Fruiting Bonsai

fruiting bonsai

 

Growing Fruit Trees As Bonsai

Homegrown fruit straight from your yard is by far the best fruit out there. But what if you don’t have enough room in your yard for a tree? The solution is simple: grow a fruiting bonsai tree! Bonsai trees are miniature versions of trees that are found in nature. Growing a bonsai tree is a very rewarding hobby that can be done with special techniques and specific instructions. But this process is not as hard as one may think. With the right care, you will have fruit from your bonsai in no time.

 

Picking Which Tree To Plant

Many fruit trees grow well as bonsai trees. Some popular options are apple, crabapple, Meyer lemon, and calamondin citrus trees. Before planting a tree, you should find out what climate the tree you want to plant grows in.

Apple trees need full sun and a generally cold climate. These trees need cold winters and cool summers.

Crabapples need full sun and well draining soil. They need to be exposed to all four seasons.

Meyer lemons need at least 6 hours of light each day and shade is favorable in very high temperatures. These trees should not be grown in freezing temperatures at any time.

Calamondin citrus trees can tolerate shade but do best when grown in full sun.

 

Preparing For Planting

Once you’ve selected the tree you want to plant, you need to get a bonsai pot to pot the plant in. This pot should be as tall as the tree’s trunk is wide. Pots should also be neutral in color as to not draw attention away from the tree itself.

The soil in which the tree is planted is crucial for the health of the tree. The soil should be Akadama, Pumice, and Lava rock at a ratio of 1/2, 1/4, 1/4. This ensures good aeration and drainage so the soil does not store too much water, which will cause the roots to rot.

 

Planting The Bonsai

Before you plant your tree, check the roots. If there are any decaying or brown roots, cut them off. Be very gentle when dealing with the roots.

At the base of the pot, place a layer of soil down, then place the tree in the pot. Cover the roots with soil until you reach the top of the pot.

Water the tree generously, allowing the water to drain all the way.

 

Caring For The Bonsai

All trees have slightly different care requirements, but have the same general needs. Too much or not enough light can be quite damaging to the plant. Never water on a schedule, instead, check the soil once or twice a day and water as necessary. For more information on watering bonsai trees, check out our article here. Fertilizing is needed for many fruiting trees. All trees have different needs, but in general, use a fertilizwer with low nitrogen in the winter, nitrogen rich fertilizer in the spring, and a balanced fertilizer in the summer.

 

Training The Bonsai

After you first plant your tree, you should wait a little while before pruning or wiring it. Trees need a bit of time, usually a few months, to adjust to its environment.

When pruning your bonsai, focus on the branches and trees that are unhealthy. Unhealthy leaves should be pruned using scissors. Pruning should be done from March to September. Pruning can be used to redirect growth to the lower parts of the tree.

Wiring is used to reposition branches to a more desirable shape. Most bonsai trees can be pruned all year. Copper wire should be used for fruiting trees. Watch the branches carefully while they’re being wired. Wire can cut into the branches quickly, which will scar the tree.

 

Growing a fruiting bonsai tree can be a great experience for anyone. It is just like growing any other bonsai tree. Once you have decided which tree you are going to grow, you can move on to picking the pot and soil. The pot should be shallow and plain looking. The soil should be well draining so that the roots do not rot. Light and fertilizer needs vary from plant to plant, but are vital for the health of the tree. Pruning is crucial for the growth of the tree as well, so do not be afraid to prune! Wiring can be used to bend branches to look more desirable. With all the proper care, your fruiting bonsai will be healthy and will fruit in no time!

Easiest Bonsai Tree To Care For

 

Taking Care Of Bonsai Trees

Caring for bonsai trees is not as hard as one may think. Some bonsai trees are easier to care for than others. The Ficus bonsai is by far the easiest to care for because of it is low maintenance and resistant against most pests. The ficus’s leaves are poisonous for pets and should be kept away from all pets.

