Top 10 fruits for small gardens, patios and pots

Orange tree in grey container

Create your own mini orchard on a patio or balcony
Image: Orange 'Bigaradier' by Thompson & Morgan

Homegrown fruit can be produced in the smallest of spaces, and thanks to modern breeding, there are more options that you might imagine! Growers are producing more and more of our favourite fruits as dwarf varieties that can be grown in the UK. So now you can grow an apple on your patio or a mulberry on the balcony! If you have room for a container, hanging basket or window box, then you have room to grow your own crop of fruit.

It's not all about crop yields though. Where space is limited, each plant has to be worth growing for its looks as well. Those clever breeders have thought of that too, and more and more varieties are available as ornamental edibles, with attractive flowers or foliage to create a longer season of interest.

Here, in no particular order, are 10 fruits that you can grow in a small garden, patio or balcony. There's something to suit even the most compact garden:

  1. Blueberry
  2. Raspberry
  3. Strawberry
  4. Currants
  5. Dwarf Blackberry
  6. Citrus Trees
  7. Mini Fruit Trees
  8. Cranberry
  9. Mulberry
  10. Fig

1. Blueberry

Colourful blueberry foliage in container

Enjoy the ornamental pink and green mottled foliage of patio blueberries
Image: Blueberry 'Flamingo' by Thompson & Morgan/© Visions BV, Netherlands

Blueberries make excellent container plants for small gardens, measuring in at 120cm (4ft) at maturity. These tough shrubs are not just productive, but also make an attractive flowering display in spring. By Autumn they turn to bright shades of gold and orange, bringing plenty of seasonal interest. If you have the space, grow two together to improve pollination and increase your crop.

On the smallest plots, opt for super-compact varieties such as Blueberry 'BerryBux' which reaches a height and spread of just 50cm (20in). In gardens with acid soil this variety can even be planted as a low hedge - a great alternative to Box!

2. Raspberry

Raspberry shrub in white tabletop container

Raspberry 'Yummy' fruits in the first year
Image: Raspberry 'Yummy' by Thompson & Morgan

Gone are the days of sprawling raspberry canes! Modern breeding has perfected the dwarf raspberry plant, delivering excellent crops in the tiniest of spaces.

Raspberry 'Little Red Princess' produces a bumper crop of berries from the first year on plants reaching just 1m (3ft) tall. The perfect size for a patio pot. If that still feels a bit big for your balcony then try Raspberry 'Yummy' which makes a fabulous table-top crop at just 45cm (18in) tall!

3. Strawberry

Strawberry with pink flowers in wicker hanging basket

This ornamental strawberry produces gorgeous pink flowers
Image: Strawberry 'Gasana' by Thompson & Morgan

Who can resist the delicious flavour of a sweet, sun-warmed strawberry? These compact perennials can be grown in a window bow, hanging basket or patio pot, so they are perfect for even the smallest balcony. Strawberry 'Montana' is the neatest of all, making the perfect patio table decoration for snacking on!

Strawberry 'Skyline' boasts long trailing stems that can be trained upwards to make use of vertical space, to maximise crops in small spaces. For a particularly decorative variety choose Strawberry 'Just Add Cream' for its flavoursome fruits and pretty pink flowers.

4. Currants

Blackcurrants against fence in a container

Blackcurrant 'Summer Pearls Patio Black' is a heavy cropping variety
Image: Blackcurrant 'Summer Pearls Patio Black' by Thompson & Morgan

Currants can produce good crops yields in small spaces making them perfect for compact gardens and large patio pots. Most will reach around 120cm (4ft) at maturity so whether it's Redcurrants, Blackcurrants, White Currants, or even the unusual Pinkcurrant 'Gloire de Sablon', you can take your pick from most varieties. Blackcurrant 'Summer Pearls Patio' is a particularly compact variety with giant 1cm diameter fruits!

5. Dwarf Blackberry

Blackberry bush in container

Grow this blackberry on a sunny balcony
Image: Lowberry® Blackberry 'Little Black Prince' (Dwarf) by Thompson & Morgan/© Hoogeveen / Visions BV, Netherlands

Just like raspberries, modern breeding has shrunk the traditional blackberry to develop dwarf, heavy cropping fruit plants for small gardens.

