Hardiness Zone: 10a
Oorah from Oceanside, Calif
Almost any commercial potting soil should work just fine for growing dwarf fruit trees. Also, if you want to mix your own, just use a 1:1:1: ratio of sand, peat and vermiculite or perlite. You want the soil to be loose enough for adequate drainage, without being so loose that water runs right through the pot every time you water. Refresh the soil by replacing the top 2 inches of soil with fresh compost each spring.
As far as feeding, any plants confined to a container will need to be fed more frequently than those grown in the ground. Look for a fertilizer especially formulated for citrus trees or fruit trees to use from spring through mid summer. Start by feeding once every two weeks and adjust the frequently according to how the plant is responding. I always recommend using a liquid or water-soluble fertilizer at half strength to start with for plants in containers. Most people tend to overdo it, and in the case of fruit trees, too much fertilizer will give you lots of plant growth, but be detrimental to fruit production.
When watering, keep compost moist (not wet) during the active growing season. Do not allow the roots to stand in water. Check water daily to prevent the soil from drying out, and remember that the plants will require less water in the winter. Poke your fingers down through the top two inches of soil. It should always feel on the dry side of moist.
Over time, the overuse of fertilizers (or water containing soluble salts) may result in excess salt building up in the soil. A white crust on the soil or inside of the container is your indicator. Use a liquid or water-soluble fertilizer according to package directions and when in doubt, go light. To flush out excess salts, pour water slowly over the soil for several minutes until the water drains freely out of the bottom of the pot.
About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services.
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