What Exactly Is A Bonsai Tree?
Many may think bonsai trees are genetically dwarfed plants, but this is not true. Bonsai trees are miniature versions of trees found in nature. This tradition consists of pruning and wiring branches and leaves and redirecting and limiting growth by restricting fertilizers. To start this journey of growing a bonsai, you must first choose which tree you want to grow.
Choosing A Tree
What tree you choose to grow depends on what your climate is like in your area. Bonsai trees are put into two categories: indoor and outdoor. Indoor bonsai trees are tropical or subtropical and need high, stable temperatures all year round. These trees can only survive outdoors if your climate is hot all year round and will not have to endure any frost, but this is not recommended. Outdoor trees, on the other hand, need to be exposed to all four seasons, and they go into dormancy during the winter. For these reasons, they cannot live indoors.
So, if your climate is temperate, you can grow subtropical or Mediterranean trees outdoors if you protect them from frost in a greenhouse. Many outdoor bonsai can survive outdoors in a continental climate if protection from frost can be available along with summer shade. Outdoor bonsai are also suited for moist summers in maritime climates, however, any tree that prefers full sun will not thrive.
Indoor species will thrive indoors only if the temperatures can be high all year. You can grow just about any indoor bonsai indoors no matter your climate if you provide the tree with plenty of artificial light. If the tree does not receive sufficient light or high temperatures, the tree may go into dormancy. Indoor species should not go into dormancy as it is not natural for the tree to do so, and the tree can die.
Styling And Shaping Techniques
The biggest part of growing a bonsai is styling and shaping the tree to look like the tree of it’s species found in nature.
Pruning is the most important technique in training bonsai trees. for best results, this should be done in the spring or summer. This is the technique used to make the tree miniature by removing leaves and branches as needed. Cutting of branches should be done with special cutters as to not hurt the tree. There are a few different situations in which you should prune. One being if a branch has unnatural features such as turns and twists. Another reason would be if branches are too thick at the top of the tree, or if, at the top of the tree, two branches occur at the same time.
Another important technique is wiring. Wiring is used to reshape or bend branches. This is typically done with anodized aluminum. This technique can be used all year round, but should be removed before permanent scarring occurs.
Caring For Your Bonsai
Of course, a very important aspect of growing a bonsai is maintaining the bonsai’s health. This is done with proper placement, watering, lighting, fertilizing, and repotting.
Placing an indoor tree outdoors or vice versa can and will result in the death of your tree. Indoor trees placed outdoors can result in the tree going into dormancy, which is not natural for the plant. Outdoor trees placed indoors will result in no dormancy period, which is also not natural for this kind of bonsai.
Watering is a major part of caring for bonsai trees. A bonsai tree should never be watered on a routine, but when the soil gets slightly dry. Watering on routine could result in over- or under- watering. Over-watering causes root rot which, if done often, will kill the tree. Under-watering will cause the tree to dry out and eventually die. For more detailed information, please click on our article here.
The amount of sunlight the tree needs varies from tree to tree. No matter the individual needs of the tree, not getting enough or getting too much light can be a problem. Not enough light will cause the tree to wilt and die. Too much light will cause the leaves to burn and the tree to dry out and die. For more detailed information, please click on our article here.
Indoor bonsai trees should be fertilized all year round because they grow rather consistently all year. Outdoor trees, on the other hand, need to be fertilized only in their growth season.
Young bonsai trees should be repotted every one to two years, while mature trees should be repotted every three to five years. Not repotting the plant will cause the tree to become pot-bound, meaning the tree will find it harder to soak up water and store it.
Bonsai is an incredibly rewarding tradition. Bonsai trees are created from trees, miniaturized and trained to look like the tree of the same species found in nature. Pruning and wiring the tree are the two ways to shape and style the tree. Besides the training that goes into the bonsai, caring for the tree is also important. Taking care of the placement, watering, lighting, fertilizing, and repotting will ensure your bonsai grows healthy and strong.