Bonsai Tree Care Basics

Bonsai Care, Bonsai Tree Care Basics, Indoor Bonsai Trees, Outdoor Bonsai Trees

How Much Light Does A Bonsai Tree Need?

Bonsai trees need a certain amount of light each day in order to thrive, just as normal trees do. Bonsai need around 10 hours of light each day. This need varies from species to species, and indoor and outdoor trees have different needs as well. One important thing to remember is that every individual bonsai is different. Getting to know your tree’s needs will take some time.

Indoor Bonsai

Indoor species are tropical or subtropical trees that need lots of light, high temperatures and high humidity. When placed indoors, it can be hard for these trees to receive enough light. Place these trees directly in front of a south facing window at all times. Moving these trees away from the window will be harmful, as light intensity will decrease significantly. 

Even at a south facing window, it is likely that your tree isn’t receiving enough light. This problem can be solved with artificial lighting. Also consider placing your indoor bonsai outdoors during the day in the summer. Bring in the tree when temperatures start to drop at night.

Growing Lights for Indoor Bonsai

Your indoor bonsai tree needs lots of light in order to be healthy and strong. Natural habitats for tropical and subtropical trees are very sunny and hot. It can be hard to meet your tree’s light requirements in your home. 

Artificial lighting will solve your light problem. Also called growing lights, these devices will provide the light your tree needs without any damage or hassle. Simply turn on these lights for around 10 hours a day. Fewer hours are needed in the winter.

Outdoor Bonsai

The amount of light an outdoor bonsai needs differs with each bonsai species. In general, outdoor trees prefer lots of light during the summer and don’t need much light in the winter, since they are in dormancy. 

Some species, like the Juniper bonsai, prefer to be placed in full sun all day. Species like these do not thrive in shade. Around 10 hours of constant light is preferred. Some trees will even tell you when they are receiving enough light, such as the jade bonsai. This tree’s leaves will turn red at the edges. 

Other trees, like the Japanese Maple, like lots of morning sun and afternoon shade. The shade during the day provides protection from the harsh sun so that the leaves are not damaged. 

And finally, trees like the Chinese elm can grow in full sun or in partial shade. They can be grown indoors with lots of light, or outdoors with sun in the afternoons.

Shading Nets for Outdoor Bonsai

Many bonsai leaves are very sensitive. The hot sun blazing down on your tree may very well damage its leaves. Luckily, there is a way to prevent damage: shading nets.

Shading nets are used to filter the amount and intensity of the light that bonsai trees receive. In very hot temperatures, a tree’s leaves may dry out, and the tree may require constant watering in order to stay alive. Nets are not always needed, but if you notice these symptoms on your tree, consider putting up a shading net. 

The material is categorized by how much light is infiltrated. Usually, the nets range from 40% to 80%. Nets with a 40% range are best for temperatures in the upper 80 to lower 90 degrees Fahrenheit. In climates with temperatures that get into the mid 90’s to lower 100 degrees Fahrenheit, 60% range nets work best. Finally, for desert-like climates with temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, we recommend using an 80% range net. 

While every bonsai tree is different, following these guidelines should give you an idea of how much light your bonsai needs. Indoor bonsai trees need lots of light all year round. Artificial lighting is often needed to help your bonsai thrive. Outdoor species have more diverse needs. Some prefer lots of light all day long in the summer, while others like afternoon shade during the hottest hours of the day. Shading nets may be helpful in protecting your tree from the harsh sun. Nets range from 40% to 80%. You will be able to tell when your tree isn’t receiving enough light because leaves will start to drop. Your tree will look much happier when it is getting enough light!

Bonsai Care, Bonsai Tree Care Basics, Indoor Bonsai Trees, Outdoor Bonsai Trees

How Much Light Do Bonsai Trees Need?

Providing your bonsai tree with enough light is crucial for the tree’s health. The placement of your bonsai tree depends on species, climate, time of year, and many other factors. You first need to determine whether your tree is an indoor or an outdoor bonsai. This will affect how much light the tree needs and other necessary growing conditions. In this article, we will discuss light requirements for indoor and outdoor bonsai, how to determine whether your tree needs grow lights (artificial lights), and how to decide whether your tree needs a shade net outdoors.

Indoor Bonsai

Indoor bonsai trees are either tropical or subtropical trees. This means they need high temperatures and high humidity levels throughout the whole year. These trees can only survive outdoors in certain climates. 

Because they are grown indoors, it is often a struggle for these trees to receive enough light. Place your indoor bonsai tree directly in front of a south facing window or another window where it will receive as much light as possible. During the summer, many of these trees can be placed outside for a few hours during the day, but there are some trees that should not receive direct sunlight. 