 

About The Ficus Bonsai

The ficus bonsai are mulberry plants, with 800 to 2000 different species. They are tropical, which means they are best grown indoors. The most popular species of Ficus is the Ficus Retusa, which has dark green, oval leaves and an s-curved trunk. Another is the Ficus Ginseng, which also has dark green, oval leaves and a thick trunk.

Ficus trees in the wild can sometimes grow over 1000 feet tall. All figs have milky sap that leaks from their wounds. Some can produce flowers, though some have hidden flowers in which fruit can grow. Only a specific kind of wasp can pollinate these flowers. The fruit grown can be red, yellow, green, or blue-purple.

 

Position

The ficus tree is an indoor bonsai that cannot stand frost. This tree can only be placed outside in the summer if temperatures are consistently above 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius). Because it is a tropical tree, it needs lots of light, direct or indirect. Placing the tree in front of a South facing window where it can get as much light as possible is favorable. Figs can survive in low or high humidity, they’re not picky, but they thrive better in high humidity.

 

Watering

Just like any other bonsai, the Ficus should never be watered on a routine, but when the soil gets dry. Room temperature tap water will do fine, but it is suggested that you should let the water sit overnight to allow for any chlorine in the tap to evaporate. Because they are not so picky, they can withstand occasional under- or over-watering, but try not to too often.

 

Fertilizing

Because the Ficus is tropical, it has no dormancy period in the winter. As such, the tree can be fertilized relatively consistently throughout the year. In the summer, you can fertilize every week or two, and every two to four weeks in the winter if the growth is consistent.

 

Wiring

Thin and medium-strong branches are the easiest to wire because of their flexibility. However, the wires cut into bark very quickly and should be checked on regularly. When wiring strong branches, guy-wires should be used as they can stand wiring for a longer period.

 

Pruning

After 6-8 leaves have grown on a branch, 2 should be pruned. The trunk should be left alone for a year or two if a thick trunk is desired. And if small leaves are wanted, pruning can be used to do so.

 

Repotting

Every one to two years this tree should be repotted.

 

Propagation

For the highest success possible, cuttings should be planted in mid-summer, but they can be planted any time. Air layering can be done in spring for best results.

 

Speical Training Techniques

Plant parts can be fused together by just touching each other with some pressure. Roots, branches, and trunks alike can be fused together. This technique can be used to fuse a bunch of little plants to make one big healthy plant.

 

Pests and Diseases

As mentioned before, the ficus is resistant against pests. In the winter, however, problems can still arise. Low light and dry air can cause the tree’s leaves to fall off. During these conditions, the tree can become infested with spider mites or scale. Using any insecticide sticks or sprays will get rid of the bugs, but the damage to the plant must also be taken care of. Artifical lighting can be used 12 to 14 hours a day as well as misting the leaves frequently will help significantly.

 

While most all bonsai tree’s are easy to care for, the Ficus bonsai are the best choice for beginners. Watering should be done when needed, which can be every few days depending on your plant, but never on a routine. Fertilizing should be done every few weeks. Pruning should be done regularly to ensure your plant is healthy, and wiring can be done to make your tree as appealing as you want it to be. Repotting should be done every few years or so, propagation should be done in the summer for best results, and trees can be fused together very easily. These trees are extremely resistant to pests unless they are damaged in the winter. Ficus bonsai are the best option for beginners and the easiest to take care of.

How Much Light Does A Bonsai Tree Need?

bonsai light

 

Bonsai Light Requirements

The amount of light a bonsai tree receives is crucial for the tree to grow properly. Indoor and outdoor trees have different needs as they are different species. Time of year is also a factor in how much light your bonsai may need, particularly for outdoor trees. If you think your tree is getting too much, or not enough, light, there are things you can do to fix it.

 

Indoor Bonsai

Indoor bonsai trees are either tropical or subtropical. The reason only these trees can survive indoors is they need high, stable temperatures all year, as opposed to outdoor bonsai that need to be exposed to all the seasons. These trees need constant light all year round, for at least 5 hours a day, in order to survive. In order to receive this light, they need to be placed in front of a South facing window at all times. If the tree is moved away from the window by even a few feet, the light intensity will decrease significantly and can eventually kill the plant. An indoor bonsai needs as much light as it can get, and light from the sun isn’t always enough. Grow lights may be required for many trees.

