A beginners guide to growing fruit trees

Growing fruit can sometimes seem like a minefield with lots of pruning jargon out there, but actually it is possible to keep things nice and simple. This article covers some of the essential FAQs that you’ll need to know…

Do I need a big garden?

You don’t need a huge garden, but you will need some space. As an idea, you can expect your fruit tree from Rocket Gardens to grow to around 4 metres if you let it. With regular pruning, you can keep the to around 2.5 metres tall. Apple ‘Greensleeves’ is a really good option for a smaller garden.

Can I grow a tree in a pot?

Yes. You’ll need a big, deep pot with good drainage. From our collection, Plum ‘Victoria’ is a good choice for pots, as well as Apple ‘Greensleeves.’ You can use a 50:50 mix of John Innes no 3 and potting compost to fill the pots with (easily bought from the garden centre!)

How do I look after the tree?

Plant your tree well (growing instructions come with the tree) and keep an eye on moisture levels in the soil for the first year while it’s establishing a sturdy root system. After that, you’ll just need to keep an eye on the tree for signs of disease, ideally give it a mulch in autumn (which will help protect it and nourish the roots) and do some light pruning once a year.

What pruning will I have to do?

You can get away with not pruning at all, and don’t forget that you don’t have to learn everything all at once. You can plant your tree, wait for your harvest and then learn about pruning in year two. Learning as you go takes the fear out if it all! We recommend growing our trees in ‘bush’ form, which describes a specific shape of the tree – most of our trees come already pruned to help them grow in this shape, so all you’ll need to do is follow the instructions that come with the tree to keep them in shape as they grow.

Which variety should I choose?

We’ve specifically chosen varieties that are reliable and easy-to-grow, so if you have a sunny and reasonably sheltered garden. really you can choose any variety that tickles your fancy. If you’re new to fruit, we’d recommend starting with apple, pear or plum, all of which are very well suited to the British climate.

What can I grow in a shady garden?

Cherry ‘Morello’ is a good choice for a north or east facing garden that gets less sun. Pear trees also tend to do well in spite of partial shade. We wouldn’t recommend trying to grow apples, quince, peaches or nectarines in shadier spots.

Do I need more than one tree, for cross-pollination?

All of our varieties are self-fertile, which means that you only need one tree. However, it is worth noting that cross-pollination will nearly always give you a heavier crop – if you have the space for two apple trees, it’s probably worth planting two different varieties. But it is not obligatory!