Can Bonsai Trees Grow Fruit? (Which Ones?)
If you’re going to grow a bonsai, why not have it sprout fruit as well?
But, can a tiny bonsai produce fruit, and is it even a good idea to grow fruit on a bonsai?
Bonsai trees can undoubtedly grow fruit, but the fruit is often similar in size to that of a full-grown tree, although it can be slightly smaller.
Thus, many people choose trees that produce naturally small fruits, such as cherries, for bonsai.
These tiny fruits are unlikely to throw off the ratio of fruit to branch, meaning the tree won’t look odd when the fruit grows.
In this article, we’ll discuss whether it’s a good idea to grow fruit on a bonsai and how the fruit will appear.
Which Bonsai Trees Bear Fruit?
Any tree that would bear fruit in its natural form can also bear fruit as a bonsai.
That means all the common fruit trees can bear fruit on a bonsai, including:
Any of these trees can and usually will fruit each year, just as the standard tree would after flowering.
Will a Bonsai Grow Miniature Fruit?
You might be expecting your bonsai to grow tiny apples and pears to match its size.
But surprisingly, bonsai trees do not grow miniature fruit.
Instead, they grow a version close in size to the usual fruit.
Sometimes, the fruits will be a little smaller, but in general, there will be little difference between them and a normal-sized fruit.
You may even be able to put the two fruits side by side with minimal ability to distinguish between them.
This phenomenon fascinates many people because it seems illogical that the fruit should stay large even when the tree is small.
However, the bonsai tree is genetically identical to the full-size version.
Therefore, it contains the genetic information to make the fruits in their standard size.
And remember, a bonsai is only small because you have restricted its roots, not because it is in any other way different from its normal counterpart.
So, it makes sense for its fruits to be the regular size.
Yet, your tree will probably only produce one or two fruits, especially if they are big ones, because it simply doesn’t have the room or resources to grow more.
Should I Let My Bonsai Fruit?
It is generally fine to let your bonsai tree produce fruits.
But, there are a few things to be aware of, especially if you have chosen a variety with naturally large fruits, such as a pear, and you are growing it in a very small container.
The first is that creating fruit will use up a lot of your plant’s resources, and it may not grow as fast if it produces a lot of fruit.
Therefore, make sure you are fertilizing your tree regularly, so it gets plenty of nutrients while it is fruiting.
Secondly, ensure the branches can support the fruits, which may be heavy.
Because the proportions will be off, your bonsai is at risk of being damaged by its own fruits, which may be heavy enough to break the branches.
So, you might need to support the fruit using other structures to take the weight off your plant and ensure the fruit doesn’t do any damage to the tree.
Thus, on the whole, it is best to choose tree species that only produce small fruits that are in scale with the tree.
These will be lighter and less likely to damage the tree.
They will also be more aesthetically pleasing because they will look in proportion with the rest of the tree.
Yet, if you do want to let a bonsai produce an out-of-scale fruit, it may be best only to let it make one, removing any others before they gain significant size.
Also, you should support the fruit to minimize the risk of damage, and if the tree shows signs of stress, remove it.
Which Fruit Trees Are Popular as Bonsais?
You might be wondering which fruit trees are the most popular for turning into bonsai trees.
So, here are a few varieties that tend to do well:
- Crab apple
- Key lime
- Hong Kong kumquat
- Meyer lemon
- Tahiti lime
- Top Hat blueberry
- Oriental cherry
- Wild olive
- Dwarf pomegranate
- Japanese winterberry
Can I Eat the Fruit From a Bonsai Tree?
As long as you have grown an edible variety, the fruit from a bonsai tree is perfectly safe to eat.
It should also taste exactly like the fruit from a normal-sized version of that tree.
Remember, the fruit is genetically identical to its larger counterpart, so there’s no reason for it to taste any different or have a different texture.
But, just make sure you have grown an edible variety before you eat the fruit from a bonsai tree because if the full-sized tree’s fruits are poisonous, the bonsai’s fruits will be toxic too.
Overall, you should only eat fruit you know is safe.
What Does a Bonsai Need to Fruit?
Like their full-size counterparts, most bonsai trees will only fruit when the weather is warm.
Thus, they’ll generally fruit in spring or summer, with most trees flowering in the spring and fruiting in the summer.
You just need to make sure your bonsai gets a lot of light during the growing process, so it can create enough energy to produce fruit.
So, you should move your bonsai close to a window or put it outside if possible, so it can enjoy as much natural light as it needs.
Also, make sure you water your bonsai regularly, as producing fruit will often make the plant thirsty.
Mostly, you just need to ensure the soil never dries out because, without enough water, your tree won’t be able to produce fruit, and it might struggle to grow.
Finally, you should take steps to protect your bonsai from strong winds if it is going to be outside, as fruits are more likely to break branches if they are swinging about in a gale.
Bonsai trees can fruit just as effectively and perfectly as any full-size fruiting tree, producing impressive displays.
Overall, some people like to grow bonsai trees with out-of-proportion large fruits because they appreciate the contrast.
Meanwhile, others want to complete their miniature world with tiny, scaled fruits to suit their small tree.
Yet, whichever you choose, you will soon have some delicious fruits to try.
Table of Contents