Can Bonsai Trees Grow Fruit?

As it’s turned summer here in the U.K, I really got into the idea of growing a bonsai tree that grows fruit. Is it possible? Is the fruit edible? Which species work best?


Yes! Bonsai trees are the same as normal trees, only smaller. If the species grows fruit, then so will the bonsai. Due to the bonsai being miniature, it’s best to use a species of tree that produces small fruit like crabapple. 


Will Any Bonsai Grow Fruit?

Not every species of bonsai tree will grow fruit, of course, it depends on whether the species would usually grow fruit or not. There’s a common misconception that a bonsai tree is a genetically manipulated tree, which simply isn’t true at all. A lemon tree grows lemons, so a lemon bonsai tree, with the correct conditions, will also grow lemons, it’s really that simple.

can a bonsai tree grow fruit

The interesting thing is that the fruit won’t grow miniature, so it’s best to use a tree that grows tiny fruit. If you choose to grow a species that grows large fruits, it will look almost deformed against the bonsai, as well as potentially putting a lot of strain on the tree.


Don’t get worried that your bonsai might start growing fruit, it of course won’t unless it is of a fruit growing species and given the right outdoor growing conditions to grow healthy fruit. My Chinese Elm bonsai isn’t going to start growing lemons overnight, I hope!


Best Bonsai Fruit Species?

There are definitely going to be certain species to grow and to avoid when looking at growing fruit on a bonsai. Like I said earlier, you don’t want to grow any species that produces really large or heavy fruits as this will look extremely weird against the small tree, as well as potentially putting a huge strain on the branches and trunk. 

Some of the most popular species to use for growing fruit are:

  • Orange
  • Fig
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Peach
  • Edible Berry Trees
  • Pomegranate

Personally I think the edible berry tree species are definitely the best to grow in terms of keeping the aesthetics of the bonsai. The berries won’t completely dwarf the tree, or put too much strain on the branches, which in my opinion would look a lot better than seeing the tree being completely strained and out of proportion with a giant apple hanging off it. 


Is The Fruit From A Bonsai Tree Edible?

Fruit from a bonsai tree is definitely edible! In fact, with the perfect growing conditions for the bonsai, you shouldn’t really be able to notice the difference between fruit grown on a bonsai and the fruit grown on the full size tree.


If you own a bonsai fruit tree or end up growing one, be sure to show me, I would love to see! I’m planning to start a lemon this summer, I’ll keep this post updated as to when I begin.

A beautiful Cherry Tree Bonsai. The Cherry is a perfect species to use for bonsai, as the fruit produced is not too large for the tree.

Will A Bonsai Grow Miniature Fruit?


The fruit produced by a fruit bonsai tree will be normal size, not miniature. It’s definitely possible that the tree could produce slightly small fruit but definitely not miniature fruit. A bonsai tree is only small due to the constant pruning and roots being restricted in the tiny pot, there is no genetic difference between that and the full size version. It’s for this reason that a bonsai tree will still be able to produce the same size fruit as that of the full size species.


Due to the fact that the bonsai tree won’t produce miniature fruit, it can look pretty dispreporitonal having a tiny tree with relatively large lemons hanging off it – hence why I would recommend using a berry tree if you’re more concerned about maintaining the aesthetics of the tree. If you’re just looking to eat the fruit and have a bit of fun, of course pick your favourite, citrus could definitely be fun!


Growing A Fig Bonsai For Fruit


Fig trees are definitely a great tree to grow if you’re looking to grow a bonsai that can produce edible fruit. The fig thrives in a hotter climate, so if you have the space to grow a bonsai outdoors in the sun, growing a fig would be a great choice. When the fig bonsai produces fruit, they are actually more of an inverted edible flower and this should be happening in the growing seasons, spring and late summer.


Growing Conditions Needed For A Bonsai Tree To Fruit


Fruit bonsai trees will typically fruit in the warmer seasons, mainly spring and later in the summer. Providing the time of year is right for your species of fruit tree to fruit, then we need to look at the light, water and nutrients. The bonsai should be getting a huge amount of light, which is naturally should be anyway in this season, but you need to ensure that it is positioned effectively for the best chances of flowering.


The chances are that if you’ve managed to keep the bonsai alive for more than a week, you already know this, but it’s worth pointing out that you need to be very often checking the soil moisture and then watering the bonsai. If the bonsai is in bad health to due a lack of water, it’s less likely to produce a nice fruit, or even survive. When growing fruit in the summer these trees are going to be very thirsty and going to get through a very high amount of water! To ensure you are watering effectively, have a read of my article: 5 Must Know Tips For Watering A Bonsai Tree.


Fruiting Bonsai Tree Video 

Final Thoughts 

Growing a fruit bonsai tree has its struggles but it can be extremely worth it! Bonsai trees can grow fruit much like a normal tree. The fruit may be slightly smaller, but it certainly won’t be miniature. When a tree is grown as bonsai, the exact same seed is used as in the full size species, they are genetically indifferent meaning the same fruit will be produced. It’s important that the correct growing conditions are met, or the tree will struggle to flower and fruit during the growing season.

Let me know if you have got a fruit bonsai in your collection, I would love to see what my readers are growing!

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