Growing Dwarf Cherry Trees – In Pots, Farming, Care

Introduction to Growing Dwarf Cherry Trees

Cherry trees produce huge bounties of sweet and delicious fruit. Commercial Cherry trees are obtained from cultivars of several species, such as the sweet Prunus avium and the sour Prunus cerasus. Although they are picky about their soil and temperature conditions, both sweet cherries and sour cherries can be grown successfully with proper care. In this article we also discuss the below topics about growing Dwarf Cherry trees;

  • Dwarf Cherry Tree Care
  • How fast do Dwarf Cherry trees grow?
  • How big do Dwarf Cherry trees grow?
  • How much space does a Dwarf Cherry tree need?
  • Do Cherry trees need full sun?
  • Can Dwarf fruit trees grow in containers?
  • How long does it take for a Dwarf Cherry tree to grow?

A Step by Step Guide to Growing Dwarf Cherry Trees

Cherry trees are a sight to behold in the spring season when they’re covered in white or pink blossoms. Although Dwarf Cherry trees can be smaller in size, their fruit is the same size as a regular Cherry tree. Also, they have the advantage of not taking up nearly as much space, making them ideal for a garden or small yard. Dwarf Cherry trees are usually created by grafting tree varieties on the rootstocks of Dwarfs to minimize their size. Dwarf Cherry trees provide the opportunity to grow trees in the average-sized backyard. Generally, Dwarf Cherry trees are only 6 to 8 feet in height.

Guide to Growing Dwarf Cherry Trees
Guide to Growing Dwarf Cherry Trees (Pic source: Pixabay)

Benefits of Growing Dwarf Cherry Trees

There are so Many Benefits of Dwarf Fruit Trees. Here are a few;

  • Safety – Most, if not all of the maintenance the Dwarf tree requires can be performed from the safety of the ground. No need to use ladders to reach the top of the Dwarf tree for harvest or pruning.
  • Can be grown in containers – Dwarf fruit trees do great in containers.
  • Space – Dwarf fruit trees can stay short and narrow. They don’t require much space to grow.
  • Easy care – Tree pruning takes a fraction of the time compared to a full-size tree.
  • It’s also very easy to protect those trees during the winter season. If you end up planting your tree in a container, place the container on wheels and roll it indoors during the winter season.
  • Most fruit trees are available in “Dwarf” form and reaching about 6 feet in size, these can also be grown in large planters with less space between them.

Types of Dwarf Cherry Trees

Dwarf North Star Pie Cherry – This sturdy tree is resistant to diseases. It grows from 8 to 12 feet tall and its light red skin covers a red flesh.

Dwarf Bing Cherry Tree – The Dwarf Bing Cherry tree has a deep red color. The size of its cherries is on the large size and the cherries are known for their good taste. It grows to a height of about 20 feet and it does not need a lot of maintenance. They have red-black skin and firm flesh. The Dwarf Bing Cherry tree has reddish bark, which makes it a good choice as a landscaping tree when contrasted with its green color leaves in the summer. The plant leaves turn colors such as red and orange in the fall. It is not self-fruitful, which means it should be pollinated by another Cherry tree.

Meteor Cherry Tree – The tree is a natural genetic Dwarf that grows to a height of about 8 to 12 feet. Also, it spreads to a similar size. They have a sour taste and are mainly used in juices, jams, jellies, pies, and wines. The Meteor Cherry tree pollinates itself and has attractive dark green color leaves. It produces colorful white flowers in the spring season, followed by red cherries in the middle of the summer. The leaves turn to a bright orange in the fall season. Meteor Cherry tree prefers full sun and soil with good drainage. It is a good choice for attracting birds and it normally lives for about 30 years.

Now, let us get into details of Growing Dwarf Cherry Trees in Pots.

Prepare the Site for Growing Dwarf Cherry Trees

Light and sandy soil types with good depth are best. Select a sunny spot for your Cherry tree (at least 6 hours of direct sun a day). Cherry trees grow well in almost any kind of soil but avoid places where the soil stays soggy for extended periods.

Choose the Right Type of Soil for Growing Dwarf Cherry Trees

The major consideration with container-grown fruit trees is the soil type. The growing medium (potting soil) chosen for a pot can change the amount of water needed for the tree, any good quality commercial potting soil will work fine. Also, for growing dwarf fruit trees, you can make your excellent potting soil by mixing up 1 part sand, 1 part peat moss, and 1 part perlite or vermiculite. Otherwise, care for a potted fruit tree must be the same as for a tree grown in the garden.