Artificial lighting is often required for these trees to thrive. We will be talking more about grow lights a bit further down in this article.

Outdoor Bonsai

Outdoor bonsai trees are trees that need to be exposed to the seasons and experience dormancy periods in the winter. During these periods, it is perfectly natural for the tree to stop growing and not be exposed to high temperatures or excessive light. 

Each tree species likes a different amount of light and prefers different climates. Trees that like full sun, like juniper species, will not be happy in maritime climates. Imported Japanese species grow best in temperate climates, along with subtropical and mediterranean trees. 

If your tree likes shade and does not like afternoon sun, place it in a position where it will receive good morning light and afternoon shade.

Grow Lights

Many indoor species need artificial lighting, even if they are placed in the perfect position indoors. Sometimes sunlight through a window just isn’t enough. If your tree is showing signs of not receiving enough light, such as weak leaves falling off the tree, it may be time to invest in a grow light.

Grow lights can be used for around 10 hours a day to help your tree thrive. You can also mimic the changing of the seasons by leaving the light on for around four hours a day in the winter and longer in the summer. There are also smart grow lamps that will mimic the changing of the seasons automatically.

Shading Nets

Many trees like to be in partial shade, but there may not be areas of your yard or balcony that will suit your tree. In many particularly hot areas, shade nets may be used to protect against potential sun damage. Shading nets allow your tree to receive light while protecting it from harmful direct sunlight.

Shade nets are graded on how much light is allowed to infiltrate. Nets range from 40% to 80%: 40% nets are generally used for lower temperatures, and 80% nets are used for desert climates. For temperatures in the upper 80’s to low 90’s (in Fahrenheit), use 40%. For hotter climates in the 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, 60% range is recommended. Finally, for desert climates above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, we recommend using the 80% range. 

Each net will lower the temperatures underneath it by about 10 degrees Fahrenheit.  

While bonsai trees are all very different, there are some general guidelines and suggestions when dealing with how much light they will need. When growing your tree in the proper climate, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not it is receiving enough light. If the sun’s direct light is too much for your trees, consider moving them to a shady spot in your yard or balcony or adding shade nets above the trees. Indoor bonsai trees are different. Even if indoor trees are placed correctly, it is still likely that they aren’t getting enough light. Adding growing lights (artificial lights) should help significantly. You should be able to tell if your tree is receiving enough light – it will be thriving!

Bonsai Care, Bonsai Tree Care Basics, Indoor Bonsai Trees, Outdoor Bonsai Trees

Do Bonsai Trees Need Direct Sunlight?

Light is crucial to the health of your bonsai tree. But does it matter whether the light these trees receive is direct or indirect? The answer to this question depends on several factors. Some bonsai trees only need direct sunlight, while others do very badly in direct sunlight. In this article we will be going over whether outdoor bonsai need direct light, whether indoor bonsai need direct light, and the difference between direct and indirect sunlight.

Outdoor Bonsai

Outdoor bonsai trees need to be exposed to the seasons in order to survive. Therefore, most of them need lots of direct sunlight throughout the day. On average, outdoor trees need about 5 hours of direct sunlight per day. 

An example of a tree that needs lots of direct sunlight would be the Juniper bonsai. Juniper bonsai are not able to live indoors because the light intensity is too low for them. 

Japanese Maple and pomegranate trees are examples of outdoor trees that do not like direct sunlight all day. These trees like to be placed in shade in the middle of the day when temperatures grow hotter. This will ensure that the tree’s leaves are not damaged from the sun.

Indoor Bonsai

Many varieties of tropical or subtropical bonsai trees grow best indoors. These trees will usually need some form of artificial lighting, but they can also benefit from being placed outdoors for a few hours a day in the summer. 

Trees like the Jade and Ficus bonsai can be placed outdoors in higher temperatures. When placed outside, they do not like a shady position. Direct sunlight is very favorable to these trees.

In contrast, Dwarf Umbrella and Sageretia bonsai trees do not like direct sunlight outdoors. The dwarf Umbrella tree does not like to be taken outside at all. This subtropical tree is only an indoor tree, never an outdoor tree. Sageretia trees also do not like direct sunlight when placed outside. They like to be placed in shade.

Direct vs Indirect Sunlight

Knowing the difference between direct and indirect sunlight can help you grow your tree the right way.

Direct sunlight occurs when sunlight hits your tree directly, with no barrier between the sun and the tree. This ensures your tree is getting the most intense light possible. Some trees need lots of direct sunlight to survive, while others will dry up under this amount of light.

