“Bright indirect light?” This spot seems bright enough.

Your interior light levels form the growth potential of the plant. Your care efforts realize that potential (watering, fertilizing, repotting). Good light is the PREREQUISITE for a plant to grow but the term “bright indirect light” fails to convey anything concrete. At worse, it makes you think just any place the sun doesn’t shine is considered indirect light. And our eyes adjust to a wide range of light levels so you will NOT feel the difference. Instead, those with huge, unobstructed windows and/or skylights are patting themselves on the back at how good they are with houseplants while those with smaller windows living between buildings are struggling to figure out why their fiddle leaf fig always ends up with 90% of their foliage lost.

Measure your light. It will explain the magic of the greenthumb.
Disclaimer: this article contains Amazon Affiliate links. Earnings from qualifying sales goes to support the work of House Plant Journal – thank you!

Step 1: Get a light meter and get to know how bright your indirect light actually is. Here are a few that I think work well:

This is the Dr. Meter LX1330B Light Meter that I’ve been using – pricing has been varying wildly on Amazon but it should be around $40-60 [US Link] [CAN Link]. An alternate model: [US Link] [CAN Link]

The Urceri light meter also works well and has the advantage of automatic range selection. The only downside is the sensor cannot be pointed away from the screen so you may need to use the ‘hold’ function (should also be around $40-60) [US Link] [CAN Link]

What about apps? Android devices do not have standardized ambient light sensor hardware and the iOS platform doesn’t give access to the iPhone light sensor, which means those apps are doing a rough calculation based on the camera brightness value. An app might be able to give you a rough idea, but a dedicated device will do the proper cosine correction for the angle of incident light (that’s what the white dome is for).

Step 2: Bookmark this page so you can look up the levels of indirect light necessary for various plants. I don’t have every possible houseplant but after reading a few of these, I think you’ll get the idea.

Commercial Light Levels: most of our typical “houseplants” are grown in greenhouses with varying layers of shade cloth. To give you a rough idea, “50% Shade” would measure to 5000 foot-candles (FC) and “90% Shade” comes to 1000 FC – this is the strength of the sun shining through different layers of shade cloth, which is a black net-like material. These numbers are easily searchable on the internet – I’ve included the source links where applicable. *Don’t expect to achieve these light levels indoors from your indirect light.*

Interior Light Levels: plants can technically survive in a wide range of light levels so do not take the numbers listed here as prescriptive – they aren’t strict requirements. You should think of them as guidelines for good growth. Another consideration is that “good growth” is subjective as any plant will take the shape of its light situation – up to a certain point, it’s not entirely under your control! These numbers are gathered from my own observations and measurements. *Use these as guidelines.*

How to measure: from the spot where your plant is sitting, while the sun is NOT in view, you want the measurement to be above the “good growth” foot-candle reading. Measure at different times of the day and in different weather conditions so you can get a sense for the average intensity of your indirect light. When the sun IS in view, you want the duration to be less than what is stated as tolerable – and if the sun will be in view for longer, then block it with a white sheer curtain.

Adenium Plant

1,500.00
How to Care Adenium Plant: Keep soil moderately moist in spring and summer, but reduce watering in fall and especially winter when the plant is dormant. Fertilize with a dilution by half of a 20-20-20 liquid plant food once per month when the plant is actively growing. Do not feed the desert rose during winter. SUNLIGHT: In their native habitat, adeniums grow in full sun so they need good light to thrive. Direct sunlight is preferable, especially when they are in their active growth phase during the summer months. Water Requirements : Soil moisture is an important consideration in adenium culture. WATERING: Soil moisture is an important consideration in adenium culture. Their common name, Desert Rose, speaks to their ability to thrive with less water. Adeniums can tolerate higher moisture levels without harming the plant, as long as the temperatures are warm.

Aglaonema Plant

1,200.00
HOW TO CARE AGLAONEMA PLANT? Aglaonema stalks retain water for the plant in periods of drought. If there is too much water

Ajwain Plant

350.00
Plant Size : 1ft Ajwain (Trachyspermum ammi L. Sprague) is an annual aromatic and herbaceous plant of the family Apiaceae. It is an erect annual herb with a striate stem and originated in the eastern regions of Persia and India. Its fruits are small, and grayish-brown in color.

Allamanda Bail

1,000.00
HOW TO GROW .ALLAMANDA BAIL: Water deeply until the excess moisture runs out of the drainage holes but then wait until the top surface of the soil dries out before you irrigate again. Allamanda doesn’t like wet feet. Fertilize in spring through summer every two to three weeks with a good blooming plant food. Allow the plant to rest in winter. Suspend fertilizing in winter as part of good Allamanda plant care. Restart fertilizing in April and move the plant outside as soon as temperatures are above 60 F. (16 C.). Prune in early spring and cut stems back to one to two nodes to promote tighter new growth. This plant is prone to spider mites and whiteflies, so watch carefully for these pests. At the first sign put the plant in the shower and hose off as many of the little guys as you can, then follow with daily applications of horticultural soap or a Neem spray.

ALOCASIA PLANT

17,000.00
HOW TO CARE ALOCASIA PLANT:  Alocasia CareAlocasia plants make a statement with their bold, arrow-head shaped leaves and tall stems. Some Alocasia plants.Keep Alocasia plants moist all year; they are water-loving plants. There is a fine line with these plants. As with all indoor plants, too much water, constantly wet leaves, and heavy, soggy soil.As it's a fast-growing plant, provide it with fertilizer once per month in the growing period (spring and summer) and slow down in the dormancy. GROWING INDOOR: Fortunately for indoor gardeners, Alocasias can grow well in pots, provided they get enough humidity and light. These plants are well known for their beautiful foliage and can brighten up any indoor space. This makes them a real treat to have in your home if you can care for them properly. SUNLIGHT: Bright Indirect light is when the sun's rays don't travel directly from the sun to your plant but, instead, bounce off something first. Plants in bright, indirect light will cast blurry, indistinct shadows. Bright indirect light is approximately 800-2000 foot candles. WATERING: Back to top The Alocasia Zebrina is a tropical plant, which means it needs a humid environment. If it gets too dry, it'll become vulnerable to pests. Luckily, there is a very simple way to keep this plant humid enough: mist it occasionally. It's best to do this at least once per week in the morning.

Aloe Vera

700.00
Standard Plant Plant Size :  2.5 ft EXTRA GEL - BIG Plant Plant Size :  4.5 - 5 ft Aloe vera Aloe vera is a stemless or very short-stemmed plant growing to 60–100 centimetres (24–39 inches) tall, spreading by offsets. The leaves are thick and fleshy, green to grey-green, with some varieties showing white flecks on their upper and lower stem surfaces. About The aloe vera plant is an easy, attractive succulent that makes for a great indoor companion. Aloe vera plants are useful, too, as the juice from their leaves can be used to relieve pain from scrapes and burns when applied topically. Here’s how to grow and care for aloe vera plants in your home!

