Bonsai are commonly valued for their beauty. A bonsai orange tree, on the other hand, combines beauty and function. Calamondin orange trees are the most popular orange trees for bonsai. They are small orange trees with evergreen leaves, fragrant flowers, and edible orange fruits.
These trees are both beautiful to look at and produce edible fruit (the calamondin oranges they produce are slightly sour). Orange trees have been grown indoors for centuries, making this a great bonsai for both beginners and experienced bonsai growers.
Bonsai orange trees require special care and attention, but the end result is well worth it.
Because orange trees grow naturally in tropical climates, caring for an orange tree bonsai differs from caring for other types of bonsai. They are not particularly difficult to grow as bonsai. Continue reading to learn how to care for orange tree bonsai and ensure that your bonsai thrives in your care.
Because orange trees are tropical trees, they require warm temperatures and sunlight all year. This means that during the summer, you should place your bonsai tree outside in a sunny location. Don’t be concerned about keeping the orange tree from getting too much sun. Just make sure to keep it well-watered during the summer months.
Unlike most bonsai, you should bring your orange tree bonsai indoors during the winter. The heat in the house will not bother the tree, but the cold temperatures outside will. Place the plant in a bright window, preferably one facing south, but one facing west or east will also suffice. If you are unable to place the bonsai in a window that receives adequate sunlight during the winter, you will need to use artificial lights to keep your bonsai thriving.
Humidity and Temperature
As previously stated, orange tree bonsai require warm temperatures. The tree should be left outside as long as the temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but it should be brought inside once the temperature falls below that level.
Keep the tree away from areas where the temperature fluctuates frequently while indoors. Place it away from heating vents and drafty windows. You want the temperature to be as stable as possible.
Bonsai orange trees require humidity, preferably 50 to 70%, which is impossible to achieve inside a house. You can, however, raise the humidity level to get it closer to 50%.
During the winter, you’ll most likely need to use humidity trays to keep the air around the bonsai moist. Other options include grouping multiple plants together to create a microclimate with higher humidity or purchasing a humidifier to use while keeping the bonsai inside during the winter.
Look for a lightweight mix designed for indoor plants when selecting soil for your orange tree bonsai. Check that the soil has good drainage and that the mix is not designed to hold water.
Citrus trees prefer slightly acidic soil, but this is not required for growing an orange tree bonsai.
Orange trees dislike sitting in standing water, so choose a mix that allows excess water to drain quickly.
How Often Do You Water Bonsai Orange Trees?
Watering a bonsai orange tree necessitates dexterity. You want to water frequently enough to keep the soil from becoming too dry, but not so frequently that water sits in the pot all the time. The precise timing of watering will be determined by several factors, including temperature, season, container size, and bonsai size.
Water when the top of the soil feels dry, but do not wait until the soil has completely dried out. When watering, start at the top and work your way down to allow excess water to drain out the bottom. It is critical that the orange tree container has drainage holes in the bottom.
You will need to water your orange tree bonsai frequently during the summer. You may need to water your plants on a daily basis, depending on the climate in your area. During the winter, you will most likely only need to water once a week, but this depends on a variety of factors.
When watering, try to use water that is at room temperature. Too-cold water can shock the roots of an orange tree. Some growers believe that using rainwater is best for orange trees, even if they are kept indoors during the winter.
While rainwater is not required, and many growers are successful with tap water, you may want to use rainwater if your tap water contains a lot of dissolved minerals.
When to Fertilize Orange Tree Bonsai
Orange tree bonsai require fertilization to thrive. They do not have access to the same amount of nutrients as they would if they were in the ground because they are in tiny pots rather than in the ground.
When choosing a fertilizer, look for one that is specifically designed for citrus trees. Because bonsai are so small, you’ll need to dilute the fertilizer significantly before applying it to your orange tree bonsai. During the growing season, apply fertilizer once a month.
If you can’t find citrus fertilizer or don’t want to keep multiple types of fertilizer on hand, a general-purpose fertilizer will suffice. Again, dilute the fertilizer more than the instructions specify. I’d recommend using less than half of the amount specified.
