Anyone tried growing a fruit tree in a self watering container?

We are thinking about adding a decorative fruit tree to our back patio. Being a long time Earthbox user I was wondering how a fruit tree would do in a self watering container? Anyone tried this? I’m thinking about turning a whiskey barrel into a self watering container.

I grew my Asian persimmons in selfwatering pots and overwinter them in shelter Z5.


Awesome Tony. Are you planning to keep them in self watering containers permanently?

I water my container trees…even the big whiskey barrels, about once a day, sometimes more for the smaller pots in the heat of the summer. I have those black plastic nursery pots and they just bake sitting on the driveway. I’ve actually seen roots growing out the bottom of pots just from the little moisture that gets stuck there if they aren’t moved very often (on concrete).

One benefit i can see is maximizing your feeding. So any fertilizer added to the soil should not get flushed out as quickly (or at all). What i’ve always tried to do is direct the water that gets flushed out the bottom of the pots into the grass (vs the street/sewers/river).

I wonder how you’ll go about doing this?

Yes. I will do a lot of summer pruning to keep the trees size under control.


Try painting the black plastic pots white. I used the same latex that I use on the trunks. It really helps.

There is a person on Houzz, Thegardenofease, who says he grows fruit trees in pots hydroponicly. That’s certainly self watering.

A self watering container has potential for growing high quality stone fruit. Doing that requires a long term controlled water deficit. Hydroponics might work well for berries or tropical fruits but I’d be skeptical about stone fruit. The last thing you want in stone fruit is a continuous high water availability. Unless one likes watery bland low brix fruit.

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Me too, how are you making your pots self watering?

I line the insides of the container w/ fish grade pool liner and run 4" corrugated pipe around the bottom. The area inside the pipe becomes the wicking chamber and an overflow is added to allow excess moisture to drain out. I’ll post some pictures when it warms up.

Has anyone tried either of the patio peach varieties listed below?:

I’m thinking about planting one of these in the middle of the whiskey barrel and lining the edges w/ small perennial flower varieties. The bonfire looks like a pretty tree that would be perfect for the patio.

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Might just be easier to run an irrigation line to each pot and put everything on a timer. That is the route i’ll take when i get sick of watering.

Would you recommend growing them in a self watering container for a couple years then putting them in the ground? Thanks!

Don’t know why you’d do that. A self watering container seems more like a possible production system. For a plant destined to be in-ground I’d recommend going in-ground asap.

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I live in the upstate of south carolina, and I’m thinking about growing citrus trees outside in a straw bale enclosure. I’m also going to use 6" french drain pipe [ and polystyrene panels cut 4’ x4’ to make the underlying box ] to create a wicking water supply for under the trees.

4x4 planting boxes should limit the root structure and keep the trees from outgrowing the outdoor enclosure.

4 55 gallon water barrels, arranged against straw bale walls, should provide enough passive solar heat to keep immediate surroundings warm enough at night.

On really cold nights I’ll put up temporary plastic sheating…

Any other useful ideas?

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