Mulberries are a great choice for growing indoors as they are fast growing, will produce lots of fruit and they really don’t take much effort.
There are lots of varieties of the mulberry tree like the many dwarf varieties or even bonsai varieties that are suited to growing in an apartment or house.
If you keep your tree well pruned you can easily keep it small enough (2-6 feet tall) that it will fit on a windowsill or tabletop and produce plenty of berries, sometimes three times per season.
So, if you want to learn about all aspects of how to grow a mulberry tree indoors this complete guide will help you out so please read on…
To grow a mulberry tree or bush indoors you could start it off in a small 5-gallon container on your windowsill and re-pot it later. Make sure it gets at least 6 hours of light daily. They don’t even need fertilizer but if you apply fertilizer at the recommended dose it should encourage healthy growth.
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What sort of mulberry tree is best for growing indoors?
Mulberries are an excellent choice for growing indoors as they are fast growing and can easily be pruned to a small bush size and remain healthy and fruit bearing.
When growing a mulberry tree inside it is best to pick one of the many dwarf varieties such as Dwarf everbearing – Morus nigra, Geraldi Dwarf mulberry or ‘Morus issai – Morus Alba pendula, contorted mulberry or the Pakistan mulberry.
There are even bonsai versions of mulberry tree available that can be kept very small and will still produce lots of berries.
Should I grow a mulberry tree from seed, cutting or buy a young tree?
If the whole idea is to produce your own mulberries for eating you might not want to start your tree from seeds as it can take 4 – 10 years for it to become mature enough to bear fruit.
When you take a cutting from a mature mulberry tree then the cutting will be genetically the same age as the parent tree.
Potentially you could have berries growing the first year although it is best to pick any berries that start to grow the first year off as they take energy away from your cutting producing healthy roots, you will definitely be able to harvest berries after the first year.
If you buy a seedling it is the quickest option for getting a harvest as you may get a harvest the same year as you purchase your tree or bush.
How to germinate mulberry seeds
First, you will want to collect seeds from a mulberry. To do this simply squash a mulberry into a bowl of water so that the seeds separate from the pulp of the berry and into the water.
The seeds that will are good for germination will sink to the bottom of the water and the seeds that are no good for germination will float to the top.
Take the good seeds out and place them on a paper towel until they are dry.
Next, put a small amount of sand in a container, enough to cover the seeds and dampen the sand so it is moist but there is no standing water.
Next, place this container in the fridge for 90 days and at the end of this period, the seeds will be ready for planting in a pot.
What sort of pot should I use for a mulberry tree?
You should use a pot for your mulberry tree that as big as possible for the space you have available.
You should have no problems growing a mulberry in a 15-gallon container and if you let it grow up the way without pruning it into a small bush style it should be healthy until it gets to around 6 foot high in a container this size.
If you don’t have much space you could even grow a mulberry bush in a 5-gallon container but you would have to transfer it eventually when it outgrows the container.
If you have more room you could use a bigger container like a 25 gallon one, as the bigger it is the more roots will grow and the healthier and more berries it might produce.
What sort of soil should I use for a mulberry tree?
Mulberry trees are very adaptable and will grow in most soil types, but they do like soil that is rich and fertile so you might want to add some manure or compost to your soil for added benefit.
You should use a rich, loamy potting soil or a peat-based potting mix and they will grow just fine as they are not too fussy.
Whatever soil type you use just make sure there is good drainage in the container and your mulberries should grow with no problems as they are one of the most hassle-free things for growing in a container.
How much light does a mulberry Tree require?
Like most plants, the more direct sunlight your mulberry plant receives the faster it will grow and the more berries it will produce.
Mulberries will do just fine even if you grow them in partial shade as long as they get around 6 hours of light daily. If you have a south-facing window or conservatory your mulberry plant will thrive indoors.
If you don’t think you get enough light to successfully grow mulberries indoors or are serious about producing lots of berries you could always use an LED grow lamp as they are not expensive to buy and are very affordable to run.
Check out my articles on the best Led grow light strips on the market and affordable Led lights that really work.
How often should I water my mulberry tree?
Mulberry trees do like water but how much you water them depends a lot on your local climate.
When you water your mulberries it is best to give them a deep watering, this means you should water them until water starts to come out the drainage holes in the bottom of your pot or container.
I typically water my indoor mulberry tree once or twice per week during the summer months, normally when the top 2 inches of soil has become dry.
A mulberry tree that has its soil kept consistently moist but not soaking will normally produce more berries than if you let it completely dry out then soak it.
What is the best climate for mulberry trees?
Mulberry trees can be found growing in every continent so you will find a variety that is suited to almost every climate on the planet.
The only climate that is bad for mulberries would be frosty cold weather, whilst they are extremely tolerant of cold frosty or freezing weather and are unlikely to die from it, it could affect the number of berries that are produced the following growing season.
Typically Mulberry trees or bushes grown indoors aren’t going to be affected by frost.
Whatever climate you live in you will find a variety of mulberry that will grow healthy and produce lots of berries.
