Bonzai Citrus Trees
Posted by Pat Harper on September 20 2012 08:57:45

What Is A Bonsai Citrus?

Bonsai is the art of growing miniature trees and traditionally these have been trees such as Japanese maple, varieties of elm and pine. However, there is a growing interest in cultivating citrus bonsai trees, miniature lemon, orange and lime trees which had not been a traditional bonsai choice. A bonsai citrus tree, therefore, is any citrus tree variety that has been cultivated to grow at a reduced height, by regular pruning and feeding, but effectively not allowing the tree to grow beyond a foot or two at the most. The ultimate challenge in growing bonsai citrus trees is whether you can actually get them to fruit as a miniature tree.

Citrus Bonsai Tree Varieties

In theory, any tree can be a bonsai, in practice some trees are very difficult to grow in miniature; also, some trees simply are not suitable for bonsai cultivation. The basic principle of bonsai, when you are starting out, is to train a tree to grow in much the same way as it does in nature. Advanced bonsai experts can train trees to grow in extraordinary styles way beyond the capability of most bonsai growers. Essentially there are 5 styles of bonsai; formal upright, informal upright, slanting (or windswept), semi-cascade and cascade. Certain trees suit certain styles, and with fruiting trees such as citrus bonsai you also have to consider whether these styles will look appropriate with fruit hanging down. Orange tree varieties seem to be one of the favored bonsai citrus as their style, and the abundance of greenery allows them to be trained, in windswept or semi-cascade and cascade styles.

Caring For Your Bonsai Citrus Trees

You need to study bonsai in detail before attempting to create your own bonsai, but a shortcut is to buy a tree that has been cultivated to be a bonsai with instructions on maintenance rather than styling. Bonsai citrus varieties are available, and as they are indoor trees there are no restrictions on temperature and climate when purchasing them. A good choice is to start with trees that are dwarf varieties such as the Meyer lemon. The bonsai citrus needs full sun for the fruit to have a chance, warmth, do not let the temperature go below 54 degrees Fahrenheit unless you deliberately want them to go into dormancy. To fruit, the flowers need to be pollinated as you are unlikely to have many obliging bees indoors doing the job. You need to use a cotton bud or small paintbrush to rub pollen within the flower, so you need to ensure that an appropriate female or male plant is available to use for a pollination source. Bonsai citrus trees are a challenge, but the rewards are great, miniature trees with shiny, colorful fruit, as a result, an amazing ornamental plant.