Image Source

Kumquat, derived from the Cantonese word “kamkwat” which means ‘golden mandarin orange’, represents a group of miniature evergreen, fruit-bearing trees. These shrubs are slow-growers, reaching a height of 2.5 to 4.5 meters tall (8 to 15 ft). They have dark and glossy green leaves attached to dense branches. The fruit produced, by this group, is edible and closely resembles that of an orange with regard to shape and color. However, in terms of size, the fruit has roughly the same dimensions as that of a large olive. Moreover, this plant yields white flowers that are similar to those seen on citrus plants.

The evergreen kumquat is native to China but has spread to different parts of the globe, namely Asia (Japan, India, Philippines, etc.), Europe and North America. Historically, these plants were classified in the genus Fortunella, however, updated research has re-shuffled them into the genus, Citrus.

Fortunella hindsii (or Citrus hindsii), known popularly by the name Hong Kong kumquat, is native to China, where it is usually grown as an ornamental bush. In some cases, it can be grown in the form of a hedge. The plant body is small and grows up to 3 meters. It is considered to be an evergreen plant that bears tiny acidic and bitter fruit. The fruit contains low amounts of pulp as the seeds are of a large size. In China, the fruits of the Hong Kong kumquat are regarded as novelty foods and utilized for their spicy flavors.

The Hong Kong kumquat exhibits higher levels of sturdiness and hardiness as compared to its citrus counterparts. It can withstand high temperatures of summer (up to 38 °C or 100 °F) and low temperatures of winter and frost (−10 °C or 14 °F). Propagation is achieved through vegetative means either by using rootstock, air layering or from cuttings. It is noteworthy to mention that the Hong Kong kumquat produces the smallest citrus fruits in the world.

How long does it take to grow Fortunella hindsii Bonsai?

With Fortunella hindsii bonsai, you can typically expect its growth to take place at a moderate pace, as it gains around 24 inches (0.61 meters) of grow per annum. Fortunella hindsii are usually grafted onto sturdier root-systems which securely fasten the plant into the soil. With grafted varieties, fruit-bearing is achieved at a faster rate as compared to those grown directly from seeds.

Before getting into the specifics of how you can plant, grow and care for your Fortunella hindsii bonsai, we’ve put together some important basics. These points address the best conditions and requirements for your Hong Kong kumquat bonsai.


Fortunella hindsii bonsai can be planted in the spring months of January to March, without the threat of damaging the plant. Between fall and early winter, once the plant has matured, tiny orange-like kumquats will be visible. In the winter months of October to December, the bonsai fruit will ripen. Moreover, the plant is known to enter a state of dormancy in the cold season, should the temperature drop below its tolerance levels. Spring and summer months will show delicate white flowers that give a delicious citrus aroma.


Positioning your bonsai is an important aspect to ensure proper growth and plant health. The advantage of having a Hong Kong kumquat bonsai is that it can be grown both, indoors and outdoors. An ideal spot for your bonsai is one which receives plenty of sunlight, without any obstruction from other plants or objects. The reason for this is that shade can affect plant growth and fruit formation. If your bonsai is placed outdoors, then it is advisable to protect your plant from harsh and strong winds, during winter.


Fortunella hindsii bonsai love full sunlight and requires it to reach its maximum growing capacity and fruit production. However, during winter, your bonsai would benefit from ‘growth lights’ if proper sunlight exposure is difficult and unavailable.


Humidity is an important aspect of bonsai cultivation. In order to combat the loss of moisture, it has been recommended to place a humidity tray, filled with water, underneath the bonsai’s pot. This technique is known to reduce the loss of moisture which could arise due to low humidity conditions (outdoors) or from heating systems (indoors). Additionally, misting the bonsai’s leaves, several times a day, is known to help increase humidity. Finally, moistening the area around your bonsai, like the floors and walls, could help.


Your Hong Kong kumquat bonsai can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. The optimum temperature for growth is up to 38 °C (100.4 °F). Tolerance of temperatures as low as −10 °C (14 °F) or as high at 40 °C ( °F) is possible. Its hardiness levels correspond to the USDA Zones, 9 to 11.


Fortunella hindsii bonsai requires soil which is loamy, fertile and well-drained. Clay soils should be avoided to prevent rotting of roots. In addition, it prefers the soil texture to be medium-sized with a slightly acidic quality. However, it can tolerate fluctuations in soil acidity and alkalinity, between the pH ranges of 6 to 8.