Use Quality Pots for Growing Dwarf Cherry Trees

Cheaper is not always better. Select a quality pot if the tree is going to be in it for any length of time. And, avoid cheap plastic pots, which can become faded and dull within a year or two. Drainage holes are necessary. In general, it is best to start Cherry trees in pots that are at least 10 to 16 inches in diameter. Glazed ceramic pots are good choices for growing fruit trees.

Dwarf Rootstock Cherry Trees

Probably the most exciting happening in Cherry-growing history is the introduction of Dwarf rootstock. Unlike many shrubs and perennials, fruit trees are grafted onto another plant’s roots or rootstock. An interesting feature about fruit trees is that the rootstock controls the size of a fruit tree. So if you graft a ‘Rainier’ onto 3 different rootstocks, the resulting trees will grow to 3 different heights. And, other rootstocks will give a tree variety of better disease resistance. Growing a Cherry tree from rootstock is the preferred way because it can take 10 years or more to get the first fruits from a Cherry tree grown from seed.

Conditions Required for Growing Dwarf Cherry Trees

In case if you miss this: Organic Dragon Fruit Farming.

Conditions Required for Growing Dwarf Cherry Trees
Conditions Required for Growing Dwarf Cherry Trees (Image credit: Pixabay)
  • Usually, Cherry trees can grow in the pots and produce quality fruit if care is done properly. These small fruit trees are unable to give fruit if 2 years old branches are not there; it is also important to note that all the varieties cannot thrive in pots. Such Cherry trees need below 7°C and preferable to be grown in a sandy loam mixture of soil. Dwarf sweet Cherry trees than the large ones can give about 10 to 15 quarts each year.
  • Well-drained soil with sunlight can be a considerable source for fruit production. These must be spaced on Dwarfed rootstocks about 5-10 feet apart. The pot size must be big for such trees as across 18 inches. The common rootstocks for cherries can be Colt or Gisela 5.
  • Once established, they need little maintenance and are reliable producers. They are best adapted to locations where summers are moderately cool. The Cherry trees dislike high humidity. Sweet cherries can reach 25 to 30 feet tall in deep soils.
  • Cherry trees start bearing fruit in their 4th year; Dwarf trees bear fruit a year earlier. The dwarf tree will produce about 10 to 15 quarts of cherries each year.
  • Plant Cherry trees in early spring or late fall (when the ground is soft and has higher moisture content) in a sunny site with good air circulation and deep, well-drained soil. Apply mulch and water well. After flowering in a fruiting year, you’ll want to drape trees with wildlife-safe netting to protect the fruit from birds.
  • The Cherry trees require a suitably deep pot or container. A minimum depth of about 60 cm is ideal. Then, the mulch will help retain moisture in the compost.
  • Once the Cherry fruit has appeared, water the tree regularly. Plants with shallow roots are more prone to the risks involved from inadequate watering.
  • Your Cherry trees will appreciate feeding once the fruit has set and use an organic seaweed feed to keep them happy. An all-purpose organic feed is ideal for Cherry trees, but avoid feeds heavily on nitrogen.

Spacing Requirement for Growing Dwarf Cherry Trees

Spacing between trees;

  • Dwarf Sweet, 8-10 feet
  • Dwarf Sour, 8-10 feet

Process of Planting Dwarf Cherry Trees

Step 1) Firstly, plant cherries in the late fall or early spring season (when the ground is soft and has higher moisture content).

Step 2) Planting Cherry trees require well-drained and fertile soil. Cherry trees are susceptible to root rot, so the soil needs to drain well. They also require about 8 hours of sunlight daily, so you cannot plant them where they will grow in the shade of other trees.

Step 3) Any Cherry tree care manual will tell you that Cherry trees are self-pollinators. For sweet Cherry trees, make sure the different varieties will pollinate each other.

Step 4) Plant trees in a sunny site with good air circulation and avoid planting near trees or buildings that shade. Cherry trees need deep, well-drained soil.

Step 5) Make sure when growing Cherry trees that you plant them in higher ground. You don’t want them planted in low-lying areas because these areas get more frost during the early spring season.