 

Outdoor Bonsai

Outdoor bonsai trees need lots of direct sunlight. However, too much sunlight can be a problem. Too much sunlight can burn the tree’s leaves or make the tree more prone to diseases and pests as their internodes and leaves grow too large. If your summers are especially hot, a spot in your garden or balcony where the tree can get afternoon shade is preferable.

 

Time Of Year

For indoor bonsai trees, the time of year does not affect how much light they need. They need a high, consistent amount of light all year round.

On the other hand, outdoor bonsai have dormancy periods in the winter, and have different requirements as a result. During this dormancy period, the trees stop growing and do not need as much light. It is completely normal and healthy for the trees to not receive as much light, or even as much water, in the winter. Do not try to bring the tree out of dormancy by heating it, this will kill the plant.

 

Grow Lights

Even if your bonsai tree, indoor bonsai trees in particular, are receiving as much sunlight as possible, it is still likely that your tree is not getting enough light. Sometimes, even outdoor trees need artificial light if they are particularly picky. In this case, the grow light should be used to mimic the passing of the seasons, running the lamp longer in the summer, shorter in the winter.

Buying a smart grow lamp is another option. Smart grow lamps are able to track the time of day and period of the year. This is a very easy way to make sure your bonsai is getting enough light without lots of hassle.

 

Shade Nets

While bonsai trees thrive with lots of light, sometimes, in certain climates, too much direct sunlight can be harmful. In areas with extreme heat and humidity, a shade net can be used to protect your tree form the harsh climate. Signs that your outdoor bonsai is being harmed by the sunlight include dried leaves and having to water constantly as a result of water evaporating too quickly.

Shading cloth is measured by the amount of light allowed to infultrate, ranging from 40% to 80%. 40% cloth is typically used for temperatures ranging from upper 80 to lower 90 degrees Fahrenheit. 60% cloth is recommended for temperatures in the mid 90’s to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. And for temperatures over 100 degrees, 80% cloth is recommended. Shading cloths can also be used to protect trees from excessive wind.

 

The amount of light a bonsai tree needs is determined by the placement, time of year, and species of the tree. Indoor trees need consistent light all year round because they have no dormancy period. Even right up against a South facing window, it is possible that your tree is not getting enough sunlight and needs artificial lighting. This artificial lighting should be used for around 10 hours a day for the best results. Outdoor trees, on the other hand, do have dormancy periods. During this time it is okay for outdoor bonsai to not receive as much light as they do in the summer.

Are Bonsai Trees Hard To Take Care Of?

Are Bonsai Trees Hard To Take Care Of

 

Caring For A Bonsai Tree

Taking care of a bonsai is not as hard as one may think. There is, of course, some work to be put in just like with any other plant. Bonsai trees have some guidelines that should be followed to ensure your bonsai is as healthy as possible. Here are a few aspects that should be paid attention to.

 

Lighting

Lighting requirements differ slightly depending on where the bonsai is placed. In general, though, bonsai trees need a minimum of 5 hours of light a day. If bonsai do not receive enough light, or if they receive too much light, they could die.

Indoor bonsai trees should be placed directly in front of a South facing window at all times. Placing the tree even one foot away from the window will decrease the light intensity significantly, weakening and eventually killing the tree. Even if the tree is directly in front of a window, it still may not receive enough light to survive. Artificial lighting for around 10 hours a day can help with this significantly.

Outdoor bonsai will get the light they need if they are placed in the right climate for that species. In particularly hot summers, the tree should be in a spot where it can get afternoon shade as to not burn the leaves. The lack of light in the winter will not hurt the tree as it is part of the dormancy period process. These trees should generally be left in the same spot all year unless the tree needs to be moved for protection from sun exposure or extreme frost.

