So you’ve bought yourself some indoor fruit trees to grow fresh, wonderful fruit, now what do you do? Well, let’s go over tree life cycles for common indoor trees! 

Hello again! Yes, y’all have been waiting for another plant post, and now I’m delivering! I’m sure it has not escaped any of our awesome readers that I have an obsession with plants. I mean, I did write a post on indoor fruit trees! I do hope you all liked that one; it was one of my favorites to research and write. One thing I realized I should go over is what to do now.

You’ve just bought a tiny little tree seedling to grow your own fruit. So, what now? How big does it need to grow before it fruits? How often will it produce fruit? When is it dormant? And finally, how long do I need to wait before I start getting yummy, fresh produce? Never fear, I’m going to answer all of those questions on the fruit trees I talked about in my tree post, and I may add in a couple more trees I’m thinking about getting myself. So, brace yourselves for a lot of awesome information on fruit bearing trees! How exciting is that? Are you ready? Let’s talk fruit tree care, people!

Pomegranate

Tree Life Cycles Fruiting Indoor Pomegranate Tree Blue Planter on Table

Via Living Room Gardener

Pomegranate trees are super cool. My dad has one planted in his front yard, and it makes these tiny little poms. It’s about 8-10 years old now, I think. We planted the seedling when I was like a sophomore in high school. Pomegranates can be large fruit trees, but remember; you can buy dwarf varieties and keep them small.

It can take a pomegranate tree several years to reach full maturity, depending on the variety. Dwarf Poms don’t take as long, usually around 3 years, to mature enough to start producing fruit. They need to be about 2-3 feet tall, and have a trunk sturdy enough for fruit. Once your growing tree reaches maturity, you’ll start seeing flowers in the late summer. They’ll flower and produce fruit for about 7 months after the first flowers show up that season. After that, they’re dormant until the late spring when they start waking up and producing flowers in the summer. You’ll have a higher chance of producing more fruit from trees if you can cross pollinate your pom with another tree. You’ll have to have your tree somewhere where it can be reached by pollinating insects, or you can do it yourself. When you have small trees, it’s easy to manage.

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Apple

Tree Life Cycles Fruiting Apple Tree with Ripe Apples on Patio Plants Terracotta Pots

Via Fast Growing Trees

One thing I forgot to mention about dwarf apple trees in my previous post is that you might need to look into a tree that has been grafted, or graft it yourself. They tend to produce better fruit, and you can even graft several varieties onto one tree. Apples are also dormant in the winter, as the trend is with plants. I’ll continue to mention it, but it’s best to prune when plants are dormant, since the growing season is over.

My friend who bought a dwarf apple tree was freaking out when she came home from being gone for a weekend and there were blooms everywhere on her tiny tree. Dwarf trees that are specified to keep small will start to flower in late spring or early summer when they’re about 3 feet tall. If you are lucky, your mature apple tree will be ready to fruit in about 1-2 years, but expect it to take a little longer. You’ll see lots of little white blooms that will take several weeks to form into apples, but hey, you’re growing apples! Depending on the variety of apple you have, you’ll have different stages of when they’ll be ready to pick. Your apple tree in a pot will produce fruit through the fall, and be dormant in the winter until it wakes back up in the spring.

Lemon

Tree Life Cycles Fruiting Indoor Lemon Tree with Ripening Lemons

Via Martha Stewart

I’m actually attempting to grow a lemon tree from seeds right now, and I have these itty bitty little shoots forming. We’ll see if they actually make it. But, lemon trees are fun. You can put lemon trees in pots and they grow very well. And really fast, and will start producing fruit quicker than most other citrus because they get taller faster. It’s neat how that works out. In the cool months, it will start what is called bud induction, which is a stage that will determine the number of buds the tree will produce. Once the weather starts to warm up in the spring, you’ll start to see buds form. At this time, make sure the tree gets lots of water to encourage juicy lemons! Just be careful not to over water, and drown your growing fruit trees. That would be sad. The key is to keep the soil damp, but not muddy and water logged. That will keep your fruit tree growing nicely. In late spring, you’ll start to see lemons forming. In a couple weeks, you’ll have nice, ripe lemons to pick! You should have lemons all summer.

Do you want to know another cool thing about lemons? If your tree is kept in a warm climate, it will not go dormant. It will continue the fruiting cycle as if there was no winter to be seen. However, if you live in a climate with 4 distinct seasons, your tree will go dormant in the cold months, and restart when it begins to warm up.

