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Bonsai Care

Bonsai Care, Bonsai Tree Care Basics

Bonsai Tree is Losing Leaves

When properly cared for, bonsai trees are beautiful and healthy. But sometimes problems arise, which cause the tree to lose its leaves. The loss of leaves on a bonsai is not uncommon, and as soon as you know the cause, you will be able to revive the tree. 

Common reasons why your bonsai may be losing its leaves include problems with the environment, watering, pests, and stress. All of these problems can be fixed fairly easy, especially if caught early enough. Don’t worry! We will tell you exactly how to fix these issues, and your tree will be back to normal in no time.

How Environmental Factors Can Cause Bonsai to Lose Leaves

The amount of light a bonsai tree receives is crucial to its health. The temperature of the bonsai’s climate is also very important. So, without proper light or temperatures, it is possible your bonsai’s leaves will drop. 

Indoor bonsai need to stay inside all year round in order to survive. Temperatures indoors should be kept fairly high (at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit). Additionally, tropical and subtropical trees, indoor trees, need to be inside so that they can receive plenty of light without being exposed to the cold. If your bonsai is outdoors, the climate must be well suited for your particular bonsai.

So, your bonsai’s leaves may be dropping because your bonsai is positioned wrong, is not receiving enough light, or is in a climate with temperatures that are too low or high.

How Over-Watering Can Cause Bonsai to Lose Leaves

A very common reason your tree may be losing its leaves is over-watering. Issues will arise if over-watering is done constantly, but not if it is occasional and irregular. 

One clear sign of over-watering is soggy soil. Bonsai rarely need to be watered more than once a day. Only water your tree when the soil gets slightly dry. When watering, stop when the water drips out of the drainage holes located at the bottom or sides of the pot. 

It is possible that the reason your tree is over-watered is not because of your watering schedule but because of the tree’s soil. Your soil needs to be water-retentive, but also well-draining. A soil that is not well-draining will store too much water, rotting the tree’s roots. Consider repotting your tree in better-draining soil if you believe this is the case.

How Under-Watering Can Cause Bonsai to Lose Leaves

The exact opposite of over-watering, under-watering is another major problem bonsai growers face. Under-watering could very well be the reason your bonsai is losing its leaves. 

If you find yourself forgetting to water your bonsai or are watering it only once or twice a week, under-watering is likely the reason the leaves are dropping. The bonsai’s leaves will likely not only drop, but they will be withered up and dry. The branches and trunk will also be dry.

The first thing you must do if your bonsai is under-watered is dunk the soil in water. After you do this, it is crucial that you start watering as soon as the soil gets slightly dry every day or two. 

Just like with over-watering, is possible that your tree is under-watered because of the soil, not your watering routine. In this case, the soil will not be water-retentive, meaning not enough water is soaked up when you water. If this is the case, repot your tree with a well-draining, but water-retentive, soil.

How Pests Can Cause Bonsai to Lose Leaves

Pests and diseases are another likely cause of dropping leaves on bonsai. Pests can include critters like scale, spider mites, aphids, and many more. They can be removed with specific pesticides or, in some cases, ladybugs! Don’t think that ladybugs are bad for your bonsai; they actually eat the pests on your plant without hurting it in any way. 

Bonsai’s leaves dropping can be caused by a number of things. These factors include but are not limited to watering problems, insufficient light, wrong temperatures, and bugs. If the conditions are unsatisfactory for prolonged periods, it is unlikely that your bonsai will survive. But, when these problems are caught early, your tree can recover.

Bonsai Care, Bonsai Species, Indoor Bonsai Trees

Best Soil Mix For Fukien Tea Bonsai

The Fukien tea bonsai is one of the most challenging tree varieties to sculpt. This tree presents many unique characteristics that can turn into a nightmare for beginners in bonsai cultivation. Although you need to put a lot of effort in cultivation, pruning, and maintenance, the end result is usually graceful and beautiful.

One of the things you will have to consider when it comes to Fukien tea bonsai is the soil quality. Rotting roots are a common problem associated with Fukien tea bonsai. Soggy, compacted soil will pose a huge problem, and you might never get the desired results.

Generally, Fukien tea trees prefer moist to slightly dry soil. If you want the very best results, you will need a quality soil mix for your Fukien tea bonsai. In this article, we will look at the importance of quality soil, the preferred soil mix, and when you should repot your Fukien tea bonsai.

