Imagine having unlimited land to plant all the fruit trees your mind could conceive; wouldn’t that be a luxury? Who hasn’t dreamt of a flourishing fruit forest with all their favorite choices at their fingertips?
However, potentially dreaming is not enough for you. What if you do want to create your little green paradise? For those willing to take the plunge, dwarf fruit trees can be an excellent alternative if you’re limited for space.
These smaller trees come in all fruit cultivar varieties and use less space, nutrients, and water than their full-sized counterparts. Even those without a garden may grow a dwarf fruit tree, which can thrive well in a container in a greenhouse, balcony, or near a well-lit window. The word dwarf here does not constitute something less than these trees produce fruit at a regular size.
Potentially, you don’t have the space for a dwarf fruit tree but would still like to bring some greenery into your room. In this case, a bonsai tree would do exceptionally well for you. Bonsai trees take up even less space than a dwarf fruit tree and can be a beautiful addition to a workspace, bedroom, or living room.
What are Dwarf Fruit Trees?
Dwarf fruit trees are fruit trees grafted to the dwarf rootstock. The dwarf rootstock then limits the height and width of the tree, creating a quaint, smaller fruit tree. Attractive to the eye, this smaller fruit tree needs less water, nutrients, and space than a full-sized tree. Typically, once your dwarf tree has matured, it will be between 8 to 10 feet and up to 10 feet wide.
One size up from the dwarf fruit tree is the semi-dwarf tree. Once matured, the semi-dwarf tree will reach 12 to 15 feet tall and over 12 feet wide. Both of these trees use fewer resources and can be an excellent option for those who do not have enough space for full-sized fruit trees.
Or, would prefer the smaller variety. Dwarf fruit trees grow just as efficiently on a balcony, greenhouse, or close to a window. If a dwarf tree is too small for you, consider the semi-dwarf tree, which is slightly larger. I have all the information about dwarf fruit tree heights here.
What Are Bonsai Trees?
Those looking for a plant smaller than a dwarf fruit tree can opt for a bonsai tree. Bonsai trees are propagated to stay miniature, so when they arrive, they are approximately 30-40cm tall, ornamental they are often a decorative feature kept as a signature part of a room.
However, Bonsai fruit trees still maintain their natural shape after propagation, and even better, they produce edible fruit. The following list will explore both dwarf and bonsai variations of fruit trees. Read on if you want to know more.
24 Types of Dwarf Fruit Trees
Write 70 words per type minimum. Add popular types of each dwarf fruit tree if possible…
1. Dwarf Orange Tree [Citrus sinensis]
The dwarf orange tree could be an excellent option for those who live in warmer states like California or Florida. From seed, the dwarf orange tree takes approximately three years to fruit, so if you buy a fruit tree already to the size, you could have fruit in less than a year. Much like the larger varieties, if well-pruned and looked after, you can expect fruit for a few decades, and at its maximum height, this dwarf tree will reach 12 feet tall.
Variety-wise, the Washington navel orange tree is a popular variety and is recognized as a Californian historical landmark. In addition, it has proven a hardy option across the states. The fruit has a strong citrus taste and is sweeter and juicier than the other varieties. If the Washington naval orange does not sound like the cultivar for you, you can explore other options, such as dwarf calamondins or tangerines.
2. Dwarf Apple Tree [Malus domestica]
The apple is a very popular fruit in the states, so it should come as no surprise that there are varieties of dwarf apple trees on the market. One cultivar you may want to consider is the Columnar Apple Tree will mature into a slender tree that reaches a maximum height of roughly 7 feet tall. In the tree world, the shape of this dwarf tree is known as a super column.
Another very tasty cultivar is the Cameron select dwarf Apple tree, vigorous and hardy this cultivar is known to survive severe winters, pests, and diseases and produce delicious harvests.
3. Bonsai Apple Trees [Malus domestica]
Another option for those who like apple trees is the Bonsai apple tree, sometimes called the monkey apple. For those who have never grown a bonsai tree before, this can be an excellent starter tree
Much like the dwarf apple tree, the bonsai apple tree will not grow fast, so expect between 5 to 10 years for this fruit tree to reach maturity. However, this variety is easily molded if you’re interested in bonsai styling. These miniature fruit trees are an attractive addition to any workspace or table and take minimal care for those not privy to caring for plants and trees.
4. Dwarf Tangerine Tree [Citrus reticulata]
The tangerine is an easy-peel type of orange typically smaller and sweeter than other orange varieties. For this reason, it is a favorite of many children and adults alike. If you want to grow your own tangerines, then a dwarf tangerine tree could be a great option! If you take care of your dwarf tangerine tree, it will produce a bounty of fruit year after year. If you are unsure which variety to choose, the Dancy Tangerine Tree is less susceptible to disease than other tangerine cultivars.
