Bonsai trees can bring vibrant color and aesthetic appeal to your home, as well as bring an inner peace and serenity into your life.
But cultivating bonsai plants requires a different skill set than other types of gardening. You must learn how to properly care for a bonsai plant in order to keep it healthy and vibrant.
Bonsai trees are miniature trees grown according to specific cultivation principles. They imitate the form and style of mature, full-sized trees and often exhibit at bonsai exhibitions. Bonsai art has its roots in traditional Chinese and Japanese culture, though similar versions can also be found elsewhere.
Bonsai trees typically grow in containers, though some can also be planted outdoors. These trees may either be deciduous or coniferous. When selecting an indoor bonsai species for indoor placement, ensure it can withstand low light levels and temperature changes such as ficus, pine, and juniper.
Certain trees thrive better indoors than others. For instance, figs can tolerate dry conditions and low light levels well; on the other hand, ficus are sensitive to cold temperatures and should never be placed on a windowsill below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
Therefore, purchasing your bonsai tree from a nursery is the best option. They can provide detailed instructions on how to care for and maintain your tree properly.
When selecting your own bonsai, look for a nursery that specializes in growing and training miniature plants. They will have all of the necessary tools, soil, fertilizers, and other supplies necessary to start your collection off on the right foot.
Finding a nursery online is ideal as you can view pictures and details about it before making any trips. This will enable you to narrow down your search significantly and save yourself time from having to visit the establishment in person.
Most nurseries carry an extensive selection of bonsai trees and accessories for purchase, plus classes for beginners and advanced enthusiasts. This is a great opportunity to gain more knowledge about the art of bonsai cultivation as well as how to care for your own plant.
When growing plants in pots or large containers, it’s essential that your soil provides the appropriate amount of moisture, aeration and drainage. Without this balance, overwatering or underwatering your plant could result in root damage.
When caring for bonsai trees, there are various types of soil available from basic potting soil to specially-formulated bonsai soil. Make sure the one you select is tailored specifically to your species of tree and provides enough aeration so the plant can thrive.
The primary role of soil is to provide your tree with essential nutrients. Without the correct type, your plant will become malnourished and eventually succumb.
Bonsai soil typically consists of akadama, pumice, lava rock and organic potting compost. These soils are ideal for bonsai because they retain water well, provide excellent drainage and allow the roots to ramify properly.
Another essential characteristic of good soil is its cation exchange capacity, or capacity to hold and retain nutrients. This property is especially crucial for bonsai trees since it allows the soil to retain these essential minerals so your trees can absorb them readily.
A suitable soil mix should be designed with these qualities in mind, featuring coarse grain size to reduce moisture retention and finer grain size to improve drainage and aeration. Furthermore, it should contain zeolite – an naturally occurring mineral capable of holding up to 60% of its own volume in water.
Finding a growing medium that meets all these requirements can be tricky, but it’s possible to create your own perfect soil mixture for bonsai with the correct ingredients. If you don’t have time or funds to create your own mix, there are plenty of online shops selling pre-made mixes.
Bonsai trees require water to stay healthy, but it’s essential not to overwater them. Excess moisture can cause root rot and ultimately result in the death of your tree.
If you don’t have access to a soil meter or other moisture-sensing tool, check the soil around roots for dryness. It will change color and appearance if it’s dry; alternatively, use your finger to test the soil moisture level.
Avoid overwatering your bonsai if the soil mixture contains large components that retain water, such as clay, peat moss or vermiculite. Doing so can reduce how often you need to water the plants.
Another way to keep your bonsai moist is by placing it in a humidity tray. The water will evaporate slowly and create moisture around the base of the plant.
This technique is especially helpful for indoor bonsai, as it keeps their roots hydrated without getting wet in case of a sudden shower.
Alternatively, you can place your bonsai on a drip tray. Doing this allows the water to slowly evaporate and create humidity around the base of the tree.
The most popular method for watering indoor bonsai is the immersion technique, in which you submerge your tree in a sink or bucket of water. As the tree absorbs the liquid, bubbles will appear from its roots.
Once the bubbles have subsided, take your bonsai out of the water and allow it to air dry. This will give you a chance to check that all roots are fully hydrated and no further bubbles exist.
If you must submerge your bonsai in water, do so once a week. Be sure not to overwater, and check the soil daily before watering.
Pruning is an integral part of Bonsai cultivation. The primary objective is to shape and train a tree, ultimately leading to more beautiful, full-sized blooms.
Bonsai artists typically employ a range of techniques for pruning their trees. This may include defoliation, crown pruning, eliminating rubbing or crossing branches and more.
One of the essential tools for pruning a Bonsai tree is a leaf cutter. These come in various sizes and shapes so you can safely trim away leaves without damaging your trees roots.
Another tool you’ll need is a pair of twig shears. These shears come in various shapes and are ideal for pruning small twigs from your Bonsai tree.
These shears are ideal for pruning branches and shaping your Bonsai tree’s shape. However, be aware that they cannot effectively slice through thicker twigs and branches.
Depending on the species of tree you have, it may be necessary to prune some larger branches in order to shape it into desired shape. That is why research is key before beginning pruning any trees.
Before beginning any tree trimming project, it is essential to take into account its style. Doing this will enable you to avoid cutting away sections of your tree that you do not wish to keep.
Pruning is a necessary component for most bonsai trees to enhance its aesthetic appeal and enable control over its size and shape. Although some may feel intimidated by this task, remember that the advantages far outweigh any potential risks.
Every plant, including bonsai trees, requires light to thrive. Some require more illumination than others and it all depends on the species and its natural environment. Many bonsai species prefer full sun while others can tolerate shade well.
When it comes to growing lights for bonsai, there are various options: fluorescent, LED and HID models. All of these will provide your plants with essential light for healthy growth.
To give your bonsai the best chance at growing healthy, select an energy-saving grow light that provides full spectrum light. You can adjust the brightness as necessary to ensure your tree gets enough illumination.
When selecting lighting for your tree, it’s essential to choose a bulb of the correct size. It should fit inside its pot and be easily adjustable so you get just the right amount of illumination.
Some plants require more light than others, so you can experiment with using multiple bulbs to achieve the ideal balance. Be mindful not to overdose though as that could result in leaf burns.
You can also use a timer to ensure your tree receives enough light. This is especially beneficial for tropical trees that thrive in warm climates.
Indoor bonsai should be placed near windows that receive direct sunlight, such as those located in the south, west or east. This way, they can receive plenty of natural light without being subject to too much cold or glare.
When winter weather is dull or overcast, you can add artificial lighting to your bonsai plant for 12 – 15 hours extra illumination daily. This should provide them with enough extra stimulation and happiness throughout the day.