Bonsai Apple Tree: How to Grow and Care

Bonsai Apple Tree

It is definitely worth traveling to an apple orchard to pick apples in the autumn season when they are ripe for harvest. Most people do not have the space to grow their own apple trees or do not want to deal with harvesting so many apples each year.

But what if I told you that you could plant an apple tree regardless of the space available in your yard? You can also easily manage how many apples you want to keep without wasting any? Yes, by growing a bonsai apple tree, you can have these benefits. Grow a bonsai apple tree that fits nicely on a tabletop, balcony, porch, or even along a trellis.

The leafy shape, many leaves, and beautiful flowers make apple trees good bonsais. A beautiful and fragrant summer flower blossoms into ripe red apples. Also, due to their ability to endure cold and dry winters, apple trees make excellent bonsai trees.

About the Bonsai Apple Tree

Botanical NameClusia rosea
Description The tree is native to the American tropics. There are many deep-green leaves on the tree. During the summer months, the tree is adorned with pink and white blooms. In the fall, the tree yields green fruits. This tree is particularly bonsai-friendly because it has aerial roots. 
Location Place the tree in a sunny location indoors. Apple bonsais can be grown outdoors in full sun or semi-shade. But the roots of the tree need to be mulched heavily to protect them against cold temperatures.
Watering Water the tree daily, but not so much that the soil becomes soaked. During fruiting, the tree requires more water.
FeedingFeed the tree twice a month with bonsai fertilizer but do not fertilize it when it is in the fruit-bearing stage.
Leaf and Branch PruningDepending on the size of the tree, remove leaves as needed so that light can reach all parts. Before the leaves emerge in spring, prune branches to shape the tree. 
Re-potting and growing medium Repotting is usually necessary every three to four years when roots become pot-bound and watering becomes difficult. In early to mid-spring or early fall, repot using a bonsai soil mix that contains Akadama. 
Wiring Shape the plant in the spring before new leaves and buds appear. A tree limb should be slightly dry before wiring since it will be more flexible.
NotesThe pitch apple bonsai tree is also known as the autograph tree. This is because a leaf retains the trace of a name or word inscribed on its surface.

How to Grow Apple Bonsai Fruit Tree

You can grow Apple Bonsai indoors or outdoors in a sunny area. It grows well outdoors, but you need to protect its roots, so you cannot plant it in shallow pots or trays. 

It is best to plant it in soil containing five parts peat, three parts argillaceous rocks, and two parts granular clay or sand. Its best growing zone is zone 11 or 12.

If it starts to bear fruits, water it every day to keep the fruits from shriveling. However, be vigilant against vine mildew. It is best not to fertilize the tree while it is in the fruit-bearing stage. 

Apple bonsai trees need a general-purpose fertilizer. In the spring and fall, fertilize it with a diluted form of manure tea once a week, except while the fruit is growing.

Despite the fruit’s small size, it’s edible just like apples of a larger tree. And if you take care of it, it will produce fruits for several years. A well-maintained apple bonsai tree will provide you with a graceful, fragrant, and stylish creation.

A bonsai apple tree is pretty simple to make. Here’s how:

  • Choose a small to medium-size pot that has good drainage.
  • Plant your bonsai in a planter filled with potting soil and peat compost.
  • Make sure your bonsai apple tree is in a bright, warm place.
  • Water your tree twice daily, once in the morning and once at night.
  • Shape or prune your apple tree as desired.

Growing tips for bonsai apple tree

For your apple bonsai tree to flourish and produce delicious apples, you need to be very patient. Like other bonsai trees, they are grown and molded. You can train them in different directions. 

The trunk can also be twisted to resemble a wild apple tree, or it can be grown upwards, sideways, or in any other manner that you prefer.

However, it is considered a very sturdy bonsai tree as long as you care for its roots and maintain it healthily. You can even scratch your name into a leaf of an apple bonsai and the impression will last for years!

How to Grow a Bonsai Apple Tree from Seed?

You need to plant apple trees in pairs so that they produce fruit. That’s because apple trees cannot self-pollinate. To do so, they need a different type of apple tree. Thus, you may combine the seeds of an apple you eat with those from another type of apple.

A seedling apple tree can reach a height of 30 feet since it does not have any dwarfing characteristics. Early in their growth, pruning, cutting, and shaping apple trees are very important. After your tree has reached an age of 8 to 10 years, it will produce fruit.

