Decorating your house is an age-old concept. The concept is old but the way one decorates their house has been ever-changing. Something that is in trend these days is decorating your house with plants, more specifically bonsai.
But how do you care for one or grow one? These delicate beauties need care and attention which can’t be summed up in 4 sentences. Here is everything you need to know about them.
What are Bonsai Fruit Tree
Bonsai trees are essentially miniature versions of big trees. This implies that one can grow any tree species, including fruit. Of course, these are not like normal trees that yield a lot of fruit but can give you about three to four full-sized fruits when fully grown.
Genetically, a bonsai fruit plant is a lot like a 40-foot fruit tree that grows in an orchard, which is why it grows full-sized fruits. As was mentioned before, any tree can be grown as a bonsai, so one need not feel constrained.
Fruit-bearing ones aren’t the most common options but don’t let that stop you from trying.
Benefits of Bonsai Fruit Tree
Plants have numerous benefits. Indoor plants do too and we have done articles on that before. Here is a brief of the benefits of fruit-bearing bonsai trees:-
- Bonsai plants are famous for being great stress relievers. This is the reason why they are used as decorative plants in homes and offices. It relaxes one’s breathing and many take growing it as a wonderful hobby.
- Bonsai plants tend to make the owner patient and physically active, as it requires proper care, watering, fertilizing, and trimming. It teaches us to work hard, and be patient and it shall bear fruit for you.
- Having a bonsai plant around, you can stimulate your learning and creativity while also boosting your immunity.
How to grow a Bonsai Fruit Tree
What to do before you begin?
Growing bonsai is not an easy feat. You need to know how to grow one and care for it. Bonsai plants are hard to grow and even harder is the one that is a miniature of a fruit-bearing tree.
You need to understand bonsai training is difficult in itself, and the gardener is more likely to succeed if they choose a sapling that is native to your area, or that can be tolerant of the local weather in general.
Also important is the fact that one needs to allow the seedling to grow and become strong before one decides to start cutting and training it into a fruit-bearing plant.
Much like the bigger version of the trees, one needs to know that it will not bear fruits in just a couple of months. For them to bear fruit, they need to grow for about 5 years before they can be harvested, if the word even stands true for a couple of fruits.
Growing bonsai, like any other indoor plant, also needs to be prepared for. Here are a few things that you need to take care of:-
- We need to start with the most basic step of all, knowing what to grow. You have to know what plant you want to grow where you live. If it is the right place for the said plant if it would support the said weather conditions, the durability, fragility, etc.
- Know how you want to grow your plant. There is a multitude of ways of growing one. You can start with a seed, a seedling, or even a cutting sometimes. The process for each of them differs so you need to be careful about the one you end up choosing.
- Before you make up your mind, check with a local nursery if they have a seed or seedling available, along with the right equipment and resources to help you out with it. If you are not careful, you might have your heart broken, and a plant damaged.
- Bonsai fruit plants are very delicate, as was mentioned a lot of times in the article, and need to be potted in the right kind of pot or container to keep them healthy and make them thrive. The plant can easily establish its roots if they are in the right kind of vessel.
- Also, be careful to use the right variety of soil. The soil you use needs to be rich in the right amount of nutrients. Have a word with your local nursery about what type of soil will best fit your bonsai tree. Also be careful as to not place rocks in the soil because they tend to split the roots of the plant, which is not healthy for a tiny tree in the making.
Steps to growing a bonsai tree
Bonsai plants are almost always grown and trained in shallow pots, so they often need daily watering in warm weather. In the winter season, the fragile bonsai need to go indoors or in a greenhouse; they need to be protected from drying wind and direct sun.
Step 1 – Prep Root Ball
Remove your tiny green friend from its nursery container, and cut off the lower two-thirds of the root ball you have. Rake through the surface soil to expose some roots. Moisten the exposed portion with the help of a spraying bottle.
Step 2 – Put Root Ball in Pot
Get rid of the dead branches and any branches that steer farther away from the vision you have for your mini tree. Remove the dead roots and any other large roots that will interfere with potting.
Place the plant in the right pot, and work the soil around the roots of the bonsai. Make sure that you water the plant well and top the soil with gravel or moss.
Step 3 – Start Shaping Tree
A bonsai is best known for its beauty and most of it is born out of the branches that would benefit from the shaping of these branches. To achieve the vision you have for your plant, wrap a wire snugly but not too tightly so that it hinders the growth (this will help in guiding the branch in the right direction and the shape you visualize).
When the branch has grown enough to hold its new, pretty shape, remove the support wire.
These steps might appear to be a few but you have to know that these might not be as easy as you have them playing in your head. This is followed by taking care of the bonsai too.
How to care for a Bonsai Fruit Tree
Once you’ve taken care of planting your bonsai, you’ll have to treat it a little differently than a regular houseplant to keep it tip-top.
Watering your plant right
Although a lot of people would not exactly appreciate this tip, it might probably be the best one. Never water based on a schedule. Some plants need a regular watering schedule but delicate bonsai don’t always work in this manner.
You need to water the plant only when it needs to be watered, that is when the soil feels a little dry and needs moisture.
Add the right fertilizer
As a general rule of thumb, most bonsai plants need to be fertilized throughout their growing season (which usually lasts from early spring to mid-fall). But, fertilizing needs can vary based on the type of tree you decide to work with.
There are fertilizers made specifically based on the needs of bonsai but if you decide not to swing for them, you can use a granular or liquid fertilizer.