5. Dwarf Peach Tree [Prunus persica]
A Dwarf peach tree is an excellent option for those who want to enjoy the succulent peach but do not have the space for a full-sized tree. After approximately four years, your dwarf peach tree should be reliably producing fruit if well looked after. Growing to about 6 to 10 feet, this tree will be easy to pick without a ladder. If you are unsure which variety of peach tree to choose from, the Elberta Peach tree has proven to be hardy, withstanding numerous weather conditions.
6. Bonsai Apricot Tree [Prunus armeniaca]
A trendy option in Japan, these trees have increasingly become popular across the United States. The Bonsai apricot tree will produce delicate, beautiful fruit which will be succulent to eat. Even better, your tree will bloom towards the end of winter, providing you with a gorgeous centerpiece for any room during the colder months. To care for it, you’ll need to repot your bonsai apricot tree every 3 to 4 years and fertilize it yearly from March to August.
7. Dwarf Lime Tree [Citrus aurantiifolia]
The dwarf lime tree is another option that complements any green space. It should be kept in mind that lime trees can grow quite large, so even a dwarf lime tree could grow taller than 10 feet, and the semi-dwarf tree even larger. Nonetheless, if bought in a dwarf size in 1 to 3 years, your tree will produce beautiful limes. If you live in Florida, you may want to opt for the historically significant Key Lime, best known for its usage in the Key Lime pie.
8. Dwarf Plum Tree [Prunus domestica]
The dwarf plum tree could be an excellent option for those still seeking to get delicious plums but lacking the space for a full-sized tree. However, the plum may need more than one tree to pollinate, so if you only want one tree, look out for the self-pollinating variety. We recommend you explore the Damson Plum tree, famous from Europe to the United States. This variety has proven to be tasty and hardy. Another cultivar, if that variety does not intrigue you, is the Black Amber variety of plum dwarf tree.
9. Dwarf Banana Tree [Musa acuminata]
The full-sized banana tree can grow quite tall easily, so it is no surprise that gardeners are increasingly opting for the dwarf banana tree option. One cultivar which may intrigue you is the Cavendish banana. Like other dwarf trees, this cultivar of the dwarf banana tree will grow up to 10 feet and be relatively slender and evergreen. Your green space will be graced with flowers year-round. Also, as the cavendish banana grows well in a container, this tree could be suited for indoor growing near a window or a balcony.
10. Dwarf Pear Trees [Pyrus]
Dwarf pear trees are becoming a staple across the united states. These trees grow wonderfully in pots and containers, making them ideal for a balcony or a large window. The Conference Pear Tree is an excellent option if you are unsure which would be best for your garden. It grows particularly well in Northern states. However, for those in warmer states such as Florida, you may opt for a sand pear variation that produces well.
11. Bonsai Lemon Tree [Citrus limon]
Lemon trees are notorious for giving in fruit once they begin producing, and your bonsai lemon tree will be no exception to this rule. A beautiful centerpiece in any room, your bonsai lemon tree will arrive approximately 30cms tall, mimicking the shape of a natural lemon tree. In addition, the small lemons harvested may be beautiful additions to ice-cold drinks in summer. Finally, your potted lemon tree could live for more than 50 years.
12. Dwarf Fig Tree [Ficus carica]
The fig is one of the hardiest fruits out there. Even in a drought, you can rely on your fig tree to produce figs. So it should be no surprise that a dwarf fig tree is a popular option, and with more than 800 varieties to choose from, you won’t be short of options. To keep your dwarf fig tree small, you’ll need to prune it yearly as the tree will likely attempt to spread. One of the most popular cultivars is the Celeste Fig Tree, a medium-sized fig with light brown to pinkish-purple flesh.
13. Dwarf Lemon Trees [Citrus limon]
If the bonsai Lemon tree is too small for you, you may consider the dwarf lemon tree. Like the bonsai variation in their prime, the dwarf lemon trees produce a bounty of fruit, making them one of the market’s most worthwhile dwarf fruit trees. In addition, the Meyer Lemon Tree has become a popular option for home gardeners. With their glossy dark leaves and white bloom in spring, this option will be fragrant and popular with all visitors to your space.
14. Dwarf Cherry Tree [Prunus]
The cherry not only makes for a beautiful tree in spring with its pink or white blossom. But when you finally get a good bounty of fruit will make an excellent summertime snack. The Stella Cherry Tree is a prevalent variety, especially due to its hardiness in the face of disease and fungicides. Another type that has become a household name is the Black Tartarian Cherry, a dark cherry with a deep taste that will produce plenty of cherries in its prime.
15. Dwarf Mango Tree [Mangifera indica]
A dwarf mango tree will still produce full-sized mangos, which is all the better for your stomach! Of course, all mango trees grow better in warmer states, but if you grow outside in a state that experiences chilling cold winters, you can cover your dwarf mango tree to lessen its susceptibility to frost. The Ice Cream Mango Tree is a fantastic option as it has proven to withstand colder winters, or the Palmer mango, which grows plenty of orangey-red fruit.
