Calamondin Bonsai Care [Rutaceae]

Just like me, most people love to keep Bonsai trees for their aesthetic purpose, but if you want a Bonsai with an extra edge other than a decorative ornament, you can go for the Calamondin Bonsai. Calamondin is a citrus plant indigenous to China and the Philippines; cultivated worldwide for its juice.

Here in this article, I will be discussing comprehensively, how best you can Bonsai a Calamondin tree, as well as every other interesting characteristic of this juice-rich tree; so keep reading for full details.

Average height304 to 609 cm
Average spread6 to 10 feets
Origin countryChina
Fruit bloom timeSeasonal bloomer
VarietiesCitrus madurensis, Citrus microcarpa, Citrus mitis
LeafFragrant, Evergreen
SunlightFull sun

Can you Bonsai a Calamondin tree?

Yes, you can Bonsai a Calamondin tree. Well, I wouldn’t lie to you, the first time I came across the phrase “Bonsai a tree” I was confused. So to avoid putting you in a similar dilemma, I would like to first break down the term for proper understanding.

From Nursery Plant To Bonsai: The Calamondin Orange Styling (× Citrofortunella microcarpa)

What does it mean to Bonsai a tree?

Bonsai is a Japanese word that means “planted in a container”, and it is a method of miniaturizing nature by realistically representing it in tree form. Therefore, to Bonsai a tree means to make it smaller by planting it in a container. Similarly, to Bonsai a Calamondin tree means planting a Calamondin tree in a container.

However, before you Bonsai a Calamondin tree, you must consider some factors like the soil, water, sunlight, and fertilizers. If any of the above factors are applied in excess or are undersupplied, you may end up killing the tree. Also, if your intention is to Bonsai a Calamondin tree through cuttings, you must make sure you choose one with strong-healthy roots with no broken limbs. Choosing anyone deficient in any of those qualities is equally as risky as not having adequate knowledge on how to go about those factors mentioned earlier.

Calamondin Bonsai history

Calamondin is a citrus plant native to China and the Philippines; introduced to the U.S. (Florida) by Dr. Lanthrop in 1899 as an acidic Orange before it was reintroduced by Dr. David Fairchild; an indigen of Panama as Panama orange.

Before it became widely accepted as an edible plant, it was grown especially among Americans for ornamental purposes. Some notable characteristics of the plant include; shiny green leaves, wing-like limbs on the lead stalk, and an incredible fragrant flower that blossoms all year round.

In Latin countries like Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Colombia, Calamondin trees are mostly planted in the backyard and are popularly known as ‘agri-dulce’; meaning sweet and sour in Latin. It is also popularly believed to be a cure for grippe (cold). Other names for Calamondin include; Calamomdine orange, Golden lime, and Scarlet lime.

Calamondin Bonsai symbolism

A bonsai is an artistic form of communicating ideas and complex emotions with nature. Every single species of a Bonsai tree has a particular meaning it symbolizes. For instance, the Azalea Bonsai tree means feminity, passion, wealth, and Abundance.

But in general, many cultures believe big trees stand for strength, protection, and power; while flowering plants symbolize feminity which represents feminine beauty and power. Since Calamondin is also a flowery plant, it can be construed to represent beauty and power.

Calamondin Bonsai care

If you decided to Bonsai a Calamondin tree, it means it must be raised under a condition that replicates nature. That is, it must be provided with adequate humidity, temperature, sunlight, watering, and soil it would survive on when grown the natural way. Listed below are the conditions necessary for the survival of a Calamondin Bonsai.

Calamondin Orange Care and Information (× Citrofortunella mitis)

Calamondin Bonsai Temperature

Calamondin Bonsai has a high tolerance for cold than every other citrus species except the Kumquat and Trifoliate orange. And it can be excellently grown naturally outdoors in areas like Florida, California, and the Gulf coast. If you live in a colder area and you want a citrus tree you can plant indoors, Calamondin should be the first on your list.

However, Calamondin Bonsai may struggle to survive in waterlogged areas as they cannot handle too much moisture. Although my statement about Calamondin toughness towards cold shouldn’t be misconstrued as being the best temperature for growing a Calamondin Bonsai because they love to be cultivated in hot climates. Check below for information on how to treat your Calamondin Bonsai between varying levels of temperature.

Calamondin bonsai winter placement

Your Calamondin may be able to tolerate coldness to a certain level, but you should take them indoors once the temperature drops below 45°, placing them on the south side of your window sill.

