Potted fruit trees, or fruit bonsais, can be as productive as their natural-sized counterparts. When properly maintained, the container-grown fruit trees produce proportionately sized foliage, blooms and fruit. Like their natural-sized counterparts, container-grown fruit trees require ample care that includes regular irrigation, seasonal pruning, timely fertilization and thorough harvesting.
Choose a young fruit sapling to plant in your container. Pick a fruit tree that thrives well in your climate and region, as explained by Your Healthy Gardens. Take into strong consideration the amount of chilling hours the selected fruit tree will require when making your selection.
Select a 15-gallon pot or Versailles container to plant your fruit tree, as recommended by the Bonsai Gardener. Ensure that the chosen container is well-drained with several drainage holes at the bottom of the container.
Inspect the root system of your fruit tree. Use sharp, sterile pruning shears to trim away any damaged or deadened roots. Reinvigorate the root system by soaking your fruit tree's roots for a full day before planting.
Line each drainage hole with mesh to prevent soil release. Fill your container with soil so that the fruit tree is planted at the same depth as its original planting depth, as recommended by the California Rare Fruit Growers. Position the fruit tree in the center of the container and fill the container with soil.
Irrigate your newly planted fruit bonsai thoroughly to promote a good root establishment and remove potential air pockets. Add additional soil, if necessary, to ensure the proper depth.
Keep your potted fruit tree in a warm, sunny location. Make sure that the location receives at least eight hours of full sunlight. Choose locations that are away from temperature variations such as heating vents and patio grills.
Irrigate your fruit bonsai deeply and allow it to dry slightly between each watering, as recommended by the California Rare Fruit Growers. Check the soil's moisture levels prior to each irrigation to prevent overwatering. Irrigate the tree only when the soil feels slight dry. Never allow the fruit bonsai to dry out completely.
Feed your potted fruit tree regularly and according to the needs of that tree. Use a well-balanced, slow release fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 combination. Apply the fertilizer at half strength. Be sure to keep the fertilizer from touching the trunk of the tree to prevent root burn.
Prune your container-grown fruit tree to maintain its shape and promote vigorous growth. Use sharp, sterile pruning shears to trim away any dead or dying stems and branches. Trim back leggy branches to promote side branching, as recommended by the California Rare Fruit Growers. Thin out the interior branches in the spring to increase air circulation and sunlight penetration throughout the tree's interior.