Aloo Bukhara Plant

4,000.00
How to Care Aloo Bukhara Plant : Do ploughing, cross ploughing of land and then levelled the land. Prepare land in such way that water stagnation should not occurred in field. Plum develops on an array of soils, deep fertile as well as properly drained, loamy land with a pH of 5.5-6.5. The land must be clear of hard pan, water logging as well as extreme salts.

Anar Plant

500.00
Plant Size : 4 ft Start Fruiting when become 6 - 8 ft Plant

Apricot Plant

3,500.00
HOW TO GROW APRICOT PLANT? Once you’ve selected your cultivar, you need to know how to grow apricots. Site selection and soil are the most important considerations. The trees need deep, well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter.Apricot trees bloom early. There are times in apricot tree care where a late frost is a problem, so be sure to plant your trees on higher ground. Do a percolation test prior to planting by digging a hole one foot deep and wide (30 cm.). Fill with water and wait until the next day. Fill the hole again and lay a stick or straight edge over the top. Measure the water drop every hour. Ideal readings will be around 2 inches (5 cm.) per hour. Once you have adjusted the soil to have adequate drainage, dig a hole twice as deep and around as the root ball and plant your tree. Water in well. HOW TO CARE APRICOT PLANT? Apricot tree growing is fairly simple, provided you have the soil, sun, and drainage necessary. Apricots are not tolerant of high levels of salt, boron, chloride and other elements. Feeding of apricot trees will be important in their overall care. They normally get what they need from the soil though, provided it was set up for apricot tree growing beforehand. The trees will need an inch (2.5 cm.) of water weekly, especially during bloom and fruiting. Use a drip irrigation system to avoid wet leaves, flowers and fruit. Be sure your apricot tree care includes thinning of the fruit once it comes in; thin the fruits to 1 ½ to 2 inches (3.8 to 5 cm.) apart. This ensures that the fruit will be larger. If you don’t thin the fruits, they will be much smaller. Apricots need to be pruned and trained annually in early summer to late fall. There are several pests of apricots and numerous fungal diseases. Apply fungicide sprays in spring to avoid such disease issues.

Areca Palm

2,000.00
Plant Size : 2 ft The areca palm is a medium sized palm tree, which can grow up to 20m in height. The trunk is small varying from 10cm till 15 cm in diameter. Its leaves can grow till 1,5m till 2 m long and the branch with the leaves have a pinnate shape. The fruit is oval shaped, orange colored and bears a hard single seed.

ASPARAGUS PLANT

400.00
HOW TO CARE ASPARAGUS PLANT: Asparagus will grow perfectly well in containers and pots, so long as you meet the growing requirements for asparagus. Compost should be fertile and well-drained. The spot you choose to site your asparagus pot should be sunny and sheltered from the wind.Mist the plant daily, focusing on the arching stems. If the plant appears to be turning brown and droopy, it likely needs more water. SUNLIGHT: Site - Full sun is ideal. Asparagus needs at least 8 hours of sun per day. Since asparagus is a long-lived perennial, do not plant where trees or tall shrubs might eventually shade the plants or compete for nutrients and water. WATERING:
1 to 2 inches
Asparagus needs regular watering, especially while young; give it 1 to 2 inches of water per week during its first two growing seasons; give older plants about 1 inch per week. If you give them a good start when you first plant them, and you'll have fewer problems in future years.

Aubergine

200.00
Bale Size : 6 - 9 Inch Will start fruiting within 2 months inshallah

When is the Best Time of Year to Plant Trees?

Are you looking for a way to beautify your yard? If so, you might be thinking about planting trees. Trees are a great way for you to bring your entire landscape together, but you also need to plant the right trees at the right time. Some trees do better than others, so it is important to think about the types of trees you are planting in San Diego, the local weather, and how you can place your tree in the best position possible to be successful. If you are looking for help planting trees, you should reach out to a professional tree trimming and pruning service that can help you. Take a look at a few important points below!
Plant Evergreen Trees in the Spring
If you are planting evergreen trees on your property, then the best time of year to do so is in the spring. Even though the weather in San Diego with relatively stable throughout the year, temperatures are a bit cooler during the Spring. The cooler weather gives evergreen trees an opportunity to get established. Furthermore, even though San Diego was relatively dry, there is usually more rain during the spring months. This water is important for helping trees develop strong root structures. If you are planning on planting evergreen trees outside of the spring months, they will probably still do well; however, you need to make sure they get plenty of water. You might also want to reach out to a professional tree service to learn more about what you have to do to take care of your evergreen trees.
Plant Maple Trees in the Fall
Maple trees are another common sight in San Diego. If you want to add maple trees to your property, you should plant them during the fall. The goal is to plant maple trees in the ground before it starts to freeze. Because there is a bit more shade during the fall, Maple trees tend to be better during this time of year than during the spring. Maple trees grow well in partial shade. When you plant maple trees, you need to make sure the soil drains well. If the soil doesn’t drain well, it is possible for maple trees to get saturated, which can prevent them from growing appropriately. If you cannot plant maple trees during the fall, the second-best time to plant them is during the spring. Remember that spring does tend to be wetter than the fall, so you must make sure the soil drains well. If the temperatures get too hot, this can place Maple trees in difficult conditions. If you have questions about how to take care of your Maple tree, you should reach out to a professional for help.
Plant Fruit Trees in the Spring
If you want to grow your own fruit trees in San Diego, you should do this during the spring. The goal is to get the trees in the ground during the late winter or early spring months. As long as the ground is not frozen, you should be able to get your tree in the ground safely. If you have trees that bloom relatively quickly, such as raspberry trees and blueberry trees, you may be able to plant them later during the spring. When you plant fruit trees, you must make sure they get plenty of sunlight. The vast majority of fruit trees require lots of sunlight to thrive. Then, getting them in the ground during the spring is ideal because they have exposure to a lot of spring rain. This will give them the nutrients they need to grow and thrive. Even though it can be a challenge to grow fruit trees, there are professional services that can help you keep the pests and insects away from your property. That way, you make sure your fruit trees have all the nutrients they need to thrive

Ajwain Plant

350.00
Plant Size : 1ft Ajwain (Trachyspermum ammi L. Sprague) is an annual aromatic and herbaceous plant of the family Apiaceae. It is an erect annual herb with a striate stem and originated in the eastern regions of Persia and India. Its fruits are small, and grayish-brown in color.