Blackberry 'Coolaris Patio' and Blackberry 'Opal' are both less than 1m (3ft) tall, with thornless stems and a compact bushy habit that make them ideal for patio pots. Blackberry 'Black Cascade' is even smaller, with arching thornless stems and generous crops, lending itself beautifully to large hanging baskets on the balcony.

6. Citrus Trees

Lemon tree in grey patio container

Once picked, lemons keep for up to 2 weeks
Image: Citrus - Lemon by Thompson & Morgan

Enjoy a gin and tonic with a slice of your own home-grown lemon! Citrus trees make a great talking point for a sunny patio, filling the air with their fragrant blooms in spring. Although they will get to quite a size over time, they are slow growing and will take many years to outgrow their space. These half-hardy plants need to be kept snug and warm over winter so you can enjoy them as a houseplant indoors too.

Try Lemon 'Eureka' for top quality fruits, or Tahiti Lime for seedless, green Limes with a zesty flavour. Our Citrus Tree Collection offers both of these citrus tree, plus a zingy Panama Orange!

7. Mini Fruit Trees

Group of plums ready to be harvested on branch

Harvest and eat delicious plums straight from the tree
Image: Plum 'Black Amber' (Mini Fruit Tree) by Thompson & Morgan

Imagine picking apples and pears straight from your own mini fruit trees! Apples, Pears, Plums and Cherries can all be grown in small spaces if they are on the right rootstock, and bred from specific clonal selections to create a naturally dwarf tree. When restricted in a container, they remain even more compact, resulting in plants that easily can be grown on the patio!

Our Mini Fruit Tree Collection is the perfect way to create an orchard in the smallest of spaces. Crop yields will be improved by having more than one of each variety, so double up wherever space allows.

8. Cranberry

Wooden spoon full of cranberries

Turn your harvest into cranberry sauce for your festive meals
Image: Cranberry 'Pilgrim' by Thompson & Morgan

These neat little evergreen plants can be grown in the tightest of spaces. They need acid soil which can easily be achieved in a patio container. Their lax branches create a cascading effect that makes an attractive feature, with winter turning their green leaves to bronze.

Cranberry 'Pilgrim' produces sufficient dark-red fruits to create a tasty sauce to accompany your Christmas Turkey! If you like Cranberries then you may also enjoy Lingonberry 'Ida' which is very similar and equally as good in a patio pot or window box.

9. Mulberry

Mulberry growing up obelisk

Grow compact mulberry varieties in containers as an unusual addition to your kitchen garden
Image: Mulberry 'Charlotte Russe' by Thompson & Morgan

The very idea of growing a Mulberry on your patio is preposterous! Well that is, until the introduction of Mulberry 'Charlotte Russe'. This extraordinary dwarf variety reaches less that 2m (6ft) tall, making it a fraction of the size of a traditional Mulberry.

The crops are worthwhile, with juicy, black fruits borne over a long period. No wonder this extraordinary variety was awarded RHS Chelsea Flower Show Plant of the Year 2017.

10. Fig

Fig bush in blue container on patio

Grow your fig trees in a warm spot encourage two crops per year
Image: Fig 'Little Miss Figgy' by Thompson & Morgan

Fig are not usually known for their compact habit, but you guessed it - the breeders have been at it again, and produced a pocket-sized version of this Mediterranean favourite. Fig 'Little Miss Figgy' is a dwarf mutation from the popular 'Violette de Bordeaux', reaching less than 2m (6ft) at maturity.

Like all Figs, she boasts large, lobed foliage which makes this an attractive patio plant for a decent sized container. Tasty, purple fruits can be harvested twice a year, making this the ultimate in edible ornamental plants!

We hope you've discovered something new about growing fruit in smaller spaces. You don't need a huge garden to start a mini orchard and many fruits will grow happily on a patio or balcony! Why not visit our dedicated page of blueberry advice and try growing your own superfood?


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