Lime

Tree Life Cycles Indoor Lime Tree with Fresh Picked Limes

Via

Lime trees are a little finicky. They’ll start to drop their leaves if not watered enough, so you’ll be able to quickly figure out if they need more water. And, they like to be warm, so don’t let them be in temperatures less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit or they will not be happy plants. This is why they make good indoor container fruit trees, as you can keep them at the temperatures they like!

Again, they will need to grow to about 2-3 feet or be about 1-2 years old before limes will produce. If you went with the popular key lime, you’ll have two harvest seasons! One in May-June and the other in November-December. Since they don’t like the cold, they can stay in a continual growing cycle, going straight from fruiting to blooming and back. In the month after the harvest season, they’ll be at their most dormant, so this is when you can prune back if need be. They’ll either start blooming in early spring or late summer, depending on the harvest season. You’ll have small clusters of pretty flowers for a few weeks, and limes will start to form.

Lime picking can be tricky because fully ripe limes are actually yellow and bitter! You want to pick your limes when they are smooth to the touch and a little squishy. This means they are super juicy! Limes will not ripen any further once picked, so it’s best to leave them on the fruit tree until you need them. If they start getting wrinkly, they are close to turning yellow, and they should be used as soon as possible. The good thing is, you can easily freeze lime juice, so if you start getting a larger harvest than you can handle, pick off the ones that are ready, juice them, and package and freeze the juice. It’ll last about a year in the freezer, and then you have juice any time you want!

Orange

Tree Life Cycles Indoor Orange Tree with Ripening Oranges

Via

Orange citrus trees are one of those plants that have a very vague growing cycle because it all depends on the variety. Luckily, there’s a pretty typical one that I can describe that most varieties follow in a rough sort of way. When the tree is about 3 feet tall, it will start producing white buds that are self-pollinating and very, very fragrant several times between early spring and fall. The tree will shed blooms it doesn’t like so it uses its energy wisely to produce fruit. Tiny oranges will start to form, and some of those will be shed as well to make better oranges from the leftover growing fruit. See? Smart plant.

Depending on the variety, you could have fresh oranges in 5 months, or within 18 months. It all depends on how long you want to wait, and how sweet you want your oranges. After they grow to orange-size, in the 5 month period, they stop getting bigger and just get sweeter. They will continue to get sweeter until you pick them, and that’s it. They do not continue to ripen off the tree. So, for sweeter oranges, leave them on as long as you and your tree can stand.

Help your plant out by making sure it gets 6 hours of sun and lots of water, so it can produce better fruit and grow larger. As the tree grows, you get more fruit, and it staggers out the growth of the oranges throughout the growing period. Like I keep saying, this is a smart plant! There really isn’t a dormant period for these trees, since it can have fruit on it all year, but the winter months will be slower than the spring and summer.

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Mulberry

Tree Life Cycles Fruiting Mulberry Tree with Mulberries of Various Stages of Ripeness

Via

I bought my dad and I mulberry trees in the spring. Well, my cute little mulberry tree is already getting huge! One of his branches is the size of my forearm, and it’s adorable. Mulberry trees, if you remember, can get very big, or you can keep them smaller if you keep the fruit trees in pots. The ones we had when I was a child were probably 15-20 feet tall. They looked HUMONGOUS to tiny little me! But, I plan on keeping my new mulberry tree in more of the 3-4 foot range, which is coincidentally when they will start producing fruit!

It’s best to prune these plants in the fall and winter, and you can take those cuttings and make more tiny trees! That being said, keeping the tree small will, of course, limit the amount of fruit produced. Mulberries flower in the early spring, and start fruiting in late spring until the end of summer. The cool thing about these trees? They literally flower and fruit repeatedly until the growing season is over. The fruit starts growing a whitish color, and darkens to the colors seen above. The dark purple ones? Those are the best, and are perfectly ripe. The almost black ones look a bit overripe to me, but they’ll still taste good. Mulberry trees are dormant in the winter, especially if it gets really cold where you are. Be careful about freezing temperatures with this plant, because we are about 97.2% sure that’s why the ones back home never produced fruit again after we had a freak snow day.

Blueberry

Tree Life Cycles Fruiting Blueberry Bush with Ripe Blueberries

Via

Blueberry bushes come in many varieties, and depending on which variety you get, you could have blueberries in May or in September. That being said, they all pretty much have the same stages of growth, and all start fruiting when they are around 2 feet in diameter. First, you’ll start to see little nubs form, where blossoms will grow. Within a few weeks, very pretty and tiny white flowers form. You’ll see these flowers in early to mid-spring, depending on your variety. There are actually many flower bud stages, which are described in wonderful detail (with pictures!) here. The petals will fall off, leaving a small green fruit. Those are your blueberries!

