Ilex serrata (Japanese holly) with stunning red berries

Autumn is a great season for admiring the autumn colour of the leaves of your bonsai but also a great time to see them fruit. Some species of tree are more prolific in their fruit production and some have very bright showy fruit. This can be enhanced with a complementary colour pot for an improved overall visual appeal. Offsetting colours that provide contrast is the name of the game here, introducing bright colours on glazed pots is great fun and worth keeping at the back of your mind when shopping round if you have a fruiting bonsai.

One of the things to remember when selecting tree species to bonsai is that you cannot reduce the size of the fruits, so the tree will try to produce fruits based on the full size regardless of the size of bonsai tree you are growing.

Quince (Cydonia oblonga) with full size fruit

Species of trees that are used in bonsai with good fruit and berries include: Apple (Malus), Barberry (Berberis), Japanese persimmon (Diospyros kaki) Cotoneaster, Mulberry (Morus), Cherry (Prunus), Pomegranate (Punica granatum), Hawthorn (Crataegus), Firethorn (Pyracantha), Beauty berry (Callicarpa), Spindle (Euonymus), Japanese holly (Ilex serrata), Yew (Taxus baccata), Figs (Ficus), Quince (Chaenomeles), Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) and Citrus. Try to select the variety or cultivar which produces the smaller forms of the fruit where possible for your bonsai if you want the fruit to be in harmony with the size of the tree.

Bonsai with berries and fruit

A key thing with choosing a tree species you want to grow as a bonsai for their fruit is the timing of your pruning. Some species of tree only flower and fruit on the old growth or wood so the timing of pruning works to ensure flowering needs to be taken into consideration if you want the fruit to form. Also you will need to protect most fruiting species of bonsai from the birds as they love to pick the fruit of your bonsai trees before you can admire them.

Another thing to remember is that producing fruit is a very energy consuming task for trees especially when they are kept as bonsai in pots. So ensure that you increase your feeding regime for your bonsai trees and you can limit the number of fruit you allow your bonsai to produce in that year to avoid putting the tree through too much stress.

One of our club members has written a few posts on their fruiting bonsai trees including a Firethorn bonsai, a Hawthorn and another on their Pomegranate so check these posts out for more detail on pruning and feeding regimes.

Berries and fruits in nature

So next time you are in your garden or out for a walk look out for the beautiful berries and fruits in the hedgerows, on shrubs, climbers and trees, and they are a great source of food for wildlife too.