The ficus carica “Petite Negra” fig tree will start producing fruit relatively quickly (usually when it’s still less than a foot tall). As a dwarf plant, it only gets to about 4-6 feet tall at most (the size of the pot you put it in will determine how large it eventually grows), and the figs it produces will be a rich purple color, and delicious. It’s an easy plant to care for, as it’s naturally pest-resistant and drought-tolerant, so forgetting to water it for a few days won’t kill it. An alternative variant is the “Brown Turkey” fig tree, though you may have to aggressively prune to keep it from taking over your space. Misting either variety regularly is a good idea, as figs typically thrive in humid climates.
Dwarf versions of most citrus plants will grow well indoors—the challenge isn’t getting them to grow, but rather to produce fruits. You’ll have your best luck with calamondin oranges (citrofortunella mitis), Meyer lemons, and Key Limes, all dwarf varieties that tolerate the indoors really well. Keep in mind that while calamondin oranges grow best indoors, they’re not particularly sweet fruits—though they can be used in a wide variety of recipes, so all is not lost. Citrus in general like humid conditions, so mist them regularly unless you want to turn your house into a moldy jungle. They also need a lot of sunlight, so position their pots someplace where they’ll get exposure all day long.
Dwarf Moorpark apricots are easy to grow indoors. Like a lot of “pit” or “stone” fruit trees, you can grow one from the pit, but if you do you can expect to wait a few years to get actual fruit from it. A better idea is to buy a young tree and simply transplant it to a pot. Moorparks need to be pruned regularly or they will get too big—but even when pruned they will reach about six feet high, so make sure you have the room. Keep the soil damp and make sure it gets a lot of sunlight; a tree that’s two years or older should begin fruiting within the first year.
e careful when selecting a banana tree variety, as many will grow well indoors but not all of them produce fruit you can eat—so if a sweet snack is your endgame, choose the dwarf Cavendish variety. These banana trees are easy to grow and will produce bananas within a year or two if grown from seed—buying a mature plant will skip that part. Banana trees like a lot of water—like, a *lot—*so you need to water regularly and thoroughly, but you also need to let the soil dry out between waterings, so don’t overdo it. They also like a bit of misting since they’re tropical plants. You’ll want to place your tree in a spot that gets a lot of sun, too.
Dwarf Mulberry trees can be “trained” to be more like bushes or hedges, making them a good choice for indoor growing. As with all these fruits, look for dwarf varieties—the Everbearing Mulberry and the Issai Mulberry are good choices that won’t get too large. Both require aggressive pruning, however—left to its own devices, for example, the Everbearing variety can get to be 15 feet tall—so be prepared to stay on top of that. Make sure they get a lot of sun, and water them regularly at first. When they’re established you can slack off on the watering and they won’t mind a bit.
Yes, olives are a fruit. The sweet/savory divide has muddied the waters on the fruit versus vegetable debate, but olives are a stone fruit just like a cherry. Many olive tree varieties won’t fruit at all, however, so if you want to harvest your own olives you’ll need to look for the right sort. The French Picholine is a great choice, easy to care for and producing a lot of fruit. The great thing about olive trees is that they are virtually unkillable. They don’t need much water, and as long as they get a few hours of sun every day they will be fine (they tend to “rest” during the winter months, so don’t be alarmed if your tree seems to droop a bit during the cold weather).
Yes, coffee is a fruit—the beans we roast and grind to make our life-saving Go Go Juice is the stone of the coffee cherry, actually. And you can actually grow coffee indoors and make coffee from it—assuming you are able to go through the process of skinning, soaking, drying, roasting, and grinding your beans once harvested (there’s a reason most people just stumble to the local coffee shop or Keurig machine). The coffea arabica plant is easy to grow (just avoid direct sunlight, which can burn the leaves) and will produce fruit within the first year, along with pretty white flowers and a beautiful fragrance.
Beautiful red pomegranates are a great choice for an indoor fruit tree. The dwarf variety called punica granatum ‘Nana’ is the ideal choice here. It’s basically a miniature pomegranate tree that produces tiny, somewhat sour pomegranates. These fruits aren’t ideal for eating—though they are edible—but they’re beautiful to look at, and easy to grow as long as you give them full sunlight and regular watering until well-established. Another dwarf variety to consider is the “Wonderful” cultivar, which produces sweet, delicious, nearly full-size fruit. This variant grows quite large outside (15-20 feet tall), but can be kept compact indoors with a bit of effort and pruning.
Kumquats are citrus plants, but they’re generally easier to grow than lemons or oranges and several varieties are more or less designed for container living. If you want a kumquat similar to what you find in the grocery store, grow a “Nagami” variant, which will give you small, olive-sized fruits. If you want larger fruit, choose a “Meiwa” variety. But you won’t go far wrong with any kumquat tree—when grown in a container they won’t get too large, and all they need is a lot of sunlight and moderate watering.
These are sometimes called Cape Gooseberries, and they aren’t at all like the standard cherries you think of when you hear the name—in fact, they’re more closely related to peppers. The taste is actually kind of hard to describe—not bad at all, but unique. Ground cherries actually do well when started from seeds, for a change—give them full sunlight and moderate watering and you’ll soon have a large-leafed plant that will gift you plenty of delicious fruit. These plants are annuals, so you’ll need to replant every year if you want more.
If you want an indoor fruit tree that doubles as a party trick, grow synsepalum dulcificum, aka Miracle Berries. The party trick is that after you eat some Miracle Berries anything you eat afterward will taste sweet, no matter hour sour or bitter the food actually is. The effects last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, so be careful, as mis-timing your snacking could ruin your next meal. They grow easily indoors; all they need is lots of indirect sunlight and plenty of misting, as they thrive in humidity. If your plant looks a bit wan, you can wrap it in clear plastic for a bit to raise its humidity levels.
Avocados will sprout from their pits if you follow the “toothpick in a glass” technique—but there’s a caveat: Avocado plants grown from pits almost never fruit. In other words, you’ll get a nice, healthy plant, but take forever before it gives you a single avocado. Your best bet is to get a starter plant. The “Day” variety is the easiest type of avocado to fruit in a pot, so look for one of those from a local nursery or garden section. It still may take some time before you get an avocado or two, but it will happen a lot faster than if you start from the pit.