Indirect sunlight occurs when sunlight is not directly hitting your tree; there is a barrier between the sun and your tree. An example of this would be light hitting your indoor tree through a window. Indoor bonsai trees can survive on indirect sunlight, but this is rarely enough. These trees will usually need help from artificial lighting as well.

Artificial lighting, another type of lighting, can be as intense as direct sunlight, but it is used indoors. Artificial lighting can be used on indoor bonsai trees that are suffering from low light intensity. To increase light intensity, turn on this light for around 10 hours a day every day. It may be helpful to mimic the changing of the seasons with this light. For instance, you can run the lights for longer in the summer, up to 16 hours a day, and shorter in the winter for around 5 hours a day.  

Light intensity can make or break a bonsai tree. Some trees are more tolerant than others, but some specifically need direct or indirect sunlight. Most outdoor trees need direct sunlight all year, even in the summer, while others are sensitive to hotter days and should be placed in shade or partial-shade in the summer. Direct lighting can cause leaves to dry out on some trees. While indoor trees need to be placed indoors in order to survive, it is still possible that they need at least some direct sunlight during the day to thrive. It also helps to provide indoor trees with artificial lighting if they are not receiving enough light. You should be able to visibly see when your tree is receiving enough light: it will look healthy, happy, and strong.

Bonsai Care, Bonsai General Info, Bonsai Tree Care Basics, Bonsai Tree Starter Kits

Beginners Guide to Bonsai

Growing a bonsai tree is an amazing journey that anyone, regardless of experience, can enjoy. The art of bonsai growing has been refined and studied for centuries. In this article, we will be going over how to grow and cultivate, style and shape, and care for your bonsai tree.

Growing and Cultivating Your Tree

First things first – you need to get a tree! There are a few options: you can either buy a pre-bonsai, which is a bonsai tree that has not yet been wired or pruned, or you can use a cultivation technique.

When choosing a tree you want to turn into a bonsai, you should first choose whether you want your tree to be an indoor or an outdoor tree. Indoor trees are tropical or subtropical trees that need high temperatures all year. For outdoor bonsai, it is recommended you grow a tree that is indigenous to your area, or one that can survive in your climate.

Once you have selected what kind of tree you want, it is time to buy one. As mentioned before, you can buy a pre-bonsai, which is a raw tree that is ready to be styled the way you want it to be. You can also buy a ready-made bonsai tree online. Taking a tree from nature is also an option, but be sure you get permission to do so. Cultivation is another viable option, and while this is less expensive, it takes much longer than buying a tree. If you use cuttings or seeds to cultivate your own tree, it could take anywhere from three to five years before the tree is able to be styled.

Styling and Shaping Techniques

Once your tree is ready, it is time to style and shape. The styling and shaping part of growing a bonsai tree is the perfect place to be as creative as you’d like. These techniques have been refined for decades, but don’t let that deter you. There are several basics that can be learned in no time.

The first technique we will go over is pruning. Pruning is the single most important aspect of bonsai shaping. Not only does pruning help maintain the shape of the tree, it also keeps the tree miniature. You want to keep the look of the bonsai as close to nature as possible. Pruning should be done in the spring and summer, though this depends on your tree’s species. When pruning thick branches, use a concave cutter, as this will leave behind hollow wounds that will heal better than the wounds left behind from normal cutters.

Every tree is different, but there are some instances in which you should prune.

  • Branches that have unnatural looking turns and twists
  • Branches towards the top of the tree that are disproportionate 
  • Two branches occurring at the same height; remove one, keep another

Wiring is another important aspect of bonsai styling. This is done by wrapping annealed copper or anodized aluminum around the branches to shape and bend them to an extent. While this technique can be applied at any point in the year, it is important to check on the branches regularly. Wires will cut into the branches very quickly and will cause scarring.

Caring For and Maintaining Your Bonsai

Taking care of your bonsai tree is another crucial part of bonsai growing. Here we will go over the basic care guidelines for any bonsai tree.

The frequency at which your tree should be watered depends on factors like soil, climate, tree species, and pot size. It is crucial that you check the bonsai soil before watering it, and never water on a routine. Some trees need to be watered daily, others weekly. One of the top bonsai killers is over-watering. The soil that the tree is planted in can make the bonsai thrive – or die. Repot your tree every two years or so, so that the tree doesn’t become pot bound, meaning unable to soak up and store water.

Since these trees are planted in such small containers, they require fertilization that trees growing in nature don’t. The amount and kind of fertilizer your tree needs depends on the species.

