By: Mary Ellen Ellis
Growing peaches in the home garden can be a real treat, but not everyone has space for a full-sized fruit tree. This pint-sized peach usually grows no taller than 5 or 6 feet (1.5-2 m.). And it will provide you with a truly tasty peach.
When it comes to growing a compact peach, Honey Babe is about the best you can do. This dwarf tree is typically only five feet (1.5 m.) tall and no wider. You can even grow this peach tree in a container on a patio or porch, as long as there is enough sunlight and you provide larger containers as it grows.
This is a firm, freestone peach with yellow-orange flesh. The flavor is of the highest quality so that you can enjoy Honey Babe peaches fresh, right off the tree. They will be ready to pick in July in most regions, but there is some variation depending on your location and climate. In addition to fresh eating, you can use these peaches in cooking, baking, and for preserves or canning.
Growing a Honey Babe peach tree is not difficult, but you do need to take some early steps to ensure it will thrive. Find a spot for it that will provide full sun and amend the soil if yours is not very rich. Make sure the soil will drain and that your tree won’t suffer from standing water.
Water your peach tree regularly in the first growing season, and only as needed after that. You can use fertilizer once a year if desired, but if you have good, rich soil it isn’t strictly necessary. Honey Babe is self-fertile, but you will get more fruit if you have another peach variety nearby to help with pollination.
Pruning of the Honey Babe tree is important if you want to keep it looking like a tree. Without regular trimming, it will grow more like a shrub. Pruning once or twice a year will also keep your tree healthy and productive, preventing disease and providing you with year after year of delicious peaches.
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So you want to grow a Peach Tree, but the lack of garden space prevents you from doing so. Why not grow indoors? Lots of fruit trees can be grown indoors and there are times when they even do better indoors than when grown outside. How about peaches, can they be grown indoors/containers? As a matter of fact yes they can! Actually growing peach tree indoors is an ideal growing method. They bloom as early as March, so indoor peaches are protected from sudden frost and winds. Here are some things to consider.
There are many types of peaches. When planning to grow peach tree indoors, opt for the dwarf varieties, since they can be kept at a very manageable size (6 feet and below) depending on the size of the container. Dwarf peach trees still produce full-size sweet peach fruits and bear enough fruits to make it worth your while.
You can choose among the many dwarf varieties. Among them are the ‘Bonanza’ ‘Peregrine’ ‘Elberta’ ‘Parade’ ‘Golden Glory’ ‘Pix-Zee’ ‘Honey Babe’.
Consider dwarf varieties that are self-pollinating especially if you only have enough room for one peach tree.
Although climate won’t affect indoor trees much, it is still better to choose a peach variety that is best suited to your local climate. In general, peaches need 300 to 400+ chill hours. So if you live in a warm area choose a low-chill variety.
Peach trees love the sun and need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. The more the sun the faster and healthier they can grow, however, your tree can still grow healthy with as little as 4 hours of direct sunlight a day. Should you find your location needs more sunlight, you could always use plant grow lights.
Container and soil
Peach trees grown in five-gallon pots usually grow to about five to six feet. Of course, smaller pots would limit the growth of the tree, which is not bad if you plan to grow them indoors with little space available.
Make sure your container has ample drainage holes to drain excess water. Adding a layer of gravel at the bottom will also improve drainage.
Use loam-based soil as it holds more nutrients, which is especially helpful for container-grown plants. Adding a good mix of organic material like manure, sphagnum, and even fallen leaves into your compost will help the tree grow healthier.
Water and Fertilizers
You need to water container-grown trees more often than those grown in a garden as the soil in the container tends to dry out faster. Water whenever the soil dries out, which could be every day during summer months and probably every five days or so during colder months. Water deeply until water flows from the drainage holes. Bare root trees do not need to be watered as often.
Peach trees planted in containers also need more fertilizers than those planted in the ground. Feed the tree every couple of weeks during growth season use a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus as this type of fertilizer encourages flower and fruit production.
Growing fruit trees indoors is easier than most people think, and only takes proper planning and knowledge. So the next time you think of having a wonderful ornamental addition to your indoor setting, remember that indoor fruits trees add life, freshness, color, and fragrance to your indoor settings.
Honey babe (Prunis persica) is a genetically dwarfed peach tree that grows up to 5 feet in height. The tree is well suited for growing in smallish landscapes or as a patio fruiting tree. The honey babe tree blooms in late spring with fragrant, pink flowers and produces large, sweet peaches ready for harvesting in late July. This slow-grower is well adapted for USDA planting zones 6 through 8. Trees are self-pollinating, so a second tree is not required for fruit production. Honey babe tolerates a wide variety of well-draining soils and prefers growing in full sun with average water requirements. Trees usually start producing peaches when they are approximately 3 years old.