General Question

andrew's avatar

Can you grow a tree in a pot?

Asked by andrew (16159points) April 23rd, 2008

Specifically, I’m looking at the Callistemon rigidus referenced in my prior question. I’d like to be able to still see this gorgeous tree outside my window in the morning, even when I move.

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17 Answers

soundedfury's avatar

It really depends on the root system. Sadly, I’m not particularly familiar with the tree in question, but given that it only grows to 8’ tall, I’d image the root system is fairly compact. You might be able to get away with it if you have a large enough pot.

The other thing to consider is that if it really has a 10’ or so spread, you’ll need a sizeable pot to keep it from tipping over in the breeze.

jrpowell's avatar

We have a tree (unsure of the type) that is bigger. It does well in a pot. But the pot is big and deep. About 30 inches in diameter and maybe 20” deep. It is pain to move but the thing has been alive for years.

Randy's avatar

I’d say certainly if you have a big enough pot and the right kind of soil/dirt/nutrient to make it grow.

ironhiway's avatar

Position Full sun, can be potted in large tubs – suitable for balconies and courtyards. Frost resistant.

This place says you can

I believe we had these potted in large planters at stations at my last place of employment. They were pruned regularly. So they never got as big, as those in the pictures of your previous question.

andrew's avatar

Here’s another question… can I grow it from a clipping from my current tree?

gooch's avatar

Yes we had one outside in our yard at my old house an the root ball was not that large. Just about any tree can be grown in a pot if it gets the right amount of light and water. Any tree can be dwarfed like a Bonsai also.

gooch's avatar

Usually by using root stimulator on a cutting you can but then you will have to wait forever for it to grow.

andrew's avatar

@gooch: How long is “forever”?

gooch's avatar

the roots are formed in a couple of weeks but trees grow slow. So if your cutting is 12 inches tall your five foot tall tree will take a while. Indoor plant usually grow slower also so you might be waiting a few year on your “tree”. Until then you will just have a plant.

andrew's avatar

@gooch: Can you think of an… inconspicuous way to get a clipping from the tree in front of my apartment?

gooch's avatar

Your an actor just act like you are looking at a bug or smelling the leaves then snip off a piece. Remember when you get it inside remember to resnip it then dip it in the root stimulator….keep me posted

newanda411's avatar

Yes. At a certain point, depending on the tree you might need to put it into the ground. In my first grade class we grew many kinds of trees from seed…the oaks needed some room to run by spring. Have fun!

nephrons's avatar

why not? you can make it “bonsai”... but with it you have to prune it weekly…

sccrowell's avatar

I do! I grow avocado trees in pots, in ground, in H2o, although not in that order.

amber's avatar

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend potting the Callistemon (bottlebrush), especially not the one you have in your photo. I see them in San Francisco that are often over 25 ft. Their roots do spread, not quite as bad as other trees, but they still spread. You could get a Stiff Bottlebrush, which is a smaller bush version. If you are moving somewhere in CA, you could contact a local non-profit tree planting group and see if they will help you plant one. They grow fairly fast. Friends of the Urban Forest is in San Francisco and TreePeople is in LA. Good luck.


@andrew I have been growing trees in pots for a number of years——not only bonsai trees, but regular-sized trees too. I have a French Lilac in a pot, as well as a Rowan Tree (Sorbus), a Tamarack (Larix), a Colorado Blue Spruce, and a Japanese Larch. The biggest, the Japanese Larch, is about 10 feet tall, and it has been growing beautifully in a large ceramic pot for the past 5 years. I love larches, because they are one of the few conifers (cone-bearing trees like spruces, pines), that lose their needles in the fall. In the fall they turn a beautiful golden yellow, and in the spring they bud out with nice fresh green soft needles. The bark is rugged, and the tree is fully hardy, withstanding both cold and heat. In winter they need a rest, so I keep the tree in an unheated garage. I water them well in the late spring, to make sure the soil is frozen solid heading into winter. You can grow almost any kind of tree in a pot, as long as the pot is big enough, and you tend to its watering needs carefully, especially during the hot summer. If you live in a cold area, you will have to overwinter them in a cold but sheltered spot, like an unheated garage. If you live in a warm place, you can grow trees in pots indefinitely.

To answer your second question, yes you can grow it from a clipping, but you will have to make it “root” first, by dipping it in rooting hormone powder and burying it in moist warm sand. It will take awhile, even after rooting, for the tree to mature, a few years. The better thing to do is to buy a new small tree and plant it in the biggest pot you can get. Small trees are adaptable to new conditions, and will usually grow much more quickly than either clippings or mature trees.

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