Lastly, placing an indoor tree outdoors, and vice versa, will surely kill your tree. Indoor trees, tropical and subtropical, need high temperatures and lots of light. They will only survive outdoors in very warm climates. Outdoor trees need to be exposed to the elements and go through dormancy in the winter. These trees are not able to go into dormancy indoors, and they will die if placed inside.

Taking care of a bonsai tree is not as hard as one might think. You must first figure out what kind of tree you want: indoor or outdoor. Your tree can be styled and shaped as soon as it’s ready, when it’s three to five years old. Styling and shaping will be done all throughout its life. Caring for your tree is crucial for its survival. Happy growing!

Bonsai Care, Bonsai Species, Bonsai Tree Care Basics

How To Care For A Boxwood Bonsai Tree

boxwood bonsai tree

With over 70 species in its family, the Boxwood bonsai tree is the ideal tree for intermediate bonsai growers. Every part of this tree is poisonous, and should be kept away from any and all pets. Contact with human skin will cause minor irritation for a few days. 

Its naturally twisted branches and trunk make this tree excellent for bonsai growing. The yellow-green flowers attract bees. Their tolerance to shade and excessive pruning also make for god bonsai qualities. We will be talking about how to care for these magnificent trees, including where to place them, how often you water and fertilize them, and more!

How to Care For Boxwood Bonsai

Boxwood bonsai aren’t considered low-maintenance, but they aren’t high maintenance either. Most of these trees are outdoor, but there is one species, the Chinese boxwood, that is considered an indoor bonsai in most climates. Constant soil wetness is not preferred, but occasional, short dry periods are okay. Feeding should be done once a month with solid fertilizer, or once a week with liquid fertilizer. Pruning is handled well, but use caution when wiring as it will cut into the branch very quickly. Pests and diseases are quite common, but can be dealt with. 

Do You Keep A Boxwood Bonsai Tree Indoors or Outdoors?

Boxwood bonsai are outdoor trees that should never be placed inside for prolonged periods of time. The only exception to this would be the Chinese boxwood, which can be placed indoors in the winter in a cool room at about 50 degrees Fahrenheit and plenty of light, but prefers to be outdoors in the hot summer months. These trees like a sunny spot with afternoon shade. Because they are sensitive to frost, they should be placed in a greenhouse for protection in the winter. 

Watering A Boxwood Bonsai Tree

Always check the bonsai’s soil for wetness before watering. Lots of water is prefered, so water generously, but use a well draining soil; Boxwood’s do not like constant wet soil. And while these trees can live through short dry periods, it is not recommended that these trees go without water very often or for very long. The use of normal tap water is fine. If you can drink it, you can water your bonsai with it. 

Fertilizing A Boxwood Bonsai Tree

Since these trees, with the exception of the Chinese boxwood, are true outdoor trees, they need to be fertilized during their growth season. The growth season for these trees is from spring until autumn. When using an organic fertilizer, feed once a month, but when using a liquid fertilizer, feed every week. Chinese boxwood bonsai should be fertilized every month in the winter seasons. Follow the directions on the packaging. 

Training Techniques For Boxwood Bonsai Trees

Every new shoot should be pruned so that there are one or two pairs of leaves left on the branch. The leaves are very dense on these trees and should therefore be thinned out to let light in. Thinning of the leaves will allow for the inner branches to thrive. Boxwoods handle pruning very well, so it should be done regularly, and deadwood sculpturing can also be done. Wiring, however, is a bit different. This should be done very carefully as it is easy to damage its delicate bark. Marks left by wires will be visible for a long time. 

Common Pests and Diseases Of The Boxwood Bonsai Tree 

Boxwoods are very prone to diseases and pests, so it is crucial that you are caring for them properly and checking for infestations regularly. Fungal diseases such as root rot and box blight are common, as well as scale, nematodes, boxwood leafminer, boxwood mite, and boxwood psyllid. Pesticides can treat these pests quite well in most cases, but a professional should be contacted in extreme cases. In Europe, boxwood moths have become an increasingly bad problem. The caterpillars will skeletonize the tree very quickly. Neem oil based pesticides will help. 

Commonly sculpted into fine pieces of art, these trees are a perfect addition to your home! Boxwood bonsai are forgiving when it comes to placement, as they can be placed in full sun or semi-shade. They do not like to be over-watered, while occasional under-watering is tolerable. Fertilizing should be done consistently for Chinese Boxwood, but every month or week, depending on the fertilizer, for common Boxwood. Pruning is taken very well but wiring should be done with caution. Pests and diseases are common but treatable. These trees are perfect for those who want a beautiful, leafy bonsai tree in their home!

