If it is not possible to plant trees outdoors, it is possible to plant both ornamental and fruit trees in containers. It is important to choose the right variety for pot planting.

Differences to outdoor culture

If trees grow in pots, the effort in terms of care is slightly greater. Even hardy tree species need protection in winter. Although the above-ground part does not have to be tied in separately, it is important to protect the roots from frost, because the tree in the pot does not have the opportunity to root itself in such deep layers of the earth that there is no longer a danger from low temperatures. It is therefore essential for a pot culture that you protect the bucket in autumn.

When trees are planted in pots, watering is also important. Neither too much nor too little water is good for the tree. Waterlogging in particular is a common problem in pots, which is why it is important that the bottom layer is drainage. You also need to fertilize the tree regularly.

How complex a pot culture is becomes apparent at the latest when you have to repot the tree. A tree in a pot, even if it is a slow-growing variety, can also reach a height of two to three meters and you should also change the substrate in the pot every few years. Repotting older trees can be a challenge and often requires several helping hands.

In addition, a tree in pot culture absolutely needs a regular pruning. Otherwise, the tree will not only grow too tall, it will also develop more roots, which means you will have to repot more quickly.

deciduous trees

In principle, you can plant any tree in a pot. This can be seen from the fact that bonsai are not special breeds either, but normal tree species that can be kept small with the right pruning. However, many ornamental shrubs from Asia are particularly suitable for pot culture.

Tip: If you cultivate native deciduous trees in pots, they usually grow weaker if you use lean soil and only rarely or hardly fertilize.

ornamental cherries

Almost all ornamental cherries are suitable for growing in pots. Only varieties with columnar growth are rather unsuitable because they do not achieve such a beautiful columnar shape due to the necessary pruning. The ornamental cherries do not bear fruit, even when they bloom. Varieties with pink flowers are widespread, but there are also varieties with white flowers or varieties with double flowers.

  • Japanische Blütenkirsche, Prunus serrulata “Shidare-Sakura”, “Mount Fuji”, “Shirotae”
  • Frühlingskirsche, Prunus subhirtella „Accolade“, „Autumnalis“
  • Kurilenkirsche, Prunus kurilensis „Brillant“

Mandelbäumchen (Prunus triloba)

The almond tree is not to be confused with the almond. The ornamental trees come from Asia and have decorative pink flowers. The flowers are filled, making them even more attractive. The almond tree blooms very early in spring, but has the disadvantage that it can only spend the winter outdoors in favorable locations. In regions with a severe winter, it is essential to winter it frost-free. It survives the winter in a bucket to a limited extent, even on a sheltered balcony.

Maple (Acer), chestnut and beech

Although the native maple can also be very decorative in pot culture, Asian maple species in particular are better suited for pot culture. They have a more visually appealing foliage and have a weaker growth habit.

  • fan maple
  • slotted maple
  • Blutahorn

Dwarf chestnut “Koehnei”:

  • Height: maximum 200 cm
  • orange to pink inflorescences

Hanging blood beech “Rohan Weeping”:

  • Height: maximum 100 cm
  • dark red foliage
  • drooping branches


The selection of conifers that are suitable for pot culture is manageable. Conifers have the disadvantage that they reach great heights very quickly and only a few species or varieties are slow-growing. In addition, conifers are even more complex to care for, especially when it comes to pruning. If coniferous trees are pruned incorrectly, they form stunted branches or do not develop a beautiful growth habit.

  • Black pine “Green Tower”: approx. 150 – 300 cm high, beautiful brown cones
  • Himalayan Cedar ‘Feelin Blue’: maximum 100 cm high, blue-green needles, hanging branches

fruit trees

Anyone who cultivates fruit trees in pots must be aware that the yields are usually not comparable to normal outdoor cultivation. Even varieties bred for pot planting produce much better yields outdoors. However, they deliver at least such a good yield in the bucket that there is at least something to snack on.

columnar fruit

Diverse columnar fruit is ideal for culture in a bucket. The trees have a slender growth in height. The advantage is that the growth is not so strong and they usually only grow up to two meters high.

  • Column cherry “Clauida”, “Stella” “Victoria”
  • Pillar pear “Obelisk”, “Bambinella”
  • Pillar apple “Berbat”, “Golden Cheeks”
  • Column apricot “Campanilo”
Note: When choosing varieties, always make sure that they are self-fertile. Otherwise it can happen that the trees do not produce any yield if suitable pollination partners are not available.

Sometimes both pear and apple are grafted onto columnar fruit . However, you should refrain from such trees, because one of these species often dies faster. It is often the dying branch around the pear.


You can also plant figs in pots. However, they are among the woody plants where not only the root ball has to be protected, but also the above-ground parts of the plant. Protection has a positive effect on the yield, especially in regions with severe winter months.

  • “Dalmatie”: compact shape, suitable for balconies
  • “Dauphine”: sweet fruits, needs wind protection
  • Longue de Août: good pot yields

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