Importance of Quality Soil in Fukien Tea Bonsai

Inferior soil will lead to no or slow growth of your Fukien tea bonsai. Your bonsai will undergo a lot of trauma and stress during pruning and shaping. Poor quality soil won’t provide the nutrition needed to bounce back from the cultivation process involved.

As stated earlier, soil without the proper drainage will also lead to the rotting of roots. The Fukien tea bonsai is particularly affected by this. Recovering rotting roots can be a complicated procedure, especially when you are a beginner. Most people usually quit and start again with a different tree, which can be devastating.

When you use low-quality soil, you will end up struggling with the speed and growth patterns of your Fukien tea bonsai. You mustn’t procure your soil from gardening stores, but instead, try a quality soil mix.

Fukien Tea’s Preferred Soil Mix

Now that you understand the importance of quality soil in cultivating Fukien tea bonsai, you need to create the perfect soil mix. You need a freely draining soil mix that consists of half inorganic and half organic soil components.

However, your Fukien tea bonsai could grow just as comfortably in a well-draining organic mix or 100% inorganic mix. You have to ensure that the soil never gets compacted, or you will end up with rotting roots.

Lastly, you need to add fertilizer weekly. Before you fertilize the soil, ensure that you water the tree well. The fertilizer should also be mixed at half the recommended dilution for the best results. Do not fertilize a sick, transplanted, or purchased Fukien tea tree.

Repotting Your Fukien Tea Bonsai

Repotting a Fukien tea bonsai should be done periodically when you notice that the root system has filled the current pot. One of the key reasons why you need to repot at this time is to ensure that your bonsai gets a fresh potting mix.

Repotting will also encourage the growth of a compact root system, which is essential in bonsai cultivation. Therefore, you need to examine your bonsai’s root system often to help you figure out when to repot.

No two trees are identical when it comes to growth patterns. When to repot will depend on the rate that your tree is growing. There is no predetermined schedule of when to repot, and you need to observe your Fukien tea bonsai carefully.

The best time to repot your Fukien tea bonsai would be around midsummer, when it is warm. It would help if you started by removing the bottom and outer quarter of the root mass.  You could then either return the bonsai tree to its original pot or transfer to a new pot.

Ensure that you add sufficient soil to make up the difference created when you trim away the roots. Your plant needs to be raised to its original position after you are done repotting. Water your tree when you are done to ensure that your bonsai tree remains healthy.

Fukien tea bonsai is a fantastic tree variety that creates beautiful shapes. However, there is a lot of work needed, starting with the soil. You want a healthy rooting system that can promote speedy growth, and the right soil is your answer.

Bonsai Care, Bonsai Species, Outdoor Bonsai Trees

Training Japanese Maple Bonsai

One of the main reasons why bonsai are so unique and beautiful is the training that goes into growing each tree. Training is crucial to not only the appearance but also the health of the bonsai. Japanese Maple bonsai in particular need maintenance pruning as well as structural pruning. Wiring is another crucial training technique used to shape branches and trunks. 

But there is no one way to train a Japanese Maple bonsai. Every bonsai grower is free to style their tree any way they choose. That being said, there are some classic styles which a bonsai grower can choose from. In this article, we will be going over some of the most popular styles for training a Japanese Maple bonsai. 

The Importance of Training Japanese Maple Bonsai

When you look at a Japanese Maple bonsai, the first thing you will notice is how beautiful it is. This beauty is achieved through training the tree. Pruning is used to evenly distribute leaves, decrease the size of the leaves, and more. Branches and trunks that have been bent through wiring present a more pleasing appearance. 

Pruning is not only important for the visual appeal but for the health of the bonsai as well. In nature, Japanese Maple trees’ leaves grow abundantly at the top of the tree. This causes the leaves located at the bottom of the tree to wither up and die, since light is not able to reach the leaves at the bottom of the tree.

How to Prune Japanese Maple Bonsai

Pruning is done by strategically removing leaves from branches. As previously mentioned, pruning is used to force leaves to grow further down and towards the center of the tree. While pine and coniferous trees prefer to be pruned by hand, the Japanese Maple is deciduous and can be pruned with shears or scissors. 

In addition to removing leaves, you can also take branches off the tree. Do this carefully and thoughtfully. You should remove branches that are dead, those that grow too far out, and those that hang too far down, rather than growing upwards. In the end, it is up to you to decide which branches aren’t needed.

