Bonsai trees are well known for being beautiful, elegant trees. The Bahama Berry bonsai is no exception to this, though as a regular, non-bonsai tree, it is plain and unattractive. Bahama bonsai trees go by many names, such as Pineapple Verbena, Moujean Tea, Nashia inaguensis, and “I Dry, I Die.” Indigenous to the Bahamas, it is a member of the Vervain family. These trees are well known for their strong, lovely aroma and their rather lanky limbs that are transformed into beautiful shapes. While this tree is high maintenance, it makes up for it in aroma and appearance.
How to Care for the Bahama Berry Bonsai Tree
Caring for the Bahama Berry bonsai is hard, but rewarding. You can place these trees indoors or outdoors, depending on your local climate. Watering is an aspect that should never be overlooked, as it is crucial to the health and survival of these trees. Fertilizing is important, and should be done fairly regularly. These trees respond to pruning and wiring well.
Indoor or Outdoor?
The Bahama bonsai is a tropical tree. This means that it needs constant sunlight and high humidity. Tropical trees are almost always indoor trees because the conditions these trees prefer are best replicated indoors.
Indoors, place the tree directly in front of a south facing window or in front of a window where it will receive the best light. Artificial lighting is likely needed in order for your tree to survive, as well as a humidity tray filled with water or wet gravel underneath the pot.
Placing the Bahama Berry outdoors is a bad idea in most climates, but in tropical climates or climates with constant sunlight all year, they may be grown outdoors.
There is a reason why these trees are called “I Dry, I Die.” These trees will die very quickly if they are not watered regularly. Part of the reason the Bahama Berry bonsai is so high maintenance is that it must never dry out, but it doesn’t like being over-watered either. As soon as the tree shows signs of being dry or wilted, water generously immediately. Very few of these trees will survive after drying out.
As with every bonsai tree, use a fertilizer with Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. The fertilizer may also include other micro nutrients, but the main elements of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium must be the main ingredients. As an indoor tropical tree, they like a balanced fertilizer every week in the spring and summer. In the autumn and winter months, feed monthly rather than weekly.
Pruning is a crucial part of the bonsai growing process. In order to maintain the health and shape of the tree, you must prune regularly. From mid-April to mid-August you can prune the tree’s roots using a kitchen knife or small saw. Rather than attempting to comb out the tangled roots, experts recommend cutting them right off instead. Additionally, rather than cutting or snipping off branches like you would with other bonsai trees, it is recommended that you carefully break off the branch and tear it off.
Bahama Berry bonsai also take wiring quite well. Typically, wiring is used to change the straight-limbed tree into a curvier, more interesting shape.
Common Pests and Diseases
When properly cared for, the Bahama Berry bonsai isn’t typically infested with any diseases or pests. However, when poorly cared for, it will become susceptible to several different pests. Bahama Berry trees that are not receiving enough light will be prone to mealy bugs. Rarer, but still dangerous, pests that may occur are pit scales. Pyrethrin-based insecticide sprays will rid the pests, but in order for the tree to really recover, its living conditions must improve. Regularly check for pest infestations on the leaves.
Bahama Berry bonsai trees are a must have tree. If you have the time and patience to care for these trees, investing in this joyous journey is highly recommended. The tree starts out as small and lanky, but the trunk can be thickened by being placed in a larger container. The transformation these trees go through by pruning leaves and wiring branches can be extraordinary to watch. These trees can be difficult to care for because of their watering needs. Lack of water and overabundance of water are big Bahama Berry killers. Since bonsai trees are planted in such shallow containers, they are unable to receive the nutrients they need. Feed with balanced fertilizers weekly in the spring and summer, monthly in the autumn and winter. Pests are relatively common with these trees, but only if they are not properly cared for. Caring for a Bahama Berry bonsai is an amazing journey that everyone should experience.