Allamanda Bail

1,000.00
HOW TO GROW .ALLAMANDA BAIL: Water deeply until the excess moisture runs out of the drainage holes but then wait until the top surface of the soil dries out before you irrigate again. Allamanda doesn’t like wet feet. Fertilize in spring through summer every two to three weeks with a good blooming plant food. Allow the plant to rest in winter. Suspend fertilizing in winter as part of good Allamanda plant care. Restart fertilizing in April and move the plant outside as soon as temperatures are above 60 F. (16 C.). Prune in early spring and cut stems back to one to two nodes to promote tighter new growth. This plant is prone to spider mites and whiteflies, so watch carefully for these pests. At the first sign put the plant in the shower and hose off as many of the little guys as you can, then follow with daily applications of horticultural soap or a Neem spray.

Aloe Vera

700.00
Standard Plant Plant Size :  2.5 ft EXTRA GEL - BIG Plant Plant Size :  4.5 - 5 ft Aloe vera Aloe vera is a stemless or very short-stemmed plant growing to 60–100 centimetres (24–39 inches) tall, spreading by offsets. The leaves are thick and fleshy, green to grey-green, with some varieties showing white flecks on their upper and lower stem surfaces. About The aloe vera plant is an easy, attractive succulent that makes for a great indoor companion. Aloe vera plants are useful, too, as the juice from their leaves can be used to relieve pain from scrapes and burns when applied topically. Here’s how to grow and care for aloe vera plants in your home!

Anar Plant

500.00
Plant Size : 4 ft Start Fruiting when become 6 - 8 ft Plant

banana

1,000.00
Plant Size : 1.5 - 2 ft

Bhindi Plant

200.00
Plant Size : 6 Inch Okra leaves are heart-shaped and three- to five-lobed. The flowers are yellow with a crimson centre. The fruit, or pod, hairy at the base, is a tapering 10-angled capsule 10–25 cm (4–10 inches) in length (except in the dwarf varieties) that contains numerous oval dark-coloured seeds.

Cassia NoDosa Plant

6,000.00
HOW TO CARE CASSIA NODOSA: Cassia in full to partial sun for the best flower displays. Moderately fertile soil will suffice, but it should be moist and well-drained. The tree is slightly tolerant of salt spray and drought. Average Water Needs, Water regularly, do not overwater.  

Chiku Plant

1,000.00
Without Fruit Plant Size: 5 - 6 ft Start Fruiting when become 8 - 10 ft Plant With Fruit Plant Size:  6 ft Plant Will come with Fruit

Chilli Plant

300.00
Plant Size: 1 ft Will start Fruiting when plant size become 3 ft  ( Will take a month or two ) A green chilli is an important star in Indian cooking. This spice is grown throughout the year and so there is no scarcity and a good quantity is exported. Chillies are used with or without stalks. Green chillies are available fresh, dried, powdered, flaked, in oil, in sauce, bottled and pickled.

Croton Plant

600.00
Croton plants are incredibly varied plants that are often grown as houseplants. The croton indoor plant has a reputation for being fussy, but in reality, if you know about caring for a croton houseplant properly, it can make for a resilient and hard-to-kill plant. The croton plant is often grown outdoors in tropical climates, but also make excellent houseplants. Crotons come in a wide variety of leaf shapes and colors. Leaves can be short, long, twisted, thin, thick, and several of these combined. Colors range from green, variegated, yellow, red, orange, cream, pink, and black to a combination of all these. It is safe to say that if you look hard enough, you will find a croton that matches your décor.

Daisy Flower

600.00
CARE FOR DAISIES: These classic perennials have narrow serrated leaves and white flowers with yellow disk centers. They range from about 10 inches to several feet tall and include variations with single, double, frilly, or ruffled petals. They're not overly needy plants and are fast to moderate growers. Water them well the first season or two while they develop root systems but don't overdo it. They don't like soggy soils, and they will tolerate some drought once they are established. Give them a balanced fertilizer in late fall. Divide them in spring or fall when they get too big by digging pieces off the edges with a spade. Some varieties may need staked to stay upright.

Dhania Plant

300.00
Pot Size: 9 inch Coriander: Already grown We’ll provide you a pot of already grown Coriander, From which you can use fresh leaves whenever you need and after a week the plant would be grown again. Urdu Description Ham apko Podina ka pot dengay…Usme Dhania already ugha hua hoga…aap ko jab bhi need hogi Dhania  ki aap usme se kaat len….within a week wapis se us pot me Podina pehly jesa ugh jayega… aap phir se fresh Dhania  kaat kar use karsaktay hen… aur ghar me ka ugha hua Fresh Dhania  ghar k khaano me istimal kar saktay hen Keep the soil or compost moist as it tends to run to seed if allowed to dry out, but take care not to overwater - especially in autumn and winter - as too much water can lead to rotting. Give plants a light liquid feed of a general feed every couple of weeks during late spring and summer.

HOW TO GROW FRUITS ?

How to Grow Fruits ?

You don’t have to own a large estate to grow a wide variety of fruits at home. If you don’t have space for full-sized trees, you can plant dwarf forms of apples, pears and other fruits. Or try pruning and training trees on a trellis in the time-honored technique known as espalier. Grow a grapevine over an arbor or pergola. Plant lowbush blueberries or strawberries in a bed near the house. Even container growing is possible, giving northern gardeners a chance to grow citrus, figs and other frost-tender fruit trees.

Site Section

Fruit trees are somewhat fussy about where they’re planted. If you were planting a large commercial orchard, site selection would be critical. But for a small home orchard, your best bet is to take a handful of variables into account, select the most promising site on your property, and then plant a couple of trees and give it a try.

Soil: Fruit trees don’t like wet feet, so well-drained, loamy soil is a must. They should be located where there is good air circulation so their leaves will dry quickly, since moisture helps spread disease.

Frost: Flower buds can be easily killed by late spring frosts, so avoid siting your orchard in a frost pocket. Cold air flows downhill, making flowering fruit trees located at the bottom of a slope especially vulnerable to frost. Mid-slope is the best location, because winds are most severe at the top.

Slope direction: Which direction the slope should face is not always clear. Southern and southwestern slopes can be hot and dry, and can cause trees to break dormancy too early, which makes them susceptible to damage from late frosts. Yet a southern slope can work well if it is protected from the prevailing winds by a windbreak on any side except the downslope one (which would block air circulation). A northerly slope may not provide enough solar exposure to evaporate moisture and promote good fruiting. In humid regions, easterly slopes can speed drying of the morning dew.

Sun: Fruit trees need a lot of sun to grow healthy and be productive. If they are shaded by other trees or a building they will be less fruitful and more prone to insects and -disease.

Selecting Plants

It pays to seek out trees and shrubs that have some natural resistance to disease. In apples and pears the common diseases include scab and fire blight. With other fruits, such as raspberries, make sure you buy from a nursery that propagates from virus-free plants. Selecting disease-resistant plants doesn’t mean that you will never experience any disease problems, but it greatly improves your chances for success.