How to Wire Japanese Maple Bonsai

Wiring your Japanese Maple can bend your bonsai’s branches or trunk. This is not an instantaneous event; the wiring process takes a few months before the branch will be in the position you want. The wire will need to be removed once the branch is bent. The wire will cut into the bark and scar the tree if it is not removed soon enough.

Begin wiring your tree at any time throughout the year. For Japanese Maples, aluminum wire is preferred. Simply wrap the wire around the branch you wish to bend. Once the branch is wired, bend it to the desired angle or shape. Then, wait!

Different Shaping Styles for Japanese Maple Bonsai

There are many different bonsai styles out there. Take what you will from these styles and leave the rest. Your tree can look exactly like a certain style, or you could take an aspect or two from one and make it your own. This is completely up to you! Experiment and have fun when training your Japanese Maple!

The first common Japanese Maple Style is the Broom style. Japanese Maple is perfect for this style since it works best with bonsai with fine branches with growth primarily at the top of the tree. The Broom style involves lots of growth rounded at the top of the tree. In this style, there is no growth at the bottom half of the tree.

Your Japanese Maple can also be styled in an upright, formal position. In this style, the bonsai’s trunk is straight up and its branches are evenly distributed throughout the tree. This style can be achieved by pruning the leaves and branches so that they grow at the bottom of the tree as well as the top. Their leaves should go out further than the trunk. A similar style is the informal upright style. The only difference is the trunk is not straight. Instead, it is curved into an S shape and the bottom of the trunk is thicker than the top. 

The last popular style we will talk about is the slanting bonsai style. In this style, the trunk is slanted to one side. The trunk’s base should be closer to the pot on the opposite side of which your tree is slanted. So, if your trunk is slanted towards the left, the base of the trunk will be off to the right.

Bonsai Care, Bonsai Species, Indoor Bonsai Trees

How to Care For Jack Pine Bonsai

Jack pine is among the best tree varieties for fantastic bonsai art. It is a hardy tree that is suitable for both bonsai professionals and beginners. Many people prefer using Jack pine for bonsai cultivation due to its resilience. This tree can survive in adverse conditions, such as rocky and sandy soils.

When left in the wild, Jack pines have a lifespan of around 200 years, with sizes ranging from three to seventy-five feet. They feature lateral roots that enclose the upper soil layers, which gives them more stability.

Because there are more than 75 Jack pine species, you have several options for your bonsai cultivation. These trees have a beautiful bark and robust rooting system that makes them perfect for bonsai. They are also easy to care for.

You don’t need any experience or expertise in bonsai cultivation when dealing with Jack pines. In this article, I will guide you through how to care for your Jack pine bonsai.

How to Care for the Jack Pine Bonsai

One of the basic things that you need to consider when growing bonsai is the soil. For Jack pines, you will need soil that has a slightly acidic or neutral PH. Choose a high-quality conifer mix consisting of pumice, lava rock, and pumice in equal parts. It should also include small amounts of de-composted charcoal and granite.

However, taking care of your Jack pine bonsai is not just about the soil. There are other aspects that you must tweak to get a healthy and beautiful Jack pine bonsai. Let us take a look at some practices which will help you get that beautiful bonsai.

Where to Position the Jack Pine Bonsai

Jack pine trees thrive in a natural environment, due to the abundance of light. It is paramount that you position your Jack pine bonsai in a well-lit spot. You must avoid shady spots, since these will lead to stunted development.

Pick a spot in your house or room that gets sufficient sunlight during the day. You don’t want to move your bonsai around in search of the sun, since constantly shifting the position of your Jack pine bonsai will harm its development.

When and How to Water the Jack Pine Bonsai

Although Jack pines are drought-resistant, proper watering is crucial, especially in the early stages. Ensure that you provide enough water for your tree’s development. Be careful that you don’t add too much water.

The water should never go above the soil level when cultivating Jack pine bonsai. Let the soil dry out thoroughly before re-watering your bonsai.

Fertilizing the Jack Pine Bonsai

To get a healthy Jack pine bonsai tree, you need slightly acidic fertilizers. Fertilize your Jack pine bonsai during the autumn for the best results. Restrain yourself from adding any fertilizer during the winter, unless it is extremely necessary.

Patience is crucial when it comes to Jack pine bonsai, because they take a lot of time to grow. Re-potting should, therefore, be done after five years of continuous fertilization cycle.

How to Train the Jack Pine Bonsai

You should only prune and train your Jack pine bonsai when you notice vigorous growth. Do not carry out any training practices when there are no new growth developments. You don’t want to shock your bonsai and stunt its growth.

