If you think of garden-grown fruit as the tasty treats that come from less-than-sweet-looking thorny vines or gnarled trees, then you are in for a surprise! There have been some exciting new fruit plants developed that match aesthetics with function, which means you can get luscious fruit from a plant that’s as gorgeous as it is useful. Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and even fruit trees can sweeten up a small space. With these pretty plants and stylish containers, you can have a patio fruit garden that’s not only yummy, but decorative too.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Monrovia who also provided me with the fruit plants for the patio garden. All opinions in this post are my own. Be sure to check out the shop.monriovia.com giveaway at the end of this post as well!
Plan Your Patio Fruit Garden
Before you pick your fruit, pick the space to grow it in. Fruit plants produce best in full sun, so choose a location that gets bright light for at least six to eight hours per day. These plants are so pretty, you will want them to be center stage.
As patio fruits are large perennial plants, shrubs, and trees, select containers for the long term. The containers I used for this project were provided by Crescent Garden. They are made of weatherproof plastic and have double-wall construction to insulate the soil from extreme cold or heat. They have a 10-year guarantee, so they are perfect for perennial fruit plants that will last throughout many growing seasons.
When choosing large containers for perennial fruit, be sure they have ample drainage holes, especially if you live in a rainy climate. Before planting, lay a piece of landscape fabric over the drainage holes to prevent soil from coming through and staining the patio / clogging the hole. If you are setting the containers in a garden directly on the soil, raise up the containers on bricks to ensure the drainage hole is free flowing.
Plants for a Patio Fruit Garden
It is wonderful to have edible plants that do double duty in the garden, especially when you have a small space. For this project, I chose each variety of fruit plants for both prolific fruit and attractive plants. All of the plants in this garden are self-pollinating, meaning they don’t need a partner to produce fruit. Even so, you may want more than one of each once you taste the fruit!
- Raspberry Shortcake® Raspberry shown in a 20″ Madison pot in slate
- Baby Cakes™ Blackberry shown in a 20″ Madison pot in slate
- Pink Icing™ Blueberry shown in two 16″ Madison pots in slate
- Seascape Strawberry shown in a 16″ Juno pot in slate
- Corky’s Honey Delight® Fig shown in a 26″ Madison pot in slate
Variety: Raspberry Shortcake® Raspberry
Why it’s awesome: This compact and tidy shrub raspberry revolutionizes raspberry growing for the home garden. No longer will you have to put up with unwieldy brambles of thorns taking over your garden just so you can harvest buckets of raspberries in the summer. Raspberry Shortcake needs no staking and grows well in a container. Even more, it produces a ton of berries! I have two plants in their second year and I can’t keep up with all the berries, even with a fruit-loving four-year-old in the garden.
Container size: Large (24-36”)
Special needs: Raspberry Shortcake can overwinter right in the garden, especially with a large double-walled container. In very cold climates, you can move the container undercover or to an unheated garage, keeping the soil just slightly moist.
Pruning and maintenance: Fruit will grow on second-year wood, so be sure to let the new shoots grow undisturbed in the first and second year. In early spring, prune all of the dead canes right back to the soil, and leave anything else that has new growth on it. You can shape the old canes by trimming the tops of them to form a rounded shrub.
Variety: Baby Cakes™ Blackberry
Why it’s awesome: This three-to four-foot tall set of vines produces not one, but TWO sets of large fruit in the season. Oh, and there are no thorns so you will save your arms from those itchy scratches while snacking on the sweet, sweet berries.
Container size: Large (24-36”)
Special needs: Baby Cakes needs some staking to keep the branches from flopping over. Build a bamboo support with three poles tied together at the top, use a decorative obelisk, or tie the branches to a trellis. An upside down tomato cage also works well!
Pruning and maintenance: Fruit will grow on second-year wood, so be sure to let the new shoots grow undisturbed in the first and second year. In early spring, prune all of the dead canes right back to the soil and provide support for the new growth.
Variety: Pink Icing™ Blueberry
Why it’s awesome: This plant not only produces big juicy blueberries, but it’s also a four-season stunner! The name “pink icing” comes from the delicate pink tips that highlight the new foliage. The foliage itself is a dusty blue green that perfectly complements the pink. In the winter, the foliage hangs on and turns an iridescent turquoise blue. Pink Icing is certainly the Belle of the Ball!
Container size: Medium (16-24”)
Special needs: Blueberries like acidic soil with a pH balance of 4.5 – 5.5, so you may want to add some peat moss to the soil mix to increase the acidity if your soil is neutral.
Pruning and maintenance: It’s best to prune blueberries in early spring when the plants are still dormant. Blueberries fruit on 2, 3, and 4-year old wood, so be sure to remove any dead wood or non-fruiting wood to allow the plant to put energy into maximizing fruit production.
Patio Fig Tree
Variety: Corky’s Honey Delight® Fig
Why it’s awesome: There is really nothing like the flavor of a fresh fig and this semi-dwarf cultivar means that you can have them twice in the season! Corky’s Honey Delight is known for its vigorous habit and bountiful amber-colored fruit. The leaves are glossy green and quite attractive, even when the fruit has been gobbled up.
Zone: 7-10 (but often hardy and prolific in zones 5 and 6 as well, if planted in a sheltered location)
Container size: Extra large (30-36”)
Special needs: In colder areas, move the container undercover or to an unheated garage, keeping the soil just slightly moist for the winter months.
Pruning and maintenance: To keep the size manageable in a pot, shape them in the dormant season by removing any of the 4Ds, then cutting back any leggy branches. In mid-summer crop the branches back, leaving just five or six leaves. In the fall, remove any large fruit that didn’t ripen. More tips on growing fig trees here.
Variety: Seascape Strawberry
Why it’s awesome: This ever-bearing strawberry is highly productive over a long season, yielding large berries with excellent flavor. It produces well in a wide range of climates and it should yield fruit for up to ten years.
Container size: Small (10-16”)
Special needs: None!
Pruning and maintenance: Read about growing strawberries in containers here.
I’m thrilled to be giving away two $50 gift cards to shop.monrovia.com so you can pick out just the right plant for your garden! This contest is now Closed. Congratulations to Donna Jacobs and Erin Schanen!