16. Dwarf Hazelnut Tree [Corylus]
The most dwarfed of all nut trees, the American dwarf hazelnut tree is a fine accompaniment to any garden. A dwarf hazelnut tree will grow naturally as a shrub but can be shaped into a tree if you choose. In addition, the hazelnut tree produces male and female flowers allowing it to self-pollinate. Simply put, only one dwarf hazelnut tree is needed to get all the hazelnuts you desire. The butler dwarf hazelnut tree will produce a reliable bounty of fruit, so this may be the cultivar you feel is the best option for you.
17. Dwarf Quince Tree [Cydonia oblonga]
The dwarf quince tree is another option for those looking for a small, highly productive tree. Originally from Serbia, this tree is now found across the Americas. The dwarf quince tree will allow your garden to be adorned with a beautiful pink bloom, and once matured, you will receive a bounty of fruit after spring. It should only take your dwarf quince tree a few years to develop fully-sized fruit if you grow from seed.
18. Dwarf Pomegranate Tree [Punica granatum]
You may dream of bringing the pomegranate superfood into your garden with a dwarf pomegranate tree. This tree will provide an attractive flowering shrub with fruit from August to November. However, your fruit will still be full-sized even if you purchase the dwarf cultivar. The Kazake dwarf Pomegranate Tree, originating in Russia, is a cultivar that has become popular across the states. With the tree growing 3 feet, you should expect fruit three years after planting.
19. Dwarf Medlar Tree [Mespilus germanica]
A dwarf medlar tree is a fantastic option for those who may not have the space to grow a full-sized medlar tree. This ornamental option will bear fruit typically in November and is generally stored for a few weeks to develop its taste before consumption. The dwarf medlar tree grows best in well-drained soil but is tolerant of most soils. Variety-wise, you may want to opt for the Nottingham dwarf medlar tree. Expect a truffle-like taste.
20. Dwarf Persimmon Trees [Diospyros kaki]
The dwarf persimmon tree is a fantastic choice for those with less space to work with. The full-sized variety of the tree can grow up to 60 feet at its maximum growth. The dwarf Fuyu variation is one of the most popular on the market and will produce a deep yellow-orange fruit. The dwarf persimmon tree comes in other varieties, such as chocolate, eureka, or izu, which have also fared well in many states.
21. Dwarf Loquat Tree [Eriobotrya Japonica]
The dwarf loquat tree, also known as the Florida plum, is evergreen, meaning it will have leaves all year round. The Loquat fruit, for those unfamiliar, comes in yellow or orange. The dwarf loquat tree has proven to be hardy in numerous American states. Growing perfectly in little pots and containers, a dwarf loquat tree could be grown in many locations.
22. Dwarf Grapefruit Tree [Citrus paradisi]
The dwarf grapefruit could be a good variety for those wanting grapefruits but with less green space. Growing in a traditional rounded shape, the dwarf grapefruit is attractive to the eye and, after approximately three years, will provide a bounty of fruit.
23. Dwarf Avocado Tree [Persea americana]
The dwarf avocado tree is an eco-friendlier version of the full-sized avocado tree as it uses less water and nutrients. This is ideal as the full-sized avocado tree needs a lot of water! Across America, the Wurtz avocado tree has become extremely popular, partially because it is the only dwarf avocado variety on the market.
24. Dwarf Mulberry Tree [Morus]
Last but not least, the dwarf mulberry shrub has become popular with gardeners across the states. Growing well in Florida, Massachusetts, and many other terrains, it may be one of the most versatile dwarf fruit trees on this list. A native to eastern and central America, the tree does exceptionally well in gardens but can also be grown inside.
Pros and Cons of Dwarf Fruit Trees
Dwarf Fruit Tree Pros
- Dwarf fruit trees use less water which is a tremendous positive for those trying to limit water consumption or in areas that may experience hosepipe bans in summer.
- Having a dwarf fruit tree gives you the option to grow on a balcony or by a window if you lack garden space.
- Dwarf trees might allow you to purchase trees in a more significant number than you could if you opted for the full-sized variation.
Dwarf Fruit Tree Cons
- You may be aiming for the tree foliage seen in a forest that looms above you, but this will not be achievable with dwarf trees.
- Dwarf fruit trees are more susceptible to pests and disease than their full-sized counterparts.
- When grown outside, dwarf fruit trees can anchor poorly into the ground making them easier to wash away in floods.
Hopefully, this work has been helpful to you in not only highlighting the benefits of dwarf and bonsai trees but also in helping you to decide which dwarf fruit trees or bonsai trees would be best suited to your space.
Let us know in the comment section which dwarf fruit tree you opted for or if you have any tips which may benefit other dwarf fruit tree and bonsai tree owners. So we can all learn from each other’s experiences.
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.