 

Watering

Bonsai trees should not be watered on a routine, but when the soil becomes dry, just like with regular house plants. This also means that you should not water the plant when the soil is still wet. Each individual tree has it’s own watering needs, but you can check to see if the tree needs to be watered with a couple easy options.

The first way to check the soil is with your finger. Simply put your finger about one centimeter into the soil. If the soil is dry, water the tree. If not, it is not quite time to water.

Another option is to use the chopstick method. Take a clean, dry chopstick and insert it into 1 or 2 inches into the soil. After 10 minutes, pull out the chopstick and look at it. If it is dry and has no change of color, it is time to water your bonsai. If there is a slight color change, the soil is still a little moist; check again in the next day or two. If it has darkened, the soil is still very moist and does not need to be watered. Rinse off the chopstick and let it dry to reuse it at a later time.

 

Soil

Bonsai trees should be grow in inorganic soil. Inorganic soil is soil that contains no organic matter, like volcanic lava and fired clays, organic soil contains dead plant matter such as bark and peat. Inorganic soil allows for good drainage and aeration, unlike organic soil.

Components of your inorganic soil should include a mixture Akadama, Pumice, and lava rock. Deciduous trees prefer a ratio of 1/2 Akadama, 1/4 Pumice, 1/4 Lava rock. Coniferous trees prefer a ratio of 1/3 Akadama, 1/3 Pumice, 1/3 Lava rock.

 

Fertilizing

Because of the small pots bonsai are planted in, they are unable to replenish their soil’s nutritional content, and therefore need to be fertilized to stay healthy. Any fertilizer you use should contain Nitrogen, which helps with with the growth of the stems and leaves, Phosphorus, which helps keep the plant’s roots healthy, and Potassium, which helps with the overall health of the tree.

Outdoor bonsai should be fertilized throughout the growth season, early spring to mid autumn. Indoor bonsai can be fertilized all year because of their lack of a dormancy period.

 

Repotting

Repotting is crucial for the health of the tree. Not repotting will cause the tree to become pot-bound, making it very hard for the tree to grow and thrive. Young bonsai should be repotted every one to two years, while older bonsai should be repotted every three to five years. Just like when watering, the trees should not be repotted on a routine, but when needed. Check to see if the roots of the tree circle around the root system. If the roots are still contained in the soil, wait another year. The tree should be repotted in early spring, when the tree is still in it’s dormancy period.

 

Bonsai trees, whether indoor or outdoor, are relatively easy to care for. With the proper care with lighting, watering, soil, fertilizing, and repotting, the tree should be healthy. A healthy bonsai tree makes for an easy to care for tree.

How Much Light Do Bonsai Trees Need?

 How Much Light Do Bonsai Trees Need

 

Light Requirements For Bonsai Trees

While some bonsai trees get the light they need outdoors, some indoor bonsai need to be exposed to artificial light to survive if they do not get enough natural light. The amount of light your bonsai tree needs depends on factors such as species, placement, and time of year. As a general rule, bonsai need at least 5 hours of sunlight a day, but this number varies by the factors previously mentioned.

 

Outdoor Bonsai

Outdoor bonsai trees are those that live in temperate zones, like pine trees, pine trees, and certain junipers. Most outdoor bonsai need lots of direct sunlight. If the summers in your area are particularly hot, afternoon shade can protect against the leaves burning. If the trees do not get enough light, they will be more prone to diseases and pests as their leaves and internodes grow too large.

 

Indoor Bonsai

Indoor bonsai trees are tropical or subtropical trees like Chinese elm, ficus, and carmona trees. Indoor bonsai trees should be placed in front of a south facing window at all times to provide the highest light intensity possible. Moving the tree even a foot away from the window will decrease the light intensity significantly, which will weaken and can eventually kill the plant. If your tree is not getting enough light, which is highly probable even if it is in the correct spot, you can add artificial light for around 10 hours a day. Having the proper light intensity will greatly enhance the health of your bonsai.

