What Are The Best Planters For Trees?

Growing trees in planters is an easy and versatile way of including trees in your landscape design without planting them in the ground. This gives you more flexibility, less maintenance and you don’t have to worry about the tree growing to an unmanageable size.

There are three considerations when selecting planters for trees: size, shape and material.


Any tree can be grown in any pot, as pots merely restrict growth. The smaller the pot, the smaller the tree. A good example of this is a bonsai tree; they aren’t special dwarfing varieties, but trees limited by a small root ball.

Start by looking at the tree you are going to grow. Is it a naturally dwarfing specimen or is it a large specimen tree?

At Primrose, we always list the ultimate height of the tree in the product information and show how it looks at different sizes. You can use this information to find a planter size that is suitable for the tree and how large you’d like the tree to grow. When buying a fruit tree, it's important to look at a tree’s rootstock, as this determines it’s ultimate height.

Tree sizes are listed in litres, which is a measure of volume. The reason we use volume is because planters with the same literage can be different shapes but happily hold the same size tree.

As a general rule you should always buy a pot with a literage larger than the nursery pot to give the rootball room to settle in its new environment Within the table below we’ve broken down this information to help you determine the right size planter for your tree.

The minimum planter size for a small tree Dwarf Conifers, M26 Rootstock, Naturally Dwarfing Trees 40-60L 35-40cm³
The most common planter size for a wide range of trees Fruit Trees, Small Ornamental Trees 140L 52cm³
A larger option if you want the tree to grow to its full potential Specimen Trees 343-1728L

70 - 120cm³


Cubes, Cylinders and Conical planters are ideal for trees as they are structurally stable and unlikely to tip over in the wind. These shapes are also good for growing trees because the surface area of soil is still relatively large; allowing the roots to grow horizontally into the moisture and nutrient rich top layers of soil.


There are a variety of materials to choose from when you are shopping for planters. Terracotta and wood are typically a popular choice among cottage gardens, while zinc and polystone are often found in urban settings, it’s up to you to find what works for you and your garden. While traditional materials differ visually, modern composite materials often come with additional benefits such as having better drainage, being frost proof and being lighter and easier to lift and move around the garden.

Caring For Trees In Planters

Unlike mature trees in the ground, which will have an expanded root system that can tap into various water sources in droughts, trees in containers will need regular watering in dry months and fertilising annually.. The best time to apply mulch and water is in the evenings to prevent unnecessary moisture loss.