Growing Fruit Trees As Bonsai: Learn About Bonsai Fruit Tree Care

Bonsai Fruit Tree Potted In Orange Ceramic Pot
bonsai fruit
(Image credit: egal)

A bonsai tree isn’t a genetic dwarf tree. It’s a full-size tree that is maintained in miniature by pruning. The idea behind this ancient art is to keep the trees very small but retain their natural shapes. If you think bonsai are always tiny trees with fragrant flowers, you aren’t alone. However, this is a misconception. You can also choose from a wide variety of fruit trees as bonsai. Do bonsai trees produce fruit? Yes, they do. If you decide to try to use fruit trees as bonsai, remember that they’ll require more maintenance than full-size fruit trees. Read on for some bonsai tree growing tips and information on the best fruit trees for bonsai.

Fruit Trees as Bonsai

You can plant an apple tree right in your backyard, but not a bonsai apple tree. Bonsai trees are grown in containers with a good root space and sufficient nutrients to flourish. Picking a container for bonsai fruit trees requires a measuring tape. Measure the diameter of the trunk level with the soil. That’s how deep your container should be. Now measure the height of the tree. Your container should be at least one-third as wide as the tree is tall. Be sure the container is made of untreated wood and has sufficient drainage holes. Fill it halfway up with a mixture of half potting soil and half peat compost. Alternatively, mix sand, bark pieces, and garden clay and blend well. Before you plant your bonsai, slice off one-third of its root ball with a saw and prune out any damaged branches. Then tuck its remaining roots into the soil in its new container, adding more soil and a decorative layer of pebbles.

Bonsai Fruit Tree Care

Here are a few more bonsai tree growing tips. You’ll need to water your tree twice each day, morning and evening. Place the container in a window that gets direct sunlight. Don’t put it anywhere near heat-producing appliances. You’ll do well to buy a bonsai tool kit to help shape your tree. Remove protruding limbs with the clippers. In order to train the limbs in particular directions, wrap small pieces of copper wire around them. For fragile branches, place rubber or foam between wire and limb.

Best Fruit Trees for Bonsai

Which fruit trees make good bonsai trees? Consider crabapple fruit trees as bonsai, particularly the cultivars ‘Calloway’ and ‘Harvest Gold.’ They delight with snowy blossoms in springtime and leaves that turn gold in autumn. Both offer edible fruit, red and yellow respectively. If you’d rather grow a tiny cherry tree, pick ‘Bright n Tight’ cultivar, an evergreen cherry. It offers fragrant, showy spring flowers that transform into black cherries. If you are thinking of using citrus fruit trees as bonsai, consider Meyer lemon trees or calamondin orange trees. The former bears full-size lemons on bonsais, while the latter offers fragrant blossoms and fruit all year long.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.