A nectarine tree is an excellent choice for growing indoors as they are relatively simple and don’t take much effort.
I do love eating juicy nectarines and most people don’t realize they are well suited to growing in your house or apartment as part of an indoor garden or as a houseplant
Every nectarine has a pit with seed so the temptation is always there to stick it in soil and watch it grow, it’s not quite as simple as that so read on and I’ll tell you how to grow a dwarf nectarine tree indoors.
To grow a dwarf nectarine tree indoors you should germinate seed from a pit in a moist paper towel. Plant it in a pot with at least a 10-inch diameter. Position your nectarine tree somewhere that gets at least 6 hours sunlight and fertilize at least once per year and watch it grow.
Watch this video to learn what a nectarine is:
What variety of nectarine tree is best for growing indoors?
The temptation is always there to start growing a nectarine tree from a pit you have acquired from a recently eaten nectarine.
I would not recommend this as it will grow into a full-size tree (severe pruning could keep it small) and not a dwarf variety that is more suited to growing indoors.
I would recommend you source a dwarf variety of nectarine tree as it will be easier to keep it small and as a houseplant.
The varieties of peach tree I would recommend for growing indoors include the Dwarf Flavortop, Dwarf Sweet China, Red Gold, Nectarcrest, Fantasia, or any other dwarf variety. If you grow a peach tree from a pit you can keep it small by severely pruning it.
Should I grow a nectarine tree from seed or buy a young tree?
If you decide to grow a nectarine tree from the pit of a store-bought nectarine it will normally take 3-4 years for it to become mature enough to produce fruit.
I grow fruit trees to eat the fruit so I normally buy a young tree to avoid the period when the tree is not mature enough for fruit production.
Having said that, it is incredibly satisfying when you grow a fruit tree from seed all the way to eating delicious fruit you have grown in your house or apartment.
How to germinate nectarine seeds
To germinate nectarine seeds, first, you have to get the pit from a nectarine.
When you have the pit from the centre of your nectarine (id recommend eating a nectarine to get it) you have to scrub off the remaining fruit flesh that is on the pit using water with an old brush or sponge, Dry your pit for 24 hours before the next stage which is opening the pit to get the seed out.
You can use nutcrackers or a hammer to crack open the pit and get the seed out.
Put the seed in a cup of water for 24 hours and if it sinks it is a good one to use, if it floats it’s probably a dud. When you have a viable seed it’s time to germinate it.
Wrap your seed in a damp paper towel and put it in a sealable plastic bag, keep the bag somewhere warm and when the roots are a couple of inches long it’s time to plant it.
This video shows how to germinate a nectarine seed:
What sort of pot should I use for a nectarine tree?
A dwarf nectarine tree doesn’t have the largest root system so you don’t need a massive pot or container.
My nectarine tree is in a pot that has a 10-inch diameter and it is growing just fine.
Always put a layer of stones or gravel at the bottom of your pot and make sure it has a drainage hole or holes in the bottom as nectarine trees don’t like to be in standing water.
By keeping your tree in a small pot there is a chance it will become rootbound and stop growing larger, this is a good thing when you want to keep your tree small enough to be a houseplant.
What sort of soil should I use for a nectarine tree in a pot?
Nectarine trees prefer well-drained loamy soil but will grow in most soil types as long as it has good drainage.
You definitely should never use soil from your garden when planting a fruit tree in a pot as it will all clump together and not be very good for drainage which will result in an unhealthy plant.
I would recommend you use a standard potting soil from a store for your nectarine tree and mix in some organic matter such as some grass clippings or shredded bark as this adds extra nutrients into the soil.
How much light does a nectarine Tree require?
Nectarines do love the full sun so the more light you can get your tree the better.
You will need to get your nectarine tree at least 6 hours of sunlight daily to keep it healthy, you could easily achieve this if you have a south-facing window or a conservatory.
If you think you will struggle to get enough light you could always use an LED grow light on a timer as they are not expensive to buy and are very affordable to operate.
The more sunlight your tree gets the bigger and healthier it will grow and the more fruit it will produce.
How much water do nectarine trees need?
Nectarine trees do really like water but at the same time do not like to be in standing water so good drainage is vital for a healthy plant.
Use the magic finger trick to tell if your nectarine tree needs water, that is stick your finger in the soil and if the top 2 inches are dry it’s time to give it some water.
You will need to water more often during the hot summer weather, I water every 2nd day during the summer, twice a month during the winter months.