Another crucial issue is hardiness. To make sure that the plants you purchase won’t be damaged over the winter, check hardiness information before you buy. Also consider bloom time. Many fruits flower very early in the spring. If your area is prone to late frosts, such early bloomers may survive, but they will never truly thrive or reliably set fruit. To grow these plants in a marginal area, you’ll have to plant them in an especially favorable and protected site.

Buying Plants: Locally or by RootsRad?

Local nurseries usually sell trees in containers or with the root mass wrapped in burlap. RootsRad-order nurseries usually sell trees as “bareroot stock,” which means that they are shipped to you in a dormant state with their roots packed in damp wood shavings.

The choice of where to buy is up to you: RootsRad-order nurseries tend to offer more varieties than garden centers, so if you are looking for a particular cultivar or want a broad selection you should start with them. However, if you’re unsure about which variety to buy, a local nursery will carry plants that will thrive in your growing area.

If you buy bareroot plants by RootsRad, you will need to plant them in early spring, as soon as the ground can be worked, while the plants are still dormant and the water table is high. This spring planting gives the young plants a full growing season to get established before the onset of freezing weather in the fall. Trees and shrubs sold in containers by local nurseries are more forgiving in terms of planting time; they can be successfully transplanted in most areas either in the spring or early fall.

Most fruit trees will be sold as grafted stock. This means that the tree consists of at least two sections. The top part is called the scion, and is a branch cutting that has been taken from the variety of fruit you want to grow. The bottom part is the rootstock, and it is usually selected either for hardiness or the ultimate height and size of the tree. Standard rootstocks result in trees of full size (to 15 feet or more). Dwarf rootstocks limit the size of mature trees to 6 to 8 feet or so. Semi-dwarfing rootstocks produce mature trees somewhere in between the two extremes.

Dwarf fruit trees result in space-efficient plants that begin bearing fruit quickly, usually two to three years after planting. There are, however, a few disadvantages to growing dwarf trees. They have a shorter life expectancy than standard-sized trees—about 10 to 20 years on average. Because of their limited root systems, dwarf trees don’t compete well with grasses and other plants, so you’ll have to keep the area around them weeded and well mulched. Also, most true dwarfs are not suitable for regions in Zone 4 and colder. But for gardeners concerned with space limitations, or who live in relatively mild climates, dwarfs can be the ideal choice.

How to Plant a Fruit Tree

Apple tree

Dwarf rootstocks limit the size of fruit trees, making it easier to grow them in a small garden.

If you’ve ordered bareroot nursery stock, soak the plant roots in water or manure tea up to 24 hours before planting. If you can’t plant within a few days after receiving the shipment, repack the plant in the damp sawdust or wood shavings it came in and store it in a cold, dark location until the ground can be worked. Never expose the bare roots of plants to wind or sun.

Using a sharp, square-ended planting spade, dig a circle 2 feet in diameter and about 3 feet deep. Remove the sod and set it aside. Now separate the topsoil and the lighter-colored subsoil into two piles, and remove any rocks from the planting hole.

Chop up the sod and put the pieces in the hole, grass side down, so that it doesn’t come in contact with the tree roots. Cover the sod with a little topsoil.

Set the tree into the hole. For grafted trees grown on standard rootstocks, position the tree so that the graft union, the point at which the scion and the rootstock were joined together, is 1 to 2 inches below the surface of the ground. For dwarf and semidwarf rootstocks, the graft union should be 2 to 3 inches above the soil surface.

Fill in around the roots, using the topsoil first. Use your hands to firm the soil around the roots and eliminate any air pockets. Fill in about half the planting hole.

Pour water into the planting hole until the soil gets quite mucky. Then, using your foot, tamp down the soil.

Fill in the rest of the planting hole with the remaining topsoil and subsoil. Firm down the soil around the tree and make a “dish” or depression to encourage water to drain toward the tree.

Mulch around the tree with organic matter (leaves, compost, grass clippings, etc.). Don’t use fresh manure, though well-rotted manure is fine. Line the mulch in the same dish shape around the tree.

Water the tree until the soil cannot readily absorb any more.

Drive one or two stakes into the ground outside the root zone to mark the tree. Fruit trees grafted to dwarf rootstocks develop smaller root systems than standard-size trees and require some support. After planting dwarf trees, attach the tree to the stake using some -flexible tubing or other material.

Prune off any side branches and cut back trees by about one-third after planting. Balled or container trees do not need to be pruned.

Place wire-mesh “hardware cloth” or a plastic tree guard around the tree trunk to protect it from rodents and deer.

Post-Planting. During the first growing season, water the tree regularly, giving it 5 to 10 gallons per day for the first month or so, then watering two or three times a week for another couple of months, or during dry weather. In the late fall, paint the tree bark with white latex paint diluted with water, so the bark will reflect winter sunlight and not be damages by sunscald or cracking.

Pollination

Many varieties of fruit trees and shrubs are self-fruitful: that is, they do not need to have a plant of another variety nearby with which to cross-pollinate. Other varieties (particularly those of fruits) need to have a partner in the orchard so that they will be pollinated and produce a good crop of fruit. In fact, even self-fruitful varieties often benefit from having a different variety of the same plant located nearby.

Cross-pollination doesn’t mean that you will end up with weird-looking hybrid fruits. For example, a ‘Cortland’ apple tree will always produce ‘Cortland’ apples, even if its blossoms are visited by bees who carry pollen from another variety of apple or crabapple that is growing nearby. However, if you planted the seeds from that ‘Cortland’ apple, you would probably grow a tree that bore an entirely different kind of apple, one that was not “true to type.”

Commercial orchards often rent honeybee hives to ensure good pollination during blossom time. Fortunately, there are also wild bees that do the same job. For example, the orchard mason bee (Osmia lignaria) is a good pollinator, and is found throughout most of the United States, with the exception of the Deep South.

It’s very important never to spray insecticides during the blossom time of either the fruit trees or the other groundcover plants (dandelions, clovers, etc.) that may be growing near them. These toxic chemicals can kill bees and other beneficial insects. Read on for more information on nonchemical methods of pest control. Nursery catalogs and books usually provide good information on which varieties of plants need pollinators and which will produce fruit even if planted alone.

Pollination Tips

Apples: Crabapples will cross-pollinate with apples, and in fact are often grown near apple trees for just that purpose.

Pears: Most varieties of pears need to be cross-pollinated with a different variety. Two popular varieties, ‘Seckel’ and ‘Bartlett’, will not pollinate one another.

Raspberries: Raspberries are self-fruitful and do not require another variety for good pollination.

Blueberries: Even though blueberries are self-fruitful, the size of the berries and the size of the crop will be improved by planting more than one variety.