Training should be done only once a year for the best results. Remember, patience is critical when dealing with Jack pine bonsai.

Common Pests and Diseases that the Jack Pine May Get

The common pests that may attack your Jack pine bonsai include aphids, weevils, and borers. You have to carry out a regular check to ensure that you spot these pests on time. With pests, early detection ensures that they don’t cause any irreversible damage.

Although Jack pine bonsai are easy to grow, you should carry out the practices highlighted above. Ensure that you let your tree dictate the form it wants to take rather than dictating extreme training practices. The beauty with Jack pine bonsai cultivation is that you can learn and grow at the same time.

Bonsai Care, Bonsai Species, Fruiting Bonsai Trees

Apple Bonsai Tree Growing Tips

A miniature tree that bears fruit is one of the most beautiful bonsai growing projects. The apple tree makes a perfect fruit-bearing bonsai tree. The tree is well known for its dense form, green leaves, and beautiful fragrant flowers. There is great beauty in watching miniaturized apples blossom on the tree. Unlike some other bonsai trees, the apple requires quite specialized care. So, how does one care for the apple bonsai tree?

How to Care for the Apple Bonsai Tree

These growing tips for apple bonsai are crucial for a flourishing tree. Some of the fundamental care procedures include positioning, watering, fertilizing, training techniques, and disease and pest control. Let’s look at the following tips for growing the apple tree bonsai.

The Positioning of the Apple Bonsai

Positioning plays a vital role in the survival of the bonsai. Since the apple tree is a fruit-producing bonsai tree, a lot of sunlight is essential. While it can be grown indoors, I would recommend you find an exceptionally sunny location for the plant. In USDA zones eleven and twelve, the apple bonsai tree can be grown outdoors in full sunlight or under a shade. The apple bonsai tolerates summer heat well, and it flowers in this season. However, the roots of the outdoor-grown apple bonsai should be mulched for protection against cold temperatures.

Apple Bonsai Watering Tips

Apple bonsai need careful watering, especially during the summer. Since the plant flowers and bears fruits in summer, it will need a substantial amount of water. When the apple bonsai is exposed to the sun, you should water it daily. However, ensure that the soil is not waterlogged; just make the soil moist while watering. Take caution when watering the apple bonsai during its flowering period. The flowers are quickly spoiled by the water, with pollination affected as well.

Fertilizing Tips for the Apple Bonsai

With the small size of the apple bonsai canopy, the plant can barely make its food; hence, fertilizing is essential. Frequent watering can also wash away most of the nutrients in the soil. For the health of the apple bonsai, one should fertilize the plant at least twice a month with special bonsai fertilizers, especially liquid bonsai fertilizers. However, fertilizing should be stopped when the apple bonsai starts to bear fruit. With the winter period comes a slower nutrient intake by the apple bonsai tree. Therefore, one should fertilize the plant once in a month with low- or no-nitrogen feed in the winter months.

Training Techniques for Apple Bonsai

When training the apple bonsai tree, you will need professional skills or help from a professional bonsai gardener. Pruning is one of the important steps in training your apple bonsai tree. You should prune for training during autumn or early in spring. Wiring the bonsai tree is also a good way to help your apple bonsai branches stay in the desired shape. Through this technique, one can anchor the apple bonsai branches, pulling them to new directions as a training process.

Dealing with Apple Bonsai’s Pests and Diseases

Apple Bonsai Tree 1

One of the most common infestations in the apple bonsai tree is mildew. In some cases, mildew may be caused by poor air circulation and excessively humid conditions. Aphids may also appear during the growing season, especially when you are using nitrogen-based fertilizers. To combat mildew infestation, you should spray the apple bonsai tree with sulfur fungicides. Commercial sprays against aphids are helpful in fighting the aphids. In most cases, one treatment for the apple bonsai is enough to keep your tree free from the common pests and diseases.

Flowering bonsai trees like the apple are wonderful for offering fresh new looks in different seasons. The apple bonsai tree blooms with fragrant and lovely flowers as well as bearing small fruits. The apple bonsai tree growing tips discussed above are crucial for optimal care for the tree. While caring for the apple bonsai seems to involve a lot of work, the end product is a beautiful and healthy bonsai tree.