 

Grow Lights

Grow lights can be used if your bonsai is not getting enough direct sunlight. Usually, indoor bonsai will need some form of artificial light if temperatures are low in your area. Even outdoor bonsai may need artificial lights if it is particularly picky. If this is the case, you can run the light longer in the summer, and shorter in the winter to mimic the seasons.

Another option is to buy a smart grow lamp. Smart grow lamps are able to track the time of day and the time of year and will adjust the light accordingly.

 

Shade Nets

Some species of outdoor bonsai may need to be shaded so the plant can survive. If your plant is heat sensitive, a shade net can be used to filter the intensity of the sunlight and lower the temperature in the given area by up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The nets allow for the plants to get the sun they need without the damage. The material is graded by how much light is infiltrated, ranging from 40% to 80%. 40% cloth should be used for temperatures ranging from upper 80 to lower 90 degrees Fahrenheit. For temperatures in the mid 90’s to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, 60% cloth is recommended. And for temperatures over 100 degrees, 80% cloth should be used. Shade nets can also be used during windy times to protect the tree.

 

Time of Year

Outdoor bonsai tree’s light requirements change depending on the season. These trees have a dormancy period in the winter, requiring less light. Dormancy periods are when the trees stop growing in order to survive the cold temperatures winter brings. Be sure not to expose a dormant tree to any high temperatures as it will cause the tree to come out of dormancy and possibly die.

For indoor bonsai, the time of year does not affect their light requirements as they do not have a dormancy period in the winter. These trees grow the same throughout the year no matter the season. Light and temperatures should stay consistently high all year.

 

How much light a bonsai tree needs depends on the species, time of year, and placement. Some bonsai receive enough light from the sun, while others need artificial light in order to thrive. Most of the time outdoor bonsai get enough light from the sun. Indoor bonsai almost always need artificial light, especially if temperatures are consistently cold outdoors. If your outdoor bonsai is being damaged by the sun’s intensity, a shade net can be used to protect the tree and lower temperatures in that area. Whether an indoor or an outdoor tree, sunlight is a very important role in keeping the tree alive. With the right care, your bonsai will thrive.

Do Bonsai Trees Need Direct Sunlight?

Do Bonsai Trees Need Direct Sunlight?

Do Bonsai Trees Need Direct Sunlight

 

Bonsai Sunlight Requirements

How much light a Bonsai tree needs varies from tree to tree, season to season. Some species need direct sunlight constantly, others require afternoon shade. The needs of indoor and outdoor Bonsai are different, so it is important to know which one your Bonsai is. Whichever your Bonsai is, the light it receives is crucial for the health of the tree.

 

Indoor Bonsai

Indoor Bonsai trees are either tropical or subtropical, like Fukien Tea or Ficus. If these trees are outside, they will need to be brought indoors for winter to avoid freezing and to provide the right amount of light they need. These trees don’t have a dormancy period like outdoor Bonsai, which means they grow all year round and therefore need the same amount of light all year round. Most indoor Bonsai need high light intensity throughout the day, but some species prefer less light, like the Ficus elastica. This can be achieved by placing the tree in front of a South facing window. However, this sunlight alone may not be enough because it is not direct sunlight. Artificial lighting can help bring the light intensity up by using fluorescent lighting around 10 hours a day. Your tree will not die right away if light intensity is too low, but its growth will slow, weakening the plant, and can die. If you ever place your Bonsai outdoors for direct sunlight, be sure to place it in the shade first to avoid burning the leaves.

 

Outdoor Bonsai

Unlike indoor Bonsai, outdoor Bonsai do need direct sunlight. If the trees do not get enough sunlight, their leaves and internodes will grow to big and be prone to diseases and pests. During the winter, however, these trees not getting as much sunlight as the spring and summer is part of their growth cycle. Some species need to be brought indoors during the winter to be protected from strong frost. To ensure healthy growth, most conifers, a type of outdoor Bonsai, require full sun. Juniper and pine Bonsai can be in full sun from fall to spring, but will likely yellow. To avoid this coloring, shade these trees from midday to afternoon.

