By Zac B. Sarian
POMELO AND OTHER CITRUS – The pomelo and other citrus varieties are highly suitable for growing in containers. At left is a Nam Roi pomelo, a white variety from Vietnam which produces sweet and juicy fruits. Opther pomelo varieties are Magallanes, Dah Xanh, Milo Mas, Thailand and others. At right is a Key Lime which is another favorite of chefs in their food and juice preparations.
BALIMBING & GREEN MAKOPA – Even a medium-size rubberized container can be used in growing the sweet balimbing and the green makopa from Thailand. Of course the green makopa will grow bigger and produce more fruits when grown in a bigger container.
MAPINO CHICO – This is a superior selection by UP Los Baños. It produces fruits that weigh 120 grams or more and the flesh is very fine-textured that is why it was named ‘Mapino.’ It is best grown in a bigger container. The height can be regulated by judicious pruning.
VARIEGATED ORANGE – This is a pretty citrus variety. It produces leaves and fruits that are variegated yellow and green. The fruit is also juicy and sweet. Grafted planting materials can be used but marcotted ones will produce fruits earlier. It should be placed in a sunny location, well fertilized and regularly watered.
BIG CLUSTER – One characteristic of some imported makopa varieties is that they produce big clusters of fruits. If you want the fruits to become big, fleshy and jujicy, remove most of the fruits. Just retain one or two so they will grow big. Keep the plant well-fertilized and regularly watered. Applying foliar organic fertilizer every 10 days or so will keep the fruit tree in good health.
APPLE MAKOPA – This is best known as Apple makopa from Malaysia because of its big maroon fruits that are fleshy. This variety can be grown in medium as well as big rubberized containers. What is important is to provide a rich growing medium which could be a mixture of processed organic fertilizer, carbonized rice hull and garden soil. Good drainage and regular watering are important. Fertilizing every month with organic or chemical fertilizer will maintain the tree’s good health.
Say you love exotic fruits and you don’t have a big property to grow them. Don’t worry. You can come up with a portable orchard or fruit trees in containers. It’s practical to have right around your house, especially if there is enough sunlight.
And what are the fruits that are suitable for container growing? There are many of them which you would also love to eat.
IMPORTED MAKOPA – There are several varieties that are all nice to eat. There is the green makopa that is very prolific, producing clusters of oblong fruits. To produce big plump fruits, the trick is to remove the extra fruits in the cluster. Just retain one fruit or just two. You will have bigger fruits that are fleshy, juicy and nice to eat.
Other imported makopa varieties include the Apple makopa from Malaysia which is maroon in color. It is a fleshy and sweet variety. Then there is the mini makopa from Indonesia with brilliant red fruits that are small and seedless. There is also the Star Ruby which is the most popular commercial variety in Thailand and Vietnam.
SWEET BALIMBING – There are two varieties of balimbing in the Philippines that are sweet and juicy. Both are very easy to grow in containers. Grafted trees will bear fruit in just one year from planting.
MANY CITRUS VARIETIES – The citrus family is very suitable for container planting. There are several pomelo varieties that will bear fruit in containers. These include the Magallanes pomelo from Davao, two varieties from Vietnam – the white Nam Roi and the red Da Xanh, Milomas from Malaysia, Siamese from Thailand and others.
The variegated orange is another good candidate for container planting. It has variegated leaves and fruits that are attractive. Key Lime is another favorite. And so are the native Dayap, American lemon, Meyer’s lemon and others.
There are also the sweet dalandan, Luz calamansi, Kaffir lime, Biasong lime (a native from the South), Perante orange and more.
CHICOS – There are a number of chico varieties that are good for container planting. These include the variegated chico which produces a lot of small but very sweet fruits; the Mapino chico which is a selection by UP Los Baños with very fine texture; the Pineras, Ponderosa, Yusepeng, Sao Manila, and others.
GUAVAS – There are many varieties of guava that you can grow in your portable orchard. The latest to be introduced is the orange guava from Taiwan which has very attractive orange flesh that is fine-textured and sweet. Another imported variety is the pink guava from Vietnam which can produce big fruits if only one fruit is retained in a cluster. There is also the seedless guava which is usually propagated by marcotting.
OTHER EXOTICS – Other exotic varieties that adapt well to container planting include the Abiu from Brazil which tastes somewhat like the caimito but with less latex. It will bear fruit in four years from planting of seedling plants and they can be maintained at a low height.
The Barbados Cherry is another exotic fruit for growing in containers. Marcotted planting materials will bear fruit in one year. The fruits have sweet-sour taste but agreeable to the taste. It is claimed to be rich in Vitamin C. Grafted mangosteen is also a good candidate for container planting. Being portable, it can be grown under partial shade to protect it from intense sun.
KEY TO SUCCESS – One important factor in order to succeed in container growing of fruit trees is to provide a rich growing medium which could be a mixture of organic fertilizer (preferably the processed type like Durabloom), carbonized rice hull and garden soil. It could be reinforced with chemical fertilizer with micronutrients. Organic foliar fertilizer can also be sprayed on the plants weekly. Provide enough sunshine for best growth of most fruit trees. Also water regularly.