How to Maintain a Kumquat Bonsai

Kumquat Bonsai

This remarkable technique from Japan that converts trees, shrubs and plants into a tiny shape is applied to decorate the interiors and exteriors of houses, always considering the great importance of their care.

The kumquat tree is widely used ornamentally, thanks to the great smell of its leaves and the unique color and flavor of its fruits. However, this tree initially grows up to six meters in height at most, and for it to acquire the shape and size of a bonsai, it needs constant care, successive pruning and a lot of patience cause it requires a long waiting time.

How to choose a kumquat bonsai?

The kumquat bonsai is of perennial type; it is a plant that lives for a long time, and the whole time it provides us with a pleasant aroma, a forest decoration and some small and delicious fruits.

But, everything nice, pleasant and beautiful has a cost. In this case, kumquat bonsai requires time, care, and details, so we will define methods and strategies on everything related to each process to get the best kumquat bonsai ever.

If you want to buy a kumquat bonsai in the store, you must first study the state of the plant, how its health and appearance are, since this will depend on the development and the lifetime that it will have.

Mostly when we see in the market a shiny, green bonsai with many leaves, we think that is the right one, but no, in reality, it is the opposite; this type of bonsai has been treated through chemical fertilizers so that at first glance they stand out, but when these are bought and taken home they have great possibilities of withering or dying, 

because the plant gets used to solid chemicals and completely despises natural care.

According to master bonsai players (people who are dedicated to this oriental tradition of planting and maintaining these small trees), you should buy the tree when it is still in the youth stage and that it has few leaves, no fruits or flowers.

The idea behind that is these conditions reflect that the tree is 100% natural, does not have any chemicals and is in the best stage of its growth where it is easier to take care of it, ensuring better results.

If you want to have a bonsai to decorate your house but do not want to buy it, you can find the steps to obtain an outstanding kumquat bonsai from scratch in our next chapter.

Sowing and maintenance of a kumquat bonsai

Like all citrus fruits, we must understand that the kumquat tree has a period of transformation from a common tree to a beautiful bonsai. This process is much slower than other plants and requires a lot of patience and perseverance.

As a first step, we will take a small container with holes at the bottom for the water to drain. This container should have approximately 2 inches wide and deep, about 10 or 15 tiny stones and a little substrate.

The substrate or preparation must be composed of organic matter such as blond peat and worm humus so that the tree can develop well in the first stage of its life, and then when transplanted to the final pot, there will be no need to place so much organic matter.

After having these materials at our fingertips, we will place the 15 or 10 stones as a base in the container. The function of the rocks is to provide better drainage to the plant. Then we will put the substrate in the container and open a small hole in the middle where we will insert the root of our kumquat seed, and at the end, we will cover it a little with the same substrate and water it with plenty of water.

Remember that it is essential to take care of and protect the kumquat bonsai at this stage since this is a decisive stage for the plant. Therefore it must be located in a place avoiding current air flows, where the bonsai receives enough sunlight but that in turn is protected by abundant shade until the period of development of the seedling is fulfilled, steady to be transplanted.

It can take between 11 and 15 weeks; everything will depend on the bonsai’s evolution according to the care given.


After the development time, we will proceed to transplant the kumquat bonsai to a pot, but before transplanting, we must cut the roots.

The first root to cut is the pivoting root or primary root (vertical root from which the other roots are born) halfway through or a bit over that. Then we continue to cut the tips of the secondary roots (roots that emanate from the pivoting root) to reduce the size of the plant and its roots.

Knowing what to do with the plant’s roots, we must prepare the place of transplantation, the pot, which must be the size of your preference. It can be a unique pot for bonsai; although the size is not that important, what is fundamental is the depth of the pot.

Kumquat takes time to take the form of a bonsai, so the depth of the pot will allow it to create a good branching of its roots in all that time.

We will prepare a much simpler substrate in the pot than in the previous step. We will only need soil and a volcanic product such as pumice, which absorbs nutrients and moisture very well, retaining water, a critical factor for the roots as it helps them create a good branching. Coal could have the same effect.

Another type of product to mix in the substrate is the pulverized or crushed brick, which in addition to being very economical, is also a significant component that absorbs water very well, creating enough moisture for the roots of the kumquat bonsai.

This type of substrate has no nutrients since by cutting the plant’s roots, the nutrients provided by the common substrate can rot them.

Then we will add substrate to the middle of the pot. Then we will place the kumquat bonsai in the plant pot, cover the roots with the rest of the substrate, and water it with plenty of water.

We have a guide designed for the planting and cultivation of kumquats from 0, where we talk about important issues such as soil conditions and temperature that can be useful. You can access it by clicking on the link.


The wiring of kumquat bonsai-like many citrus fruits is tricky since its branches are a bit brittle, so it is advisable to do it in the first stage of spring, where the branches of the kumquat are thin and spread freely.

As wiring is a fundamental piece in bonsai development since it influences the formation of the tree growth, we must proceed carefully. The way to do it is by winding the wire in the trunk and the bonsai branches by bending them in the direction you want.

You can remove the wire once the trunk and its branches hold the position without continuing wiring, or if the branches break and the trunk has a deep hematoma due to wire pressure.


Pruning of kumquat bonsai should be done every time the trees grow, preferably in the first week of summer, as it is the season where new shoots are born and fresh leaves are formed.

The growth of the shoots of the kumquat bonsai is vertical, so we must let it grow. When they have finished growing, we will prune all the leaves in poor condition (sick, dry or split), and only 3 or 4 leaves should remain. Then we will proceed to wire their branches, thus correcting their growth upwards.


We must fertilize it with a lot of iron, some nitrogen and calcium, but mostly iron, and if you want abundant fruiting, we must fertilize it with calcium carbonate. Therefore, iron and calcium carbonate must be applied four times a year, fertilizing with these two components for each season.

The way to fertilize it is effortless; we have to spread the fertilizer on the substrate and spray it with plenty of water. 

Fruiting and Flowering

This kumquat bonsai is a tree that takes years of cultivation, so reducing its leaves takes a long time, and it is essential to be patient. However, the results you will receive from this beautiful bonsai do not compare with the waiting time you’ll invest.

It is a small tree that produces an abundant flowering, with very green leaves and a pleasant smell, and if you did everything right, it would give you an abundance of fruits, delicious and striking.