Beginner's Apple questions


This is the first year I am going to grow apple. Couple of questions:

  • Can we grow apple in large container? I seldomly heard people said they have apple tree in container.
  • Can two apple trees grow in the same container? assume they all have same rootstock.
  • What would be the best rootstock for container? I am thinking about using semi-dwarf rootstock since container will limit their size and it may give me a little more vigor, in case the environment is not perfect.
  • What would the varieties I should start with? I am thinking honeycrisp, yellow delicious, fuji.
    I am in NY Metro area (zone 7b).
  • I would really prefer min. spray. What would you say I will need to do? Disease resistant varieties in your experience?

Thank you very much

Yes…i have a seedling apple in a 15 gallon pot right now with fruit forming. I can’t see any reason why it won’t work. Just water often and fertilize every so often…use a good soil mix (lots of bark/not too heavy). If i was doing it right, i’d use a dwarfing rootstock…probably Bud 9 (very dwarfing). I have a bunch more seedlings in 7 gallon pots that i’m mainly growing for grafting purposes.

A lot of people are using grow bags vs plastic pots (what i use)…might want to go that route.

Liberty seems like a good variety…but there are dozens, hundreds, to chose from… I would NOT chose Honeycrisp…it can be a bear to grow from the sounds of it (i just have a few grafts of it and those have leaf issues yearly).

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Budagovsky #9 rootstock is what you want to use.

The bigger the container, the better. Those half whisky barrels are ideal because their wide base offers stability. Drill holes in the container so the soil can drain rainwater and oxygenate properly. A loamy mix with some perlite mixed in. Mulch on top. If the tree leans, add a stake for support.


You might have scab, rust, and mildew disease pressures in the city.

It your tree gets enough sunlight and breezy airflow, you might be able to grow just about any variety. But unlucky results might dictate a restriction to using only disease-resistant varieties.

The apples you mention might work. If not, then consider Pristine, Williams’ Pride, Ginger Gold, Pixie Crunch, Chestnut, Hoople’s Antique Gold, Sweet Sixteen, Roxbury Russet, Kidd’s Orange Red, and Golden Russet.


Where can I get good selection of Bud 9 Apple varieties?


See forum thread on “Nurseries.”

Boyer’s (PA), Cummins (NY), White Oak (PA), Wafler (NY), Century Farm (NC), and Big Horse Creek (NC) are good starting points.

It’s late in the season, so most places will be sold out until Fall.


Throwing it out there… it might garner some groans, but a Lil’ Big tree from Gurney’s will be on M27 rootstock. M.27 is more dwarfing than Bud 9. I think M27 is ideally suited for planting in a pot.

This late in the season Gurney’s still has a few varieties on M.27, looks like they have Fuji and Golden Delicious in stock.

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Earlier in the year, Boyer’s nursery (PA) was selling Honeycrisp and Yellow Delicious on Bud.9. You might give them a call.

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I notice that the apples you listed are sweet apples. The apples @Matt_in_Maryland listed have good growing qualities and good reviews re. taste but I do not know if they are predominantly sweet like Fuji, Honey Crisp and Golden Delicious. I have William’s Pride and Honey Crisp. Both are good eating. Honey Crisp has biennial issue. I don’t have a serious water core issue but others do.

Another good disease resistant apple I have read is Sun Crisp.


Can also look at columnar apples for small spaces.

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Is that mostly because of it’s longer known history? I’m partial to the G.41 RS over B.9 because of the additional benefits, but perhaps they don’t apply in the Container field. So far, G.41 seems to be not suffering from the other oddball issues of some of the other G series stocks.

I like G.41 too, especially for a dwarf apple hedge. But it can get even taller than B.9 and might not cooperate as well in the container. B.9 has shown me it is most precocious. It usually maxes out at 8 feet tall. G.41 can grow 10 feet high. That’s as high as a basketball hoop. Of course any of these can be pruned to suit. But so far, I’m having the best luck with B.9. B.9 was bred in Russia. G.41 is from upstate NY. B.9 seems slightly more cold-hardy, which may be key for overwintering in pot culture.

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I like your thinking here. I thought I had read G.41 was more precocious, but I don’t have anywhere near your background in this so I defer to your experience.

I’m hoping to keep all my trees in the 7-8’ range so it sounds like I’ll need to stay on top of my pruning!