Picking fruit from low hanging branches is child’s play, while these little trees are easy to maintain. Dwarf trees belie their size with incredible productivity, but yield’s that more closely match the needs of an average family mean excessive waste can be avoided.
To make the most of limited space, choose mini trees to suit your climate and prioritise family favourites.
No more than two metres tall with a tidy ‘mop head’ form, Apple Blush Babe™ adorns itself in delicious crispy red full-sized fruit. This early ripener boasts good disease resistance with little need for pruning. Apple Autento™ is ideal for espaliering along a fence. Thumbelina® Mini Apple Candy Crunch™ is grafted onto dwarfing roots, which keeps it at two metres tall. Great for kids, a bumper crop of sweet and juicy bite-sized fruit is ready for picking around May.
The first truly dwarf Pear Garden Belle™ grows just three metres tall. The sweet fruit has a smooth texture and green, mildly russeted skin. It ripens in mid-summer and stores well in the fridge. Garden Belle™ doubles as a pretty garden tree with snowy white spring blossom evolving through glossy green leaves which turn on the colour in autumn. Garden Belle™ yields best when another pear or Nashi nearby (which could be a neighbours tree) provides cross-pollination.
In summer, pint-sized Nectarine Flavourzee produces delicious yellow-fleshed fruit. This compact bushy tree is self-fertile although another nectarine planted nearby will increase yields. Ideal for warmer climates, dwarf Nectarine Garden Delight produces large yellow-flesh fruit with a red skin. In spring, super-sized pink blossom is the icing on the cake. Another variety will low winter chill requirement (good for warmer regions) is dwarf Nectarine Nectar Babe.
Lovely pink blossom makes Waimea Nurseries’ dwarf peaches extra valuable in a small garden. The fruit of dwarf Peach Bonanza is yellow blushed red. Peach Honey Babe produces large, orange fleshed fruit. Early ripening dwarf Peach Pixzee is a little treasure at just 1.8 metres tall. For better fruit set in warmer regions choose Peach Rose Shiffon for it’s low winter chill requirement. Also good in cooler climates Rose Shiffon features enchanting double rose red blossom followed by tasty white fleshed fruit. Most peach varieties benefit from cross pollination, either with nectarines or other peaches, but yellow skinned Peach Garden Lady is partially self-fertile.
Dwarf Cherry Griotella™ is as pretty as it is productive with white spring blossom and shiny red summer fruit. Around two metres tall, this Morello type cherry is great for making kirsch, tarts and preserves. It does best in a frost-free climate with some winter chill.
Dwarf Almond Garden Prince grows just 1.5m tall. This lovely little tree is both highly ornamental and very productive. Pretty pink spring blossom is followed by medium sized sweet nuts enclosed in soft, well-sealed shells. Garden Prince is a low chill variety well suited to drier northern regions.
No urban orchard would be complete without the addition of citrus to provide that all important winter vitamin C! For centuries oranges have been grown in big pots as a way of sheltering the trees over cold winters. The Meyer lemon and Clementine mandarin are other container classics. Also consider easy peel Satsuma Mandarin Miho. The hardiest of all citrus, tangy Kumquat Meiwa makes excellent marmalade and grows as a compact shrub ideal for container growing.
Fruit trees need ample sun, good well-drained soil or potting mix and plenty of water, especially when young. For more information on dwarf fruit trees and how to grow them visit www.waimeanurseries.co.nz
Apple Thumbelina Candy Crunch Mini Stripe
Pear Garden Belle
Nectarine Garden Delight
Almond Garden Prince