Step 6) Space sweet cherries about 35 to 40 feet apart; Dwarf varieties 5 to 10 feet apart. Space tart cherries 20 to 25 feet apart; Dwarf varieties 8 to 10 feet apart. Set Cherry trees on Dwarf rootstock with the graft union several inches above the soil level.

Step 7) When planting fan-trained Cherry trees, construct the necessary supports before planting. Plant fans only 12 to 15 feet apart. Generally, sweet Cherry trees bloom earlier than the sour cherry variety, so they are more susceptible to frost damage. In Cherry tree care, you must remember to have the trees pruned so they produce a good harvest of fruit. Then, properly pruned Cherry trees produce better fruit and in more quantity.

Feed and Water Requirements for Growing Dwarf Cherry Trees

Regular use of a good time-release fertilizer will keep your tree healthy and vital. Be sure not to over-fertilize, and follow label directions exactly. The best fertilizers for Cherry fruit trees are high in nitrogen and include a broad selection of trace minerals.

In hot weather conditions, the water needs are much greater for potted trees; and when watering heavily, you may need to fertilize more frequently because nutrients are washed out of the potting medium. In general, potted growing plants of all types require more frequent watering since the soil dries faster in an exposed container. Also, certain types of containers like clay or terra-cotta pots are porous enough to cause the soil to dry out sooner. The general test for soil moisture is to stick a finger into the soil up the second knuckle and if the soil is dry to that depth, water the plant thoroughly. The potting medium must be moist but never soggy.

After planting a Cherry tree, you’ll need to water it every other day for the first week, 2 to 3 times during the second week, then continue to water the tree every week.

How to Take Care of a Dwarf Cherry Tree            

  • Water young Dwarf Cherry tree until the tree is established. Give an occasional soaking during periods of drought.
  • Control weeds and grass under the Cherry tree with a 3- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch.
  • Fertilize young trees in the early spring season. Fertilize fruiting trees after harvest and apply 2 ounces of a balanced fertilizer for each inch of trunk diameter. A Cherry tree with a 4-inch diameter trunk requires 8 ounces of fertilizer.
  • Prune Cherry trees in late winter during the dormant phase. Shape the Chery tree to develop a main trunk with well-spaced limbs. Remove branches that cross or rub other branches.
  • Young trees growing in windy areas benefit from staking even if they are not Dwarf varieties. Pruning doesn’t vary between Dwarf fruit trees and their larger counterparts when it comes to technique. Though Dwarf fruit trees have less surface area than standard trees, so they require less work to maintain.

Problems in Growing Dwarf Cherry Trees

  • Pear slugs love your Cherry tree too. These are not regular ground-dwelling, yucky, slimy slugs that hide in the shadows and damp areas of your yard.
  • Common Cherry tree problems are rot, spot, and knot diseases. Cherry trees can also get some diseases like blight, canker, and powdery mildew. Root and crown rot diseases result from a fungus-and it infects the tree if the moisture level of the soil is high, like when the tree grows in standing water. Symptoms of rot diseases include slowed plant growth, discolored leaves that wilt quickly in hot weather, dieback, and sudden plant death. If the Cherry tree has a rot disease, there is no cure. Though, root diseases of Cherry trees can generally be prevented by making sure the soil drains well and regulating irrigation.
  • Use netting to prevent bird damage. In humid climates, cherry trees develop problems with fungal diseases such as brown rot. Because cherries ripen early, they have fewer disease problems compared to other fruit trees. Control by swirling a broom head in the nest.

When and How to Harvest Dwarf Cherries

Standard sweet cherries produce fruit in 4 to 7 years after being transplanted into the garden. Dwarf varieties may produce fruit as early as 2 years after transplanting. The tops of grafted trees are already 1 to 2 years old, while the roots maybe 2 to 4 years old. Harvest Dwarf cherries when they are fully ripe. Sour cherries are also known as pie cherries. Sour cherries producing fruit within 3 to 5 years after being transplanted in the garden. Dwarf varieties may produce fruit in 1 to 2 years.


  1. Hi I am health care professional working in an 200 bed Christian charitable hospital ( The Duncan Hospital) in Raxaul, East champaran, Bihar on border to Nepal. I love gardening I am very much inspired by your article on growing dwarfs cherry sweet variety. Kindly help to get few plants of dwraf cherry variety’s.


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