Bonsai Care, Bonsai Species, Indoor Bonsai Trees, Outdoor Bonsai Trees

How to Care For African Boxwood Bonsai

Boxwood is a very hardy evergreen plant that proliferates well. It is popularly known due to its significant characteristics, thus making an excellent tree to be used as bonsai. The boxwood species includes over 70 varieties of trees. Japanese boxwood (Buxus Microphylla) and common boxwood (Buxus Sempervirens) are the most common boxwood species. Boxwood can be shaped into different designs and is often used as an ornamental shrub. The boxwood often grows with twisted trunks and branches in its natural habitat. These trees have greenish-yellow flowers that usually attract bees. There are several care guidelines that will help them to flourish. In this article, we will discuss how to care for potted boxwood.

Where to Position African Boxwood

During the summer, Japanese boxwood should be placed in a house with high light levels or kept outside with either complete or limited sunlight. A tree should be placed indoors when nighttime temperatures drop below 50 degrees. However, over the winter, you should bring your bonsai inside once nightly lows begin to approach freezing. The plant should be transferred to a north-facing doorstep during cold periods so it may go partially dormant. Boxwood should also be kept cool and away from sunlight. A boxwood plant should be placed outside after a period of dormancy, and its watering and feeding schedule should be increased once it is placed in a location with more light.

When and How to Water African Boxwood

You should never neglect the watering of your boxwood. When the tree’s soil gets dry, water it immediately and never allow the soil to dry completely. Until you get to know the requirements of a tree, you should use a moisture meter to determine the soil’s moisture level. A plant should be watered until water begins running out of the pot’s holes.

Fertilizing Needs for African Boxwood

For your bonsai to remain beautiful and healthy, fertilizing is always necessary. Fertilizer is essential to replenish a soil’s supply of nutrients periodically, since a shrub is growing in such a small amount of land. Liquid fertilizer is suitable for any general purpose and is available at most garden centers. Through cold seasons and dormancy, common boxwood should not be fertilized.

How to Train Your African Boxwood Bonsai

Since boxwood is a complex tree, training should be thoroughly studied or left for a professional to handle. Most potted boxwood is already trained and only requires pruning and wiring. When you are trimming the plant, you should leave one or two pairs of leaves on each branch.  Leaves should be thinned to let sunlight get in them if they become very dense. Thinning of leaves also helps to encourage back-budding, and it prevents inner twigs from dying.

It is necessary to keep your shrub miniature; trimming and pinching are required. A new growth should be pinched and cut from a safe point that is furthest. All new growth should never be removed, thus sustaining the tree’s health. It is vital to evaluate each tree’s growth rate and adjust your trimming and pinching, since different trees grow at a different rate.

Common Pests and Diseases that Affect African Boxwood

Like any other tree, boxwood bonsai should be treated for insects and diseases because the plant is miniature. However, when a plant is properly cared for, the risk of infections decreases. Fungal infections, such as box blight, can attack boxwood bonsai. Nematodes, boxwood mite, boxwood leafminer, or boxwood mite are pests that often affect the boxwood bonsai. Spraying of specific pesticides for most pests and diseases is essential. In severe cases, a professional gardener should be consulted.

Repotting African Boxwood Bonsai

When a bonsai root system has been filled, repotting should be done periodically. Repotting helps to supply fresh soil and to enable more compactness for a root system. You should examine your tree’s root system each year to determine if it has become pot-bound since trees grow at different rates. The potting process is easy and safe if performed correctly and at the right time in most cases. Repotting should be done in mid-summers. The soil and shrub should both be removed from a pot when repotting.

Bonsai Care, Bonsai General Info, Bonsai Tree Care Basics

How Long Can Bonsai Trees Live?

Different bonsai trees have different life spans. Generally, a bonsai tree will live for as long as its parent tree lives. However, there are different factors that will also affect the lifespan of these trees. These factors include the following:

Growing conditions

Pests

Diseases

Climatic conditions

The plant species

Tree care administered

Drainage

Moisture retention

It is said that if a tree lives for one hundred years in nature, then the bonsai of this tree might also make it to a hundred years. However, since the tree is being grown in a pot, it might not necessarily live so long.

How Long Does an Outdoor Bonsai Tree Live?

Bonsai trees’ wild relatives are left alone in forests. However, bonsai trees themselves need care so that they can survive. Outdoor bonsai trees are no different. The greatest factor to determine the longevity of an outdoor bonsai tree is the primary care you provide. If you nurture it poorly, the tree will wither and die quite soon. Even if it lives, it will be a weak tree that’s unable to withstand climatic pressures.

However, contrary to what many believe, the small stature of these bonsai trees does not necessarily mean that it will have a shorter lifespan than its parent tree.