Bonsai Care, Bonsai Species, Bonsai Tree Care Basics

How To Care For A Jade Bonsai Tree

jade bonsai tree

The Jade tree, also called the Crassula ovata, originated in South Africa. This tree is a succulent, meaning it retains water in it’s stems and leaves. Jade trees thick stems and deep green, thick, glossy oval leaves. The tree’s bark is soft and green when it is young, and ages into a reddish-brown. Jade’s can produce little white flowers in the fall, but only if the tree has gone through a drought that season. Beginners will love this bonsai tree. It is very easy to take care of, but still a beautiful tree.

Positioning A Jade Bonsai Tree

Jade Bonsai’s can be grown indoors in any climate. However, it can be grown outdoors in certain climates that have high temperatures and lots of sun all day. Jade’s need to be in temperatures above 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) at all times. This tree needs full sun, especially when kept indoors. You will know your tree is receiving enough light when the leaves’ tips or edges turn red.

Watering And Fertilizing Jade Bonsai Trees

As a succulent, this tree is able to hold lots of water in its stems and leaves. These trees do not need to be constantly watered. Allow for the plant to dry out between watering. In the winter, your tree may need to be watered as seldom as once every three weeks. We still recommend checking the soil every day, even in the winter. This tree is not particular about over watering. Feed once a month in the growth season, which is from spring to autumn. Use a balanced fertilizer.

Training Techniques Used On Jade Bonsai Trees.

As mentioned before, these trees are succulents, which means that they hold water in their trunk and branches. Because of this, their branches often bend from the weight. Jade’s respond quite well to pruning. You can use pruning to force the branches to grow on the lower portion of the trunk.

Stay away from cut-paste as this may cause rotting when used on Jade Bonsai tree. Jade’s also respond well to wiring, but be careful, the bark of
the tree is very soft, and the wire will bite into it fast.

Pests And Diseases Of Jade Bonsai Trees

The Jade Bonsai tree is very resistant towards pests and diseases. So long as the tree is properly cared for, you shouldn’t have any problems. If any problems do arise, there are ways to fix them. For example, mealy bugs have been known to attack these trees. To treat this pest, you can use a rubbing alcohol soaked cotton swab to treat the affected area. Other pests you may encounter are aphids.

Aphids damage the tree’s fungal growth development as well as the tree itself. Ladybird beetles are aphid’s natural predators. Simply introduce the ladybird beetles to the affected tree, and the beetles should take care of the pest. If this does not work, you can also try using an insecticide specifically used to treat aphids.

Soil and Repotting Jade Bonsai Trees

Having the proper bonsai soil mixture is crucial to the health of your plant. Your bonsai soil should have good drainage, water-retention, and aeration. Bonsai trees need to have soil that holds enough water to keep it thriving between watering, while providing good drainage so that the excess water doesn’t cause the plant to rot, while also providing little gaps of air so that the roots can breathe.

For these reasons, organic soil, which is regular potting soil, should never be used. A blend of Akadama, Pumice, and Lava rock at a ½, ¼, ¼ ratio is recommended.

Every other year in the spring, repot your jade bonsai tree using well-draining soil. After repotting, avoiding watering your tree for about a week in order for the roots to dry. Watering right after repotting can cause root rot, which will kill your plant.

The Jade bonsai is the perfect bonsai tree for everyone, beginners and experts alike. This tree is not only beautiful, but low maintenance as well. Jade’s hold water in their branches, so watering is not a big issue. Fertilize every month only during the growth season. These trees take pruning and wiring very well, so this can become part of your bonsai routine. And while it is unlikely that your tree will get any pests or diseases, there are ways to rid of any pests that may occur. Having a properly mixed soil blend
will ensure that your tree is healthy and strong. Happy growing!

Bonsai Care, Bonsai General Info, Bonsai Tree Care Basics

Watering Your Bonsai

watering bonsai

The Importance Of Watering Bonsai Trees

Watering is a crucial part of caring for your bonsai. There are a few things you need to know before watering your tree. You need to know when to water your tree, how to check the soil, and, of course, how to water your tree. Every bonsai tree is different, and therefore has different watering needs. These are some guidelines you can follow each time you water your bonsai. 

How Often Should I Water My Bonsai?

One big rule to follow when watering your trees is to not water on a schedule. This can lead to under- or over-watering which can kill your plant. Water when the soil gets slightly dry. Do not wait until your plant is completely dried out and do not water when your tree’s soil is still visibly wet. Instead of just guessing when your tree needs to be watered, you need to check the plant’s soil.