Cherries: Sweet cherries and sour (pie) cherries are different species, rarely bloom at the same time, and will not cross-pollinate with one another. Unless you purchase a self-fruitful variety (‘Montmorency’, ‘Star Stella’, etc.) each type of cherry will need another pollinator from its own species.

Plums: Relatively few varieties of plums are self-fertile (‘Mt. Royal’, ‘Stanley’, etc.), so you’ll need to plant at least two different varieties that can cross-pollinate. There are European plums, Japanese plums, American native plums, and a whole host of hybrids. Consult catalog descriptions to determine whether the varieties you want to grow will pollinate one another.

Peaches, nectarines, and apricots: Most varieties are self-fertile and do not require another pollinator.

Citrus fruits: Most citrus fruits are self-pollinating, and some varieties will even set fruit without pollination (such fruits are seedless).

Orchard Maintenance

Cleanup: Maintaining a clean orchard means picking up after your trees. Fruit that drops to the ground can contain insect larvae, which burrow into the soil where they overwinter, to reemerge in the spring. These drops also attract voles and mice, which can damage trees by chewing on the bark. Pick up the dropped fruit and burn or bury it underground far away from your trees. Pick up the fruit as soon as possible after it drops to catch the larvae before they burrow into the ground. It’s especially important to collect the spring drops, which are still quite small but can contain a large number of larvae.

While you’re picking up dropped fruit in the fall, also clean up fallen leaves, which can likewise harbor disease and insects. Removing apple leaves within 200 yards of your apple trees will reduce the number of scab spores the following spring.

Pruning: Pruning is a subject unto itself. Certainly you will want to learn the basics and practice selective pruning of your fruit trees and shrubs on a yearly basis, removing crossing branches, suckers and watersprouts; opening up and reinvigorating older plants; and allowing good air circulation to prevent disease.

Insect and disease control: If you follow good cultural practices and select disease-free trees and shrubs, you should be able to keep most common orchard pests and diseases in check without the use of chemicals. But to grow fruit organically, you will need to tolerate some degree of pest and disease damage. If you were to prevent all insect and disease damage, you would need an arsenal of toxic sprays—something no one wants to use around the home landscape.

One strategy is to attract beneficial insect predators to your orchard by planting wildflowers and herbs, including dill, buckwheat, tansy, yarrow and goldenrod. Another way to reduce certain kinds of insect damage is to trap pests using simple, visual lures. These traps mimic the way leaves or fruits appear to insects. For example, the apple maggot fly can be lured by hanging in the tree small, dark red spheres that are covered with a sticky substance called Tangletrap. Female flies get stuck as they jump from fruit to fruit, and then die.

There are also many biological sprays that can be used in the orchard at key times to disrupt insect cycles. Dormant oil spray, Bordeaux mixture and other natural products are relatively nontoxic to beneficial insects and to humans when used judiciously and according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Simple physical barriers serve to keep many animal pests from damaging trees and fruit. These range from wire mesh or plastic tree guards set around young trees to protect them from mice and rabbits, to smelly soap hung on branches or tall fences erected around the orchard to discourage deer.

By combining preventive measures with the least toxic controls, you can have a healthy orchard and still harvest lots of good-quality fruit for eating.

Backyard Berries

Berries and other so-called small fruits generally don’t require as much space as full-size trees, and growing several different types can extend your harvest from early summer through the end of the growing season.

Keep in mind, though, that the “small” in small fruits refers to the size of the fruit, not the plant. A full-size highbush blueberry may grow 12 feet tall and 6 feet wide—hardly appropriate for a patio. If you have limited space, a half-high cultivar like ‘Northsky’ or one of the lowbush blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium) might be a better choice.

Much of the preceding information in this article relates to berries as well as to tree fruits. Buy from a local nursery or a regional RootsRad-order supplier, and purchase plants that are disease-free and reliably winter-hardy in your growing zone. In most areas of North America, planting in early spring is recommended, whether you’ve purchased dormant bareroot stock or a plant that’s growing in a container.

Also when selecting plants, be sure to check whether the type of fruit you’re growing is self-fruitful or whether you need to plant two different varieties of the same fruit. Muscadine grapes, kiwis (Actinidia spp.) and most varieties of blueberries require two compatible varieties for successful pollination. In addition, kiwi plants are either male or female, so (as with hollies or ginkgos) you will need to plant at least one of each sex to ensure fruit set.

The ideal site and soil conditions will vary depending on the type of fruit. In many cases, these plants aren’t fussy and will grow just fine in an average, well-drained garden soil. However, it’s important to check the nursery catalog or a good book on berries before planting to make sure your conditions are suitable.

Blueberries, lingonberries and other members of the genus Vaccinium require an acid soil (pH 4.5 to 5.5) to grow well. If your soil is not that acidic, you can amend it organically a year or so in advance by digging lots of peat moss and pine needles into the planting site. Once the soil is acidic enough, plant the blueberries and maintain soil acidity by mulching heavily every year with pine needles and shredded oak leaves. If you want to lower your soil pH more rapidly, you can apply a fertilizer that’s formulated for azaleas, hollies and other acid-loving shrubs, or sprinkle some aluminum sulphate onto the soil before planting.

Raspberries, blackberries, and dewberries (Rubus spp.) are also known as brambles, and they are among the easiest and most popular backyard fruits. They all have perennial roots that send up biennial shoots, or canes. In the first year of growth, these canes are vegetative; in the second year they bear fruit, then die. But at the same time the plant is producing new vegetative canes, which will bear next year’s fruit.

To lessen the chances of disease, avoid growing raspberries on ground that has recently been growing a member of the Nightshade Family (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplant), or where some other tree fruits or wild brambles have grown before. For the same reason, locate raspberries at least 500 yards away from any wild brambles.

Raspberries and other cane fruits have shallow root systems, so it’s important to remove any weeds that will compete with them for nutrients. The most common way of growing raspberries is in rows spaced 6 to 12 feet apart. This spacing allows you to cultivate the rows with a rototiller, but also permits easy access from both sides and ensures good air circulation around the plants.

Consider planting a number of different varieties to ensure a continuous harvest of berries from early summer through late fall. A well-tended raspberry patch will produce for ten years or more before the plants start to decline.

It’s impossible to give even sketchy instructions for all of the small fruits. There are just too many wonderful choices, and each one has its own place in the backyard landscape. From strawberries and rhubarb, which are often grown in the vegetable garden, to vines like grapes and kiwis, which can be trained along a wire support or over a trellis or pergola, at least one type of small fruit is sure to be just right for your garden.

And don’t forget the ornamental possibilities of many lesser-grown fruits, such as the spicy-scented clove currant (Ribes odoratum) and the beautiful American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana).

