Don’t you just love the taste of apricots? They taste even better when you have grown them yourself.
Most people don’t realize you can grow apricots indoors in your house or apartment, the standard temperature of your home is probably close to ideal for growing fruits.
If you choose the correct variety and do some careful pruning it is possible to grow apricot trees in your home and keep them at a manageable size, because, unless you live in a castle it is not ideal to have a full-size tree in your house.
Read on and I’ll tell you in this complete guide how to grow an apricot tree indoors…
To grow an apricot tree indoors you should select a self-pollinating variety and position it somewhere that gets 6-8 hours of sunlight. You only need to fertilize your tree once per year whilst keeping the soil moist but not soaking. Use an LED light to top up light and encourage a plentiful harvest.
What sort of apricot tree is best for growing indoors?
The main concern you should have when choosing what variety of apricot tree to grow indoors is what size will it grow to.
There are many dwarf varieties of self-fruiting apricot trees that are ideal for growing indoors as a houseplant.
Some varieties I would recommend because they only grow to between 2 feet and 5 feet would be the ‘Dwarf Moorpark’ ‘Dwarf Golden’ ‘Dwarf Goldcot” or ‘Dwarf Manchurian’.
Any of these would be a good choice for an indoor apricot tree although there are also many other varieties that can be kept small with regular pruning.
Should I grow an apricot tree from seed or buy a young tree?
Growing an apricot tree from seed is actually quite simple although if you use a pit from an apricot you have eaten you will need to put it in the fridge for a cooling period of between 2-3 months before you plant it.
If you grow an apricot tree from a pit it will normally take 2-5 years before it is mature enough to actually produce fruits.
If you don’t want to wait years before you can eat apricots you have grown in your house or apartment the only option would be to buy a young tree and with proper care, you could be eating apricots in during the first year.
How to germinate apricot seeds
If you have collected pits from apricots you have bought you will have to remove any flesh that remains on them by giving them a good scrub.
Once you have removed any remaining flesh off your apricot pits you should leave them to dry for a few hours. To encourage successful germination it is best to remove the seed from the pit, use a vice, nutcracker or hammer to do this.
When you have the seeds you now have to keep them in a fridge for 2-3 months in order to stratify them.
Next, wrap the seeds in a damp paper towel and put it in a plastic bag and keep it damp until roots sprout from the seed.
When you see some roots sprout it is time to plant your seeds in a pot.
What sort of pot should I use for an apricot tree?
I have my apricot tree in a pot that is 20 inches in diameter and it does just fine and produces fruit.
I would recommend using as big of a pot as possible for the space you have available but if you keep your tree in a smaller container it will limit root growth which can keep your apricot tree small, which can be ideal for growing them indoors.
Whatever pot you use make sure that it was good drainage as apricots don’t like to be in standing water so need good drainage.
What sort of soil should I use for an apricot tree?
You should never use soil from your garden when planting a tree in a pot as it will become compacted and this is not good for healthy growth.
Always put a layer of gravel at the bottom of your pot as this is good for drainage.
The best soil to use for an apricot tree in a pot or container is a rich loamy potting soil.
If you have any available I would always recommend mixing some well-rotted compost or manure into the soil as this will add lots of nutrients that promote healthy growth.
How much light does an apricot Tree require?
The more light you can get your apricot tree the better.
Apricot trees will grow fine and produce fruit with as little as 6-8 hours of sunlight daily.
If you have a south-facing window or conservatory that would be ideal but if you don’t you can still grow an apricot tree as they will grow healthily even if you just have a bright room.
If you don’t think you can get your tree enough natural light you could always invest in an inexpensive LED grow light as they are very affordable to run and produce impressive growing results.
How often should I water my apricot tree?
When your apricot tree is still young and establishing a root system you should water it every other day during the growing season.
When your apricot tree is mature you should water it when the top inch of soil is dry, I check this by sticking my finger in.
The aim is to keep the soil moist but not soaking as too much water can be just as damaging to your tree as not enough water.
What climate is best for apricot trees?
Apricot trees like most fruit trees do like a warm sunny climate, however, there are now many varieties that have been specially developed to grow in cooler climates.
Wherever you live you will likely find a variety of apricot tree that you can successfully grow and produce fruits.
When you grow an apricot tree indoors the outdoor climate doesn’t matter so much as you can control the climate in your house.
Apricot trees do need a period cool temperatures during the winter dormant months in order for it to produce fruit the next season.
The chill requirements for an apricot tree are 300 – 1000 hours of temperature between 32 – 45 degrees Fahrenheit (0 – 7C).
Select a variety with a chill requirement that will be suited to your local area as there is a variety that will be suited to almost every climate.
What is the best fertilizer for an apricot tree in a pot?
You should only have to fertilize your apricot tree annually with a water-soluble or granular fertilizer to keep it healthy for the season.
