The desire to grow your own fruit has never been more popular than today. The access to different fruit types has never been better. The internet makes the possibility of what you can grow seem limitless. But there is one limit that all who desire to be successful at producing home grown fruit should consider in their pursuit, and that is adaptation.
Cold winter temperatures, extreme hot dry summer temperatures, inadequate sunlight, poor draining soil conditions, susceptibility to local diseases and size control are some common adaptation considerations.
Depending on where you live, your selection of what fruit to grow may often require special needs to keep it healthy and productive.
Some things to keep in mind when choosing what you would like to grow are:
- Is this plant recommended in my USDA climate zone?
- If not, search out information on other home gardeners that may have been successful with your desired selection. See how they adapted the plant to achieve success in your area. If you are willing to put in the extra effort, go for it! If not, seek out the similarities of your desired selection by descriptions and try something new.
- Light is essential when growing plants outdoors or bringing plants indoors for winter protection. For outdoor, select a location with at least 8 hours of sunlight, preferably morning sun as it is the drying/warming sun. When adapting them to an indoor environment, choose the brightest location possible. In many cases, artificial grow lights will be necessary to provide adequate light for plants grown indoors. This is common with citrus and should be researched well.
- Poor drainage is the #1 reason people lose plants. This is common both in the ground where soggy soils deplete oxygen and suffocate plant roots. This also happens in container growing. Overwatering allows too much water to collect in the bottom of the container where root damaging diseases get started and challenge the plant’s rooting ability. Study your outdoor drainage in the locations where you intend to plant and add a raised bed or a tall mound in poor draining locations. Always be careful not to over water your container plants especially after bringing them indoors. This is also a very common problem with citrus.
- Plant diseases can be very disappointing and costly. For your plant selection, research what diseases might be prevalent in your area and then choose resistant options if available. Look up your local ag advisors to get current information on how others are dealing with common diseases and decide if those are adaptions you are willing to take on to enjoy your fruit choice. Consult local Master Gardeners to find the varieties that do well in your area.
- Short of apple rootstocks, most semi-dwarf rootstocks do not control the growth of the tree to a reasonable size. Even with apples, the rootstock most associated with successful dwarfing requires some sort of trellis or system of maintenance to make them successful. Pruning is the only true means of size control of any fruit tree. Be sure to familiarize yourself with basic pruning techniques and just do it!
There are so many varieties of fruit to enjoy that with a little planning and understanding of responsibility, your successful adaptation should be a sure thing.