Growing trees in tubs

I've just returned from holidaying in Mallorca. When I was there I noticed that quite a lot of people had small trees in pots. Shops were selling seeds that they said could be grown in pots. They were not described as dwarf trees or suitable for bonsai but were described as suitable for containers.
When I got home I looked the trees up on the internet and found that some of them grow quite large. Now I'm wondering if the trees will simply stay small if they are kept in containers or if I will need to apply bonsai methods to keep them small.
I believe that keeping trees in containers can stunt their growth but on the other hand I think they may just become pot bound.
If I need to apply bonsai methods how do I do this? Am I right in thinking that you let the tree grow for a couple of years and then prune it back to about half its lenth together with pruning out large roots to encourage a large number of small roots instead. Do I then repeat this process each year, pruning back most of each years growth to just a couple of buds?
Any advice would be much appreciated.
By the way the tree seeds I purchased were: -an Olive tree called olivio mallorquin -Chamaerops humilis (European fan palm) -Washingtonia filifera (Californian fan palm or cotton palm) -Phoenix canariensis (Canary Island date palm)
Martin
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spoonbill wrote:

The true olive is in genus Olea. I can't find anything about Olivio mallorquin.
The palms can be grown in a large pot or other container for many years. With their roots confined, they will grow very slowly.
I have a Washingtonia filifera in a 12-inch pot on my front walkway. I dug it out of a flower bed as a "volunteer" seedling more than 10 years ago. It never has more than 4-5 leaves at a time.
I root-pruned it once a few years ago so that I could renew some of the potting mix. It recovered quite well. Palms have adventitious roots; that means their roots all form from the base of the plant without any taproot.
The major problem is that a stiff breeze will tip my palm, plant and pot together. A larger pot might solve this problem, but I don't want to block the walkway.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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David Ross wrote:

Thanks for the advise.
So keeping them in pots will slow their growth rate just because the roots are constrained.
One of the palms though, is known to be a particularly fast grower. If it was still growing too fast, after all I hope to be able to keep it in a relatively small pot for decades if possible, can I further reduce the growth rate by pruning the roots as you did? I presume that I cannot prune the stem because I've only just realised that palm trees usually only have one stem, rather than branching, so I'd probably just kill it by pruning it.
Martin
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spoonbill wrote:

I pruned the roots of my palm only to fit it back into the same pot after replacing some of the potting mix. The roots had grown so much that the tree was being pushed up, out of the pot.
Any reduction in the rate of growth from root pruning will be only temporary. The palm will produce new roots very quickly and resume its growth. Eventually, it may break the container apart.
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David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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