 

Active Growth Phase

During the active growth phases of outdoor Bonsai, the tree needs lots of light. If you choose to overwinter your Bonsai by placing it in a greenhouse, carefully introduce it back into the light, avoiding burning the leaves with direct sunlight. Indoor Bonsai are in a constant state of growth with no dormancy periods and need constant, direct or indirect, light.

 

Dormancy Period

Only outdoor Bonsai have dormancy periods, meaning they stop growing in the winter to prepare for the following spring, the active growth phase. Light is not needed during this time, in fact, exposure to light or high temperatures will cause the tree to come out of dormancy. If the tree comes out of dormancy, it will start to grow and become vulnerable to the cold temperatures, thus killing the buds and hurting the overall health of the tree. Allow the tree to feel the early winter freeze as long as the temperature doesn’t drop below 35 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature drops below this point you should use some sort of cold protection strategies. One strategy you can try is placing the tree in a greenhouse or cold frame.

Bonsai also have a dormancy period during the summer. Unlike during the winter dormancy, the tree does still require sunlight. When temperatures reach 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit (or 32-35 degrees Celsius) summer dormancy begins. While the constant light and high temperatures may hurt the plant, do not remove it from the sun, instead, you should water the plant often.

 

Knowing the amount of sunlight your Bonsai needs is very crucial. Some plants need direct sunlight all year round, others have dormancy periods. Dormancy periods in outdoor Bonsai require different amounts of sunlight. During the winter dormancy, the trees require much less sunlight, and during the summer dormancy, they require lots of direct sunlight. Indoor Bonsai, however, do not have dormancy periods and grow all year round.

Do Bonsai Trees Need A Lot Of Water?

Watering A Bonsai

 
 

Watering Your Bonsai Tree

Watering your Bonsai is one of the most crucial parts of having a healthy, growing Bonsai. Bonsai should never be watered on routine, only when needed. Over-watering your Bonsai will cause the roots to rot, under-watering will cause the tree to dry out and die. Water when the tree’s soil gets a little dry, and always use the correct soil mixture of Akadama, Pumice, and Lava rock, not regular gardening soil. Watering needs vary by species, time of year, location, and many other factors.

 

When Should You Water Your Bonsai?

As mentioned before, never water your Bonsai on routine. You can check to see when your tree needs water by using the chopstick method. Simply place a chopstick about 1 inch deep into the soil. Check the soil once a day, or twice during hot or windy days, to check if the soil is still moist. If it is still moist, the tree does not need water, if it is only a little damp, water the Bonsai thoroughly, being sure to soak the roots.

 

How Much Water Should You Use?

After you’ve checked your chopstick and have seen that it needs to be watered, water your Bonsai generously. Your Bonsai should have the right potting soil that allows for water to drain properly. The drainage holes at the bottom of the pot will allow for you to use a good amount of watering without over-watering, as long as you only do this when needed. If the soil does not allow for proper drainage, the water will stay in the soil and cause the roots to rot. When watering the Bonsai, water until you see water dripping out of the drainage holes. Once the water stops dripping, water again the same way. This ensures that your plant has gotten all the water it needs. Using a fine nozzled watering can can ensure that the top layer of soil does not get disturbed.

 

Indoor

Indoor Bonsai trees, which are tropical or subtropical, may have slightly different watering requirements than those of outdoor Bonsai. Because indoor Bonsai are under constant light all year round and are in relatively high temperatures, they may need to be watered more often than outdoor trees.

 

Outdoor

Outdoor Bonsai may not need to be watered as often as indoor Bonsai during the winter if it is covered in snow. Water almost daily during the spring, summer, and fall, but not as much during the winter. These kinds of Bonsai may also get enough water from rain.

 

Active Growth Phase

Bonsai trees are actively growing during the spring and early summer months. During this time, the tree may need to be watered more frequently.

