Grow a variety of citrus fruits anywhere, anytime
It always happens…when cutting limes for cocktails or lemons into wedges for a cup of tea, you stop and think for a moment how nice it would be to have several fruit trees of your own. There’s just something uniquely appealing about the idea of plucking fruit fresh from your very own tree! But you either don’t have enough room in your yard or garden, or you live in the wrong climate altogether, so it’s not possible…right?
Wrong! Thanks to grafting techniques, you can now not only get a tree that grows more than one kind of fruit, you can get smaller varieties that will thrive in an indoor environment – a tree of this type is also known as a dwarf fruit cocktail tree.
What IS a cocktail tree?
When two or more fruit trees are grafted onto a single root system, the result is a fruit cocktail tree – that is, a tree that grows more than one kind of fruit.
A cocktail tree does need to be made up of trees of the same type in order for it to thrive – for example, it must either be a citrus cocktail tree (a cocktail tree that bears oranges, lemons, limes etc.) or it needs to be an apple cocktail tree (a cocktail tree that bears different apple varieties). You would not be able to grow cocktail citrus fruit and stone fruit (peaches, plums, nectarines, etc.) on the same tree.
Even so, the ability to grow multiple fruits on one cocktail plant still means you can have a wide variety of fruit with just two or three trees – a space-saver however you look at it!
But wait…while cocktail trees may solve the limited space problem, there’s still the growing zone to consider. A self-fertilizing cocktail lemon tree may be adaptable to most soils, stay fairly small and not take up much room in your garden, but it will likely die during the first hard freeze.
Never fear…if you want to grow a citrus fruit cocktail tree, Florida residency isn’t necessary. For those who live north of Zone 9, dwarf cocktail trees may be the answer.
How big to cocktail trees get?
A full-size cocktail tree (lemon-lime) can grow anywhere from 10-15 feet tall. A dwarf fruit cocktail tree, however, has been genetically engineered to thrive in a container, limiting its height at maturity to four feet while still producing full-size fruit in equal portions. All you need are a few hours of direct sunlight per day, careful watering, and regular doses of fruit tree fertilizer to enjoy a healthy, fragrant cocktail plant that produces fruit throughout much of the year! And what you lack in crop size, you’ll make up for in variety. (For instance, if you don’t normally keep lemons on hand but try a new recipe that calls for lemon zest, you can go to your sunroom instead of the store!)
Living in a colder climate or having a small yard may make it impractical for you to grow large fruit trees, but that doesn’t mean you can’t grow your own fruit. By growing dwarf cocktail fruit trees, you can have an attractive landscape on your patio or in your sunroom while (literally) enjoying the fruits of your labor!