Lemon Bonsai

Forum for discussion of Flowering and fuiting bonsai - Azalea, Serissa, Apricot etc.

Lemon Bonsai

Postby lemonhunter » January 12th, 2018, 2:33 pm

Hi all, I'm new to this community and new to Bonsai. Just getting into the habits and paterns of watering and caring for some pre-bonsai. I would like to get started (as you may guess from my name) on a lemon tree bonsai.

What would be the best way to get started? Buy a small lemon tree from a store like Bunnings and re-train? Grow from seeds? Grow from a cutting? What season would be best to start? Does anyone else here have a lemon tree Bonsai to show for encouragement?

Any and all advice on moving forward with this would be much appreciated :)
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Re: Lemon Bonsai

Postby melbrackstone » January 12th, 2018, 4:46 pm

Hi there lemonhunter

I have some lemon trees I grew from seed, at the moment they're just sticks in a pot. Likewise I bought one from Daleys in Kyogle but again, it's still small. I'm sure you'll find plenty of images online, although some people suggest that lemon leaves stay too large for a small bonsai, so if you have a tree with small leaves, that'll be a bonus.

All of mine have no leaves at the moment because the Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars have stripped them bare.
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Re: Lemon Bonsai

Postby GavinG » January 12th, 2018, 4:53 pm

HI and welcome. I'm keen on citrus bonsai, but they're not straightforward. Most citrus you will see for sale have been grafted, so there's a big ugly lump at the base which makes things difficult. Also most of the domestic citrus have large leaves, which means you really need quite a large bonsai for scale - maybe grown in the ground for quite a while to get the size.

Possibly best start with cuttings - as I said, ground growing early on will help. They can be slow.

For smaller leaves, some of the cumquats might be useful, or for really small, calamondin. You might try the finger limes?native citrus - very small leaves, grow strongly, and often on their own roots, but they are fiercely prickly, and might not be "lemony" enough.

Good luck,

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Re: Lemon Bonsai

Postby shibui » January 12th, 2018, 7:15 pm

How to start depends on how much of a hurry you are in.
seeds and cuttings will take quite a few years to develop into anything even remotely bonsai.
A purchased tree will cost more but it gives you a 3-4 year head start and you will have a thicker trunk and some branches to work with right away.
As Gavin pointed out they will almost certainly be grafted and that can look a bit odd for bonsai.
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Re: Lemon Bonsai

Postby Raging Bull » January 13th, 2018, 9:28 am

:gday: and welcome Lemonhunter. All the above comments are true and as recommended, try an established tree from a nursery. Perhaps you can find one that has a neat graft. If you can afford to buy two trees, you may try to experiment with one and cut it back to just below the graft. If it doesn't die you may get a vigorous tree, but it may not fruit well. The grafting is usually done to make a good fruiting tree with good rootstock. If it behaves like some roses it may grow several "watershoot" like branches out very quickly, and then you will have a different set of problems. :palm: That type of shoot usually has long internodes and will need to be carefully and frequently cut back to develop shorter internodes.
Anyway, that's my :2c: worth. Good luck with it and please keep us informed of the results.
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Re: Lemon Bonsai

Postby shibui » January 13th, 2018, 10:40 am

Readers should note that most citrus in Australia re grafted onto Poncirus trifoliata root stock. It has a different leaf, large spines and green, warty fruit - quite unlike a lemon.
So if you cut a grafted citrus below the graft you can expect to get something quite unlike the citrus you started with.
Poncirus is quite good at suckering even without hard pruning and we often see these spiky suckers growing from citrus in the garden. if the suckers are allowed to dominate they soon overwhelm the grafted part which will eventually die leaving just Poncirus as a stand alone tree.
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Re: Lemon Bonsai

Postby Keep Calm and Ramify » January 13th, 2018, 11:05 am

Personally, I now avoid all grafted material when looking for potential bonsai.
Picture below shows a cumquat which I bought young & hadn't even noticed that it was grafted.
20 years later, and only ever pot grown - see below pic..... UGLY SWELL. I did not predict this.

I think this helps illustrate what GavinG & Shibui were previously for-warning about.

DSCF2719.JPG
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Last edited by Keep Calm and Ramify on January 13th, 2018, 11:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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