Do you have a love for gardening, but live in a small apartment? Or do you have a love for fresh fruit in the middle of winter? Growing fruit inside is a fun and enjoyable way to have delicious fruit handy and be able to garden all year long. If you have a well-lit area, a sunporch or sunroom, a glazed-in porch or a conservatory, you are already halfway there. The only real discussion to have about growing fruit in your home, is: What kind of fruit should you plant?
The list of fruit you can grow inside is almost endless. Many fruits are considered tree fruit, and although they do better outdoors, it is possible to manage a tree inside with pruning and care. When growing fruit indoors, remember the fruit plants need a deep base for their roots. Containers should have about one foot of space across and down. When the plants outgrow the first container they are in, simply move the plant to a bigger pot. It is recommended you prune the roots once a year to maintain the size of the plant. For full-grown plants, replace the top soil layer with fresh compost yearly. Usually compost with a soil base, over a good amount of drainage (pebbles, stones or broken pottery) is the best. It allows the regular feeding and watering to encourage the plants to grow and bear fruit.
Let’s take a look at some popular fruits people enjoy inside their homes:
1. Strawberries. This vibrant plant can be grown in pots, with the best place in a sunny windowsill. The berries can fruit from early summer to late autumn. To encourage blooming in the fall, pot plants five to six inches, and sit on the sunniest windowsill or in the brightest room. Strawberries are a quick fruit-producing plant that needs little space to thrive.
2. Grapes. Yes, you can have your own little vineyard in your home. Grapes need good ventilation to prevent mildew and tend to do extremely well in a conservatory-type room. You can train the vines to grow along the ceiling and up walls. It is recommended that you trim the plants back to two buds in the winter to keep the grapes manageable. You can either start with a seedling, or if you wish to get a jump start, purchase a plant already on its way.
3. Figs. Although they grow best in a large pot, the variety of fig known as Negro Largo does very well in the house. It does best when in a well-lit area but not in direct sunlight. Some nourishing plant food can be given a few times during the growing season. Temperature can also control this plant’s size. Sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit seems to regulate the final size of the plant. Figs are ideal for apartments.
4. Papaya. This nutritious, tropical plant needs full sun and regular watering with occasional fertilizer. Warmer temperatures are required, and 65 degrees Fahrenheit or more works best. The plant will grow continuously, so you will need to trim its large stems so it can be kept in its container. Papaya grows 12 to 24 inches tall and fruits in six months. In seven to eight months fruit will be ripe enough to eat. As mentioned before, if you wish to speed up the process, buy a plant already started.
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5. Mulberries. Mulberries are actually a tree. It is recommended to purchase a mulberry tree instead of beginning from a seed since it takes around 10 years for the tree to grow fruit. You can get a semi-dwarf or dwarf-sized mulberry tree at a garden center or nursery. Summer is the usual time for the fruit to be ripe. Mulberries need to be in a warm, bright room, with plenty of sun and in a big pot. These berries are long, large and black, almost like a blackberry. They are a slow-growing plant.
6. Watermelon. Yes, you can grow watermelon indoors! A large pot is fine; fill it with moist, sandy soil. Melons need a warm and sunny room. You will need to train vines to grow vertically. This plant is not a “self-cling” plant, so you will need to add some sort of support for the vines. The supports can be made out of anything, from lattice, wood sticks or even wire. Whichever type of support you chose, remember that watermelons are heavy, so make the supports strong.
7. Apricots. This tasty fruit adds color to the room and is easy to grow in pots. It needs a sunny area to be productive. Try to find a “soil-less” compost to use with apricots, making sure there is much drainage. You can hand-pollinate the plants by using a paintbrush and going from one flower to another. As with other tree-fruits, you can purchase a tree already well on its way. Remember to thin the fruit, removing any that look misshapen or very small. This will allow the other fruit to reach full size.
There are other fruits you can grow, and citrus fruit, including the lovely lemon tree, are popular. You can brighten up your home with natural, tasty fruit. This is a great way to try something new, and healthy, without needing a lot of room or time.
Which fruits do you grow indoors? What would you add to the list? Share your tips in the section below: