Granny Mouse Planting Fruit Trees

Granny Mouse - Planting Fruit Trees
Granny Mouse - Planting Fruit Trees


Granny Mouse Planting Fruit Trees

Granny Mouse Country House & Spa, with its distinctive “home-away-from-home” feel and serene, picturesque location along the Lions River, is known for its beautiful garden setting. General Manager, Sean Granger, says that many guests tell them that on returning home they feel inspired to begin transforming their own gardens.

“Food gardens are a burgeoning and worthwhile trend” says Sean, “but not everyone has the time, budget or suitable property to establish an orchard, and growing tunnels can be unsightly in an urban setting”.

Here are some great ideas that don’t require huge outlay or space, and which will greatly enhance your exterior and tickle your taste buds.

If you have a small garden, no garden, or a nice garden but tend to move a lot, you might have always avoided growing fruit. Well, if you think outside the box, you can grow fruit in one.

Cherry Trees

Beautiful blossoms and delicate fruit, the cherry tree makes a good argument for itself. It is also one of the fruit trees that can do exceptionally well in a container, provided that you deliver on certain criteria.

Because it is a tree, you will need a large container – get the biggest one you can afford in terms of both money and space, but make sure it is at least 60cm deep and 45cm wide. Cherries prefer a sandier soil medium, so keep that in mind when planting. The trees also have a shallow root system, so they will need to be watered often. Mulching the surface of the soil will also help to keep them happy and healthy.

Feed cherries in pots regularly with a fruit-specific fertiliser.

Cherries need sun as well as quite specific conditions to thrive:

warm, but not hot, summers and cold winters, but with no frost! The climates of the eastern Free State and the Ceres area of the Western Cape suit them perfectly, but they can be grown elsewhere if you are prepared to mollycoddle them. In areas where the sun is too strong during winter, such as the Highveld, you will need to shade them with a 50% shade cloth, and keep them safe from frost too.

Most of the cherry varieties available locally are sweet cherries like ‘Giant Heidelfinger’, ‘Early Red’ and ‘Bing’, which are usually eaten fresh. You do also get sour cherries, which are better for cooking.

When harvesting, pick your cherries when they are completely ripe as they don’t ripen after picking.


We say orange, but you could just as easily grow a lemon tree in a container – some cooks find lemons more useful than oranges. Citrus trees do well in containers and in SA you don’t need to go to those

lengths: a nice big pot with a well-draining potting mix is a good start. Add a slow-release fertiliser for flowers and fruit and you’re good to go. Feed orange trees every four months or so after planting, and water well twice a week. Position in full sun, and protect from frost in winter by covering with frost guard or moving the container into a sheltered position.


Plum trees ask very little of you in return for a heavy crop of sweet and delicious fruit. When potting up a plum tree, add some sand or perlite to the potting medium for better drainage. Full sun, regular watering, a good-quality potting soil and regular fertilising with a slow-release fertiliser will make for a happy plum tree. Protect the early spring blossoms by either sheltering the tree with frost-guard fabric or moving the container into a warmer place on really cold days.

As with cherries, ensure that your single plum tree is a self-pollinating variety or get two plants. Popular varieties in South Africa are ‘Pioneer’, ‘Santa Rosa’ and ‘Harry Pickstone’ (all

self-pollinating) and ‘Fortuna’, ‘Sapphire’, ‘Sun Kiss’, ‘Purple Majesty’, ‘Sun Gold’ and ‘Laetitia’ (cross-pollinating). The fruit will be ready for harvest in mid to late summer.

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