Fruit trees in permanent outdoor planters (6b)

I am thinking of expanding my fruit tree assortment. The perimeter of the lot is taken/spoken for. I have a decent driveway in the back of the property that gets full sun (dawn to dusk). The semi-dwarf trees along the western line of the plot will eventually provide some late afternoon shade, but even with that the area would get at least 7 hours of sun a day.

Even though the driveway and the garage are not in use, I cannot remove or convert either, according to the building code. Right now, I have a bunch of peppers and eggplants, as well as a couple of figs, all potted, enjoying the sun on said driveway.

Next year, I would like to start some dwarf fruit trees in large “mall style” planters that would permanently sit on the blacktop. I am planning to build the planters myself and will probably make them 3x3 to 3.5x3.5 ft square and 2 to 3 ft tall (so, 18 to 36 cubic feet in volume). I am looking to grow dwarf varieties up to 6 ft tall.

The questions I have:

Is it possible to successfully grow fruit trees outdoors in permanent planters in zone 6b without bringing them indoors for the winter, or is it a recipe for disaster?

If it is possible, what species/varieties woud you recommend? I wouldn’t mind adding an apricot, a peach and maybe another persimmon to my mini orchard, but if that’s too risky I will be happy with more apple trees.

Looking forward to hear your opinions/experiences. Thanks


Following! You gave me the idea to maybe try my hand at a romance cherry or two in a permanent planter. Would love to hear folks’ thoughts on those, as well. I’m in a similar zone (6a)

The height will be something of a problem, since you’ll probably have to net and there is only so high you can reach without a stepladder. The 3 feet of planter height means you’ll need a ladder for even a 4 or 5 foot tree unless you are quite tall. You might be better off with something less tall and more wide, but I’m not sure how deep roots will go depending on the type of tree.

They’ll also need a lot of water, and you’ll need something a bit cold hardier and heat tolerant than usual.

Good point about the height. Stepladder wouldn’t be a problem, but taking the height into consideration I think I’ll make the planters 3.5 x 3.5 x 2 ft.

I was looking at hybrid persimmons from England Orchard, some of them are hardy to zone 5b. I might try one or two for the planters.

As far as watering, the rainwater collection system has been an enormous help, and I’m going to expand it.


From what I can gather, both anecdotally and through experience with overwintering perennials (my tiny front yard is 100% planters), a planter knocks 2 off your zone: that is, zone 6 becomes zone 4 due to the freeze/thaw cycles. I think you’d likely be more successful focusing on hardiness. Height is less of a concern to me: a low heading cut, subsequent pruning, and the general restrictions of planters could easily keep size manageable.


How warm do summers get? Concerned about this part: “permanently sit on the blacktop.” Since diy’n the containers, maybe some insulation is in order? Maybe simpler to use cribbage blocks or other standoffs/risers? Otherwise, the root systems might find their environment sub-par.

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Good point. It gets hot on the blacktop. The highs have been in the high 80s for several weeks now. I’ll incorporate wedge-shaped legs, since the driweway is sloped, which should help with the airflow around the bottom of the planters