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Growing fruit trees as bonsai

There exists several fruit trees that are able to be grown as bonsai. Although the majority of bonsai trees are not fruit trees, you should always be on the lookout for alternatives to the norm. Because some fruit trees actually make good bonsai candidates. If you find a yamadori fruit tree, fine. But you don’t need to go looking for dwarf varieties of fruit trees, although it’s easier to grow these instead.

Amongst the fruit trees that are able to be grown as bonsai, apples and the citrus family make good candidates. The choice is also dependent on the climate you are in. A rather versatile choice is the tangerine (Citrus reticulata). The Clemantine variety is able to be grown in temperate to subtropical climates. Among the citrus family, the lemons, peaches, and cherries also make for good bonsai.
Some examples of climate dependency:

  • Apple trees – Northern Idaho (hot summers, cold winters)
  • Cherry trees – Midwest and South USA (moisture in spring/long winters)
  • Lemons – California State (dry and sunny)

Some possible bonsai candidates include:

Chinese Sweet Plum – With pink and white flowers and purple fruit they brighten up any collection. Though most bonsai are outdoor plants, these will do well indoors provided they have adequate sunshine. Give them full morning sun, with shade in the afternoon and evening.

Grapevines – Grapes are vines, and therefore do not grow in the form of normal trees. They enjoy very weather, thrive in dry, sandy soil and produce fruit clusters and leaves just like normal grapes. You should regularly prune them back, because they grow rapidly, and can soon turn ugly by smothering the container.

Quince – Quince are among the more exotic choices for a bonsai. They produce tiny flowers with yellow fruit. Similar to pears, they can tolerate full sun, but should have at least partial shade in hot summer periods.

Black olive tree – In the wild these evergreens can grow to 50 feet with a full oval crown. As bonsai, they can be easily encouraged to spread out, making for a beautiful display. Black olives are useful for add some darker contrast to the other trees in your collection with their blueish leaves.

Figs – The fig tree is a good choice for turning into bonsai. As a family, they exhibit varied forms, and it will be a challenge to sculpt them according to your desire. Often simply known as ficus, they are known to reach 60 feet high and 60 feet wide in some species. This is also a challenging tree to grow as bonsai. Keeping the canopy under control requires much dedication. Found worldwide, but mostly of the Old World, they are versatile enough to be able to be grown in California.

Cherry trees – Popular in Japan and China, the cherry tree is finding new fans in the West as people realize that their branching patterns are quite artistic, coupled with their exquisite red fruits, which attract attention everywhere. They bear lovely and abundant pink flowers in springtime and do well in full sun much of the year, but will need a partially shaded area during the hot weeks of summer. Cherry trees will take as much water as they’re given, though less is required in winter. As with any bonsai, good drainage is important to prevent root rot. The flowers should also remain dry, while you’re watering the tree.

As you can see, fruit trees can be grown as bonsai without much difficulty. Many fruit trees do require more attention than “normal” species, but the good part is that you get to dote on your bonsai more, or at least have a reason to do so. 🙂 They are usually sold as very young specimens in nurseries, and so require more care for their first few months after brought home.

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