Growing a jujube tree in a container is a great way to wrangle these precocious trees and get the most fruit out of a limited space. There are a few things to consider when selecting the right variety, soil type, container size & location are all important to the success of your new tree. Lets dive in!
In many parts of Asia, Jujubes are so commonly grown that you will often find them growing potted in balcony gardens. Often they are pruned quite short and you can see loads of fruit hanging from the precocious branches. This just goes to show how sought after these tasty fruits are as well as how tough they are to not only survive but thrive in what other fruit trees would consider to be less than ideal conditions. That said, these trees still require full 8+ hours of direct light per day, well draining soil mix and regular feeding.
Most all Jujubes can be container grown but we want to select a variety that is self fruitful in order to guarantee fruit set from our tree. Varieties that are self-incompatible will require a second jujube variety nearby to crosspollinate with in order to set fruit. Self-fruitful varieties include: GA 866, Honey Jar, Shanxi Li, & Li.
Planting: Selecting the correct container is just as important as the variety going into it. If you are growing one of our bare root jujube, then you want to select a nice pot that is 5-10 gallons to root your tree into. Make sure that your pot has plenty of drainage holes and don't hesitate to drill more if needed. Keep drainage in mind when selecting a home for your potted tree, making sure that you do not obstruct the holes at the bottom. It is common practice to place potted fruit trees on top of a saucer that is full of gravel to ensure good drainage. Once you have selected an adequate container, the next step is soil. Jujubes are really tough trees and will tolerate a variety of soil type but for the best results, you want to use a premium soil mix that is well draining like our Primo Mix. This coarse mix provides adequate drainage, nutrients and aeration required to grow a healthy tree. If you see that your tree is struggling or want to give it a boost, consider a monthly dose of fertilizer to keep your tree healthy during the growing season.
Watering: Once potted up you want to give your tree a good deep watering to settle the soil and close any air pockets. If you are starting with a dormant tree, then you will only want to water about once a month until you see the tree begin to leaf out. Over watering during dormancy can cause root damage and in some cases total loss of your tree. Once the tree has leafed out, you can water the tree regularly on a weekly schedule, adjusting of course with your weather conditions. A good rule of thumb with potted trees is to wait for the top few inches of soil to dry out before watering.
Pruning: In late fall or early winter, take a few steps back from your tree. Observe the tree branches and look for dead, damaged, or diseased limbs. We want to start with some basic pruning and remove these unproductive limbs as they are no longer contributing to the success of the tree. Since Jujubes set fruit on new growth, you will likely need to remove a lot of the old fruiting wood from the last season that has died back but not fallen off yet. If you are unsure weather these limbs are actually live or not then you will want to perform a scratch test on the limb. Scratch off the top layer in a small spot on the questionable branch. Just beneath the dry, outer layer of bark in a tree's trunk lies the cambium layer of bark. In a living branch, this is green; in a dead tree, it is brown and dry. For a more detailed explanation on fruit tree pruning, check out this blog: Fruit Tree Pruning: The Basics! This guide will cover the basics and help you get your tree to the desired shape.
Protect your tree from sunburn, insects & rodents with PLANT GUARD tree paint & foliar spray.
Protect your roots from rodents with ROOT GUARD the original gopher wire basket.
Feed your fruit tree with Romeo Plant Food. This water-soluble fertilizer is great for in-ground or in-container growing.
Author: Israel Osuna