Can Dwarf Trees Grow in Containers?

In recent decades, small-scale gardening has become all the rage. No longer are would-be gardeners limited by the size or location of their properties! From square-foot gardening to container gardening, you can grow anything from flowers to vegetables to even trees in just a small amount of space with the right care.

Tiny Trees in Containers

Yes, we said “trees!” When kept in pots and with regular pruning, dwarf tree varieties can be kept to a size that’s more manageable for small yards, and even for sunrooms.

Keeping miniature trees in pots is not a new concept – in fact, the art of growing ornamental “bonsai” trees in China is well over a thousand years old, and has spread throughout the world. Nowadays you can find many varieties of dwarf trees for sale, and that includes fruit-bearing trees.

Dwarf Citrus Trees

The idea of growing one’s own fruit can be very appealing. When grown outdoors, small fruit trees produce enough fruit for a small family throughout the harvest season, and there’s something satisfying about enjoying one’s own, homegrown fruit.

Keeping potted dwarf citrus trees can be especially intriguing for citrus lovers who dwell in cooler climes as, with the right care, such trees can be kept indoors part or even all of the time and still produce fruit. And unlike other fruit-bearing trees, a dwarf citrus tree is self-pollinating, so if you space is limited you don’t have to have more than one of each kind in order to get fruit.

Dwarf Citrus Tree Varieties

There are many varieties of dwarf citrus trees available. Grown using dwarf rootstock, such trees can be kept to as little as six feet tall while still producing full-size fruit. When kept in a suitable container, dwarf citrus trees can live in a sunny spot indoors full-time or be moved to a patio during the warmer months.

You can find popular varieties of the following dwarf citrus trees at

  • Orange. Who doesn’t love a fresh, juicy orange? Our Dwarf Washington Navel Orange Tree produces the world’s most popular snacking orange, while nothing beats the flavor of a Valencia when it comes to orange juice. For something more exotic, the sweet, deep-crimson fruit of the fragrant Dwarf Moro Blood Orange Tree is an excellent choice.
  • Lemon. Imagine making fresh-squeezed lemonade from Eureka lemons you’ve grown yourself! Or you can opt for our Dwarf Improved Meyer Lemon Tree – a favorite with cooks, the fruit can be hard to find in northern groceries, but the tree is one of the easiest dwarf plants to grow.
  • Lime. Key limes are another fruit that can be hard to find up north, but when you grow your Dwarf Key Lime Tree you can make the trademark pie whenever you like! Persian (or Bearrs) limes are more akin to what you’ll find in the grocery store, while our Kaffir lime will add a spicier, more exotic flavor to your ethnic dishes.
  • Grapefruit. Our Rio Red and Ruby Red varieties produce pretty, sweet fruits that will be a healthy, refreshing addition to your breakfast!
  • Kumquat. Kumquats are a fabulous snack you can just pop in your mouth and eat whole, peel and all! Our Nagami Sour Tree and Meiwa Sweet Tree each produce small fruits with excellent flavor.
  • Mandarin. Our Brown Select Satsuma and Owari Satsuma dwarf trees produce fruit that’s sure to be a hit with the lunchbox set – sweet, easy-to-peel, and just right for smaller hands. also offers several varieties of dwarf citrus trees that can be kept in hanging baskets (though these will likely be more ornamental than fruit-bearing)!

Dwarf Citrus Tree Care

If you find the idea of trying to care for your own dwarf citrus tree intimidating, don’t – it’s much easier than you think. Once you’ve bought your tree and planted it in a large pot with specially formulated citrus soil and plenty of drainage, select a spot for it to live that will get at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight, away from a dry air vent. Then, make sure you practice these basic care techniques:

  • Watering. When grown in a container, citrus trees prefer periodic deep watering over frequent, light doses. Deep watering promotes deeper root growth and strengthens your tree. Allowing a few to several days between watering lets the soil drain properly. It’s fine to allow the top of the soil to dry out.
  • Fertilizing. Applying a fertilizer helps to replenish the nutrients your growing tree leaches from its soil over time. To ensure you get a good crop of fruit, be sure to use a specially formulated fertilizer for citrus trees in pots. You can find the best fertilizer for citrus trees in containers from – in fact, our All-in-One Kits include everything you need to ensure your tree’s optimum health.
  • Pruning. To keep your tree healthy and productive, remove all suckers after harvest and prune away any dead tree branches or branches that cross one another. If the upper canopy becomes thick to the point that the lower branches don’t get enough light, you may want to think it out.