How to grow bonsai fruit trees

Whether you don’t have enough space for a full-sized fruit tree in your garden or are living in an apartment without the luxury of a garden at all, all you really need to fulfill your dream of growing your own delicious fruit is a sunny porch or balcony. And you don’t have to settle for one tree either. Due to their diminutive size bonsai fruit trees open up the possibility of having your very own miniature orchard.

Now, contrary to what you may think, bonsai fruit trees don’t somehow grow miniaturized versions of fruit. You will still be getting a full-sized apple come harvest time. That’s why, for aesthetic purposes you may want to carefully select the kind of bonsai trees you choose to grow. Bonsai trees are actually still full-sized trees that are specifically grown as miniature versions through pruning. However, there are specific varieties of fruit trees that make perfect bonsai trees because of their smaller fruits such as crabapple, olive, cherry and fig trees.

To get started you will need to check with a specialist supplier to help you select bonsai fruit trees that will work for you. You will also need to check which trees can grow on their own and which need other fruit trees nearby to ensure pollination.

Once you have selected your tree you will need the following to get started:

  • A container with draining holes that will work well for the specific tree that you’ve chosen based on its root system.
  • Nutrient rich soil that is well-suited to your specific bonsai tree
  • Rocks to place in the soil so that the tree’s roots are forced to split to assist in the miniaturisation process.
  • Mulch
  • Moss
  • A bonsai toolkit

Planting your tree

  1. First you will need to place a mix of soil and rocks in the bottom of your pot
  2. Place your tree in the pot on top of your base layer of rocks and soil, making sure that your tree’s roots are spread out.
  3. Fill the pot up to to the top with the rest of the soil.
  4. Water your soil thoroughly until the excess water begins to drain.
  5. Mix your top layer of soil with mulch to keep the moisture in.
  6. Add a layer of moss to the top of your soil for aesthetic purposes

Caring for your bonsai

  • Give your bonsai tree time to take root and grow for a few months before you begin to prune it.
  • Water your tree twice a day in the morning and evening
  • Ensure that your tree is placed in a spot that gets a lot of direct sunlight
  • Your bonsai toolkit should contain everything you need to prune and train the limbs of your bonsai tree. Use your tools to prune, shape and style your bonsai tree to your liking.
  • From blossom time to mid-autumn you will need to keep your bonsai well-watered and fed with a high-potash feed every two weeks.

Watch this informative video from DK Books on how to prune and style your first bonsai tree:


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Written by Taryn Hill


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