Follow these steps to plant bonsai apple trees

  • Gather the seeds from the two kinds of apple trees.
  • Let the seeds dry on a paper towel until there is no moisture on the outside shell.
  • Use a damp paper towel to finish drying the seeds. Next, cover the seeds with the same damp paper towel.
  • Place them inside an airtight container or a sealable plastic bag. Make sure they are covered or sealed.
  • Put them in the fridge. Apple seeds need to be exposed to cold to stimulate the winter weather. During this time, roots start to grow and the seeds sprout.
  • For 70 to 80 days, keep the seeds in the fridge at a temperature of 5-10 degrees Celcius.
  • Ideally, do this during the winter to align the seed growth with the actual seasons.
  • Make sure to regularly check the container and that the paper towels haven’t dried out.

You may now remove the seeds from the fridge following the allotted time. But first, prepare the soil and pot. You should plant your seeds outside or in a pot in a prepared seedbed. 

Mix some Akadama into the potting mix. Ideally, the soil should have a pH level of about 6.5. Do not add fertilizer yet, as this is not required.

Growing apple bonsai trees from cuttings:

You can also grow apple trees from cuttings. To grow your cuttings into young trees, you must harvest them from a healthy apple tree. Once the cutting has become strong enough, you can now grow it in individual pots.

  • Choose a healthy apple tree for your cuttings.
  • Harvest the cuttings with a clean or sterile cutter. Make a diagonal cut to harvest the cuttings.
  • After harvesting, immerse the cuttings in water. This will keep the stems from absorbing air.
  • Keep the cuttings in water until they start to grow roots. You can also use grafting to grow healthy roots.
  • You can now transplant this into individual pots once the roots have grown thick and healthy.
  • Keep the cuttings moist by watering them daily.

Apple Bonsai Tree Care

To care for apple bonsai trees, you must understand their needs. This tree is one of the most beautiful when it blooms and also the most fascinating when it bears fruit. Once you understand how apple trees grow, develop, and are cared for, you can grow a bonsai apple tree easily.


  • Growing a bonsai apple tree indoors requires a sunny location. 
  • Place them near a window sill or on a balcony where it will have shade during the hottest part of the day. 
  • Alternatively, it can be grown outdoors in USDA zones 11 and 12 in full sun or semi-shade. 
  • Tree roots should be mulched if they are growing in cold temperatures.


  • To keep the soil moist, apple bonsai trees need daily watering.
  • The soil should never become wet.
  • Water the tree more when it bears fruits.
  • Water when the soil is dry, but not too dry.
  • Use safe and clean water sources.


  • For apple trees, use a balanced fertilizer.
  • Fertilize at least twice a month.
  • When the tree is bearing fruit, do not fertilize it.
  • Follow the instructions on the fertilizer bag for how to feed your bonsai.

Leaf and branch pruning

  • If needed, remove leaves from the tree to allow it to receive enough light and air.
  • As the leaves grow thick, trimming is necessary.
  • During spring, when the leaves are still dormant, it is best to prune.
  • To avoid the spread of mold or disease, use clean, sterile pruning shears.

Wiring an apple bonsai tree

  • Spring is the best time to shape your trees.
  • Make sure your tree limbs are slightly dry before applying wires.
  • Remove wires at the same time they were applied to prevent injury.

How to wire a bonsai?

  • Choose the type and thickness of the wire for your apple bonsai tree.
  • Using pliers, cut the wire to the appropriate length for the branch.
  • Wrap one end of the wire around the branch. Wrap it at a 45-degree angle.
  • Make sure the wire is neatly wrapped around the branch.
  • Use pliers to cut the excess wire from the branch.
  • Position the branches according to your preference.
  • If branches are too high, use guy lines to bring them down. Put a hook at the end of the branch and wrap moist raffia around it. Next, put a wire on the hook and tie a strong root to it. This will eventually lower the high branch.
  • Use a guy wire to lift a branch that is too low. Place the hook and a guy wire on the hook, then wrap the raffia around the branch end. Also, the end of the wire should be attached to something above the bonsai plant.
  • Remove the wire once it has served its purpose.

Soil and re-potting an apple bonsai tree

  • You should repot the apple bonsai tree every three to four years, but this isn’t always necessary. 
  • If you notice that your trees do not drink much or do not respond to feeding, then you should suspect root-bound. If you notice these symptoms, re-pot the tree immediately. 
  • You can re-pot in the spring or fall to provide the soil with fresh nutrients.
  • Each time you repot, use a larger container. This will allow for the roots to grow. 
  • When it comes to choosing a soil type, use only Akadama. By adding this material to your potting soil, you can enhance its aeration and drainage properties.

