Apricot is native to Armenia, which is also the reason why it is called Armenian plum. It is a part of the Rosaceae family, similar to garden rose. As a stone fruit, when you slice it into half, you will see a pit or stone. While you can eat the inner seed, it is important to note that it contains cyanide and can lead to poisoning. The leaves, on the other hand, are oblong with a length and diameter of two to four inches. Flowers are light pink. Meanwhile, the fruits are similar to the appearance of peaches. It starts as pale yellow and becomes deep oranges when it is ripe. It takes about two to four years before an apricot will bear fruit.
On average, apricots will have a height of 12 to 15 feet. This is too tall for an indoor plant. Luckily, there are varieties that are smaller, making them the perfect choice for an indoor fruit. One of the best dwarf varieties that you can grow indoors and in containers is Stark Golden Glo. This miniature tree can grow up to six feet and will bear fruit even at an early age. It is also easier to maintain compared to traditional outdoor varieties.
Planting and Growing Conditions
There are two ways by which you can grow apricots in pots. The first is through seeds and the second is through a sapling or re-planting one that already has a root ball. Growing apricot from seeds is common, but take note that it will require a lot of patience. Nonetheless, since apricots favor outdoor environments, if you plan to grow it indoors, ditch the idea of using seeds. The external environment might not be suitable for their initial stages of development.
Start with the preparation of the container that you will use. Even the dwarf varieties of apricots can reach a height of up to six feet, which makes it important to choose a large container. It should have a diameter of at least 20 inches. It will also be good to put casters under the pot, which will make it easy for you to move it around. The bottom of the pot should have drainage holes. Also, lay a screen mesh on the bottom, which will prevent washing out of the soil when you water the plant.
Fill the container with your choice of potting mix. It is best to use perlite, peat, and sand. Fill the bottom of the pot and place the root ball. You might also want to trim the root ball first to control its growth. Once it is in place, cover it with the potting mix. Press the top part firmly and water.
Now that your plant is ready, choose the perfect location. Indoors, look for a location that is sunny, but not too hot as this can burn the plant. Water the plant every now and then, but avoid overdoing it. Do not let the potting mix dry out, but do not also make it soggy.
Why would you even bother planting apricots? Well, they have delicious fruits, which also happen to be full of health benefits, including the following:
- Improves Bone Health: As a rich source of calcium and potassium, apricot is an essential for healthier and stronger bones. It will help in the prevention of osteoporosis, a common bone problem amongst older people.
- Prevents Free Radical Damage: This is basically because of the presence of potent antioxidants in apricots, including flavonoids and polyphenols. It prevents oxidative stress in the cells and protects the body from different health problems.
- Improves Heart Health: Vitamin C, dietary fibers, and potassium are just some of the nutrients in apricot that allows it to contribute to a better cardiovascular health. They also help lower cholesterol level.
- Improves Eyesight: Apricot is also a good source of xanthophyll and carotenoid, both of which are essential in protecting the eyes from age-related problems. In fact, two to three servings of apricots daily can be instrumental in the prevention of macular degeneration.
- Aids in Weight Loss: If your goal is to lose weight, eating apricots will be beneficial. It has high dietary fiber, which will make you feel fuller for a longer time. Fiber will also improve your rate of metabolism.
- Prevents Anemia: Another benefit of apricot is that it contains copper and iron, which are critical for the production of hemoglobin. It also assumes an important role in the formation of red blood cells.
Pests and Diseases
Among others, Coryneum blight is the most common problem in apricot. It is a fungal disease that produces lesions on the fruits and leaves. When it comes to pets, on the other hand, some of the most common causes of infestation include peach twig borer, earwigs, and mites.
Care and Maintenance
To be sure that your apricot will survive and bear fruit, here are some of the most important things you have to remember:
- Prune the tree as necessary, once in summer and in spring. This will help to control the growth of the tree, especially since it is an indoor plant. Also, prune branches or any part of the tree that is already showing signs of diseases, prune it immediately to prevent the problem from spreading to the healthy parts of the plant.
- Fertilizing will help, but it is best to limit its use only to once in a year. The application of a fertilizer will depend on the specific instructions from the manufacturer. Some of the most important components of the fertilizer that you should use include potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen.
- Repot the plant when the need arises. The most common indication of this would be when the tree outgrows the size of the pot. Make sure that the pot is large enough so that there will be plenty of room for the roots to grow. Changing the pot and soil will also help to prevent the spread of infection.
Apricots are not the easiest fruits to grow. Nonetheless, with the right knowledge and little effort to spare, growing this plant indoors will be possible. The most important is to pick a variety that does not grow too large, making it perfect to grow in a limited indoor space and not in a large open garden.