Checking Your Bonsai Soil 

Checking the soil of your plant is the only way to really know if your plant needs it. There are a few ways you can check the soil, including using your finger, a chopstick, or moisture meter.

The first way you can check the soil is by using your finger. Simply insert your finger about 1 inch into the soil and feel whether the soil is wet or not. This method is not as effective as the methods below. Sometimes it may be hard to tell whether the soil is wet or just cold, and if you are checking multiple tree’s soil, your sense of whether the soil is wet or not may be off. 

Another way to check your tree’s soil is to use a chopstick. For this method, you take a chopstick and stick it an inch or two into the bonsai’s soil. The placement should be the midpoint of the rim and the trunk of your tree. After about 10 minutes, remove the chopstick and look at it. If the chopstick is discolored, your soil is still damp and does not need to be watered. If the chopstick is not discolored and is dry to the touch, it is time to water. Clean after every use and store in a dry place.

Using a moisture meter is another great way to check your bonsai’s soil. Moisture meters measure the amount of moisture in your tree’s soil on a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being the driest and 10 being the wettest. To use, insert the probe into the soil at the root level. If the moisture level is three or under, you need to water your tree. At levels 4 and up, the soil is still damp and does not need to be watered. Clean after every use and store in a dry place.

When Should I Water My Bonsai?

So now you know when to water your tree, but what about the time of day? In short, it really doesn’t matter what time you water your plant. Some experts suggest not watering your outdoor bonsai with cold water in the afternoon, but this will not affect the health of your bonsai. As soon as you see that your tree’s soil is dry, you need to water it, not matter what time of day!

How To Water Your Bonsai Tree

Now that you’ve checked your bonsai’s soil, it is time to water your tree! Take a fine nozzled watering can filled with water – tap water is just fine – and water your tree’s soil until the water starts dripping out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Stop watering once this happens, and wait for the water to drain completely. Then repeat this process once more. To ensure that your tap water has no chlorine or other chemicals in it, you can leave the water out overnight before watering.

So long as you follow these guidelines whenever you water your bonsai trees, you should have no problems with watering. Check the soil every day, or multiple times a day in the summer. If your soil is dry, water generously twice. Your tree’s watering needs will vary from day to day, and will vary from tree to tree. Happy growing!

Bonsai Care, Bonsai General Info, Bonsai Tree Care Basics

Do Bonsai Trees Need A Lot of Water?

bonsai watering

Each bonsai tree is different. Some trees like lots of water all the time, others like to dry out a bit in between watering. It is difficult to determine how much water your tree needs without looking at it, but there are some general watering tips you can follow to ensure your tree is getting enough water. We will now be going over how much water is too much water, when you should water your tree, and how to water your tree. 

How Much Water is Too Much?

If you are constantly overwatering your bonsai, you will be able to tell. Overwatered trees generally have yellowing leaves and their smaller branches will begin to shrivel and die. Overwatering one time won’t hurt your tree all that much. It is the constant drowning that will kill your tree, and it can take a few weeks.

Your tree may also be overwatered because of the soil it is planted in. Very water-retentive soil can keep hold of too much water in the roots. Bonsai trees should be placed in well-draining soil. Well-draining soil will help prevent root rot, which is a big bonsai killer.

When Should I Water?

To avoid over- and under-watering, it is always recommended to water your bonsai when the soil gets slightly dry. Instead of watering on a routine, check the soil every day to see if your tree actually needs to be watered. You may also need to check the soil a few times a day during the hot summer months.

As for the time of day, it doesn’t really matter. Some experts suggest not watering your bonsai in the afternoon with very cold water. This is because the soil will cool down rapidly after being warmed in the afternoon sun. You can take this into consideration, but you should always water your tree when the soil gets dry, no matter the time of day. 

Checking Bonsai Soil

Before watering your bonsai, it is crucial that you check the soil first. This will prevent overwatering. There are several different ways to check your bonsai’s soil.

The first method you can use when checking bonsai soil is using your finger. Simply insert your finger about one inch into the soil. This method may work, but we recommend using the methods below as often as you can because this method is often unreliable, especially if the soil is cold or if you are checking multiple bonsai’s soil.

The chopstick method is a more accurate way to check the soil. Insert a chopstick an inch or two into the soil. After 10 minutes, take the chopstick out and look at it. If the chopstick is discolored, the soil is still wet and should not be watered. If it is dry, it is time to water your tree. Clean after each use and store in a dry place.