The oldest known outdoor bonsai tree is the Old Juniper Bonsai tree that is found in Mansei-en in Japan. Shockingly, the tree was tested and proven to have lived for more than one thousand years. The tree was collected in a wild area of Japan. Since it is in training, it is still considered a rough material. You can find it in the Mansei-en Bonsai Nursery of the Kato Family, Omiya.

How Long Does an Indoor Bonsai Tree Live?

Just like that of their outdoor counterparts, the longevity of indoor bonsai trees depends on the care they receive. For indoor bonsai, position really matters. For an indoor tree to lead a healthy life, it needs to be in a place where it receives adequate light for its growth. With proper care, the tree can live for even more than five hundred years.

The oldest known indoor bonsai tree is the Shunka-en, by Kunio Kobayashi. This is a stunning bonsai tree that is displayed at Shunka-en. It has been proven that the tree is more than eight hundred years old.

How Do You Ensure That Your Bonsai Lives for a Long Time?

Just as we had seen earlier, the longevity of any bonsai tree depends on its environment as well as the care that it receives. Environment is a key factor that determines the lifespan and health of your tree. Different bonsai trees thrive in different environmental conditions. For example, outdoor bonsai trees require a cold season. They are likely to die if they are kept indoors. On the other hand, indoor bonsai trees require room temperature to thrive. However, they can be kept outside in milder months.

Watering is another important consideration, just as it is for any other plant. Water your tree regularly and monitor the moisture closely to ensure that the plant is neither over- nor under-watered.

Other practices that will see your plant bloom and live for a long time include the following:

Applying fertilizer for proper growth

Proper trimming to maintain stature and keep it healthy

Getting the ideal soil mixes to grow it in

Checking for pests regularly, and eliminating them if they appear

Bonsai trees are beautiful trees. With proper care and optimal environmental conditions, the tree will lead a long and healthy life.

Bonsai Care, Bonsai General Info, Bonsai Tree Care Basics

How To Tell If Your Bonsai Tree Needs Water

Like all plants on Earth, bonsai trees need fresh, clean water to live. We all know this, but recently one of the girls in my office asked me, “How do you know if it needs water?” I thought she was just being silly for a minute before I realized she was being curious and that it was a valid question. I haven’t thought about it for years because I just water my Ficus Bonsai tree every week, and I never allow the soil to get dry for extended periods of time. This is a question I get asked a lot, so I thought I’d write a post on it.

Feel The Soil To See If Your Bonsai Needs Water

The first thing I’d suggest is to feel the bonsai’s soil. Now, did you notice how I said “the first thing I’d suggest”? That’s because soil dryness can be a sign that you need to water your bonsai tree, but it is not the ultimate sign. I say this because you should be letting your bonsai tree soil get dry between watering. If you keep the soil constantly wet, your bonsai will be prone to fungal infections and will most likely not live for hundreds of years like it is meant to. It’s prudent to check the soil first if you can’t remember when you last watered your bonsai.

Check The Color Of Your Raw Clay Pots

I also wanted to remind you that if you have a raw pottery bonsai pot, it will change color a bit if it is wet or dry. It will be darker if it is wet and lighter if it’s dry. Now I will say that this will only work if the pot you use is raw, and it will only apply if there is extreme over- or under-watering.

Keep A Bonsai Tree Watering Schedule

I’ve found that the best way to make sure that my bonsai trees are always watered correctly is setting up a schedule. My watering schedule is quite simple. I water my bonsai trees on Mondays. I always set an alarm on my cell phone that goes off every Monday at 7:30 am. When I get busy with work and a million things are going through my mind, the alarm really helps.

How I Water My Bonsai

watering bonsai

I water my bonsai with a simple spray bottle. I use the mist setting to spray the leaves and tree, and then I set the bottle nozzle to a direct stream and squirt the soil a few times. Remember to completely soak the soil, but only do this once a week or so. The soil will need to dry completely between watering.

Bonsai Care, Bonsai Species, Outdoor Bonsai Trees

How To Care For The Japanese Maple Bonsai Tree

Cultivating and taking care of bonsai trees can seem challenging and labor-intensive, but once you know what you are doing, it isn’t as difficult as it appears. It all comes down to keeping the tree alive, initially; then, once you’re used to watering and pruning it regularly, the more advanced activities are less overwhelming. This article will instruct you how to take care of a Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) bonsai tree.

