While some may think of the Buttonwood bonsai as being one of the more boring bonsai trees, this is simply not true! Through pruning and wiring you can make these trees absolutely stunning. These are very versatile trees that can be shaped into many different styles. As subtropical trees, Buttonwoods like lots of sun and cannot tolerate cold temperatures. In this article, we will be talking about the care guidelines for these trees, including where to place your tree, how to water and fertilize, when to prune and wire, and pests and diseases common to Buttonwood trees.
How to Take Care of Buttonwood Bonsai
This species is not particularly forgiving when it comes to care, but it is not hard to care for these bonsai. They can be placed indoors or outdoors, depending on your climate. Watering should be done frequently. You will need to fertilize these trees year-round, as they have no dormancy period in the winter. These trees can be pruned regularly, but wiring is not needed or common. Pests are common with Buttonwood trees as well, but they can be removed.
Indoor or Outdoor?
Buttonwood bonsai are subtropical trees, which means they love lots of sun but do not like cold temperatures. You can place these trees indoors or outdoors, depending on your local climate.
When placed outdoors, the trees must be able to get lots of sunlight for most of the day. If temperatures drop below 40 degrees, your tree must be brought indoors for protection. The tree will wilt if exposed to prolonged periods of cold or frost.
It is usually best to place Buttonwood trees indoors. The amount of sunlight the tree receives as well as the temperature of the room can be better controlled indoors than outdoors. When placed indoors, these trees can benefit from artificial lighting and air circulation.
In nature, these trees grow in damp environments. To mimic this, Buttonwood trees need to be watered quite frequently. Water when the soil is just slightly dry.
To water your bonsai properly, water generously until the water starts to drip out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Then, wait a few minutes and water again. This ensures that the roots are thoroughly soaked. Plant these trees in well-draining soil so that water doesn’t get stored in the roots, causing root rot.
Subtropical and tropical trees do not have dormancy periods in the winter where they stop growing in order to survive the winter and prepare for growth in the spring. Because of this, Buttonwood trees grow consistently all year round, and thus need to be fertilized all year round as well.
Pruning can be done regularly, as these trees handle it well. Generally, when pruning, you should focus on the leaves and the roots. Leaves can be kept small by clipping and pruning them. Roots can be pruned so that the size of the tree will remain small.
Additionally, these trees should be re-potted in late spring or early summer.
Common Pests and Diseases
If deadwood is incorporated into your tree, it is quite likely that you will encounter termites or borers. The mature bark is often heavily textured, which is very attractive to pests. These pests are harmful and should be taken care of as soon as possible
Other common pests include the citrus root weevil and the leaf-cutting bee. Evidence of these pests can be seen on the leaves, as they will be chewed up. These critters are more annoying than harmful to your tree, but you should still get rid of them immediately.
Aphids, mealy bugs, or mites may appear if your tree isn’t getting enough light or air circulation. To rid your tree of these pests, we recommend using a pesticide spray with a soap or pyrethrin base. These trees are very sensitive to chemicals, so you should avoid using Malathion.
Buttonwood bonsai trees are beautiful subtropical trees that anyone can care for. Make sure your tree gets plenty of light and is never exposed to the cold. In nature, Buttonwood trees are constantly damp. This should be reflected in the way you water your bonsai. Fertilize constantly throughout the year. Pruning can also be done throughout the year to reduce the size of the leaves and the plant itself. Any pests that may arise can be cured with non-chemical based pesticides. With the proper care, your bonsai will thrive.