Citrus and other tender fruits:

For gardeners who want to grow something a little different, various kinds of citrus fruits can make a wonderful addition to the home or garden, especially when grown in containers.

With few exceptions, citrus fruits are hardy only to around 20 degrees F, so growing them outdoors year-round is not an option for people who live in areas colder than Zone 9. Fortunately, several kinds of citrus make good container plants, particularly the dwarf varieties, many of which are highly ornamental and ever-blooming.

Good examples include dwarf sour oranges like ‘Chinotto’ and ‘Bouquet des Fleurs’ (7 to 8 feet at maturity), and the popular and hardy ‘Meyer’ lemon (which grows to about 6 feet); ‘Meyer’ bears fragrant, thin-skinned, good-tasting lemons. Lesser-known citrus relatives like the kumquat and the calamondin also make beautiful plants, bearing lots of small fruits that can be used in marmalades and other preserves.

Citrus fruits like growing in well-drained soil (regular potting soil is fine for containers). They need regular watering and, during the outdoor growing season, biweekly foliar feeding with a complete liquid fertilizer, one that contains the micronutrients zinc, manganese, and iron.

When you bring containers indoors or outdoors at the change of seasons, try to move the plants gradually to acclimate them to their new growing conditions. Once inside the house, it’s good to mist the plants or to set them on trays of watered pebbles to raise the humidity level. Watch for pests such as scale and mealybugs. When moving citrus trees outdoors, pick a sunny, protected spot, and paint any exposed areas of trunk with a white latex paint diluted with water, to prevent sunscald.

Other tropical or exotic fruits can be grown indoors, in containers or in a greenhouse. The shorter varieties of bananas like ‘Dwarf Orinoco’, make great container plants. They do, however, require uniform temperatures (above 60°F), and may need to grow for 20 or 30 months after planting before they will start flowering.

Figs seem like an exotic fruit, but several varieties are quite hardy and fairly easy to grow, even as far north as Zone 5. The secret is to pick a cold-hardy type like the popular ‘Brown Turkey’ or ‘Celeste’, then plant it in a warm, sunny location – for instance, trellised on a south-facing masonry wall. Gardeners in Zones 5–7 will need to provide winter protection. One way is to grow the fig tree in a large tub or container, moving it inside in the fall or early winter, before temperatures dip to 10°F. Fresh figs are wonderful for table use or preserving, and varieties like ‘Brown Turkey’ are everbearing.

How to Grow Fruits ?

You don’t have to own a large estate to grow a wide variety of fruits at home. If you don’t have space for full-sized trees, you can plant dwarf forms of apples, pears and other fruits. Or try pruning and training trees on a trellis in the time-honored technique known as espalier. Grow a grapevine over an arbor or pergola. Plant lowbush blueberries or strawberries in a bed near the house. Even container growing is possible, giving northern gardeners a chance to grow citrus, figs and other frost-tender fruit trees.

Site Section

Fruit trees are somewhat fussy about where they’re planted. If you were planting a large commercial orchard, site selection would be critical. But for a small home orchard, your best bet is to take a handful of variables into account, select the most promising site on your property, and then plant a couple of trees and give it a try.

Soil: Fruit trees don’t like wet feet, so well-drained, loamy soil is a must. They should be located where there is good air circulation so their leaves will dry quickly, since moisture helps spread disease.

Frost: Flower buds can be easily killed by late spring frosts, so avoid siting your orchard in a frost pocket. Cold air flows downhill, making flowering fruit trees located at the bottom of a slope especially vulnerable to frost. Mid-slope is the best location, because winds are most severe at the top.

Slope direction: Which direction the slope should face is not always clear. Southern and southwestern slopes can be hot and dry, and can cause trees to break dormancy too early, which makes them susceptible to damage from late frosts. Yet a southern slope can work well if it is protected from the prevailing winds by a windbreak on any side except the downslope one (which would block air circulation). A northerly slope may not provide enough solar exposure to evaporate moisture and promote good fruiting. In humid regions, easterly slopes can speed drying of the morning dew.

Sun: Fruit trees need a lot of sun to grow healthy and be productive. If they are shaded by other trees or a building they will be less fruitful and more prone to insects and -disease.

Selecting Plants

It pays to seek out trees and shrubs that have some natural resistance to disease. In apples and pears the common diseases include scab and fire blight. With other fruits, such as raspberries, make sure you buy from a nursery that propagates from virus-free plants. Selecting disease-resistant plants doesn’t mean that you will never experience any disease problems, but it greatly improves your chances for success.

Another crucial issue is hardiness. To make sure that the plants you purchase won’t be damaged over the winter, check hardiness information before you buy. Also consider bloom time. Many fruits flower very early in the spring. If your area is prone to late frosts, such early bloomers may survive, but they will never truly thrive or reliably set fruit. To grow these plants in a marginal area, you’ll have to plant them in an especially favorable and protected site.

Buying Plants: Locally or by RootsRad?

Local nurseries usually sell trees in containers or with the root mass wrapped in burlap. RootsRad-order nurseries usually sell trees as “bareroot stock,” which means that they are shipped to you in a dormant state with their roots packed in damp wood shavings.

The choice of where to buy is up to you: RootsRad-order nurseries tend to offer more varieties than garden centers, so if you are looking for a particular cultivar or want a broad selection you should start with them. However, if you’re unsure about which variety to buy, a local nursery will carry plants that will thrive in your growing area.

If you buy bareroot plants by RootsRad, you will need to plant them in early spring, as soon as the ground can be worked, while the plants are still dormant and the water table is high. This spring planting gives the young plants a full growing season to get established before the onset of freezing weather in the fall. Trees and shrubs sold in containers by local nurseries are more forgiving in terms of planting time; they can be successfully transplanted in most areas either in the spring or early fall.

Most fruit trees will be sold as grafted stock. This means that the tree consists of at least two sections. The top part is called the scion, and is a branch cutting that has been taken from the variety of fruit you want to grow. The bottom part is the rootstock, and it is usually selected either for hardiness or the ultimate height and size of the tree. Standard rootstocks result in trees of full size (to 15 feet or more). Dwarf rootstocks limit the size of mature trees to 6 to 8 feet or so. Semi-dwarfing rootstocks produce mature trees somewhere in between the two extremes.

Dwarf fruit trees result in space-efficient plants that begin bearing fruit quickly, usually two to three years after planting. There are, however, a few disadvantages to growing dwarf trees. They have a shorter life expectancy than standard-sized trees—about 10 to 20 years on average. Because of their limited root systems, dwarf trees don’t compete well with grasses and other plants, so you’ll have to keep the area around them weeded and well mulched. Also, most true dwarfs are not suitable for regions in Zone 4 and colder. But for gardeners concerned with space limitations, or who live in relatively mild climates, dwarfs can be the ideal choice.