The best time to fertilize your apricot tree would be in February as this is immediately before it starts to grow in the spring.
I would recommend you use a fertilizer that is high in potassium or any fertilizer that is designed for fruit trees.
How to prune an indoor apricot tree in a pot
When you are growing an apricot tree or any other fruit tree indoors you will have to stick to a quite severe pruning regime in order to keep it dwarf size and stop it developing into a full-size tree.
The best time to prune an apricot tree is in spring as the tree is starting to grow at this time of year which will help it heal where you cut it.
When pruning you should cut off any dead or unhealthy branches to keep it healthy.
Remove any branches that are growing up the way instead of out the way as this helps keep your tree shorter.
You may have to cut the main trunk if your tree is growing too tall and this encourages it to grow out the way more like a bush.
How to pollinate an apricot tree grown indoors?
Most varieties of apricot trees are self-pollinating, meaning you don’t have to do anything to help them and they will pollinate themselves.
Check when you buy your tree that you are choosing a self-pollinating variety as this makes things a lot easier.
If you want to help your apricot tree with pollination you should use a small paintbrush. Go round every flower and brush off pollen from one flower and put it in another one.
Do this for every flower and you will get more apricots as this is doing what bees do in the wild.
Should I thin out any heavy clusters of apricots?
Thinning apricots isn’t a necessary requirement unless you notice they are all grouped up and close together.
If you notice they are close together you could thin them out so the apricots are around 4-6 inches apart, you should do this when the fruits are about the size of a hazelnut.
Thinning out the apricots on your tree should result in bigger, healthier, fruits but if you leave them to grow naturally they will do fine and still taste good.
If there are excessive clusters of apricots they will probably drop off themselves so I don’t bother thinning the fruits on my tree.
When to pick apricots from a potted tree
Fruit that grows on an apricot tree in the northern hemisphere will normally be ready to harvest around June-august.
It is easy enough to tell when your apricots are ready to be picked from your tree because they will change from green to a golden orange color.
The fruit should start to give off a strong sweet smell and be firm to squeeze but have a bit of give, if they are rock solid they are not ripe yet.
It is best to let your apricots become fully ripe on the tree but if you pick them off early they will continue to ripen off the tree.
How to store freshly picked apricots
If you store your fresh picked apricots in a fruit bowl the fresh air can cause them to spoil more quickly but they will stay edible for around 4 or 5 days.
To extend the life of your apricots you should put them in a sealable bag or container and put them in the refrigerator and they should be good for up to a week.
Make sure your apricots are ripe before you put them in the fridge as they won’t ripen any more once you refrigerate them.
What to do if your apricot tree stops producing fruit
If your apricot tree has stopped producing fruit the first thing I would check is are you watering and fertilizing your tree the required amounts?
If you give your tree too much water or fertilizer or not enough water or fertilizer it will likely affect how many apricots your tree produces.
Does your tree have pollination problems as if your tree doesn’t get pollinated this could result in precisely zero fruit.
Most apricot trees are self-pollinating but you may have a variety that needs pollination. I always use the paintbrush method mentioned above to help pollinate my fruit trees.
Apricot trees need a period of cool temperature during the winter and if it doesn’t get this it might not produce fruit the next season.
To grow an apricot tree outdoors
Apricot trees are hardy but you should be wary that frosty conditions may affect growth for the following season.
You should mix in some compost or well-rotted manure to the soil before you plant a tree as this will help it grow a healthy root system.
Apricot trees will do best if you plant them somewhere warm that is sheltered from the wind.
Ideally, you should plant your apricot tree in soil that is slightly alkaline, deep and moisture retentive but has good drainage.
The best time to plant an apricot tree is during its dormant season between November and March.
Common apricot tree problems and how to solve them
Apricot trees are not usually greatly affected by disease and this is one of the reasons I recommend growing them, however, like all plants there is a chance they could be affected.
Here are some problems that may affect your apricot tree:
Bacterial Canker – This is the most common disease that affects apricot trees. The main sign of bacterial canker is the gum that starts oozing out of the bark. The best course of action if this disease affects your tree is to cut out the affected areas. If it is not possible to cut out the affected area then you should use a spray to treat your apricot tree.
Spider Mite – Spider mites are so tiny you probably won’t notice them individually but when an infestation takes place you will notice webbing around the shoots and leaves. The spider mite is not actually a spider it is a mite. The first sign of this infestation is the leaves turning yellow and falling off. If the atmosphere is too dry is when this infestation can take place so you should try and maintain some humidity to stop it happening.
Ripe Fruit Rot – This is one of the most devastating diseases that can affect your apricot tree as when it takes hold there is nothing that can be done apart from removing the affected fruits. You will notice this disease by the brown lesions that appear on the fruit and quickly turn into gray spores. The common name for this disease is brown rot.
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