 

Dormancy

During the winter, many Bonsai trees have a dormancy period. In this time, the trees do not grow to save energy for growing in the spring. This lack of growth is completely normal and should not be protected by bringing the trees indoors. In this time, the trees do not need to be watered as often because the low temperatures makes the water evaporate more slowly. Only water when the soil dries out.

Many Bonsai also have a dormancy period during the summer when the temperatures reach 90-95 degrees Fahrenheit. During this time, watering your Bonsai is more important than any time of year because the high temperatures can dry out the plant very quickly and can burn the dehydrated leaves. Slight imbalance that does not last long will not cause permanent damage to the plant so long as the watering process gets back to normal.

 

Each individual Bonsai has it’s own needs, with careful observation and consideration, you can determine those needs in no time. These needs vary depending on species, time of year, and whether your tree is indoor or outdoor. Outdoor Bonsai have two dormancy periods, one during the winter, when it doesn’t need as much water, and one in the summer, when getting enough water every day is crucial to it’s survival. Some recommend not watering during the hottest part of the day, but if you notice your Bonsai’s soil is starting to dry out, water it no matter the time of day. Whenever watering your Bonsai, be sure to thoroughly coat the roots, then repeat the process. Once you get to know your Bonsai, watering will come easy.

How Long Can Bonsai Trees Live For?

Long Living Bonsai

 

Life Expectancy of Bonsai Trees

With proper care, Bonsai trees can live for hundreds of years, getting passed on from generation to generation. There is one white pine Bonsai in Japan that is over 500 years old! Bonsai have around the same life expectancy as the other trees of its species. They must be constantly maintained and cared for, unlike outdoor trees. The key to Bonsai longevity is the care it receives.

 

How Long Do Indoor Bonsai Live?

The main reason indoor Bonsai trees may not live as long as those outdoor is because of the care it receives. Indoor Bonsai are tropical or subtropical, and therefore have different light and humidity needs than those of outdoor Bonsai. These Bonsai need high light intensity and high humidity and do not have a dormancy period during the winter like other Bonsai do. Tropical trees should be in relatively high temperatures all year round, and subtropical trees can thrive with temperatures somewhat lower than normal room temperatures. Additionally, the light intensity indoors is much lower than outdoors, so putting the tree in front of a south facing window is best. Low light intensity won’t kill the plant immediately, but it will weaken and eventually kill it. If needed, you can add artificial lighting around 10 hours a day. Never water your Bonsai on routine, only when needed.

 

How Long Do Outdoor Bonsai Live?

There are known cases of Bonsai getting to be 1,000 years old outdoors. However, outdoor Bonsai are more prone to pests and diseases than indoor, and the risk is even higher if they don’t get the proper sunlight they need. Most Bonsai need constant sun exposure, others only need a few hours a day. If your Bonsai is surrounded by paved walls, your plant can suffer from low humidity. To combat this, you can place a humidity tray underneath the Bonsai and misting the leaves several times a day. Depending on the species, you should water the Bonsai once every couple of days, never on a routine. Outdoor Bonsai can endure both high temperatures and cold temperatures as long as they are properly being cared for. For most species, however, they should be protected from strong frosts, especially so in the spring when new leaves grow.

 

What is the Oldest Living Bonsai?

The oldest known living Bonsai currently is a Ficus tree in Italy. Said to be around 1,000 years old, the tree has been a centerpiece at the Crespi Bonsai Museum since 1991 when the museum was founded.

Another long living Bonsai is the 1,000 year old Juniper Bonsai in Japan. The tree was found in the wild and was then moved to a garden owned by the Kato family in the 19th century.

 

Trimming Your Bonsai For Optimal Lifespan

Just like any other plant, Bonsai trees have growth cycles. Even though the tree may appear stunted, this does not necessarily mean it has stopped growing or is dead. Bonsai can be kept healthy for a long time by simply trimming the Bonsai properly. How much or often you can prune your tree varies from species to species. Some respond very well to pruning, while others have a hard time handling pruning. Old growth can be trimmed in the fall, while new growth should be trimmed in the spring. For a natural look, pine and cedar trees can be pruned using a twisting motion with the fingers rather than scissors. Deciduous trees, however, do better with scissor pruning. Carefully monitor your plant and trim off any dead or diseased leaves to allow for the plant to be as healthy as possible. After trimming branches, apply a sealant to the cut branches. For deciduous trees, a tar-based sealant is prefer ed, while conifer trees prefer a wax.