How to Plant a Fruit Tree

Apple tree

Dwarf rootstocks limit the size of fruit trees, making it easier to grow them in a small garden.

If you’ve ordered bareroot nursery stock, soak the plant roots in water or manure tea up to 24 hours before planting. If you can’t plant within a few days after receiving the shipment, repack the plant in the damp sawdust or wood shavings it came in and store it in a cold, dark location until the ground can be worked. Never expose the bare roots of plants to wind or sun.

Using a sharp, square-ended planting spade, dig a circle 2 feet in diameter and about 3 feet deep. Remove the sod and set it aside. Now separate the topsoil and the lighter-colored subsoil into two piles, and remove any rocks from the planting hole.

Chop up the sod and put the pieces in the hole, grass side down, so that it doesn’t come in contact with the tree roots. Cover the sod with a little topsoil.

Set the tree into the hole. For grafted trees grown on standard rootstocks, position the tree so that the graft union, the point at which the scion and the rootstock were joined together, is 1 to 2 inches below the surface of the ground. For dwarf and semidwarf rootstocks, the graft union should be 2 to 3 inches above the soil surface.

Fill in around the roots, using the topsoil first. Use your hands to firm the soil around the roots and eliminate any air pockets. Fill in about half the planting hole.

Pour water into the planting hole until the soil gets quite mucky. Then, using your foot, tamp down the soil.

Fill in the rest of the planting hole with the remaining topsoil and subsoil. Firm down the soil around the tree and make a “dish” or depression to encourage water to drain toward the tree.

Mulch around the tree with organic matter (leaves, compost, grass clippings, etc.). Don’t use fresh manure, though well-rotted manure is fine. Line the mulch in the same dish shape around the tree.

Water the tree until the soil cannot readily absorb any more.

Drive one or two stakes into the ground outside the root zone to mark the tree. Fruit trees grafted to dwarf rootstocks develop smaller root systems than standard-size trees and require some support. After planting dwarf trees, attach the tree to the stake using some -flexible tubing or other material.

Prune off any side branches and cut back trees by about one-third after planting. Balled or container trees do not need to be pruned.

Place wire-mesh “hardware cloth” or a plastic tree guard around the tree trunk to protect it from rodents and deer.

Post-Planting. During the first growing season, water the tree regularly, giving it 5 to 10 gallons per day for the first month or so, then watering two or three times a week for another couple of months, or during dry weather. In the late fall, paint the tree bark with white latex paint diluted with water, so the bark will reflect winter sunlight and not be damages by sunscald or cracking.

Pollination

Many varieties of fruit trees and shrubs are self-fruitful: that is, they do not need to have a plant of another variety nearby with which to cross-pollinate. Other varieties (particularly those of fruits) need to have a partner in the orchard so that they will be pollinated and produce a good crop of fruit. In fact, even self-fruitful varieties often benefit from having a different variety of the same plant located nearby.

Cross-pollination doesn’t mean that you will end up with weird-looking hybrid fruits. For example, a ‘Cortland’ apple tree will always produce ‘Cortland’ apples, even if its blossoms are visited by bees who carry pollen from another variety of apple or crabapple that is growing nearby. However, if you planted the seeds from that ‘Cortland’ apple, you would probably grow a tree that bore an entirely different kind of apple, one that was not “true to type.”

Commercial orchards often rent honeybee hives to ensure good pollination during blossom time. Fortunately, there are also wild bees that do the same job. For example, the orchard mason bee (Osmia lignaria) is a good pollinator, and is found throughout most of the United States, with the exception of the Deep South.

It’s very important never to spray insecticides during the blossom time of either the fruit trees or the other groundcover plants (dandelions, clovers, etc.) that may be growing near them. These toxic chemicals can kill bees and other beneficial insects. Read on for more information on nonchemical methods of pest control. Nursery catalogs and books usually provide good information on which varieties of plants need pollinators and which will produce fruit even if planted alone.

Pollination Tips

Apples: Crabapples will cross-pollinate with apples, and in fact are often grown near apple trees for just that purpose.

Pears: Most varieties of pears need to be cross-pollinated with a different variety. Two popular varieties, ‘Seckel’ and ‘Bartlett’, will not pollinate one another.

Raspberries: Raspberries are self-fruitful and do not require another variety for good pollination.

Blueberries: Even though blueberries are self-fruitful, the size of the berries and the size of the crop will be improved by planting more than one variety.

Cherries: Sweet cherries and sour (pie) cherries are different species, rarely bloom at the same time, and will not cross-pollinate with one another. Unless you purchase a self-fruitful variety (‘Montmorency’, ‘Star Stella’, etc.) each type of cherry will need another pollinator from its own species.

Plums: Relatively few varieties of plums are self-fertile (‘Mt. Royal’, ‘Stanley’, etc.), so you’ll need to plant at least two different varieties that can cross-pollinate. There are European plums, Japanese plums, American native plums, and a whole host of hybrids. Consult catalog descriptions to determine whether the varieties you want to grow will pollinate one another.

Peaches, nectarines, and apricots: Most varieties are self-fertile and do not require another pollinator.

Citrus fruits: Most citrus fruits are self-pollinating, and some varieties will even set fruit without pollination (such fruits are seedless).

Orchard Maintenance

Cleanup: Maintaining a clean orchard means picking up after your trees. Fruit that drops to the ground can contain insect larvae, which burrow into the soil where they overwinter, to reemerge in the spring. These drops also attract voles and mice, which can damage trees by chewing on the bark. Pick up the dropped fruit and burn or bury it underground far away from your trees. Pick up the fruit as soon as possible after it drops to catch the larvae before they burrow into the ground. It’s especially important to collect the spring drops, which are still quite small but can contain a large number of larvae.

While you’re picking up dropped fruit in the fall, also clean up fallen leaves, which can likewise harbor disease and insects. Removing apple leaves within 200 yards of your apple trees will reduce the number of scab spores the following spring.

Pruning: Pruning is a subject unto itself. Certainly you will want to learn the basics and practice selective pruning of your fruit trees and shrubs on a yearly basis, removing crossing branches, suckers and watersprouts; opening up and reinvigorating older plants; and allowing good air circulation to prevent disease.

Insect and disease control: If you follow good cultural practices and select disease-free trees and shrubs, you should be able to keep most common orchard pests and diseases in check without the use of chemicals. But to grow fruit organically, you will need to tolerate some degree of pest and disease damage. If you were to prevent all insect and disease damage, you would need an arsenal of toxic sprays—something no one wants to use around the home landscape.