How to prevent pests and diseases?

You need to protect your apple bonsai tree from diseases and pests. An example of this might be webworms, mites, aphids, tent caterpillars, or scab infections. Pick them off by hand or spray insecticide on your tree to keep these dangers away.

Insecticides can be sprayed on the tree or poured along its roots to absorb them. To prevent causing harm to other animals or plants, you can use green or natural bug killers.

Bonsai apples are most affected by apple maggot flies, plum curculio, and codling moths. 

  • During June or July, apple maggot flies lay their eggs in developing apple fruits. After hatching, the larvae burrow into the fruit. To catch flies, hang sticky traps in the tree near the fruit.
  • The plum curculio is a 14.5 -inch long beetle that burrows through apples, leaving a crescent-shaped scar. By spraying phosmet right after the petals fall and again 10 days later, these beetles can be killed. You should also rake away dropped fruit to prevent infestation
  • A codling moth larva burrows into apples to feed and matures within days of hatching. If codling moths appear 15 days after petals fall, spray Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki. Spray again five days later.

To protect apple bonsai trees, use an organic insecticidal spray. If you choose to grow your tree outdoors, you must remove any fallen leaves and detritus at the base of the tree.

You must also prune apple trees before new growth emerges. Trim any crossing branches, water sprouts, and thick areas. Reduce thick leaves to provide adequate aeration and sunlight. This will also reduce fungal diseases and eliminate insect habitats.

Bonsai shapes for bonsai apple trees

You can shape and style apple bonsai trees by wiring and pruning. To shape an apple bonsai tree, you can use many bonsai styles.

Shakan Bonsai Style

There is a bonsai style called Shakan that can be applied to apple trees. In this bonsai tree style, a slanted tree is depicted in its natural environment. While the rest of the tree grows outward, the trunk emerges from the soil in a slanting manner. 

For that slanted look, the trunk is at an angle between 60 and 80 degrees. By wiring, and tilting the pot, you can create a slanted bonsai tree.

Shari Bonsai Style

Shari bonsai style is characterized by shaved bark that prevents new growth. Branches may be long or short, which is known as the stair effect.

The overall design can be achieved through wiring and pruning. The top leaves of the tree give the tree a balanced appearance. Additionally, there is a barkless area along the trunk. 

Seki-joju or Rocky Terrain

Seki-joju or Rocky Terrain styles display the tree’s aerial roots. It is all about growing bonsai roots over natural obstacles like jagged or smooth rocks. In nature, Seki-joju occurs when tree roots grow beneath and along the sides of rocks. 

Tree roots are very flexible. They will crawl along rocks’ sides and even underneath them. No matter what obstacles the tree encounters, it will grow straight. It is a bonsai style for bonsais with strong, healthy roots.

Literati Bonsai

It has a thin trunk and curved leaves that would look good on thick apple leaves. According to bonsai growers, this style embodies nature’s struggle to survive. The literati tree shows bald spots along its trunk, which represents dead branches. 

Such bonsai style is common in forest areas and woodlands.

Dramatic Fukinagashi

Dramatic Fukinagashi is also known as a windswept style as it resembles a blown hairstyle. It is possible to shape and train an apple bonsai tree into this style. 

According to the Fukinagashi style, the branches and the trunk will grow to one side. For that windswept design, minimal pruning and wiring are needed.


Han-kengai bonsai has a cascading effect, like a waterfall. In a straight line, a trunk grows outward and downward as it grows branches. 

Along the thick branches, a small part of the trunk grows. These branches grow in different directions and produce low-lying leaves. To preserve this design, this bonsai should be planted in a deep pot.

Matching bonsai pots

For apple bonsai, the glazed bonsai pot is the best choice. If possible, pick a frost-proof, handmade pot for these bonsai, as they are winter-hardy. Most affordable bonsai pots (for indoor bonsai) are frost-resistant, too. 

Unglazed bonsai pots are usually less suitable, but not excluded. A dark color is not recommended for unglazed pots. Gray pots would also work quite well.

With its roundish crown, Apple bonsai fits quite well into an oval bonsai pot. Rectangular bonsai pots will also work. For rectangular pots, choose a pot with rounded corners or a pot with playful feet. For semi-cascade or cascade bonsai, use round, higher pots. 

