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How To Grow Nectarine Tree, Growing Nectarines In Containers

Find the complete details on how to grow nectarine tree in containers and garden bed. The nectarine tree (Prunus persica var. nucipersica.) is a deciduous  tree which belongs to the peach tree family. They can grow to 25 feet high and wide, but grafted and dwarf varieties grow up to 12 feet.

Nectarines can be grown in containers like any other fruit trees, however, a dwarf nectarine tree is most suitable for growing in a pot. The advantage of growing a nectarine tree in containers is that you can move the tree in winter in a covered location. Good dwarf nectarine varieties are Southern Belle Dwarf Nectarine, Nectar Babe, Necta Zee and Dwarf Tuscany.
Nectarines on Tree
Nectarine Tree

Growing a Nectarine Tree

You can grow a nectarine trees from seeds (pits, stones) (how to grow nectarine tree from seed) and cuttings as I have grown them in Sydney, Australia. Which ever way you grow your nectarine tree, you need to take proper care for your nectarine tree regarding, soil, pruning, fertilization and diseases.

Position: Where To Grow a Nectarine Tree

  1. Nectarines thrive in climates with hot summers.. Nectarines ideally grow well in full sun, about 6 hours of direct sunlight. In USA, nectarines grows best in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 9.
  2. Nectarine trees need protection from strong winds.
  3. You can grow nectarine trees with proper care even if you get less light.
  4. Sun light reduces the chances of getting any disease  on your nectarine tree
  5. Full sun produces high quality fruit.
  6. The nectarine fruit set and quality depends on a cold dormancy period with temperatures below 7°C (45°F) for several days, about 600 to 900 chill hours.

Soil For Growing Nectarine Tree

Nectarine tree needs well-drained soil, cannot tolerate waterlogged soils, even for short periods. For this dig the soil to about 3 feet depth and mix some river sand to make it free-draining, also prepare a raised bed. Add compost or cow manure to make the soil nutrition rich.


Watering: How To Water Nectarine Tree

The question is how often should you water your nectarine tree?
  1. Give enough water to soak the ground all around the roots, but do not water too much. 
  2. Water every 10 days if your nectarine tree is growing in ground or water when the top one inch soil get dry if your nectarine tree growing in a container.

Fertilizer For Nectarine Trees

  1. Feed your nectarine tree in autumn and late summer.
  2. Feed young nectarine tree with an organic-based fertiliser suitable for citrus trees.
  3. Nitrogen is the most important nutrient to promote green vegetative growth when the tree is young before your nectarine tree reaches its fruit-bearing years. You can use composted cow manure or compost.
  4. I feed a water-soluble fertilizer like Powerfeed every 2 weeks during the growing months.
  5. The signs of nutrient deficiency in nectarine trees may result pale coloured or yellow shrunken leaves and spots on leaves.


Pruning: How To Prune Nectarine Tree

A nectarine tree can grow to a height of 25 feet high, if not pruned. Pruning keeps a nectarine tree small. Pruning also makes the tree denser and bushy. It is important to prune your nectarine tree every year. Apply latex paint on the cut to prevent any disease and infection.

When to Prune Nectarine Tree

Prune your nectarine tree in winter when the tree is dormant or after you harvest the fruits in summer. Pruning will encourage new growth.

How to Prune a Nectarine Tree

  1. Young trees should be pruned quite heavily during the first three years to encourage more vegetative growth. Prune so that the plant has a trunk and two branches in a Y shape.
  2. Pruning horizontal branches encourages fruit growth. Leave smaller horizontal branches for fruiting growth, but prune longer ones prevent short-term fruiting. Prune any horizontal branch which is going down at the point where it goes down.
  3. Pruning vertical branch will encourage vegetative growth. 
  4. Pruning of nectarine tree should be done to train the tree to have an open centre, with one main trunk and branches so as to receive maximum sun light inside the canopy.
  5. Remove dead branches.
  6. Remove suckers that grow from the soil near the trunk base to prevent nutrients and water.

Nectarine Pests and Diseases

  1. Common pests on nectarine tree are aphids, frit fly, beetles, mites, scale, thrips, borer, etc.
  2. These can cause leaf curl, brown spots on leaves and blossoms, wilted leaves, fungus problems, etc. 
  3. Brown spots on nectarine leaves and blooms are due to blossom blight, which becomes active in wet season.
  4. Tips For Controlling Nectarine Pests
  5. Nectarine Leaf Curl Treatment
  6. Remove all the affected leaves and also removed the fallen leaves from under the tree and destroy. Do not put these diseased leaves in your compost pile.
  7. Leaf curl is caused by fungus Taphrina deformans. Spray copper oxychloride or lime sulphur in alternate years to control leaf curl and other fungus problems. Spray first in late autumn when the tree drops its leaves and again when the buds swell or open in late winter or early spring.

Nectarine Flowers and Fruits

  1. Nectarine tree start to bear fruits in 3 to 5 years after planting. The nectarine trees produces fruits every year for about 12 years,.
  2. The nectarine fruit takes 3 to 5 months to be ready for harvest after the flowers are pollinated, from mid to late summer.
  3. Nectarines are self-pollinating, so other tree in not need for pollination. However, it can cross-pollinate with other nectarine trees in the area.
  4. Nectarines continue to ripen after picking from the tree. Keep them in the fridge to slow down the ripening process. Fully ripe fruits are very sweet.
  5. To make nectarines bigger, thin out the fruit on the tree after fruit set, so that the nectarines you leave on the tree can grow to their full size. 
  6. If your nectarine tree is not fruiting, the reason may be the lack chill hours the tree needs. If your climate does not have enough cold days, then your tree may not get the needed 600-900 chill hours. You may look for low-chill nectarine varieties.

How To Care Nectarine Tree in Winter

  1. Nectarine trees will drop its leaves in winter as they are are deciduous.
  2. Choose a nectarine variety that grows well in your area, talk to your local garden shop.
  3. Move the pot indoors or in car garage if frost or snow is expected.


Growing Nectarine in Containers: Care For a Potted Nectarine Plant

You can grow nectarines even if you live in an apartment, Yes, you can grow nectarine tree in a pot in your balcony, patio or terrace, provided you care for your potted nectarine as mentioned below:
Nectarine Tree Growing in a Pot
Nectarine Tree Growing in a Pot
If you are growing nectarine in a container, then you need to consider following things in order to succeed.
  1. The container size is important. The ideal pot size is between 55 to 75 litres (about 15 and 20 gallons). However, you can start with a smaller pot and later on transfer the plant in a larger one as the plant grows.
  2. Use a well-draining nutrition rich soil. Standing water will rot the roots, that may kill the plant. You need to change the soil in 2-3 years to add nutrition.
  3. Place the pot in full sun, at least six hours.
  4. Water the potted plant when the top one inch soil gets dry. 
  5. Mix cow manure in the soil in late winter. Give a liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks in the growing season.
  6. Prune the potted nectarine plant to create a V-like open shape. 
  7. Keep an eye on the insects and fungal disease.
  8. Move the plant under cover if there is a chance of frost or snow.


Nectarine Tree Problems

  1. Leaves on nectarine tree turning yellow and falling: Yellowing of nectarine leaves may be due to either fertilizer deficiency or a fungus problem.
  2. Leaves on nectarine tree curling: Curling of nectarine leaves is due to infection from fungus Taphrina deformans.
  3. No Fruits on nectarine tree: The reason for no fruits on a nectarine tree may be the lack of cold temperatures for the needed amount of time (chill hours) to develop fruit. You may plant a low-chill nectarine variety.

Video on Grow Nectarine Tree from Seed


Grow Nectarine tree from seeds video