"How to Make Dwarf Trees For Table" from The Queensland Agricultural Journal

      "How to Make Dwarf Trees For Table" (1900):

       "A curious but successful way of dwarfing plants for table decoration is to take an orange, and, having cut a small hole in the peel, to remove all pulp and juice, fill the skin thus emptied with some cocoanut fibre, fine moss, and charcoal, just stiffened with a little loam.  In the centre of this put an acorn, date stone, or the seed or kernel of any tree that it is proposed to obtain a dwarf from [sic]  Place the orange peel in a tumbler or vase in a window, and moisten the contents occasionally with a little water through the hole in the peel, and sprinkle the surface with fine wood ashes.  In due time the tree will push up its stem through the compost and its roots through the orange peel.  The roots must then be cut flush with the peel, and the process repeated frequently for some time.  The stem of the tree will assume a stunted gnarled appearance, making it look like an old tree.  When the ends of the roots are cut for the last time, the orange peel, which, curiously enough, does not rot, may be painted black and varnished.  --  N.Y. Advertiser" 1


1     The Queensland Agricultural Journal (Brisbane, ed. by A.J. Boyd, F.R.G.S.Q.), Vol. VII, 1 July 1900, pg. 86

It would be interesting to know how many persons ever tried this and what the most successful one of these was.

Well, we have learned a little when, in response to this page being listed in the Australian Bonsai forum, our friend Lindsay Farr shared "In the early 50's when I was first learned about bonsai, I was told that planting a seed in an orange peel or a table tennis ball would dwarf the tree. Back then there was a tendency to bundle bonsai with foot binding. Here's a bit from 1987 Bonsai/ Penjing news about it."

What other attempts were made?

Home  > Bonsai History  >  Pre1945 Biblio  >  Queensland Agricultural Journal