Updated February 26, 2022 by Mark Marino
In 2006 nine figs were found in a burned, buried building in the West Bank. They were charred, which preserved them from ordinary decay, and carbon dating placed them at about 11,400 years old. They were mutated figs, missing seeds on the inside that would allow them to propagate without aid from humans.
This means that humans have been growing fruit since before they were cultivating wheat, barley, or even simple herbs. But how can you grow your own fruit? It is an easy answer to say you can get a greenhouse and grow things that way. The harder question is how can you grow fruits indoors of your own home?
Growing fruit indoors can be a laborious task. It requires that you take care of the soil, prunes your plant’s roots, in addition to giving them extra food through fertilizer. Even then, not all fruits grow the same, so you will have an easier time growing certain, beginner fruits than others.
But if you were going to give up because the task was difficult, you would have given up already. If you are truly so determined as to forge on knowing that your fruit will fight against you at almost every step, then you will find that growing fruit indoors is, in the end, perfectly possible. It just takes patience and practice.
What Kind Of Soil Do Fruit Need?
Sadly, you cannot just take soil straight from your garden and use them to grow garden variety fruit in your home. It is too heavy, to begin with, and when packed into a pot it will become too dense for plants to easily grow into. Most importantly, it has an overabundance of micro-bacteria that will cause disease in your fruit.
Instead of normal garden soil, you will need to go buy (or make) some potting mix. This is artificial dirt that is, in short, designed to be “watered down” and enriched with nutrients. It is meant to emulate the diversity of chemicals in your average patch of soil, but without all the drawbacks such as water needs.
What Kind Of Container Do Fruit Need?
If you are not asking yourself this question, then start asking it before you plant anything. The container of a fruit can be just as important as the fruit itself. You need something that is big enough to match your tendency to prune the fruit’s roots. Pruning roots is another obstacle altogether, but just know it is necessary.
Fruit containers will also need a gap at the bottom for drainage, and a dish underneath them to keep this drainage from spilling onto your floor. The pot does not have to be made of any particular material, but it is probably best if it is some kind of plastic so that it is not too fragile for when you remove or replace your fruit.
What Is Root Pruning?
Root pruning is one of the most important parts of growing fruit indoors. As mentioned earlier, fruits spread their roots out far. In fact, their roots will outgrow the confines of just about any container you can put them in. This does not mean growing fruit like this is impossible, nor does it mean you should keep moving containers.
What it means is that you will have to carefully remove the plant, roots and all, and “prune” the roots. This is a process much like the pruning of a bonsai tree. All it entails is cutting off the smaller, weaker parts of the roots, usually the parts that are just beginning to develop at the longest ends of the roots.
This is important because it is the only way to keep the size of a fruit plant’s roots under control. You should try to reduce the size of the roots by one-fourth every month. The biggest issue with root pruning is that you will only know when it is too late to do it once your plant begins dying, so stay proactive with it to be safe.
What Kind Of Fertilizer Do Fruits Need?
There are many kinds of fertilizer, from the miracle grow liquid used on indoor flowers to the home-made, repurposed pasta water used to keep ferns alive. But if you are looking to grow fruit in your home that actually bears the yield of a crop, you will have to get a more intensive fertilizer. This means going store-bought.
The most important thing for a fertilizer you are going to use on fruit is that it contains a high amount of nitrogen. Nitrogen is an important component to helping a plant photosynthesize, which is itself an important part of getting a plant to execute any of the chemical reactions that keep it alive.
Just be warned that these fertilizers will supercharge the growth rate of your plants. This means that while normally you only have to check on the roots every month, it is much safer to check on the growth rate of the roots every two weeks. You might not need to prune them every time, but the growth can sneak up on you.
What Fruits Are The Best For Growing Indoors?
Part of the reason why greenhouses help in the growth of plants so much is that they keep plants warm during the “germination” phase of their growth. This is the point in their growth when the seed is beginning to turn into a plant. Usually, increased heat will help the seed grow the best, and many plants have an idea of temperature.
Some plants, however, have a higher ideal germination temperature than others. Corn and wheat, for instance, have incredibly high germination temperatures. It would be uncomfortable to grow these things in your house for this reason. Those temperatures are also far higher than the germination temperatures of most fruits.
The fruits with the best germination temperatures for your home are tomatoes and strawberries. These favor lower germination temperatures but can absolutely survive in a normal room temperature environment.
Just so long as you have good potting, healthy fertilizer, and the time and energy to prune them, your fruits will come along fine in the safety of your home. Just be sure to feed them, water them, and give them light.