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The word "bonsai" in Japan refers to miniature trees intended for growing in pots.
Bonsai Tomatoes are one of the most popular varieties of tomatoes adapted for growing at home.
In our article we will tell you what time of the year and where it is best to grow them, how to choose the right soil and pot, as well as how to plant and care in order to get a rich harvest.
Description of the variety
Bonsai miniature tomatoes are an excellent variety for those who do not have the desire or opportunity to grow tomatoes in their summer cottage or want to see a beautiful and neat fruiting plant in their apartment.
This tomato variety was bred by domestic breeders. from the Gavrish company in the 90s. This agricultural company has launched many varieties of ornamental tomatoes for sale, which have found a wide response in the hearts of vegetable lovers and have been in demand for 2 decades.
The main distinguishing feature of the variety is low stem growth (no more than half a meter), early maturity and significant branching. The average height of a Bonsai grown in an apartment does not exceed 20-30 cm. All this makes the shape of the bush similar to the crown of a tree. Bonsai can be grown both outdoors and on a well-lit balcony or windowsill. The plant tolerates the lack of sunlight well (moreover, it inhibits the growth of the plant in height), but excess lighting will better affect its growth and the number of fruits.
Bonsai tomato bushes are more valuable as a houseplant and an unusual decoration of the interior than as fruiting. They are unpretentious to the soil, but demanding on moisture. Bonsai tomatoes are distinguished by small, dark green leaves that resemble those of a potato. Small tomato flowers have a discreet appearance and a dull color.
There are several varieties of the Bonsai cultivar that come in various sizes. One of them - the hybrid variety "Bonsai-micro F1", reaches a height of only 20 cm, but in terms of yield it is not inferior to its taller brothers. The yield reaches up to 2 kg per plant. The fruits have a dense structure, small weight and size (up to 30 grams). All fruits ripen at the same time, as on all tomatoes, gradually changing their color from green to bright red.
The ripening period of fruits in Bonsai in some cases can reach several months. Unripe fruits can ripen on the windowsill. Bonsai fruits have excellent taste, good for adding to salads and canning. The peel of the fruit is thin, juicy and smooth, while the flesh is firm, loose, and high in sugar. Their taste is highly dependent on the amount of sun and the quality of plant care. Unfortunately, the fruits of this variety are not kept fresh for a long time.
Where to grow?
Bonsai is far from the most suitable variety for growing outdoors due to its poor resistance to temperature extremes and numerous diseases (for example, late blight). It is preferable to keep it indoors, because it was for them that this variety was bred.
Bonsai tomatoes are suitable for growing at home both on the windowsill and on the balcony or loggia.
The tomato pot is preferably placed on a window facing south or southeast. In winter (and in temperate latitudes - and all year round), you can make up for the lack of sun by using fluorescent lamps. Containers with seedlings should not be constantly turned to the Sun on one side, otherwise they will grow asymmetrical.
Pot and soil
For normal growth of potted bonsai, you will need from half a liter of soil per plant. Tomato pots should have drainage holes; it is advisable to fill their lower part with some kind of drainage (for example, expanded clay). The optimal composition of the soil is as follows (in descending order of the volume of the components):
- humus-rich soil;
- washed and disinfected river sand;
- ash of trees.
If Bonsai seeds are purchased from strangers by hand or cause other suspicions, they should be disinfected before planting. It is possible to facilitate the germination of seeds by keeping them for 2 days wrapped in a cloth or gauze soaked in water.
Some companies that produce seeds under their own trademarks, before packaging, treat them with substances that contribute to the death of pathogens and accelerate germination. These seeds can be distinguished by their color, which differs from the natural light beige.
When planting tomatoes in open ground, it is recommended to pre-plant them in small plastic cups in March, and only after 2 months, transplant it into the ground. If frosts in May occur in your latitudes, be sure to cover young tomatoes with foil. The optimal place for growing bonsai tomatoes should be well-lit and sheltered from winds from the north.
The soil in the containers in which the seeds are planted should be slightly damp. It is recommended to evenly moisten it in advance - 2-3 days before planting, using a spray bottle.
Seeds are planted to a depth of 1 cm. If everything is done correctly, the first shoots make their way to the surface about a week after planting. It is recommended to plant 2-3 seeds per small container and then leave only 1 - the strongest sprout in it. When planting in open ground for 1 sq. m. beds should be planted no more than 3 bushes.
The required frequency of watering an adult tomato is about 1 time per week, in hot weather, it is desirable to increase it up to 2-3 times. Water only with warm water at room temperature. It is useful to spray the leaves of a young plant. Yellowing of the leaves or the formation of mold can signal excess moisture in the soil.
The growing tomato bush needs the addition of fertilizers with a high nitrogen content, and during the ripening of the fruits - calcium. The first fertilization can be done 2 weeks after the emergence of the shoots, the last one a week before transplanting into the pot / open ground.
The Bonsai variety does not need pruning. To increase yields, it is useful to pinch the tops of the bushes before flowering. Experienced gardeners also resort to tearing tomato root shoots to stimulate its growth. To do this, you need to grab the stem at its base and pull it up a little. This should be done with care so as not to damage the large roots.
Seeds sprout quickly and simultaneously. Bonsai seeds usually sprout very quickly and amicably. If the boxes with seedlings are constantly lit (you need to use additional lighting with a fluorescent lamp), then during the first week the first sprouts will appear. At the age of two months, the tomatoes will bloom and the first fruit buds may even appear. The more sun hits the bushes, the better their growth and sweeter fruits will be. Tomatoes lose flavor and juice in shaded conditions.
The plant has flowers of both sexes and is capable of self-pollination. In order to stimulate pollination, you can shake the branches with flowers before watering the plants.
Often growing tomatoes in an apartment is just an interesting experiment. However, the experience of cultivating such a whimsical culture as the Bonsai tomato can only succeed if the cultivation of ornamental tomatoes is taken with full responsibility. Otherwise, you will only waste your precious time and nerves.
We offer you to watch a video about growing Bonsai tomatoes on the balcony: