Dwarf Cooking Apple Trees – Miniature Fruit Trees for Small Gardens

Apples are a firm favourite with the British people so it stands to reason more and more gardeners are growing their own. Dwarf cooking apple trees will not take up masses of space so you don’t need to worry if you haven’t got the world’s biggest garden.

Dwarf Cooking Apple Trees

White flowers appear during April and May which will be followed by green and red apples in the summer and autumn.

Once you have planted your dwarf cooking apple tree, you can expect to see your first crop a few years later.

They are hardy trees, often able to withstand cold frosty conditions in the winter. They are a pleasant tree to watch through the seasons and they are deciduous so leaves fall off ready for new growth in the spring months.

Best Dwarf Cooking Apple Tree Varieties

Undecided which dwarf cooking apple tree to opt for? You want to ensure you make the right decision as it’s a commitment spanning years. Below, we have summed up the most popular dwarf cooking apple tree varieties and also their key features.


Easily one of the better known apple varieties, gala apples are popular due to their sweet taste and crisp feel.

Mainly red in colour, this variety has a thin skin and can actually be enjoyed fresh or cooked.

  • Best Feature: Most widely grown variety.
  • When To Plant Out: November to March
  • Harvest Fruit: November
  • Best Growing Position: Full sun


Braeburn apples are another sweet tasting fruit with bags of flavour and a very popular choice.

These apples are medium sized and mostly red in colour with a fairly thick skin making them nice and firm.

  • Best Feature: One of the heaviest croppers
  • When To Plant Out: November to March
  • Harvest Fruit: October
  • Best Growing Position: Full sun

Granny Smith   

A very popular choice of cooking apple, Granny Smiths conjure up images of crumbles, stewed desserts and pies.

A less sweeter tasting apple, this variety has a tart flavour with lots of crispy juicy flesh.

  • Best Feature: Apples last throughout the winter and beyond.
  • When To Plant Out: November to March
  • Harvest Fruit: November
  • Best Growing Position: Full Sun

Growing Dwarf Cooking Apple Trees

One of the less ambitious trees to grow in your garden, dwarf cooking apple trees are robust and easy to maintain.

This is down largely to their size and shape, meaning you don’t need to have a huge garden to grow them successfully. Depending on the rootstock your apple tree has been grafted on, you can grow yours in a pot or straight into the garden.

  • What Size Pot for a Cooking Apple Tree? 45cm in diameter
  • Compost: Not too fussy but must be well-drained
  • Watering: Regularly over the first few months, and during dry spells
  • Feeding: Fertiliser and mulch in early spring
  • Rootstock: M27

Common Dwarf Cooking Apple Tree Problems

  • Apple Maggot: Apple trees with thin skins can be more vulnerable to apple maggot. It can destroy entire crops if it’s left untreated. Signs of apple maggot include dimpled fruit which may fall early. You may also see the tracks they make inside the fruit itself. Pick fruits once they are ready and don’t leave them on the ground too long.
  • Red Spider Mites: You may notice mottled leaves if you have red spider mites on your apple tree. Leaves may also turn brown and drop off prematurely. You can regularly spray your tree with water as this hinders their ability to reproduce. Other than this, regular pruning will help.

Pruning Dwarf Cooking Apple Trees

The good news is that pruning a dwarf cooking apple tree is not difficult or time consuming. This is why so many opt for this variety for their garden. Pruning is important to keep the tree in good health and to eliminate any issues.

When to Prune

Should you notice any damage or disease on your dwarf cooking apple tree then you should prune immediately. Other than this, pruning during the dormant season is best.

How to Prune

You need to remove any branches that look damaged or are causing any sort of overcrowding to the overall shape. Any suckers on the trunk should be removed as these can grow into new trunks when left alone.


Can you grow dwarf cooking apple trees in containers?

Dwarf cooking apple trees do well in containers providing they have been grafted onto an appropriate dwarfing rootstock.

How tall do dwarf cooking apple trees grow?

Dwarf cooking apple trees will not grow taller than 5ft due to being on the smallest rootstock possible.

What is the best compost for dwarf cooking apple trees?

Dwarf cooking apple trees are tolerant of most soil types but they must also be well-drained as they don’t do well sitting in lots of moisture.

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