Using a moisture meter is another good way to check bonsai soil. Insert the probe down to the root level of the tree. The meter will give you a number on a scale from one to ten, one being the driest, ten being the wettest. Any number under 4 means the soil is dry and needs to be watered. Any number 4 and over means your soil is wet and does not need to be watered. Clean after each use and store in a dry place.

How Do I Water my Bonsai?

So now you know when to water your bonsai, but how do you actually water your tree? When watering your tree, you are not just watering the soil, you are also wetting the entire root system. To ensure that the root system is wetted when watering, water until the water starts to drip out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the container. Then, a few minutes later, repeat this once more. 

Water your tree using a fine nozzled watering can. Using this watering can will not disturb the topsoil or fertilizer. We recommend collecting rainwater and using this to water your bonsai, but using tap water will work just fine. When using tap water, however, leaving it out overnight will ensure that any chemicals that may have been in your tap are gone. 

While each bonsai tree is different, some bonsai trees do like lots of water, but some like to dry out in between each water. Over-watering and under-watering are big bonsai killers, but can be prevented with well-draining soil. Be sure you are checking your tree’s soil before you water. 

Bonsai General Info, Bonsai Tree Care Basics

How Fast Do Bonsai Trees Grow?

how fast do bonsai trees grow

Whether you are interested in overseeing the growth of a new bonsai tree right from its seed form, or from one that is already grown, then you will have to be conversant with the growth period of the bonsai tree. Normally, a period of between 10-15 years is sufficient for the growth of a bonsai tree, taking into consideration all the different conditions involved.

In the fourth year of growth, your bonsai tree will be ready for styling and wiring. All bonsai trees are perceived as being ornamental, hence they do not grow to achieve the height that all other common trees achieve.

Do Bonsai trees grow as fast as normal trees?

Bonsai trees are genetically similar to the full-size tree species regardless of the popular beliefs spread about them. Due to this fact, normally the time taken by a bonsai tree to grow either exceeds that of normal trees or either way goes way below them. For most tree species, the slow growers take roughly between 20 and 30 years, while the fast-growing trees take anywhere between 20 and 30 years. As highlighted earlier, most bonsai trees take anywhere between 10 and 15 years to fully mature.

Some of the main reasons that contribute to the faster growth of bonsai trees include:

  • Bonsai trees are offered continuous care right from the preliminary stages of growth.
  • They usually receive regular and uniform pruning.
  • They usually have the perfect growing conditions that are not available for the other trees.

Bonsai trees usually receive more care and attention in comparison to other trees out in nature and this directly contributes to their rapid growth. A study conducted on trees revealed that bonsai trees live up to 25% longer than counterparts that are situated in their natural habitats.

How do the growing conditions of bonsai trees affect the growth process?

Providing the perfect growing conditions for bonsai trees does not only ensure that they grow healthy but also ensures that they grow fast. Bonsai trees grow under a carefully selected range of optimum conditions since the provision of care to them is of great importance.

Here are some of the conditions that affect their growth process:

Sunlight for bonsai trees

An appropriate wavelength of light intensity is needed for the growth of the bonsai trees. This implies that it neither should be too high nor too low: it should be optimum. The appropriate light intensity is key in the growth, survival as well as good health of the tree.

Water for bonsai trees

Water is life. It remains undisputed that no tree species can grow without water as water takes the most important role in the growth and life sustenance. Watering the bonsai trees should be done with such a high precision since over-watering and under-watering have been known to
pose great harm to the trees. The trees either retard in growth or simply die in other cases.

Nutrients for bonsai trees

Nutrients are responsible for buffering fast and robust growth in any tree species. Providing bonsai trees with high-quality nutrients decreases their growing period. Nutrition in bonsai trees is achieved by regular fertilizing of bonsai trees with the balanced bonsai feed during the growth period. During winter, low-nitrogen fertilizers are recommended.

Pruning bonsai trees

Pruning is known to open up the tree and remove any microclimates that are unfavorable for the tree. Bonsai trees should be pruned regularly and checked for diseases, pests and root rot which either way deteriorates the health of the tree. Pruning and disease control remains the surest way in which bonsai trees achieve their full sizes with ease.

Planting bonsai trees in the right environment

Growing a bonsai tree in the wrong environment can have a negative impact on the general outcome of the growth process. Bonsai trees should be grown under conditions that match those in the natural setting. The failure to consider this may lead to the bonsai tree not developing to resemble the tiny version of the original species.

The Fastest growing Bonsai Species

When it comes to selecting the bonsai tree species that grows fastest, then the Ficus Religious remains the best option. The species not only guarantees fast growth but also a robust one.

Bonsai growing too slow?

