Anyone contemplating growing fruit in containers has to consider the shape and design of the garden. Almost without exception, fruit grown in containers needs to be trained against a wall and this requires a framework of wires. It should be looked on as a permanent feature. The only exceptions are fruit trees grown on a roof garden as free-standing pyramids or strawberries grown in individual pots or strawberry planters.
What fruit to grow?
The possibilities differ whether you are gardening on a balcony, patio, roof garden or in a window box. If you want to grow fruit in a window box then you may have to content yourself with some Alpine strawberries in amongst the other herbs and vegetables.
If you want to grow fruit on a balcony or a patio, your choices will be governed by the aspect and the amount of room available, while a roof garden may attract the sun all day but may lack the warm walls necessary to succeed with the tender stoned fruits such as apricots, peaches or nectarines.
If you cannot offer a warm wall and your patio faces east or north then the options are more limited. Morello cherries that flourish on a north wall are one choice and a number of the hardier apples which resist late frosts may well fruit on walls with an easterly aspect although they are unlikely to yield as copiously as they would given a sunnier position.
Raspberries in a roof garden
Pears flower earlier than apples and are less resistant to late frosts so at the best they will need a south-easterly wall. A number of plums, particularly the favourite Victoria, will yield good fruit without too much sun if they can be sheltered in early spring from late frosts.
In colder areas some of the hybrids berries or currant bushes are more likely to succeed than stoned fruit, particularly blackcurrants or gooseberries, for they prefer some shade. However if you do try to grow fruit containers on a very shaded patio don’t persist if the tree or bush fails to flower and produce within three years.