They take a couple weeks to turn blue, but don’t get excited and start picking them just yet. Blueberries will fall into your hands with little resistance when they are perfectly ripe! Not all the blueberries on the plant will be ready at once, as you can see above. You’ll actually get several pickings per plant! Blueberries are dormant in the winter months, and this is the best time to prune them or take cuttings for more fruit plants.

Blackberry

Tree Life Cycles Fruiting Blackberry Bush with Blackberries of Various Ripeness

Via

One cool thing I learned about blackberries is they have two canes. The first cane that comes up (the primocane) will grow until it’s about 2 feet tall and fruit for one season and produce a second cane called floricane, which will produce the rest of the fruit. After every season, be sure to cut off any cane that is two years old to keep the plant healthy.

Now, to fruiting! You’ll get gorgeous light pink flowers in the spring that will ripen into blackberries in the summer months. To keep your fruit ripening properly, when the bush starts producing vines, give them something to wrap onto to keep air circulating through the berries. Depending on the variety, you can get up to two crops per plant, one in the fall on the primocanes, and one in the summer on the floricanes. Neat, huh? The berries will be ripe when they are a rich, deep purple color and will come off the plant with very little resistance. Blackberry plants are dormant in the winter months, and that’s the best time to prune them or take cuttings.

Raspberry

Tree Life Cycles Fruiting Raspberry Bush with Ripe Raspberries

Via The Naptime Chef

My raspberry bush this season created about 20 berries, but they were delicious! I’m pretty sure I got an ever-bearing variety, but we will see in the fall! Ever-bearing varieties have 2 fruiting seasons, one in the summer, and one in the fall. Summer-bearing varieties have fruit only in the summer. They both start producing fruit when they are about 2 feet tall. In the early summer, for both varieties, you’ll start seeing these cute little fuzzy looking flowers, and those will turn into raspberries! The fuzzy bits are the little hairs that raspberries have, and it’s really neat to watch them grow. Once they start changing colors, they go from green, to white, and finally start turning a nice shade of red. Pick raspberries that fall away from the plant easily. Prune dead leaves and spent flowers frequently to encourage growth. Raspberries can produce fruit for up to 20 years, so keep those plants nice and healthy! Like the other bushes, raspberries are dormant in the winter months, and this is when you prune dead canes that aren’t producing fruit, and when you make cuttings to create more raspberry plants.

Coffee

Tree Life Cycles Arabica Coffee Plant with Ripening Coffee Cherries

Via

Okay, I had to add this one. I recently bought myself an Arabica Coffee Plant and I am super excited about it! I mean, I’ll be able to grow and roast my own coffee soon! That sounds so hipster, but at this point in my life I do not care. I will have my own coffee that I grew myself, and that’s awesome. Fun fact: I said I bought one plant. Oddly enough, when you buy an Arabica coffee plant, you actually get several seedlings all bunched together! More plants! They’ll grow much better when separated, so you’ll want to do that immediately. Don’t worry too much here about hurting them, these trees are very strong and hardy!

This cute waxy leafed plant prefers indirect sunlight, and temperatures between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s perfect for indoors! They need a good watering once a week, too, and keep them in well-draining pots. If you want to be like me and grow your own coffee, you’re going to have to wait a while. Arabica coffee plants don’t start producing fruit until they are 2 years old, and roughly 2-3 feet tall. My little plants are a few months old, and only about 2-5 inches tall, so it’s going to be a while until I have coffee! Once the plant is about 2, it will produce beautiful, jasmine and orange scented blossoms that last for about a month. Oh, I can’t wait for that! After that, the fruiting phase arrives, which lasts 6 months before the plant is dormant until its next flowering season, usually within the year.

The coffee cherry will start out green, and within 2 months, turn to a dark red color. Those are ready to pick! You can pick the cherry, pop the coffee beans from the center, and dry it out for roasting. Hmm, I should do a post on how to roast your coffee beans one day? What do you guys think? Also, the cherry pulp is supposed to be yummy, too, so don’t forget to try it!

If you want more information on the plants from this post, and a few others that I didn’t mention, you should check out this pretty sweet graphic. Who knew you could grow bananas anywhere, not to mention all year long? With this knowledge, I may be adding yet another plant to my collection!

Well, there you have it! A quick overview on the growth cycles of your new fruiting trees! Tell me, who all has a new tree, or now wants one? Is there any other information y’all want to know? Let me know in the comments below! I would love to hear about your trees! Don’t forget to also share this post with your family and friends! And as always, stay creative, my friends!

**Featured image via Key Lime Pie Tree, Martha Stewart and Ambius