Japanese maples should generally be kept outside, including the bonsai variety. They like sunlight but should be moved to the shade in the heat of midday. A Japanese maple can even stay outside to fall into dormancy in the winter, as it is a hardy plant, but should be protected from temperatures below 14° Fahrenheit.

Watering Japanese Maple Bonsai

Japanese maples need to be watered daily while they’re growing, and sometimes more than once a day, depending on the drainage of the soil, according to Bonsai Empire. A general rule of thumb is to water once the soil is slightly dry. The soil should never be allowed to dry out completely, and when watering, be sure to soak it thoroughly so as to wet the whole root system. This means watering until moisture seeps out of the drainage holes. Rainwater is best, as it is slightly alkaline (which helps these trees thrive), but if you only have tap water, it won’t hurt the tree.

Fertilizing Japanese Maple Bonsai

Provide your Japanese maple with high nitrogen fertilizer in the early spring every two weeks, says Bonsai Outlet, as newly unfurling leaves need the nourishment. Later, fertilize with a much more diluted solution every other week in summer, but take care to not feed with the regular strength and frequency at summer’s hottest. In the late summer to early fall, use a nitrogen-free fertilizer and taper off before winter hits. Be careful not to fertilize too little or too much to ensure a well-proportioned tree.

Pruning Japanese Maple Bonsai

To keep your bonsai tree under control and in the shape you wish it to be, you must prune it. Bonsai Experience mentions pruning unsightly growths and protrusions and pruning the tips of the branches to keep them from growing. You may even snip away individual leaves or groups of leaves. While the top of the tree grows more rapidly than the lower branches, it’s important to observe the entire tree for growth regularly, as it can quickly get out of hand if pruning is neglected.

Wiring Japanese Maple Bonsai

Another technique for shaping your bonsai is wiring the branches. This involves wrapping wire around flexible branches and positioning them in the way you wish for them to grow. For Japanese maples, the perfect time for wiring is in the winter, when the cold has already stripped away the tree’s leaves, making the branches significantly easier to wrap. Branch growth during the spring and summer can also cause the wire to bite into the branch, causing scars. Use anodized aluminum wire. According to Bonsai Empire, starting out with 1mm, 1.5mm, 2.5mm, and 4mm thick wire should be enough to start with. It’s also best to purchase some raffia and soak it before applying it to larger branches to prevent the wire from damaging them. Once your tree is all dressed up in raffia, you can take two branches of similar size and wire them together in several places on the tree while wiring all other branches singly. Start by wrapping the wire around the trunk, and then wrap the wire around the branch or branches you desire from base to tip. Once wired, you can bend them into the preferred shape, making sure the wire will hold it. Once a few months have passed and the branches are set in their shape, and before the growing season, unwire them and remove the raffia.

Repotting Japanese Maple Bonsai

Repotting requires having the right soil and pruning the roots. Bonsai Outlet says to repot every one to two years for trees less than ten years old and every two to three years for older trees in early spring—before the buds open. Be sure to prune the roots so it fits in its container, but cut away no more than half of the root mass of young trees, and cut away even less for older trees. Most sources recommend using a soil mixture of akadama, pumice, and lava rock, but as long as the soil drains well, it should be fine. Also, refrain from fertilizing directly after repotting; wait for about two weeks.

Propagating Japanese Maple Bonsai Trees

The simplest way of propagating is growing the maples from seeds, but you can also take a cutting from a living maple in the summer. If you are propagating this way, all you need to do is cut a new branch from the parent tree, removing the lower leaves. Then place the cutting into a pot of soil, burying at least one leaf node, Agverra instructs. They also suggest putting the pot in an open plastic bag to keep moisture in, ensuring it remains wet at all times. Put the pot in a warm spot, but not in direct sunlight. When it begins growing new leaves, this is a sign that it has rooted.

Obtaining a Japanese Maple Tree

As mentioned above, you could propagate a new tree by asking around to see if anyone is willing to give you a few cuttings. However, local DIY stores, such as Lowe’s or Home Depot may already have a few for sale, or perhaps a local nursery. If all else fails, a simple Google search will produce many results, from seeds to seedlings, to even already trained bonsai.