 

Bonsai trees, whether indoor or outdoor, can live for hundreds of years (and even upwards of a thousand). The most popular long living trees were commonly found outdoors. Different types of Bonsai thrive in different types of climates, some have a dormancy period which others don’t, and can live in many conditions. Watering, lighting, and trimming your Bonsai are crucial to growing a healthy Bonsai, as well as checking for any pests and diseases. We hope you enjoy your Bonsai and are able to pass it down to the next generation.

How To Display Bonsai Outdoor

Bonsai Outdoor Display

Displaying Your Bonsai Outdoors

While displaying your Bonsai outdoors can be a fairly difficult process, the end result of a beautiful display can be very rewarding. Keep in mind you are not only designing a Bonsai garden, you are still having to take care of the individual needs of your Bonsai. Some Bonsai need constant sunlight, others need to be in the shade on particularly hot days. There are many ways to present your Bonsai in a decorative way using gardens.

 

Sun Protection

Bonsai Shading ClothSome Bonsai cannot stand the constant heat of the sun. To insure your Bonsai will not be hurt by the blazing sun, you can put up shading cloth above the plants. This cloth will not stop the light from getting to your Bonsai, it will just buffer the intensity of the light. However, note that not all Bonsai species require this cloth. If your Bonsai needs constant sunlight, this technique won’t benefit your plant, it might hurt it. But if your Bonsai needs to be shaded, this can be a good option.

 

The material of the cloth is classified by how much light is being [filtered], ranging from 40%-80%. 40% cloth should be used if the temperatures are in the upper 80 to low 90 degree Fahrenheit range. 60% is considered the best for most situations as it lowers the temperature underneath by up to 10 degrees. 80% is typically only used in a dessert climate with temperatures around 100 degrees.

 

Vertical Poles in a Garden

Vertical Poles BonsaiPlacing Bonsai on vertical poles in a garden is common in professional Bonsai gardens. This method is placing your Bonsai on a stand on a pole. The process of placing poles is relatively easy, but what can be difficult is choosing the right materials. What tends to work best are wooden or concrete pillars and stone slabs.

 

If your space is limited, one way to assure all your Bonsai are seen is by making the Bonsai in the back higher than the ones in the front. A simple color of the fencing in your yard can also make the trees stand out. You can also emphasis your trees by using simple materials, like concrete pillars instead of wood, and a simple, not heavily painted, background. Also try fixing the trees to the poles they stand on to protect them from heavy wind or storms.

 

Using Benches in a Garden

Bonsai Benches This is a slightly more difficult way to display your Bonsai but can provide a cleaner, neat look. To create a look of depth in your display, you can have the benches be at different heights with smaller trees in the middle, smaller trees on the outside. For a more open look, you can create, or buy, a level, semicircle bench and place your Bonsai around the semicircle. Using benches are a great way to display all of your Bonsai in an organized way.

 

Vertical Garden on a Wall

Bonsai Wall DisplayAnother way to show off your Bonsai trees is by attaching platforms to a wall and placing your Bonsai on the platforms. This is a great way to let your imagination run free as you can decorate like this in pretty much any way you want. Having your Bonsai on a simple, plainly colored wall makes your trees stand out the best.

 

We hope you now have an idea on how you want to present your outdoor Bonsai! Knowing whether your Bonsai needs lots of sun or shade is crucial, as if you use a shade-cloth with the wrong Bonsai it can have negative effects on the tree. The most common, professional way to display your Bonsai is by using the vertical poles method. You could also use benches or wall platforms. Let your imagination run wild and have fun showing your Bonsai to the world!