How To Grow Mini Bonsai Tree – Do you like bonsai gardening? How about a super mini bonsai, only a few inches tall? This is the charm of bonsai intertwined with the love of garden miniatures. In the new book Miniature Bonsai: The Complete Guide to Super-Mini Bonsai, author Terutoshi Iwai shows us how to grow plants from seeds or cuttings to create charming thimble-sized potted plants.
Images in this post courtesy of Tuttle Publishing, which also provided a review copy of Miniature Bonsai: The Complete Guide to Super-Mini Bonsai by Terutoshi Iwai.
How To Grow Mini Bonsai Tree
“Bon” in bonsai refers to a pot, while “sai” means a plant. It shows different size classifications.
Tiny Bonsai Trees Can Grow Full Sized Apples And Pomegranates
Falling into the small to miniature category, bonsai trees reach a height of about 8 inches (20 cm) and can take up to 20 years to fully mature.
The term “miniature bonsai” generally refers to any bonsai that is small enough to be lifted or moved with one hand.
The term “super mini bonsai” refers to the smallest plants in the mini bonsai category; of these, the smallest plants fit at the fingertips and grow in pots no bigger than a thimble.
While growing bonsai is a slow process, super mini bonsai can be enjoyed as soon as you plant them – and these plants are easy and satisfying to grow and grow. Maybe one that not only showcases your fine skills, but how to grow a full-sized fruit you can actually eat is right in front of you?
How To Start A Bonsai Tree (with Pictures)
This is the process of confining a full-sized species into a very limited space. Almost any type of tree can be grown as a bonsai, including trees that grow perfectly normal sized fruit.
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There is something so impressive about a full-size lemon or pomegranate growing on a tree that you can carry it in one hand.
If you’re up for the challenge—and the glory—that’s what we’ll cover in this guide:
Bonsai. Different Styles Of Miniature Trees. The Art Of Growing Dwarf Plants. 8379920 Vector Art At Vecteezy
A 40 meter tall persimmon tree has enough space to produce fruit, but a meter tall tree can only produce two or three full-sized fruits. It doesn’t matter, the purpose of bonsai is not to feed the family.
Genetically, the bonsai fruit species are identical to the 40-foot-tall fruit trees that grow in gardens, thus growing full-sized fruit.
If you’re wondering whether you can encourage your bonsai to grow smaller fruit to produce more, or to look more in proportion to the tree, the answer is no.
The size of fruit that trees produce cannot be changed by horticultural practices. Size is determined by genetics and can only be changed through breeding.
Bonsai Tree Care For Beginners—everything You Need To Know
If you want a display with small fruit, choose a type that already has small fruit, such as crabapple or blueberry.
), quince, lime, and Meyer lemon are great trees to start with. Woody shrubs such as blueberries are also a great place to start.
You can also plant trees with fruit that is more ornamental than edible, such as boot trees, small-leaved lindens, or pears.
If you’re up for a bigger challenge, pomegranates, oranges, apples and persimmons are great and their large fruits create an interesting juxtaposition with smaller trees.
Can Any Tree Be A Bonsai Tree?
As I mentioned before, any tree can be grown as a bonsai, so don’t feel limited. This is the most common option, but if you’re dreaming of growing durian, don’t let anything stop you from trying it.
Caring for a bonsai fruit tree is not much different from caring for a standard tree, but there are a few things to watch out for.
If you’re not familiar with caring for these plants, you may want to check out our beginner’s guide first. Then come back here.
Some trees require a certain number of cold hours, i.e. the time they spend under a certain temperature, to produce. Be aware of this when deciding which species to grow.
Bonsai Gardens Guide
For example, apple trees need an average of 1,000 hours of cooling each year. To make things easier, choose species that thrive in your growing zone.
Also, make sure you know how much sun exposure your chosen variety requires. While your tree may do well in dim light, it may not produce these lovely treats without the sunlight it needs.
Nearly all fruit trees must be grown outdoors at all times. If you hypothetically can’t grow a full-sized species indoors, you can’t grow a bonsai version indoors either.
Apple trees, both large and small, cannot be grown indoors. However, there are some varieties, such as lemon and orange, that can grow in warm, sunny places indoors.
How To Grow Bonsai Fruit Trees
All bonsai must be fertilized. These plants have little substrate to draw nutrients from, so you’ll need to add the nutrients they need.
Slow-release fertilizers are the easiest to use because you only need to spray a small amount and they will feed the plant for months.
The Bonsai Boy carries a four-ounce bag and one of them is enough to feed several small plants or one large plant for a year.
Fertilize as usual for your chosen species, usually in early spring, late spring, and again in late summer. Avoid adding any fertilizer in the weeks before the fruit is ripe. This can cause the fruit to fall.
Get To Know Bonsai
You may wonder whether you should add extra potassium to encourage fruit formation. The answer is not necessary.
Trees need all of the main plant nutrients – nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) to grow.
While potassium is essential in helping plants make sugars, starches, and carbohydrates, it affects the whole plant, not just the developing fruit.
Essential for growing more leaves, also necessary for maintaining healthy roots, stems and fruit. It helps the plant make the proteins, vitamins and enzymes that the whole plant needs.
Miniature Bonsai Tree On White Natural Stock Photo 633194993
In other words, plants need all of these macronutrients to grow. It will take what it needs and throw away the rest with the excess when you water.
This doesn’t mean that you can apply too much fertilizer and let the excess wash off – it can become toxic, causing sodium levels in the soil to rise to dangerous levels.
One exception is if you find that the fruit is small and underdeveloped or not starting to form at all. If this happens, it’s a good idea to test your substrate to see if it’s low on potassium.
If you find that the substrate is low in potassium, add a little more with a product that won’t increase the salt level.
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Down to Earth makes a product called Langbeinite which is perfect for increasing potassium without increasing sodium. Just sprinkle a little on the ground while shoots are forming.
Five-pound boxes can be purchased from Arbico Organics if you feel your plants need a bit of a potassium boost.
Pruning is something that anyone growing bonsai should master, but it is especially important for those growing fruit trees.
Not only must you follow general pruning principles, but you must also prune to promote ideal fruit formation.
Man Has World’s Biggest Collection Of Smallest Trees
For example, if you are growing blueberries, know that the best berries come from canes that are between one and four years old. After that, they stopped producing well.
Skilled craftsmen make a large central stem with many stems extending from the top to create a canopy, then cut a few older stems each year to keep the plant fruitful while maintaining an attractive shape.
For apple trees, you will need to prune in winter to create a pleasing shape that will also support the fruit that is forming.
Generally, this means you want a large, sturdy trunk and only a few short, strong branches extending from the trunk.
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These branches should be opposite each other or at least have enough space between them so that the growing apples are not crowded together.
Familiarize yourself with the specific needs of your chosen species and take them into account when pruning. You may also want to read our comprehensive Bonsai Pruning Guide for more tips.
Fruit bonsai is very interesting. They require a little extra work to maintain, but the results are undoubtedly outstanding. Seeing your first full-sized fruit on a branch is quite an exhilarating experience.
We’d love to hear what species you end up growing. Let us know in the comments! Also, feel free to share any questions you may have.
Beginner Friendly Bonsai Plants
If you’d like to expand your bonsai garden even further and found this guide helpful, we have a few other guides you might find interesting:
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Kristine Lofgren is a writer, photographer, reader, and gardening enthusiast based in Portland, Oregon. She grew up in the desert of Utah, but in 2018 she ventured into the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two dogs. Currently, his passions are focused on growing ornamental, edible plants and foraging.
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