Diseases and Pests in Japanese Maple Bonsai

Japanese maples are pretty hardy, but there are still a few things that you should watch out for. Japanese beetles, for instance, will destroy all leaf growth if allowed. Other pests include scale bugs, mites, and mealybugs, according to Gardening Know How. The damage will manifest as small bumps or “cottony spots” on leaves and twigs. Wilting, yellowing, or puckering leaves can indicate aphids, and borers will show themselves as clumps of sawdust. Taking care of pests is as easy as treating your plant regularly with pesticide. As far as diseases go, canker can attack the tree, presenting itself as sap oozing from the bark. Yellowing, prematurely falling leaves is a sign of Verticillium wilt, and leaves rotting and falling are symptoms of Anthracnose. Pruning appropriately and clearing fallen debris from the base of your tree should prevent these diseases. Keep a close eye on young trees, however, as they have a higher chance of succumbing to diseases and the attacks of insects than that or older trees.

Bonsai Care, Bonsai Species, Indoor Bonsai Trees

How to Care For Rosemary Bonsai

Rosemary Bonsai is known not only for its beauty but also for its distinctive flavor and medicinal value; the rosemary herb is a perfect plant for your bonsai gardening. The rosemary is an attractive, tiny-leafed shrub that produces fragrant white, blue, or pink flowers during summer and spring. With the herb partially shedding its fibrous bark, the bonsai plant achieves a beautiful “old” look, even when the herb is still young. Easy to care for, the rosemary bonsai requires a proper location and attention to thrive well inside a house.

How to Care for the Rosemary Bonsai

Obtaining a rosemary bonsai is easy since one can purchase it from a nursery plant or collect one from nature (if you’re an explorative gardener). Bonsai gardeners know that the crucial task is caring for the rosemary bonsai. So, how do you care for the rosemary bonsai?

Positioning Your Rosemary Bonsai

The location of the rosemary bonsai in the house determines well how it will thrive. That said, positioning describes lighting and temperature conditions under which the plant is maintained. We recommend that you place your plant close to the patio door or close to the window. This will allow it to obtain optimal natural light and sun warmth, about six to eight hours each day. The rosemary plant thrives in warm and humid environments but still exhibits some winter-hardiness. Therefore, the plant can be grown in USDA Zone 7 areas successfully. However, temperatures below ten degrees Fahrenheit are lethal for the plant.

Watering Your Rosemary Bonsai

Water is essential for the growth of the rosemary bonsai. However, take caution in watering the rosemary plant. The rosemary plant does not like wet roots and can survive a day or two on dry soil. Since the rosemary plant is sensitive to overwatering, you should use soil that has good drainage. Using terra cotta pots for your rosemary bonsai can aid in avoiding overwatering with the pots allowing the soil to dry out quicker. We recommend that you water the rosemary bonsai when the soil is nearly dry. During the watering process, allow the rosemary plant to soak up water till the soil surface on top is damp.

Fertilizing Your Rosemary Bonsai

With small amounts of soil in the pot, the nutrient supply will run out as the rosemary plant grows. That explains why fertilizing is essential in achieving optimal health for your bonsai plants. After all, no one likes their plants weak and dull-looking. During the growth period of the rosemary bonsai, a weekly supply of supplemental fertilizer is crucial. After the rosemary bonsai has matured, fertilizing it twice yearly would serve the plant best. While fertilizing, you should use the fertilizers at half the recommended strength. The application of the fertilizer should be done by misting.

Training Your Rosemary Bonsai

If you’d like to add glamour to your rosemary bonsai, training is essential. In most cases, when mature rosemary bonsai are sold at tree nurseries, they are trained. The only requirement is periodic pinching and trimming of the plant to keep it miniature. To do this, remove all new growth beyond the plant’s first set of leaves. Eliminate the dead branches as well. With growth rates for different bonsai trees, the evaluation of one’s tree growth rate is vital for optimal trimming and pinching.

What Pests and Diseases Affect Rosemary Bonsai?

When it comes to indoor growing of the rosemary bonsai, gardeners should beware of powdery mildew. This refers to the white and powdery fungus that develops on the rosemary plant if the house had humid conditions and poor air circulation. While the fungus may not kill the bonsai, it makes it more susceptible to other diseases and attacks by insects. To avoid this, keep the house’s humidity low, with good air circulation. Aphids and spider mites are pests to look out for when caring for the bonsai. Treatment of your rosemary plant using non-toxic pesticide soap or any sulfur-based fungicide before the total infestation is essential in getting rid of the pests and fungi.

Unlike more complicated bonsai trees, the rosemary is quite easy to cultivate, even for beginners. While rosemary is viewed by many as a culinary item for seasoning, the plant is also a perfect choice for artistic purposes by bonsai gardeners. With several varieties to choose from, one can hardly get enough of the rosemary bonsai that come in abundant colors, shapes, and scents.