Growing Fruit Trees As Bonsai
Homegrown fruit straight from your yard is by far the best fruit out there. But what if you don’t have enough room in your yard for a tree? The solution is simple: grow a fruiting bonsai tree! Bonsai trees are miniature versions of trees that are found in nature. Growing a bonsai tree is a very rewarding hobby that can be done with special techniques and specific instructions. But this process is not as hard as one may think. With the right care, you will have fruit from your bonsai in no time.
Picking Which Tree To Plant
Many fruit trees grow well as bonsai trees. Some popular options are apple, crabapple, Meyer lemon, and calamondin citrus trees. Before planting a tree, you should find out what climate the tree you want to plant grows in.
Apple trees need full sun and a generally cold climate. These trees need cold winters and cool summers.
Crabapples need full sun and well draining soil. They need to be exposed to all four seasons.
Meyer lemons need at least 6 hours of light each day and shade is favorable in very high temperatures. These trees should not be grown in freezing temperatures at any time.
Calamondin citrus trees can tolerate shade but do best when grown in full sun.
Preparing For Planting
Once you’ve selected the tree you want to plant, you need to get a bonsai pot to pot the plant in. This pot should be as tall as the tree’s trunk is wide. Pots should also be neutral in color as to not draw attention away from the tree itself.
The soil in which the tree is planted is crucial for the health of the tree. The soil should be Akadama, Pumice, and Lava rock at a ratio of 1/2, 1/4, 1/4. This ensures good aeration and drainage so the soil does not store too much water, which will cause the roots to rot.
Planting The Bonsai
Before you plant your tree, check the roots. If there are any decaying or brown roots, cut them off. Be very gentle when dealing with the roots.
At the base of the pot, place a layer of soil down, then place the tree in the pot. Cover the roots with soil until you reach the top of the pot.
Water the tree generously, allowing the water to drain all the way.
Caring For The Bonsai
All trees have slightly different care requirements, but have the same general needs. Too much or not enough light can be quite damaging to the plant. Never water on a schedule, instead, check the soil once or twice a day and water as necessary. For more information on watering bonsai trees, check out our article here. Fertilizing is needed for many fruiting trees. All trees have different needs, but in general, use a fertilizwer with low nitrogen in the winter, nitrogen rich fertilizer in the spring, and a balanced fertilizer in the summer.
Training The Bonsai
After you first plant your tree, you should wait a little while before pruning or wiring it. Trees need a bit of time, usually a few months, to adjust to its environment.
When pruning your bonsai, focus on the branches and trees that are unhealthy. Unhealthy leaves should be pruned using scissors. Pruning should be done from March to September. Pruning can be used to redirect growth to the lower parts of the tree.
Wiring is used to reposition branches to a more desirable shape. Most bonsai trees can be pruned all year. Copper wire should be used for fruiting trees. Watch the branches carefully while they’re being wired. Wire can cut into the branches quickly, which will scar the tree.
Growing a fruiting bonsai tree can be a great experience for anyone. It is just like growing any other bonsai tree. Once you have decided which tree you are going to grow, you can move on to picking the pot and soil. The pot should be shallow and plain looking. The soil should be well draining so that the roots do not rot. Light and fertilizer needs vary from plant to plant, but are vital for the health of the tree. Pruning is crucial for the growth of the tree as well, so do not be afraid to prune! Wiring can be used to bend branches to look more desirable. With all the proper care, your fruiting bonsai will be healthy and will fruit in no time!