At some point, those interested in a bonsai tree business may find the growing period of the trees to be too long: between 20-30 years. The use of nursery stock trees remains the fastest way to create your bonsai though unfortunately, this remains the most underrated way. When using nursery stock trees, you only need to have a nursery tree that is roughly 4 years of age, so that you can prune it, style it, repot it for it to become a bonsai tree.

Another viable approach is to rely on cuttings to grow the bonsai trees since cuttings take a short time to adapt and start growing in comparison to seeds.

Growing bonsai trees is one of the best experiences that you create for yourself, either for leisure or as a business. They only call for patience during the entire growth process you can rest assured that upon maturing, they provide you with a spectacle that is so breathtaking and an impressive reward to all your efforts.

Bonsai Care, Bonsai General Info, Bonsai Tree Care Basics

Fertilizing Your Bonsai

bonsai fertilizer

Regular trees are able to use their roots to look for nutrients. Bonsai trees, on the other hand, are planted in small, shallow containers and need to be fertilized in order to receive enough nutrients. Without fertilizer, it is not likely that your tree will thrive the way it’s supposed to. Knowing about fertilizer and how to apply it will ensure that you are able to help your bonsai thrive.

Parts Of Bonsai Fertilizer

Bonsai fertilizers must always have Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). Each element serves a different, but very important purpose. Nitrogen promotes growth of the plant’s stems and leaves, Phosphorus helps your tree’s roots to grow healthy as well as the growth of flowers and fruits. Potassium encourages the growth of your plant in its entirety. Your bonsai fertilizer may also include other elements like Boron, Zinc, Iron, Copper, Manganese, and Molybdenum. 

When To Apply Bonsai Fertilizer

For outdoor bonsai trees, fertilizer should be applied throughout the length of the growth season, which is from early spring until the middle of autumn. Indoor bonsai trees should be fertilized consistently all year long since they do not have growth periods. Older trees generally do not need to be fertilized as frequently. 

Bonsai Fertilizer Ratios 

Applying the right kind of fertilizer is crucial for the health of your bonsai. Indoor and outdoor bonsai trees have different fertilizer needs, and outdoor bonsai have different needs depending on the season.

Indoor bonsai, which are tropical and subtropical trees, need balanced fertilizer throughout the year in whatever increments the packaging directs. These trees do not stop growing and are not exposed to the seasons like outdoor bonsai are, and therefore do not need fertilizer with different NPK ratios every season. 

For outdoor bonsai trees, it is often recommended that you use fertilizers with different NPK ratios depending on the season. In the spring, use a fertilizer with a high Nitrogen content with a NPK ratio of about 10:6:6. Use a balanced fertilizer in the summer, with a NPK ratio of about 6:6:6. And finally, use a low nitrogen fertilizer in the autumn, a NPK ratio of about 3:6:6. While this is a common way to fertilize your bonsai, many experts now suggest using a balanced fertilizer throughout the growth season, decreasing the amount of fertilizer at the end of the season.

If you wish to encourage your bonsai to flower, try using a fertilizer with a high Phosphorus content with a NPK ratio of 6:10:6. Older bonsai trees prefer a fertilizer with a low Nitrogen content

How To Fertilize My Bonsai 

Your bonsai fertilizer should have directions on the packaging for the amount of fertilizer you should use and how often you apply it. To balance your tree’s growth rather than stimulate it, you can reduce the quality recommended slightly. Solid fertilizer is recommended for outdoor bonsai. For a step by step guide for solid fertilizer, continue reading. 

  1. Get the tree you want to fertilize in front of you.
  2. Grab the solid fertilizer that you want to use.
  3. Put the amount of fertilizer that the packaging recommends into a small basket or cup. This is to prevent birds from eating the fertilizer and to keep them from being washed away when being watered.
  4. Place the cups into the soil.

For a step by step guide for liquid fertilizer, keep reading. Liquid fertilizer is recommended for indoor bonsai. 

  1. Get the tree you want to fertilize in front of you.
  2. Grab the liquid fertilizer that you want to use.
  3. Pour the recommended amount of fertilizer into a watering can with some water in it.
  4. When it is time to water your tree, water with the fertilizer filled watering can. 
bonsai fertilizer

Whether you have an indoor bonsai tree or an outdoor bonsai tree, fertilizing is a big part of the bonsai growing process. How much fertilizer to apply and when varies depending on what kind of tree you have and what season it is. You can choose to use a balanced fertilizer for outdoor bonsai trees or to change the ratios for different seasons, but you should always use balanced fertilizer for indoor bonsai trees. So long as you follow the directions on the packaging, your bonsai should grow healthy!