Follow the instructions given along with the fertilizers and also consult the nursery you bought the plants from to get the best and most efficient growth results.
The right kind of soil
Most of the plants that are grown as their miniatures in the form of a bonsai need soil mixes that are a combination of Akadama (hard-baked clay), pumice, lava rock, and soil. There are endless combinations, but you’ll have to experiment to figure out the best kind of soil for your plant.
A good bonsai soil mix retains water well without drowning the roots. The root is where the plant gets its nourishment from and the soil is where the root resides. Take care of the root and things begin to seem so much better.
Repotting when the time is right
More often than not, young bonsai trees need to be repotted every two years, while more mature versions of these trees can live and thrive in the same pot for up to five years at times. The plant will tell you when it needs repotting when you see that the roots are exposed and circling the bottom of the container the bonsai calls home.
When you need to repot, be careful as to doing so in the early spring when the tree is still dormant. As and when you upgrade to a larger pot, be very careful of your soil mixture to make sure it isn’t too different from what the tree is used to otherwise the plant would be hurt.
Trees, big or small, naturally grow with apical dominance. This means that the central stem of the plant is more dominant than its side stems.
When you distribute the growth to the top and outer edges, the tree’s inner and lower branches will eventually die, while the top branches end up growing out of proportion, both of which are not desirable traits for Bonsai aesthetics. This is where pruning comes in. Here’s what you need to know:-
The goal of pruning
The primary goal of the pruning process is to maintain the shape of the plant. The previously mentioned points state that trees will concentrate most growth on the top and outer parts of their stems; it thus becomes important to prune these growth areas regularly to encourage growth closer to the inner parts of the tree.
Knowing when to prune
Maintenance pruning can take place during the growing season which is usually from March to September for outdoor Bonsai. Indoor Bonsai can be pruned year-round.
In the case of Structure Pruning, the best time to do this is in the early spring and some cases late autumn, just before and after the growing season.
How to prune your Bonsai
Maintenance pruning is required to maintain a tree’s shape. For doing this, you can simply prune branches and shoots that have outgrown the intended canopy shape using a pair of twig shears or maybe some normal cutters.
Although using the right Bonsai tools will help significantly. You don’t have to be afraid to prune your Bonsai regularly, it’s important to force your tiny tree to distribute growth more evenly and develop dense foliage.
Common Problems Bonsai Face
Growing plants in itself is a hard process but it becomes harder when one is dealing with a delicate version of a big tree. Here are some problems a bonsai owner might have to deal with:-
Your green friend survives by absorbing water through its roots. If you let the soil dry up for far too long, it can become a reason for your plant to die of thirst. On the other hand, if you are an overeager caretakers can suffocate their trees with too much water, because the roots thrive when they get air to breathe.
Too Much/Too Little Sunlight
A bonsai needs lots of light to stay healthy in its miniature version. However, too much or too little (direct) light can lead to numerous bonsai tree problems. Similar to determining when to water, constant monitoring is the name of the game.
When your tree gets too much sunlight, especially direct rays, it can burn or overheat and end up turning the leaves yellow or crispy. On the other hand, if there is no or little light, a tree begins to look wilted and weak over time.
Not unlike other living beings, plants are also susceptible to pests and disease. One needs to closely monitor for symptoms of common pests such as Aphids, Spider mites, Mealybugs, etc.
One needs to isolate the plant that is affected by the pests, which is visible when the leaves are ragged, they look like they have a bite taken out of them, wilting of leaves even when it is not the season.
Bonsai trees are quite reliant but sensitive to fertilizer. Because your plant lives in limited soil, it might end up using nutrients quickly and can easily go hungry. On the other hand, less soil means there is less space to dilute your fertilizer, which can overload your bonsai.
The trick to proper fertilizing? Yes, you’re right, constant monitoring!
Best Bonsai Fruit Tree
The definition of best differs from person to person and is definitely not the same for everyone. If you want to grow a tiny cherry tree, pick the ‘Bright n Tight’ cultivar, an evergreen cherry. It can offer fragrant, showy spring flowers that then happen to transform into black cherries.
Another good fruiting tree would be a crabapple fruit tree as bonsai, particularly the cultivars ‘Calloway’ and ‘Harvest Gold.’ They tend to offer edible fruit in pretty colors such as yellow and red.
If you are thinking of planting citrus fruit trees as bonsai, you can go ahead with Meyer lemon trees or calamondin orange trees. The former is home to full-size lemons on bonsais, while the latter brings to you fragrant blossoms and fruit all year long.
Is growing fruit bonsai as easy as growing any other bonsai?
No. Growing a miniature version of trees is no easy feat in itself and when you want to add fruits to it, it becomes even harder. These bonsai need more attention and monitoring than any other bonsai.
What is the easiest fruit bonsai to grow?
There is no “easy” way of growing a bonsai. Some of the preferred options for beginners include apple bonsai, orange tree bonsai, cherry bonsai, blueberry bonsai, etc.
How long does the plant take to fruit?
One should not expect the bonsai to fruit in just a couple of months. It might take up to 5 years for some plants to fully mature and bear fruit.
Are bonsai plants expensive?
Bonsai trees are miniature versions of big trees that grow in small pots. It is because of the high value they hold and the beauty they possess that they tend to be more expensive than other plants, both to buy and to take care of.
Bonsais might be hard to grow and manage but they often are the prettiest pictures one can paint of greens in your house. Yes, they need love and attention, but that is what gardening is all about anyways.
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