One strategy is to attract beneficial insect predators to your orchard by planting wildflowers and herbs, including dill, buckwheat, tansy, yarrow and goldenrod. Another way to reduce certain kinds of insect damage is to trap pests using simple, visual lures. These traps mimic the way leaves or fruits appear to insects. For example, the apple maggot fly can be lured by hanging in the tree small, dark red spheres that are covered with a sticky substance called Tangletrap. Female flies get stuck as they jump from fruit to fruit, and then die.

There are also many biological sprays that can be used in the orchard at key times to disrupt insect cycles. Dormant oil spray, Bordeaux mixture and other natural products are relatively nontoxic to beneficial insects and to humans when used judiciously and according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Simple physical barriers serve to keep many animal pests from damaging trees and fruit. These range from wire mesh or plastic tree guards set around young trees to protect them from mice and rabbits, to smelly soap hung on branches or tall fences erected around the orchard to discourage deer.

By combining preventive measures with the least toxic controls, you can have a healthy orchard and still harvest lots of good-quality fruit for eating.

Backyard Berries

Berries and other so-called small fruits generally don’t require as much space as full-size trees, and growing several different types can extend your harvest from early summer through the end of the growing season.

Keep in mind, though, that the “small” in small fruits refers to the size of the fruit, not the plant. A full-size highbush blueberry may grow 12 feet tall and 6 feet wide—hardly appropriate for a patio. If you have limited space, a half-high cultivar like ‘Northsky’ or one of the lowbush blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium) might be a better choice.

Much of the preceding information in this article relates to berries as well as to tree fruits. Buy from a local nursery or a regional RootsRad-order supplier, and purchase plants that are disease-free and reliably winter-hardy in your growing zone. In most areas of North America, planting in early spring is recommended, whether you’ve purchased dormant bareroot stock or a plant that’s growing in a container.

Also when selecting plants, be sure to check whether the type of fruit you’re growing is self-fruitful or whether you need to plant two different varieties of the same fruit. Muscadine grapes, kiwis (Actinidia spp.) and most varieties of blueberries require two compatible varieties for successful pollination. In addition, kiwi plants are either male or female, so (as with hollies or ginkgos) you will need to plant at least one of each sex to ensure fruit set.

The ideal site and soil conditions will vary depending on the type of fruit. In many cases, these plants aren’t fussy and will grow just fine in an average, well-drained garden soil. However, it’s important to check the nursery catalog or a good book on berries before planting to make sure your conditions are suitable.

Blueberries, lingonberries and other members of the genus Vaccinium require an acid soil (pH 4.5 to 5.5) to grow well. If your soil is not that acidic, you can amend it organically a year or so in advance by digging lots of peat moss and pine needles into the planting site. Once the soil is acidic enough, plant the blueberries and maintain soil acidity by mulching heavily every year with pine needles and shredded oak leaves. If you want to lower your soil pH more rapidly, you can apply a fertilizer that’s formulated for azaleas, hollies and other acid-loving shrubs, or sprinkle some aluminum sulphate onto the soil before planting.

Raspberries, blackberries, and dewberries (Rubus spp.) are also known as brambles, and they are among the easiest and most popular backyard fruits. They all have perennial roots that send up biennial shoots, or canes. In the first year of growth, these canes are vegetative; in the second year they bear fruit, then die. But at the same time the plant is producing new vegetative canes, which will bear next year’s fruit.

To lessen the chances of disease, avoid growing raspberries on ground that has recently been growing a member of the Nightshade Family (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplant), or where some other tree fruits or wild brambles have grown before. For the same reason, locate raspberries at least 500 yards away from any wild brambles.

Raspberries and other cane fruits have shallow root systems, so it’s important to remove any weeds that will compete with them for nutrients. The most common way of growing raspberries is in rows spaced 6 to 12 feet apart. This spacing allows you to cultivate the rows with a rototiller, but also permits easy access from both sides and ensures good air circulation around the plants.

Consider planting a number of different varieties to ensure a continuous harvest of berries from early summer through late fall. A well-tended raspberry patch will produce for ten years or more before the plants start to decline.

It’s impossible to give even sketchy instructions for all of the small fruits. There are just too many wonderful choices, and each one has its own place in the backyard landscape. From strawberries and rhubarb, which are often grown in the vegetable garden, to vines like grapes and kiwis, which can be trained along a wire support or over a trellis or pergola, at least one type of small fruit is sure to be just right for your garden.

And don’t forget the ornamental possibilities of many lesser-grown fruits, such as the spicy-scented clove currant (Ribes odoratum) and the beautiful American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana).

Citrus and other tender fruits:

For gardeners who want to grow something a little different, various kinds of citrus fruits can make a wonderful addition to the home or garden, especially when grown in containers.

With few exceptions, citrus fruits are hardy only to around 20 degrees F, so growing them outdoors year-round is not an option for people who live in areas colder than Zone 9. Fortunately, several kinds of citrus make good container plants, particularly the dwarf varieties, many of which are highly ornamental and ever-blooming.

Good examples include dwarf sour oranges like ‘Chinotto’ and ‘Bouquet des Fleurs’ (7 to 8 feet at maturity), and the popular and hardy ‘Meyer’ lemon (which grows to about 6 feet); ‘Meyer’ bears fragrant, thin-skinned, good-tasting lemons. Lesser-known citrus relatives like the kumquat and the calamondin also make beautiful plants, bearing lots of small fruits that can be used in marmalades and other preserves.

Citrus fruits like growing in well-drained soil (regular potting soil is fine for containers). They need regular watering and, during the outdoor growing season, biweekly foliar feeding with a complete liquid fertilizer, one that contains the micronutrients zinc, manganese, and iron.

When you bring containers indoors or outdoors at the change of seasons, try to move the plants gradually to acclimate them to their new growing conditions. Once inside the house, it’s good to mist the plants or to set them on trays of watered pebbles to raise the humidity level. Watch for pests such as scale and mealybugs. When moving citrus trees outdoors, pick a sunny, protected spot, and paint any exposed areas of trunk with a white latex paint diluted with water, to prevent sunscald.

Other tropical or exotic fruits can be grown indoors, in containers or in a greenhouse. The shorter varieties of bananas like ‘Dwarf Orinoco’, make great container plants. They do, however, require uniform temperatures (above 60°F), and may need to grow for 20 or 30 months after planting before they will start flowering.

Figs seem like an exotic fruit, but several varieties are quite hardy and fairly easy to grow, even as far north as Zone 5. The secret is to pick a cold-hardy type like the popular ‘Brown Turkey’ or ‘Celeste’, then plant it in a warm, sunny location – for instance, trellised on a south-facing masonry wall. Gardeners in Zones 5–7 will need to provide winter protection. One way is to grow the fig tree in a large tub or container, moving it inside in the fall or early winter, before temperatures dip to 10°F. Fresh figs are wonderful for table use or preserving, and varieties like ‘Brown Turkey’ are everbearing.