Make the most of any fruit tree that you plant. Minarette trees will provide punctuation marks on a patio or roof garden and are excellent for growing on balconies. Citrus fruit, oranges and lemons, make excellent house plants and can be placed outside in summer for their flowers and fruit. If you have the space and want to grow a free-standing tree one possibility is to plant one or more of the modern minarette fruit trees in a large container, and use them as the the center of attraction in the garden.
Minarette trees grow upright on a single stem and will eventually reach a heigh of 6-8 ft. they can be planted as closely as 2 ft apart and therefore 2 or 3 trees can be grown together in a large container.
They do need staking, especially if the patio or roof garden is subject to gusts of wind. If you have a favorable position then apples and pears can be grown together and they will provide a display of delicate blossom in the spring and contrasting red, yellow and green fruit as they ripen in fall.
Container fruit trees need not just be confined to fruit that remains outside all year. Many a patio is brightened by small trees of citrus fruits, oranges and lemons that can be put outside in the summer and brought inside in winter where they can be treated as house plants. If you want the luxury of growing lemon and orange trees in containers then the most suitable varieties, if space is at a premium, are the Citrofortunella varieties of small oranges and lemons, or some of the small lemon trees. They need a minimum winter temperature of 50°F and can be put outside in the summer after a period of acclimatization.
Containers are particularly suitable for growing strawberries and there are a number of special planters available that can be used. The best is the traditional strawberry barrel but the tower pots add height and variety to a patio design and can be used imaginatively to grow pyramids of plants each one dripping with bright red fruit.
If you are planning to grow fruit trees in containers you have to measure the amount of wall space available. Fruit trees take up less room when trained against a wall and the delicate stoned fruit will flower and fruit better given the warmth and protection of a south- or south-west-facing wall. Fruit trees are usually trained in four shapes, cordon, double cordon, fan, usually used for stoned fruit, such as apricots and peaches, and espalier for apples and pears.