taste.
Jackie Ready advises that if the fruit tree you are growing is small, such as a 'Calamondin' orange, then ‘use a plant stand or stool to elevate your plant so that it is getting full access to sunlight from the window’.
Clementines are a type of mandarin orange and are known for their sweet, seedless fruit that is easy to peel. They have attractive evergreen foliage that can add a decorative touch to your home.
If you get a clementine on a dwarfing rootstock then it may grow to around six feet. A clementine tree will provide a fragrant white blossom in the spring and then the fruits ripen during the winter months, from November to February. Clementines are regarded as being a good way to boost your immune system and get a healthy dose of vitamins and antioxidants.
An 'EasyPeel' clementine tree, available from Fast Growing Trees, offers a sweet variety of clementine and is ideal for growing indoors.
The kumquat tree is native to China and is one of the best trees to grow in pots. It is believed to have medicinal properties and have been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a variety of ailments. Kumquat trees are rich in vitamin C and a source of fiber, the difference to other fruits being you can eat the fruit and the peel together.
A kumquat tree is fairly slow-growing and has glossy and dark green foliage, together with white flowers in spring and summer. The fruits will ripen slowly into winter. It is thought that kumquat trees can also help purify indoor air and improve overall air quality.
Figs need a lot of sun and warm weather when they grow outside and will happily grow in large pots indoors. While fig trees are usually seen as large and sprawling trees when grown outdoors, they can be kept more compact by growing fig trees in a container. It stimulates fruits to grow rather than lots of foliage. So it is ideal to select a smaller container to therefore keep the tree more compact.
Olive trees can be simple to look after as long as you can keep them happy, with lots of sunlight and free-draining soil. The trees are slow-growing and can be kept in a compact shape by pruning olive trees in spring or summer.
Dwarf varieties can be around six feet tall and the ‘Arbequina’ variety is very suited to growing indoors. You can buy an ‘Arbequina’ olive tree at Fast Growing Trees.
Olive trees do need two months of cooler temperatures to go into dormancy and then produce fruit. A cool garage or shed can provide the right environment to store over winter and help ensure the tree fruits. When looking for an olive tree, take care as some cultivars are ornamental so will not bear fruit.
Banana trees are tropical trees that get hugely tall when being grown outdoors, so make sure to get dwarf varieties if you want to grow bananas indoors. Also make sure to pick a variety that produces edible fruit, for example the ‘Lady Finger’ or ‘Super Dwarf Cavendish’ are both dwarf types that get to about four feet tall. They are self-pollinators and produce small and slim bananas.
As a tropical fruit tree, bananas need a lot of sunlight and want between 6-8 hours of sun a day. They are also hungry trees and will require lots of water, however they do not want to be sitting in waterlogged soil that can lead to their roots rotting. As tropical trees, bananas like humidity so misting the tree often can give it a humid environment.
Apricots are stone fruits that produce delicious juicy fruits that are perfect for baking, cooking, or just to eat fresh off the tree. They are trees that adore the sun and want around six to eight hours of sun a day – so artificial grow lights will be required to get them through the winter months. An example of artificial lights that can be used for indoor fruit trees is the LED Ring Grow Lights available at Amazon that has an adjustable height range of 13.7in - 61.1in to fit a range of trees.
As with many fruit trees on this list, pick a dwarf apricot tree to grow indoors that will reach only around five feet in height and make sure to opt for a self-pollinating variety. Dwarf versions of the ‘Moorpark’ and ‘Goldcot’ varieties are the types most suited to growing indoors.
As indoor fruiting trees go, it is tough to actually get fruit on an avocado tree you grow indoors. However, that shouldn’t stop you from trying and growing an avocado from a pit is a fun experiment for the family.
Avocados are more commonly grown as a houseplant as, even if fruit isn’t highly likely, they form attractive ornamental plants with large and glossy leaves. There are dwarf varieties of avocado out there and any intrepid fruit growers may have a long wait, as it can take up to ten years to get any fruit. The key to getting fruit is lots of light, lots of heat, lots of humidity, and patience.
Growing fruit trees indoors means that even if you don't have any outdoor space then you can enjoy the rewards of homegrown fruit. There is a good range of fruit suitable for growing indoors and, thanks to dwarf varieties, it means there is more currently available to be able to grow inside the house than ever before. You will love the fragrance that comes with growing fruit trees indoors, and having homegrown fruit for all your needs is highly satisfying.
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Drew’s passion for gardening started with growing vegetables and salad in raised beds in a small urban terrace garden. He has gone on to work as a professional gardener in historic gardens across the UK and also specialise as a kitchen gardener growing vegetables, fruit, herbs, and cut flowers. That passion for growing extends to being an allotmenteer, garden blogger, and producing how-to gardening guides for websites. Drew was shortlisted in the New Talent of the Year award at the 2023 Garden Media Guild Awards.
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