When it comes to literary bonsai, round pots are best.


Where To Buy Bonsai Apple Trees?

There are lots of places to buy apple bonsai trees. It is usually available either in a mail-in catalog or on several Internet sites. Please note that you may receive your apple bonsai tree with bare roots if you order it through the mail.

Upon receiving it, it must be planted within 24 to 48 hours. As soon as it arrives, you must remove any paper from the roots and soak them in warm water overnight. Choose a company that guarantees that its tree is healthy and ready for planting.

Sometimes, depending on where you live, you can buy an apple bonsai tree at a plant nursery or garden center. Make sure it doesn’t have any cracks, breaks, or is dry. If it has problems in limbs or roots, you may need to prune them before planting.

Choose the right type of pot for it. As mentioned before, the roots need to be protected by a deep pot. If you choose a pot, make sure it is made of something like rot-resistant wood or non-porous material. 

A clay pot can attract bacteria or fungi to your apple bonsai tree because it is porous. Also, a pot should be no smaller than 15 gallons.

Although you could grow an apple bonsai tree from seed, it is much more difficult. You are better off buying one that is already at least a few inches or a foot tall. Moreover, it will have a better chance of thriving.

Is it possible to grow bonsai from apple trees?

Since apple trees grow rapidly and have dense foliage, they tend to make great bonsai trees. Besides, apple trees produce fruit and flowers. The best bonsai trees are fruit trees as they thrive when kept small and produce fruit once they mature.

How Often Should You Repot Bonsai Apple Trees?

In general, you should re-pot bonsai trees about every few years. A younger bonsai typically needs repotting every two years. Whereas older trees can wait closer to every three or five.

Therefore, if you notice your tree’s roots curling or making their way out of the drain hole in your planter, it may be time to get a bigger pot.

What kind of soil should you use for an Apple Bonsai?

For apple bonsai trees, use a nutrient-rich potting mix with plenty of sand. It’s best to use rocks, sand, and high-quality soil for bonsai trees because they need a lot of drainage in their pots.

Try layering gravel or stones in your apple bonsai pot. Layering will prevent the roots from getting too wet and hold the soil in place.

What Is The Best Place For A Bonsai Apple Tree?

The ideal spot for a bonsai apple tree is somewhere that gets five to six hours of sunlight per day. If you are growing your tree indoors, provide it with enough light so that it can grow properly.

Your bonsai will be fine as long as it gets indirect sunlight.

Can You Grow A Bonsai Apple Tree From Seed?

It is certainly possible to grow an apple bonsai from seed. Choose a pot for your tree with good drainage, so find one that comes with a predrilled drain hole and tray.

You need to plant two different types of apple trees to get fruit. Apple trees don’t self-pollinate. Furthermore, bonsai trees grown from seeds need plenty of sunlight and daily watering. Hence, make sure to give your plant plenty of care.

Do Bonsai Apple Trees Grow Apples?

Of course! They do grow apples. Although it can take a long time, a bonsai apple tree will eventually produce fruit.

Despite their size, apple bonsais continue to bloom and produce fruit just like a normal tree. For this reason, they are so popular among bonsai growers.

How Long Does It Take A Bonsai Apple Tree To Grow?

Generally, an apple bonsai takes between five and ten years to fully mature. But, each tree will grow at its own pace, so do not expect miniature apples overnight. Yet, some apple bonsai trees take years and decades to mature and bear fruit.

How Can You Grow An Apple Bonsai Tree At Home?

To grow an apple bonsai tree at home, make sure you find a good location for your plant. In general, you should place an apple bonsai tree in a bright, warm spot with plenty of sun each day.

Choose a pot that has a drainage hole at the bottom and is deep enough to hold a growing bonsai. Then add potting soil and compost to its new pot, then you can bonsai it.


A bonsai journey is incomplete without learning how to bonsai an apple tree. Though it sounds hard, it’s relatively easy to bonsai an apple tree, and it shouldn’t take long for your plant to grow.

Choose a pot with a pre-drilled hole to drain excess water before starting a bonsai apple tree. For the soil, we recommend using a sandy, nutrient-rich potting mix. Additionally, rocks in the top layer and bottom layer of the planter will be good. 

Also, don’t forget to re-pot your bonsai every few years no matter which tree or variety you choose.

Want to learn more about bonsai? Have a look at our other posts!

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