Creative Ways to Add Fruit Trees and Plants to Small Spaces
Who says you need a big, sprawling orchard to grow delicious organic fruit? There are plenty of creative ways to add dwarf or semi-dwarf trees and other fruiting plants to your garden, even with limited free space. Here is a rapid-fire list of clever methods for cultivating fruit in small growing spaces, plus all the best varieties to grow in Orange County!
Dwarf and Semi-Dwarf Fruit Trees for Small Spaces
Not all fruit trees are giant! Plenty of dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties are easy to fit into small spaces, perfect for filling in your small garden and adding to your fresh, home-grown produce—plus, they’re very easy to harvest! Here are a few favorites that can handle our hot SoCal climate.
Semi-Dwarf Citrus Trees
Freshly squeezed lemonade is extra delicious when made from juicy lemons picked off your tree! You can find semi-dwarf varieties of orange and lime trees, too. Semi-dwarf trees typically remain smaller than your standard citrus, such as a semi-dwarf improved meyer lemon tree, which eventually grows around 8 feet tall and can be maintained at an even smaller size with regular pruning.
Dwarf Fig Trees
The popularity of these fancy dwarf fruit trees has skyrocketed in the past few years! While a standard fig tree reaches about 20–25 feet, dwarf varieties typically stay around 6–15 feet. If you want to keep yours even smaller, regular pruning can maintain it at 4–5 feet.
Semi-Dwarf Anna Apple Trees
The Anna apple tree is a modestly sized variety that reaches 8–15 feet high with regular pruning and if you top them off. It isn't always easy to grow apples in our climate, but the low-chill Anna is perfectly suited to life in Orange County. Explore different varieties of apples to find the fruit with your desired sweetness, and pick your apples earlier if you prefer tart fruit.
Espaliered Fruits Along Walls
The espalier method harkens back to medieval times! You can train young saplings to spread across a wall, creating an incredibly gorgeous and space-savvy crop. Instead of growing a thick canopy, they grow flat and outward, along the support system you provide. It creates a beautiful aesthetic while saving space and providing you with bountiful fresh fruit. Here are some fruit trees that you can espalier.
Espaliered Low-Chill Apple Trees
As mentioned before, not all apple trees are suitable for Orange County, but a few love it here! Try some of these tasty varieties:
- Granny Smith
- Dorset Golden
Espaliered 20th Century Asian Pear
Pear trees aren't typically suited for Orange County, but Asian pears are a different story, especially away from the coast! This crunchy, round yellow pear is a super popular pick for espalier gardening.
Fruiting Vines for Walls, Fences, and Trellises
So many delicious fruits grow on vines; if you train them to climb across walls and fences, they barely occupy any space. Just make sure you plant them somewhere that gets enough sunshine! Trellises are easy to install on bare walls or as a free-standing divider in your garden; by separating your space, you can create cozy reading nooks and social areas while using the trellis as a support structure for vining fruits.
Grapes are a staple in our sunny, coastal climate. European varieties like Ruby Seedless and Flame grow well in poor soils, but if you're growing other varieties, make sure to add lots of nutrient-rich compost for the best results.
We love the tangy flavor of these exotic tropical fruits, and their gorgeous flowers make them all the more marvelous! It’s one of the easiest and most prolific fruits for a sunny wall or fence.
You can train these vining fruits up trellises—however, those melons can get pretty heavy! To prevent them from falling, create a little "hammock" around the fruits with mesh netting or stretchy, sheer material, and secure them to their support structure.
Raspberries, blackberries, and boysenberries are all excellent options for climbing fruit! Plus, they make a great little snack while you’re tending to the rest of your garden.
Fruits for Containers, Wall Pockets, and Hanging Baskets
Container gardening is a classic method for small gardens, and taking advantage of every little space in your garden is a great way to maximize your crops in a minimal space. Consider installing a tiered container garden on a wall or purchasing a layered planter to utilize your vertical space. You can also use your small plants as decoration in seating areas, creating a lush space that’s beautiful, comfortable, and functional. There's no shortage of delicious fruits you can grow in pots!
Mini tomato plants are easy to grow in pots! You may need to water them daily, as the soil dries out more quickly in containers.
These spicy little numbers are fruits, too! The more sunshine they get, the spicier they'll be. If you don't like spice, there are plenty of small-sized sweet peppers you can grow.
You can grow semi-dwarf versions of these cheerful little plants in containers for easy harvesting and as a beautiful accent in your outdoor living space. They thrive in a large terra cotta pot!
Lots of blueberries need a period of chilling to produce properly—but not these sun-loving varieties! Grow these low-chill blueberries in containers; all are self-fruitful:
- Bountiful Delight
- Sunshine Blue
- Bountiful Blue
A cool-season favorite, strawberries are perfect for bringing color to the winter garden. We especially love them in hanging baskets—the fruits dangle like little red ornaments.
Roger's Gardens has an impressive collection of dwarf fruit trees for sale and other delicious fruiting plants suitable for small spaces in Orange County. Visit us soon to see what's ready to plant!
For advice on water-wise gardening, check out our Water-Wise gardening tips.
For more information, view: Growing Citrus in Containers, Dwarf Citrus , and What?! Dwarf Tomatoes?