When to Repot Bonsai Orange Trees
When given the proper care, bonsai orange trees grow quickly. This means you’ll have to repot frequently. Repot a bonsai whenever the root system overflows the plant’s container. Repotting should be done every 2-5 years, depending on the age of your plant.
The best time to repot an orange tree bonsai is in the summer when the tree is at its healthiest and will recover faster.
Trim excess roots when repotting. Keep the main roots intact, but remove up to one-third of the rest. Depending on the size of your plant, you will either repot it in the same pot or move it to a larger pot. Make sure to replace all of the soil at the same time.
After repotting your orange tree bonsai, give it plenty of water.
How to Bonsai Orange Trees
It is possible to grow calamondin orange trees from seed, but it takes time. Starting with a healthy sapling or a tree that is already in bonsai form is much easier.
You can choose the bonsai shape of your orange tree if you start with a sapling. Formal and informal upright styles complement the natural shape of orange trees. Orange trees can be styled in a slanting, cascade, or semi-cascade fashion.
Before you start shaping the tree, you should decide how you want it to look. This will have an effect on how you prune and shape the orange tree.
Orange trees are not difficult to decorate. However, if you are not comfortable styling bonsai, you can purchase an orange tree that is already in bonsai form.
To shape the tree, loosely wrap the wire around the trunk of the orange tree. The tree should be adaptable, but if you want to drastically change its shape, you’ll probably have to do so in stages.
When the wire becomes too tight around the tree, loosen it before the orange tree is harmed. Once the tree has grown to the desired shape, the wire should be removed.
Pruning and Trimming
During the growing season, prune your orange tree bonsai. Avoid removing buds from the tree if possible because the buds will develop into fruit later in the season.
If the orange tree receives the necessary sunlight, water, and nutrients, it can grow very quickly. Pruning should be done as needed.
You’ll also need to trim the roots every time you repot the bonsai. If you’re starting with an orange tree sapling, you should also trim the roots before shaping the bonsai. Trim about one-third of the roots before placing the orange tree bonsai in its first container to accomplish this.
Orange Tree Bonsai FAQ
Many people believe that growing fruit trees indoors, let alone bonsai fruit trees, is far more difficult than it is. Here are some additional questions you may have about orange tree bonsai.
Can you grow a bonsai orange tree from seed?
Yes, a bonsai orange tree can be grown from seed. Although most orange seeds will sprout, calamondin is the best option for bonsai because it produces small fruit. Other types of oranges would be far too large for bonsai.
How long does it take to grow a bonsai orange tree?
Expect to wait 2-3 years for your calamondin orange tree to develop into a fruiting plant if you start it from seed.
Can you bonsai a citrus tree?
Citrus trees, such as oranges and lemons, can be bonsai. Although you can technically bonsai almost any tree, citrus trees that already produce small fruit will give you the best results. When grown as bonsai, miniature varieties are also the easiest to keep small.
When should I repot my orange bonsai tree?
Try to repot your orange tree during the summer if at all possible. When the tree is growing, it is more likely to recover quickly. If necessary, you can also repot in the spring, just before growth begins. Repotting should be avoided in the fall and winter.
Do bonsai fruit trees produce fruit?
Fruit can be produced by bonsai fruit trees. In the case of orange trees, you’ll need to ensure that the flowers are pollinated in order for them to bear fruit. If you want fruit later, you’ll need to help transfer pollen from flower to flower if flowering occurs during the winter when the trees are indoors and away from pollinators.
Why are the leaves falling off my bonsai orange tree?
Orange trees lose a few leaves during the winter when grown outside of their native tropical environment, especially in January and February, due to cold temperatures and fewer daylight hours. Don’t be concerned if your tree loses a few leaves during this period.
Having said that, losing a greater number of leaves is a problem. Loss of leaves while indoors can indicate overwatering or a lack of light. Check the roots to see if overwatering is causing root rot; if so, reduce the frequency of watering. If the problem is a lack of light, supplement the amount of light that the plant receives during the winter months with artificial lights.
Can a bonsai orange tree survive indoors?
Orange trees, unlike most bonsai, should be brought indoors during the winter. They are tropical plants that require high, consistent temperatures throughout the winter. When the temperature falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, do not leave orange trees outside.
Do you have another question about how to care for your orange tree bonsai plant? Please leave a comment!