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Linden bonsai

The care of lime bonsai is simple. That is why these bonsai are well suited for beginners. The correct bonsai care for the lime tree can be briefly summarised as: Water abundantly, avoid nutrient salts as much as possible and use organic fertilisers instead.



Fertilise generously throughout the entire growing season. It is best to use the usual organic bonsai fertilizers. Mineral fertilisers should be used with caution. Lime trees are very sensitive to salt. Too high a dose of nutrient salts can cause damage. Organic fertilisers are safer for this tree species. Lime trees respond well to foliar fertilizing.


Lime trees need a lot of water in summer. As they are relatively sensitive to salt, rainwater from the barrel is a good choice.


A lime bonsai will tolerate full sun, partial shade and will even tolerate full shade. However, the darker the lime tree is placed, the larger the leaves of the bonsai will grow. In summer, the location should be warm.


Lime trees are hardy outdoor bonsai. Overwintering the bonsai in an unheated foil tent is uncomplicated. Winter temperatures below -10°C are no problem in the greenhouse. Linden bonsai should be protected from late frosts.


Lime bonsai should be repotted every 2-3 years at the beginning of March. The small-leaved lime tolerates even a drastic pruning of the root ball very well. Akadama is very suitable as bonsai soil.

Diseases, pests

The lime tree is susceptible to root rot in waterlogged conditions. Pests include spider mites, leaf wasps and gall mites. However, these are usually unproblematic and can be controlled with insecticides if necessary. Leaf spots caused by fungi can occur with frequent watering, but can easily be reduced with fungicides. In the winter quarters, mice may possibly bite.


After drastic pruning, lime trees sprout numerous buds. There is almost always a new shoot where it is needed. This makes bonsai formation easy.


Wiring can be done at any time. In our experience, late summer is a good time for shaping a lime bonsai. For example, the wire applied after a leaf pruning at the end of June can often be left on the tree until the following spring (because of the decreasing thickness of the growth).

The lime wood is soft. That is why you can bend even stronger shoots. The disadvantage of the soft wood is: After rewiring, the shoots often return to their original position. Usually you have to rewire 2-3 times. A thinner bonsai wire can then often be used.


The lime tree is extremely tolerant of pruning. After severe pruning, it sprouts new buds in all possible and impossible places. It is often necessary to remove a large part of them. A lime bonsai can be pruned back severely several times a year. The last pruning should be done at the beginning of August. This will allow the new shoots to mature before winter.

Healthy lime bonsai tolerate complete leaf pruning in June-July very well. A finer branching with smaller leaves quickly develops.

Larger branches are removed with a bonsai cutter. As the wood of the lime tree is soft, the tool should be very sharp, otherwise the healing of the wound is not optimal. Wound closure agent for bonsai can improve the healing.


A freely upright style is very suitable for lime bonsai.

Matching bonsai pots

For lime tree bonsai, dull glazed or grey, unglazed bonsai pots are the first choice. Since linden trees are hardy bonsai, a frost-resistant, handmade bonsai pot should be selected if possible.

For linden bonsai, oval bonsai pots or rectangular bonsai pots with rounded corners are usually optimal. Drip trays are not needed because linden trees should not be cared for indoors.

Suitable pots for prebonsai in the growing phase are the plastic bonsai pots. The dark brown colour of the pots does not go so well with linden. However, these plastic pots are extremely frost-resistant and UV-stable. For 2-3 year old young plants, it is best to use plastic plant pots or clay pots.

Flowers, fruits

Flowers and fruits only form on older trees. They are therefore rarely seen in the younger bonsai that is often cultivated.


The bark is initially smooth and grey, later darker and longitudinally grooved. The bark of lime twigs is very thin and sensitive. Wire can quickly cause pressure marks. Especially if the wire has been left on the branch too long. However, bruises caused by bonsai wire heal quickly.

General information

The large-leaved lime (botanically Tilia cordata) is a stately tree up to 25m tall. When old and free-standing, the large-leaved lime tree develops trunk diameters of up to 1.20m, 50cm are more common. The low-set main branches give the littleleaf lime a short-stemmed appearance. Nowadays, Tilia cordata is found all over Europe and originally comes from Central, Northern and Eastern Europe. It can grow to be many hundreds of years old.

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