What is the best fertilizer for mulberries in a pot?
Mulberries will normally do fine even with no fertilizer, however, if you use fertilizer it will likely lead to a healthier tree and more fruit production.
If you choose to use fertilizer on your mulberry tree I would recommend you use a liquid seaweed fertilizer or a granular organic fertilizer and only apply it during the growing season.
You should use a diluted liquid fertilizer once per week or apply the granular fertilizer once per month.
Don’t over fertilize your mulberry tree or it will lead to excessive foliage growth but fewer berries being produced.
Click here for my article on the best fertilizers for fruit trees grown in containers.
How to prune an indoor mulberry tree in a pot
Mulberry trees are very fast growers when they get going and will need regular pruning and pinching to keep them at a manageable size.
You should trim back and pinch most of the new growth throughout the year whilst leaving some new growth to keep the tree healthy.
At the end of the fruiting season, I trim off any dead, diseased and crossing branches before the tree goes dormant for the winter months.
How to pollinate a mulberry tree?
Most cultivated mulberry varieties will be bi-sexual, meaning they will produce both male and female flowers.
This means pollination can happen with only one tree, however, you will likely have to give it a helping hand although some varieties will bear fruit without pollination.
To help with the pollination of your mulberry tree you should use a small paint brush.
Brush some of the pollen from the stamen of the male flower and brush it into the female flowers, do this with every flower and this will do the same job bees do in the wild.
When to pick mulberries from a potted tree
It is simple to tell when your mulberries are ready for harvesting as they will taste sweet, juicy and change color.
Red mulberries will turn a dark purple when they are ready for harvest and white mulberries will turn a golden color when they are ready to be harvested.
When your berries turn ripe you should pick them off your tree, it may take 4 weeks for all the mulberries to turn ripe and you should pick them as they do.
How to store freshly picked mulberries from the tree
Mulberries are so tasty I normally don’t get a chance to store them as I eat them off my tree.
If you want to store your harvest make sure you don’t wash them as the moisture will promote fungus growth.
Don’t wash them and put them in a sealable container and keep them in the fridge, only wash them before you eat them.
Mulberries stored in the fridge like this have a short shelf life and will only last for around 3 days.
To extend the life of your mulberries you should freeze them.
To do this first wash them, dry them and spread them out in a single layer on a tray.
Put the tray in the freezer for a few hours and when your mulberries are frozen transfer them into a sealable container.
This stops them freezing together in one big clump. When you freeze your mulberries like this they will be good for up to 6 months.
What to do if your mulberry tree stops producing fruit
There are many factors that could be behind your mulberry tree stopping producing fruits.
The first three things you should check are the basic things, is your mulberry tree getting enough sunlight? If it isn’t getting enough sunlight it might still grow healthy foliage but just not produce berries.
Is your mulberry tree getting enough water? If your mulberry tree is not getting enough or too much water this would result in an unhealthy tree and could result in no berries being produced.
Are you fertilizing your mulberry tree correctly? If you aren’t using fertilizer, are using the wrong fertilizer or even over fertilizing this could result in a healthy looking tree that just isn’t producing berries.
Also if your tree has been in frosty or freezing conditions this could result in no berries the following season.
If your mulberry tree or bush has never produced any berries it may be because it can take up to 10 years to become mature enough for fruit production.
To grow a mulberry tree outdoors
Mulberry trees grow on every continent so you will find a variety that is suited to your local climate.
The root system on a mulberry tree is shallow and will spread far away from the tree so you should avoid planting one near sidewalks, buildings and anything else that could be affected by root growth.
Mulberries like deep well-draining soil and if you are planting outside you should mix compost or manure into the area you will be planting to ensure a healthier tree or bush.
Mulberry trees grown outside really don’t need much care but if you use a fertilizer it will encourage it to grow healthy and produce lots of delicious berries.
Common mulberry tree problems and how to solve them
Mulberry trees are relatively hassle-free and that is why I would recommend them for growing indoors in a pot or container, even beginners should give them a try.
But like all plants, they could be affected by a disease and if not treated quickly and correctly it could result in the death of your beloved mulberry tree.
Here are some diseases that could affect your indoor mulberry tree or bush:
Canker Disease – Canker disease will turn the leaves on your mulberry tree brown or yellow and could result in dead spots on the trunk of your tree which could, in turn, result in the death of your tree. The only defense to this disease is to make sure you consistently care for your tree and keep it healthy throughout the year.
Armillaria Root Rot – This is normally referred to as Texas root rot and most mulberry trees will be affected by this at some point. It will make leaves become discolored and drop off and could result in branches or your entire tree dying. To battle this disease you should prune off any affected areas but most importantly give your mulberry tree proper care to prevent your tree being affected in the first place.
Bacterial Blight – Blight can affect almost any plant you decide to grow and mulberries are no different. It will cause brown or black spots on the leaves and cause growths to appear on the branches and flowers and liquid will appear to ooze out the growths. Like most diseases, you should give your mulberry tree proper care as prevention is always easier than a cure.
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