Calamondin bonsai summer placement

Calamondin loves hot weather, so they like to be placed in a location where they can be exposed to enough sunlight. Therefore, during nighttime when the temperature is usually very low, you should place your Bonsai tree at the side of the window where it will not be exposed to high humidity.

Calamondin Bonsai tree fertilizer

To keep your calamondin bonsai healthy and maintain its beauty, you must apply adequate fertilizer. When you Bonsai a Calamondin plant, the number of nutrients required for healthy growth will be limited, since you will be cultivating it in a plastic with small soil. This is why you must replenish the shortage of nutrients with fertilizer.

The best fertilizer to use for a Calamondin Bonsai is general-purpose liquid fertilizer. Check for the recommended strength of the fertilizer on the package and apply at half the strength. Make use of the fertilizers at least once a month save it is winter where a limited amount of fertilizer is needed.

Calamondin Bonsai Pruning and Trimming

Trimming and pruning your Calamondin Bonsai will help keep them in shape (will not grow out of proportion). New leaves should be moderately trimmed up to a safe point and are not completely removed so that the tree can continue to photosynthesize to stay healthy during the pruning process.

Follow the steps below to guide you through the processes involved in pruning a Calamondin Bonsai.

  1. All deadwood and weak branches must be removed.
  2. If you notice two branches are touching each other, cut off any of the two branches and leave the other.
  3. Free up the center of the tree by cutting every little growth within the space as this will ensure you have a disease-free, flowery and fruity tree.

Note: The best time to do this is after repotting.

Calamondin Bonsai repotting

This is should be done periodically and must be done when the root of your Bonsai tree has fully developed and occupied all the space in the pot. The essence of this exercise is to give your plant fresh soil for its roots to grow healthier.

The general rule is that a deciduous tree needs to be repotted every two to three years and must be done every 4 to 5 years for evergreen trees. But in the case of Calamondin Bonsai, it should be repotted every 2 years.

Although that’s only a general rule though as Calamondin grows at different rates, so that’s always not the case in many instances; as a result, it is suggested that you check your Calamondin plant every year to see if it needs to be repotted earlier and should be done towards the end of winter or during spring where it flower usually blossom and the fruits starts to form. It can also be done in the summer too.

Calamondin Bonsai pest and diseases

Calamondin Bonsai is highly susceptible to the Mediterranean and the Caribbean fruit flies, majorly because it is the primary host of these pests and that is why even though it can be planted in Florida, they should be cultivated less because there’s a great possibility that they will be infested by these pests.

Calamondin is also vulnerable to other pears and diseases that commonly attack lemon and limes such as; Crinkly leaf, Psorosis, Tristeza, Exocortis, and Xyloporosis; but is highly resistant to Scab and Canker infections. When your Calamondin Bonsai, lacks calcium and magnesium, it will also become vulnerable to Chlorosis.

Calamondi Bonsai soil

Calamondin plants can tolerate varying types of soil depending on the location. It can be planted in clay-loam soil in the Philippines and sandy soil in Florida. However, the best soil to plant a Calamondin tree is drained soil that is moderately moist and under direct sunlight.

Calamondi Bonsai watering

I mentioned earlier that Calamondin Bonsai is best planted in a drain but moist soil under direct sunlight, and here’s where raising a Calamondin Bonsai can be a little tricky.

Since it must be under full sun and must be kept moist, it means you have to water the tree each time they seem to be dry to keep them alive, yet they must not be watered excessively.

The challenge often faced by a Calamondin Bonsai gardener is how to balance between overwatering and under-watering. The common method used by most Gardner is gauging the level of water with a moisture meter to help determine the water requirement of their Bonsai tree.

Calamondin Bonsai sunlight requirement

Calamondin prefers a hot temperature and as a result, must be raised under the full sun when raised outdoors and must be supplied with enough bright lights every day when raised indoors to survive.

In some cases when the outdoor temperature may be unfavorable (when the temperature drops below 45° or is drawing below the 50° mark) to calamondin tree, it can be brought in and placed in an adequately lit window where it can be supplied with enough light to keep it warm to achieve the desired result.

Types of calamondin Bonsai tree

Some species of Calamondin trees like Calamondin orange, Citrus Calamondin, and Cuidados Calamondin adapt quickly to Bonsai treatment. Check details about these Calamondin species below.

