Well we can’t help with the weather or your location, but we can help you recreate that Mediterranean feel in your garden. And we’ll even throw in some lemons for your G&T.

Dwarf fruit trees are fast becoming the latest accessory for those wanting to create their own slice of the Med. Because they grow to less than half the

size of regular fruit trees, they can also be grown in pots – making them perfect for apartment and townhouse dwellers who long for fruit trees, but lack the space.

“New varieties of dwarf fruit trees mean you can grow luscious, fresh fruit even if you’re pushed for room,” says gardening expert, Tod Palenski of Awapuni Nurseries. “They grow faster than their full-sized friends and their fruit is often tastier.”

Plant fruit trees in winter? You bet. Plant now, says Tod, and you’ll reap the benefits come summer. The only question is what fruit to choose.

“For the ultimate Mediterranean look, and a never-ending supply of lemons for your G&Ts, you can’t afford to go past a combination of lemon, olive and fig trees.

“The dark leaves and glossy fruit of a lemon tree contrast beautifully with the duller green and grey of olive and fig trees.

“And in summer the large leaves of the fig trees create a canopy effect, so you can move the pots to wherever you want shade.”

To ensure your fig tree maintains its small dimensions, but still produces plenty of normal sized fruit, Tod recommends buying a grafted plant. A grafted plant will provide support, help the tree grow faster and speed up the time in which it fruits.

For easy growing and self-pollinating fruit trees, Tod recommends cherry guavas and unique feijoas.

“They both taste fantastic, cherry guavas are high in vitamin C, and the unique feijoa tree could end up with more than 30 fruit in the first year.”

If you’re a summer fruit fan and nectarines, apples and peaches are more your kind of thing, try growing baby bear nectarines, ballerina and crab apples and bonanza peaches.

“They provide great tasting fruit, especially for bottling, and will put on a fantastic display of blossoms in either summer or spring.”

Most dwarf trees are self-pollinating, which means they can produce fruit without the help of another tree. But to maximise fruit production it’s better to grow several trees together to encourage cross-pollination, which means more fruit.

So let’s get started.

If you’re planting in pots, use large containers that are 500 to 600 millimetres in diameter and the same in depth. This will create stability in the wind.

“Fill the pot with a good quality potting mix with a slow-release fertiliser to give the trees a good kick start and then plant your tree,” Tod says.

To ensure your trees continue to grow well, Tod recommends giving them a boost of nitrophoska blue every three months.

“The magnesium in the fertiliser will promote nice, green leaves on your citrus trees. But don’t use too much because you might end up with brown tips!”

Tod says another tip for great tasting and juicy fruit is to give the plants plenty of water during summer while the fruit is developing.

He also recommends applying an organic fungicide, such as copper, in summer to prevent curly leaf. And conker oil to combat thrips, spider mites and other pests.

In terms of pruning, not a lot is required in the first four or five years, but Tod says citrus trees will give more fruit in coming years if you remove all the fruit as soon as it appears in the first year.

“Your tree will grow much more in its first year, and produce more fruit in future years, if it’s not spending all its time and energy feeding to grow fruit.”

For colourful and fantastic looking pots all year round, plant annuals and perennials around the base of your fruit trees.

“The vibrant blooms of pansies and polyanthus look wonderful with peach, nectarine and apple trees, especially during winter when the trees may defoliate.”

Awapuni Nurseries has a huge variety of both annuals and perennials available in their revolutionary pop’n’grow range.

The individual root system of pop’n’grow plants means they can be unwrapped, separated and prepared for the soil without disturbing or breaking the roots. All of which makes planting a breeze.

Pop’n’grows are available from supermarkets, The Warehouse, Kmart and Bunnings stores and include a comprehensive range of herbs and vegetables.

“Parsley and coriander make a great combination with citrus fruits in the kitchen and they also look terrific when grown together in pots,” Tod says.

So grab a pot, choose a sunny spot and get started today on your own Mediterranean garden hide-away. You’ll enjoy the fruits of your labour for years to come.


  1. what are the varieties that you have in stock.
    citrus and otherwise.

  2. Sid Marriott on said:

    Dear Sir,could you tell me if it is possible to buy a dwarf plum tree in nz.

  3. Marin on said:

    Do you stock dwarf persimons?

  4. hi marin,

    depending the the quantity you can try Matatoa Tree & shrub centre – try this search in the directory. Otherwise Waimea Nurseries.



  5. I have the same question as Sid Marriott.
    Is it possible to buy dwarf plum in NZ?

  6. Rhoda Knowler on said:

    Hi There
    Just wondering if you could suggest a good lemon tree to grow in a pot in southland NZ. Also how do they handle the frosts/or do we have to shelter them during that time.
    Many thanks

  7. Neil Carson on said:

    Looking for a dwarf satsuma plumb

  8. Daughne Black on said:

    Can I replant an established feijoa tree – if so when is the best time to do this.

  9. Colleen Peterson on said:

    What miniature fruit trees would you suggest we could grow at our kindergarten in Invercargill as we have some enthusiastic preschool gardners.

  10. Hi Colleen,

    When you say minature what do you mean? – how much room have you got? You can plant into tubs or containers – there are dwarf varieties available – see Waimea Nurseries –



  11. Hi hidden in the back of my garden i have found a fig tree (recognisable by the fruit) it is at least 12 feet tall with 4or 5 splayed branches, the fruit is green at the moment and i am not sure what to do, or when the fruit will be ready, and should i prune it after fruiting, and will it get much bigger. Ignorant to the fact of what i purchased 4 or 5 years ago it takes up quite a lot of space in my quarter acre back yard can you help

  12. Susie on said:

    Hello,    I have a very nice dwarft necterine tree that for the second year is full of little friuts.  Last year at this time, when the fruit reached the size of a walnut, all the fruit fell off.  Now, this year it is starting to happen again.  It is getting plenty of water and I have sprayed it with fruit tree spray as recommended. What am I doing wrong, or not doing to save the fruit.  My husband wants to cut the tree down if we do not get any fruit this year.  I planted this  tree five years ago, it was supposed to be two year old stock.  It is about 15 feet tall and looks very nice. I also have two apple trees nearby that set friut and drop it.

  13. Hello, I would plant a peach or if the children do not like the fuzzy skin, like my girls, then a dwarft  necterine tree. You can keep it pruned to the size you like and they are self polinating so you can have just one tree.

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