Keep it regular and never let it dry out or have standing water because if the roots are in standing water they will rot and your tree will die.
What temperature is best for indoor nectarine trees?
Nectarines do love the sun so the more direct sunlight you can get your tree the faster it will grow and the more fruit it will produce, however, when it comes to temperature I don’t take much notice during the summer.
I have my nectarine tree in my conservatory which it around standard household temperature and it does just fine.
Nectarine trees and any fruit tree that is grown from a pit will need to have a period of chilled hours during the winter months.
Pick a variety that you will be able to achieve the number of chilled hours required, chilled hours mean when the temperature is below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
What is the best fertilizer for a nectarine tree in a pot?
To make your nectarine tree as healthy as possible and increase the chance of it producing lots of juicy nectarines, you should always use a fertilizer.
I would recommend you use a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus as that encourages flowers and fruit to grow and that is the purpose of growing a fruit tree.
A fertilizer that is for tomato plants would be equally suited for a nectarine tree or any fertilizer that is for citrus trees will suffice.
I fertilize my tree in the spring just before it starts to grow for the summer.
How to prune an indoor nectarine tree in a pot
To ensure you grow a healthy nectarine tree you will have to carry out an annual pruning routine, this encourages growth and controls the size.
The best time to prune your nectarine tree is during the dormant season, I prune my tree in March just as it’s about to start growing for the summer.
I do cut quite a lot off my tree when I prune it, I normally prune it to around half the size.
You will have to get to know your tree and judge how much to cut off, depending on how much it grows each year and what size it can grow to in the area you have designated for it.
How to pollinate a nectarine tree?
Nectarine trees are self-fruiting which means you only need one tree and it will pollinate itself.
Because you have an indoor tree you will have to help pollinate it as there should be no bees or wind in your house and that’s what pollinates nectarine trees in the wild.
Use the paintbrush method to pollinate your tree.
Every flower you successfully do this with should then grow into a nectarine.
Should I thin out any heavy clusters of nectarines?
If there are excessive amounts of nectarines on your tree it will result in bigger tastier nectarines if you do thin them out.
If you decide to thin the fruit you should thin them so that nectarines are growing on the branches 3-5 inches apart, the time to carry out the thinning is when they are approximately ¾ of an inch in diameter.
If some branches have lots of fruit and some have little don’t thin them as the energy will spread itself throughout the whole tree and even things out.
When to pick nectarines from a potted tree
Because the harvest season of nectarines can be spread over several months, you can’t just set a calendar date to harvest.
There are some indicators for when nectarines are ready to be harvested.
The first indicator of when your nectarines are ready to be harvested is the color of the fruit, they should have no green showing and be a yellow color with some red blushes clearly visible on the skin.
They should smell strongly of nectarines and should be firm with a slight give.
The nectarines should come off the tree with a slight twist when they are ready, if you have to struggle to get them off that’s nature telling you they aren’t ready yet.
How to store nectarines harvested from the tree
When you pick nectarines from a tree you should store them at room temperature if they are not quite ripe and it can take 3 days for them to become perfectly ripe for eating.
When your nectarines are ripe you should store them in a drawer in the fridge and they should keep good for up to a week.
To extend the life you will have to freeze them.
To do this you should drop them into boiling water for 30 seconds then plunge them in cool water, remove the skin, slice them and remove the pits (this stops them turning bitter).
You should keep your nectarines in a sealable container when you freeze them and they will stay good for up to a year.
What to do if your nectarine tree stops producing fruit
If your nectarine tree has stopped producing fruit there are several things you should check.
The first thing to check is how much you are watering your tree, too much or not enough water could result in no fruit being produced.
Are you using the correct type of fertilizer and are you using too much fertilizer as if you get this wrong it could result in lots of foliage being produced but no fruit.
Did you hand pollinate your indoor nectarine tree because if you didn’t it’s highly likely that no fruit will be produced?
Has your nectarine tree got enough chill hours during the winter? If it hasn’t got a long enough period of cool weather then it will not produce any fruit the following season.
To grow a nectarine tree outdoors
If you want to grow a nectarine tree outdoors you could grow it in a pot or container and simply follow the same instructions for one grown indoors.
\If you choose to grow a nectarine tree in the soil you should germinate it indoors first before planting it outdoors if you are growing one from seed.
Choose an area that has well-drained yet moisture retentive soil and the more sun you can get it the better.
You should mix some manure or compost into the soil at planting time then add an annual surface mulch every year to add nutrients to the soil.
Please browse some related articles you should find interesting: