Growing stone fruit tree inside under lights

I have a lemon tree that we bring it inside during the winter under LED lights. This spring I purchased an Oregon Curl Free tree which was in a small nursery pot and repotted in rootmaker like 10 gallon container. The tree has grown really well 20+ inches of growth.

I am wondering if I can bring it inside during September continue its growth sizing up to be planted in the ground, it may not bloom because of chill hour requirements, but any other drawbacks with this process?

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Depends on the LED Fixture. You’ll need a high-output fixure in the 6000 Kelvin color temperature range for good results. See “Plant Light” here:

It’s got good size already and it’s only mid summer. I’d leave it outside to get the chilling it needs. And plant in fall or spring. Skipping the winter and chilling will set it back next summer, maybe severely. By the end of next summer you’ll be ahead by getting chilling next winter. The vegetative buds need chilling just like the fruit buds do.


If you’re worried about exposing it to PLC while it’s still relatively small, one option would be to place it under an overhang or rain cover to keep the leaves dry without missing out on the chill hours. I know @cdamarjian has had good results with stone fruit by protecting the foliage/dormant buds from rainfall, but I’m not speaking from personal experience.

My similar-sized Oregon Curlfree showed only mild PLC this spring after being in-ground outside since last spring, and it recovered quickly from it.

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Since you plan to keep your peach in a pot till spring, as @swincher mentioned, you could keep it outside under an overhang, once the tree has lost almost all its leaves. When dormant, the tree will do fine in the shade. Under cover you’ll get the chill hours and not need to worry about PLC. Once the tree leafs out, the danger of PLC will be past and you can plant in the ground.

Unless you have no space to plant till next year, you’ll find planting a tree in late Sept-early Oct (once the rains start) is a great way to give the tree a head start. You probably will have only minimal curl with an in-ground Curl Free. I live in a fungal-prone clearing so my Curl Free got about 15% curl, but is still producing its first 3 peaches.

Btw if you want to experiment with non-PLC resistant peaches or nectarines and apricots, a permanent overhead structure to keep rain off the leaves of in-ground trees works great. This is the second fruiting season for my nectarines - no PLC. (I’ve bagged them to protect from thrips.)

I think your least good choice would be to keep the tree inside under lights. The tree will think it’s in SoCal!.. and when you plant it outside, the temp shock might set it back a year. On the other hand, citrus benefit from many months of indoor growth in a warm location - because they much prefer to be in permanently SoCal climate!


I use a pair of Barrina BX 2000 for my pepper and egg plants seedlings (lower rack in the picture) at the height of my peach tree the leaves would be getting 800-1000 uMol/s.

Thanks, I didn’t know vegetative buds need chilling as well.

@cdamarjian Your rain cover setup is great, do you keep your trees inside the plastic for the entire winter? do they need to be watered? the reason I wanted to take this tree inside is just out of curiosity and I have my vegetable seed starting setup that I can use. I don’t know/haven’t done research that these trees need dormancy as part of their biological process or they just go dormant since the environment isn’t conducive to keep growing. Like how bears in captivity don’t hibernate.

The covering stays up all winter except when it snows. When it snows, I release one side. (Total disaster one year when it rained on top of 6" fluffy snow! )
I don’t usually water. My water table is very high so I need to keep the roots out of the rot zone. My stone fruit planted at ground level do not look as good as those planted in 2’ planting beds.

At what color temperature?

They are supposedly full spectrum. But the diode numbers are heavy on 3K and 5K.

Sounds good for leafy vegetables but would stress fruit trees.

What spectrum does fruit trees prefer? I can add a few diodes covering that specific bandwidth

That won’t deliver enough power. You’d need a dedicated 1200W fixture (or cluster of fixtures) with only 6000-6500 Kelvin color temperature output.

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