Calamondin Orange Bonsai

Calamondin orange tree from The Bonsai Dude

The Calamondin Orange Bonsai with the scientific name; Citrus mitis, is a fruity tree indigenous to southern China. And it is one of the most widely grown orange species that can be Bonsai. It is characterized by fragrant white flowers and its flavorful oranges that blossoms all year round. Its oranges are edible and do not grow past the size of a golf ball.

Citrus Calamondin Bonsai

Citrus Calamondin is also known as Mandarin orange is also a fruity tree widely cultivated in both tropical and warm temperate areas. It is predominantly 8m tall, has naturally small, evergreen leaves, and has auxiliary thorns. The fruits of mandarin orange are usually reddish-orange similar to tangerines. It is popularly grown in China with Citrus reticulata as its scientific name.

Cuidados Calamondin Bonsai

Cuidados is a species of Calamondin popularly grown in Asia countries. It also has evergreen leaves with brilliant fragrant flowers during the spring. It is known for its colorful blossom of fruits around November to February.

Although Cuidados Calamondin can be planted under any weather condition, it prefers a sunny climate. During summertime, when the sun is usually at an all-time high, you should protect your Cuidados tree from direct exposure to the midday sunlight as it can affect its growth. Just like citrus mitis, it can also withstand cold but must be protected once the evening temperature drops below -2°c.

How to grow Calamondin Bonsai from seed

Stated below are the steps involved in how to grow a Calamondin Bonsai tree from seed. Read carefully to learn details.

  1. Squeeze out seed from a healthy and matured Calamondin tree then wash properly under running water to remove all juicy content.
  2. Mix up perlite and peat moss in equal parts then fill a seed growing plastic with the soil. The pack must be placed on a shallow container containing tepid water until you are convinced that the soil surface is moistened. Then you can bring out the pack and drain it for 20 to 30 min.
  3. The plastic usually contains a 6-pack, plant the seed in each cell of the packs. The depth of each seed must double its largest dimension. Then spray water evenly on the soil surface to get it moistened.
  4. Using a clear plastic bag, wrap up the seed packs and make some holes in the bag with a needle or pin to facilitate air circulation.
  5. The seed pack should be kept away from direct sunlight as the soil temperature must be at least 70°c for healthy growth.
  6. Keep the soil moisturized every day by spraying it with water so it does not dry up. Also, you must ensure that the soil doesn’t get soggy. Both situations are not desirable for Calamondin tree germination.
  7. Once each of the seedlings is 4 inches tall, pot them in a 4-inch pot with infertile potting soil, but the soil must stay moisturized and not soggy.
  8. Take the seedlings into a warm room and supply them with bright but not direct light.
  9. Use water-soluble citrus tree fertilizers to fertilize the seeds every 2 – 4 weeks. It is best to apply fertilizers during summer and spring and also fertilizer must be applied at half its strength.

How to grow Calamondin Bonsai from cutting

Follow the steps below to guide you through the processes involved in planting a Calamondin Bonsai from cutting.

  1. Cut a slightly hardened new growth branch below a leaf node with sharp pruning shears. The cut must be horizontal. Then make a new cut 3 to 5 inches above the branch, slightly above the leave nodes at about 45° angle.
  2. Check if there’s any leaf at the lower part of the cutting; if any, clip them off with pruning shears without touching any of the leaves on top of the cuttings.
  3. Moisturise the cutting with water every minute to prevent it from drying while you are preparing for the pot to be used.
  4. Make use of a tall narrow pot. The pot must be 2 to 3 inches in diameter tall and 4 to 8 inches deep. Also, the pot must have holes at the bottom to serve as a water drainage point for water and air circulation.
  5. Mix up sand, grit, and sawdust in a bucket in equal parts. Make sure materials are properly mixed before you add water to keep the mixture damp and crumbly. Then fill up the pot with this mixture.
  6. Plant the cutting 2 to 3 inches deep into the pot. And moisturize the leaves of the cut with water to keep them damp.
  7. Cover the top of the pot with a clear plastic bag. It should be placed upside down so that the mouth can perfectly cover the rim of the pot as well as the cuttings to humidity the cuttings environment. Tightly seal the lip of the pot using a rubber band.
  8. The pot must be placed in a bright room with indirect light so that the temperature around the cutting can be maintained between 77 to 80°F. 9. The plastic bag should be removed at least once or twice a week. And always remember to water the root and leaves to keep the humidity inside the bag high.

You may also like