Honk Kong kumquat bonsai prefer enough moistness in the soil. A great way to check if your bonsai requires watering is to stick your finger into the soil, about an inch. If it is dry, watering is required. It is important to note that one should never allow the bonsai’s soil to dry out, completely. This would damage its roots and affect it growth and development.


Fortunella hindsii bonsai needs nourishment with a fertilizer to ensure its healthy growth. This step is vital as your bonsai is growing in a limited quantity of soil and thus, requires regular replenishment of nutrients. Experts recommend the utilization of a liquid general-purpose fertilizer to be used at half strength due to the tiny space. Fertilizer should be applied once a month expect in the winter months. Perhaps, your bonsai would also benefit from a fertilizer with higher phosphorus content as it encourages fruit production, among other things.


The beauty of bonsai is that you can choose any style that interests you. Numerous styles like informal, straight-trunk, upright, broom, cascade, slanting and literati are available. However, this bonsai doesn’t appear to favor any one particular style.

How to Plant and Grow Fortunella hindsii kumquat Bonsai?

Cultivating Fortunella hindsii kumquat bonsai is worthwhile and a great place to start if you are new to the art of bonsai. It is vital to know that there are numerous types of kumquat that can be cultured into bonsai.

Types of kumquat bonsai

Fortunella crassifolia or Citrus crassifolia (Meiwa kumquat) has seedy oval fruits with thick leaves on their branches.

Fortunella japonica or Citrus japonica (Round kumquat) is an evergreen grown in Luxembourg as bonsai. It produces golden-yellow fruit and is presented as a gift during the Lunar New Year.

Fortunella margarita or Citrus margarita (Nagami kumquat / Oval kumquat) have ovoid shaped fruits borne on trees that are tinier than their counterparts. It is a favourite of bonsai artists.

Fortunella obovata or Citrus obovata (Jiangsu kumquat / Fukushu kumquat) produce fruit that is prepared into marmalade. Its distinguishing factors are that it has round leaves and can’t tolerate frost, as compared to its related species.

Fortunella polyandra (Malayan kumquat) come from the Malay Peninsula and is a hybrid called limequat. Its unique trait is that it has a thin peel on larger fruit as compared to the other kumquats.


Propagation of Fortunella hindsii kumquat bonsai is accomplished through grafting on a root-system, layering or from cuttings. In addition, this bonsai achieves self-pollination and thus, doesn’t rely on insect pollinators.

Pinching and trimming

As your bonsai grows and develops, it is important to ensure that it remains in miniature status. This is performed through techniques like pinching and trimming. The newly growing branches are pinched back and trimmed to a safe length. However, all new growth shouldn’t be trimmed off to maintain the healthy growth of your bonsai. It is always recommended that you observe the growth of your bonsai and trim it, accordingly.


Re-potting your Hong Kong kumquat bonsai should be accomplished once in every four to five years. However, the root-system should be examined, on a yearly basis, to get familiar with the growth rate of your particular bonsai. This ensures that you get an accurate estimate of when you should re-pot. Re-potting is conducted to replenish the soil with fresh nutrients, trim the root system and check for root health. Usually, re-potting is completed in mid-summer. Post re-potting, you should water your bonsai well by submerging the entire pot in water, for a short while.

How to Care for Your Fortunella hindsii kumquat Bonsai?

Image Source

The art of bonsai is an extremely elegant activity that brings joy to everyone who pursues it. Caring for your Fortunella hindsii kumquat bonsai involves a few key tasks. Your bonsai should be planted in the summer months and positioned to receive direct sunlight, without any obstruction or shade. Growing your bonsai at the correct warm temperature will result in sweeter fruit. Humidity control can be regulated using a humidity tray, filled with water and placed beneath the pot.

Utilization of the correct type of soil is extremely essential to the health of your bonsai. Soil with slightly acidic pH accompanied by proper aeration and drainage, is ideal for your bonsai. This is significant as it prevents water-logging and rotting of the root system. A well-balanced liquid fertilizer, containing nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, should be used once a month, except during the winter months.

Watering your bonsai regularly to prevent the soil from drying out is essential. With the correct care, your bonsai will proliferate and develop into a healthy and sturdy plant!