Indoor Fruit Trees

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Our Meyer lemon tree in bloom in February! I wish I could capture the smell and share it through the internet since it is so intoxicating.

Last summer, inspired by the extraordinarily tall windows in our new home, I purchased five fruiting trees that are not native to Zone 5 or 6: Black Mission Fig, Hass Avocado, Cold-Hearty Avocado, Meyer Lemon, and a Key Lime. Last summer they lived outside on the north-facing deck; This winter each tree has a home inside near our biggest south-facing windows. I am no expert in growing these types of fruiting trees and everything I share is as a hobby gardener growing fruit that I otherwise have only picked from a tree on a road trip through Arizona as a teenager. Might I mention, you have never truly eaten an orange unless it has ripened on the tree!

Since my 7-year-old makes me measure her every week in hopes she will graduate from her booster, she is 49 inches in this photo for scale.

Growing Avocados

It really isn't hard to have the desire to grow one's own avocados after learning about how Mexican drug cartels manipulate the market and take their cut from honest avocado farmers or after reading about the ways in which avocado farms in Chile are stealing all of the water from citizens. I love avocados; so does the rest of the family and so I continue to buy organic avocados from Mexico and California when available as boycotting them is complicated in this globalized world.

Cold-Hearty Avocado blossoms which began in January and are continuing into March but with no fruit to show for it :-(

Growing actual avocados, thus far, has proven to be a dream three to four years away. There are no signs of blooms from the Haas avocado though it really has put on a large number of leaves this past month. The blossoms from the cold-hearty avocado simply drop to the ground despite my impersonating a pollinator morning and night with my trusted paint brush. Patience grasshopper; the avocados too shall grow in their own time.

A healthy Hass avocado with no signs of flowering, yet.

Growing Citrus Trees

I wanted to try growing a lime tree as we purchase so many of these every month for cooking Mexican and Thai food and for making our ice waters that much crisper when its hot outside. I use lemons all of the time for salads, fish, pestos, anchovy pasta, dressings, and sauces. While growing our own lemons and limes will not completely integrate our plate they will support some of our citrus habit and the blossoms in the winter are indisputably some of the best I've smelled.



From bud, to blossom, to pollination, to BABY LEMONS! Do you see them? Do you?

So far, I have learned that citrus trees are more prone to spider mites that the avocado or fig trees. Both the Meyer lemon and key lime trees have had varying levels of infestation throughout the winter. The first mistake I made was using isopropyl alcohol on the lemon tree as I had it on hand and had read this will kill the spider mites on another blog post. It also can kill a lemon tree apparently as spraying the leaves resulted in their yellowing and dropping. Since the infestation pictured below, I have been using diluted neem oil and it seems to be doing the trick.


Spider mites on the Key Lime tree have been taken care of, but no signs of blossoms just yet.

Growing Figs

Figs are not a fruit we eat that often; however when I have seen them in the grocery as a seasonal novelty, I always buy them. I love them raw, drizzled with a little honey so I can pretend I am relaxing in the mediterranean sunshine. Figs transport me elsewhere--back to our honeymoon climbing every island crag we could find in Greece--back to my summer backpacking in Italy--and who doesn't want to be transported elsewhere from time to time?

Black mission fig putting on new stems and leaves.

Though the fig tree seems quite healthy in the afternoon sun provided by a southwest facing window, I have learned figs love at least 8 hours of full sun. I made a space for it atop my seed starting shelf in a directly south facing window and will see what this does for flower and fruit production. It currently is putting on a large number of new leaves and stems which, I have read,  proceeds a spring flowering and fruiting of not so good fruit. A fall flowering a fruiting then follows and this is when the best fruit is produced. This summer the fig will reside in the full sun on the yurt deck.

Below you will find what I purchased for these trees.  This was a present to myself for packing us up and moving us no less than four times between September of 2020 and July of 2021, so yes it was a nice present. Of course, these can all be purchase incrementally over the years until you have a veritable food forest in your living room. Since I transition the trees twice a year from inside to outside and back again, I chose not to plant them in ceramic pots, but rather, plastic so the weight is more manageable.  As we have hardwood floors indoors, it was important to me that the trees had a big enough plant tray to catch the water overflow and protect the wood. These trees make our home verdant and lively through winter and in my mind are worth the investment even if this grasshopper is still waiting for an avocado eight months into the experiment.

Affiliate Links for Indoor Fruiting Trees

If you are interested in growing your own fruiting indoor trees, support the blog at no additional charge to you through the links below.​

Black Mission Fig

Link to plant coming soon.

Haas Avocado

Link to plant coming soon.

Cold-Hearty Avocado

Link to plant coming soon.

Meyer Lemon

Link to plant coming soon.

Key Lime

Link to plant coming soon.

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