How to Grow an Orange Bonsai Tree


Bonsai are small, delicate trees that straddle the line between art and decoration. But did you know that this ancient technique can also be used on fruit-bearing trees? With these tips and a little love, you can grow a stunning orange bonsai tree yourself! 

This is not as challenging as you might think, and you don’t have to be a Zen master to know how to get it done! 

You can grow an orange bonsai tree by planting calamondin orange tree seeds without fruit pulp in a plastic seed growing tray. Allow the saplings to grow up to 4 inches tall, then you can repot one of them to a bonsai pot filled with slightly acidic soil. Water the plant only when you notice that the soil is dry. Keep your orange bonsai tree at a temperature between 68 and 86 Farenheit. 

If you want the right advice on how to set up all these steps, and about soil quality, fertilizing, trimming, and pest control, you’re in the right place. Let’s get started!

The Orange Bonsai Tree Bare Essentials

What’s the best orange tree species to bonsai?

Without a doubt, we recommend the calamondin orange tree. While you can technically use the bonsai technique on many different trees, this particular orange tree has some perks that make it ideal for growing in this way. For one, it bears a miniature orange fruit that already complements the style. Another is that it flowers almost year-round, and has pretty, evergreen leaves that can vibe up any space. 

Orange Bonsai Tree in Nursery

By all means, you can experiment to your heart’s content, but this is the best candidate for growing an orange bonsai tree we’ve found after extensive research.

Have an Adequate Roadmap 

Growing bonsai trees requires patience, dedication, and forethought. While it’s by no means necessary to have every step meticulously pre-planned, it really helps to have a general idea of how you want the tree to look like in your home. 

Why? Because part of the beauty of bonsai growing is in its asymmetrical nature. You want your tree to mesh well with your existing plants, or with the rest of the decoration in your chosen spot. You can make any necessary changes later, of course, but you don’t want to stumble into any unnecessary roadblocks after you’ve started growing! You can always relocate, turn the pot, or trim accordingly, but you’ll save yourself a ton of work — and grief! — if you think ahead.

Picking the Right Seed or Sapling

If you want a healthy orange bonsai tree, you’ll need to start with the seed. You’re going to want calamondin orange seeds that come from ripe or overripe fruit. It’s even better if your seeds are already sprouting slightly — you’re halfway there already!

Regardless, make sure to properly clean the seeds before planting, as you don’t want any orange pulp preventing proper growth. 

If you want to take the easier route – you might want to start with a healthy sapling. This also simplifies knowing what the tree will look like, as you can take a glance at its limb structure before you put it in your chosen location. If this is your first orange bonsai tree, you might want to go with this.

Orange Bonsai Tree in balcony
Photo by Andreas M on Unsplash

If you have an orange tree sapling, then you’ll want to prune away a quarter of its roots. After, plant it in a container with adequate bonsai potting soil.

If you’re more experienced, or want to take a shot at starting from scratch, move on to the next section.

Growing Seedlings

You’ll want to do this if you’re growing from seeds. First, you’ll need to start with your seeds in a tray, taking proper care to grow them until they’re big enough to repot. You’ll know it’s time when they’re four inches tall — until then, they’re considered seedlings.

The first step with caring for seedlings is starting with soil temperature and moisture. You’re going to need a thermometer for this, as the soil needs to be between 68 and 86 Farenheit (20-30 degrees Celsius). You can’t overlook this step, as it’s very important to provide a proper environment for the seeds to grow.

The next step is proper moisture. This is going to be a case of “not too much, not too little.” You’re going to need to keep the soil moist, but not wet. If you see that it’s drying out, then you need to apply more water. If you see standing water or overflowing, then you have to ease back a bit until you achieve proper moisture balance. Keep an eye on it!

Fertilizer? Sure! A good water-soluble citrus fertilizer can help give your seedlings a much-needed boost during the summer or spring months. This also helps because it’s better for the soil to have a slight acidity level. Make sure to check that your fertilizer meets this requirement.

Repotting

Now, you need to take care that you keep trimming your tree before repotting it. Remember: you want it to keep it at, or close to a bonsai-sized tree before repotting. So, keep pruning away, always keeping the end-product in sight before moving on to a bonsai tray. 

Right before you repot your tree, you’ll need to remove some of the excess roots. The ones you want are: 

  • The main, or primary root.
  • Some of the smaller, feeder roots that branch out from the primary root.

Always remember to keep an eye on soil moisture and quality. Now, you’ve got the makings of an orange bonsai tree!

Caring for Your Orange Bonsai Tree 

So, what do you need to do in order to maintain your orange bonsai tree? It’s safe to say you’re done with the hard part already, so you’re in for some smooth sailing from now on. 

Decorative Orange Bonsai Tree

Keep an Eye on Soil Temperature and Moisture

If you’ve already grown your own seedlings, you’ll know this part already. If not, it’s helpful to restate these points: 

  • The adequate soil temperature for your orange bonsai tree is between 20-30 degrees Celsius.
  • Don’t let the temperature dip below 13, because that will bring growth to a standstill.
  • Keep the moisture balanced. If the water’s overflowing, dial it back; if the soil seems dry, you need to give it a little more love. 

Keep Your Bonsai Baby Pruned

Remember, we’re growing an orange bonsai tree, not a full-sized one! We don’t want limbs to start getting out of bounds.

Keep in mind that you should not remove buds from the tree. Those are the ones that will grow into beautiful miniature oranges, and that’s what we want, right? But, that doesn’t mean you’ll want any old fruit hanging on your orange bonsai; you should remove any remaining fruit before the fall, because it sips away your tree’s precious energy reserves, and you want it to keep growing at a healthy clip!

Remember to Fertilize 

Fertilizer was optional when growing your seedlings, but now it’s an absolute must. That’s because your orange bonsai tree is now growing in a vastly reduced amount of soil compared to a normal tree. So, it’s logical to conclude that you’re going to need that soil to have a larger amount of nutrients so that the tree’s well-fed, especially during the growing period. 

Remember: this is not optional anymore. You need to give your tree the best possible nutrition while it’s growing.

Consider fertilizing once a month during the winter. Use citrus tree fertilizer, as pointed out above. If you don’t have any on-hand, it’s OK, as long as it’s general-use fertilizer. Finally, as your tree’s much smaller, maybe think about using 50% of what’s indicated on the bottle. You don’t want to over-fertilize either.

Pest and Weed Control

There’s always some pesky critter to worry about. Remember to keep any of these little nuisances away from your orange bonsai tree, as they could hinder its growth or worse, negatively-impact its well-being. 

Always use professional-grade products and repellants, with a focus on the organic. Maintain the same eye on quality and care as you would for a full-sized tree.

Related Questions 

Can you eat fruit from a bonsai tree?

You absolutely can. And, in fact, that’s part of the reason why the calamondin tree is such a good choice for an orange bonsai tree; it gives delicious tiny, juicy oranges with a tasty, tangy flavor. That’s added value!

Can I Bonsai an apple tree?

You can, as long as it’s the right variety, just as with the orange tree. In that case, we recommend the Clausia Rosea variety. Just as with the orange bonsai tree, it bears striking fruit that will make for a beautiful showcase, and definitely a draw for any curious set of eyes.

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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