You may be wondering how or when you need to water your bonsai tree. Well, we are here to help you with the information you need.
The most important part of taking care of your bonsai tree is watering it. How often a tree needs to be watered depends on factors like the size of the pot, time of year, soil mixture, climate, size of tree and species of tree. It is impossible to indicate how often you should water a bonsai tree. However, some claims have stated that more bonsai trees die from too much water rather than little water. Understanding some few basic principles will help you to know when your bonsai tree needs to be watered.
WATER YOUR TREES WHEN THE SOIL GETS SLIGHTLY DRY
When watering your bonsai tree, you should not water when the soil is still wet but only when it feels slightly dry. You could use your fingers to check the earth at a centimeter deep. Do not let your tree dry entirely because it could affect its growth. When you get more experience with the tree, you should be able to see instead of feeling the soil when the tree needs water. Pouring a few drops of water in the corner of the container will destroy the balance of the plant and also the surface features. The surface of the bonsai tree is essential as that will help preserve the tree.
For each watering, the soil should be saturated, and the simplest way to achieve that is to use the immersion method;
- Try misting the surface features, soil, gravel and moss with a misting spray. The mist helps reduce the surface tension between the surface components and the water during immersion and prevents the moss, gravel, and soil from washing away.
- Immerse the whole container slowly into a basin of water. Try and ensure that the water level covers the base of the plant trunk. You can wait for all the air to have bubbled out of the soil. The bubbling is the stale air which gets replaced with fresh air as the soil drains. You can wait for another 10 minutes to ensure that the soil is saturated.
- Remove the plant slowly from the basin. Fresh air will be replaced and drawn into the soil as the container and soil drain out which prevents anaerobic bacteria development.
The draining should be visible, and there should be free flow from the drainage hole made on the container. If it doesn’t flow, it either means the soil is too dense, or the holes created on the container are too small. This method assures safe watering without any disturbance of the surface feature.
USE THE RIGHT SOIL MIXTURE
The right soil mixture also determines how often the trees need to be watered. For most bonsai trees, a mixture of pumice, akadama and lava rock mixed in a ratio of a quarter to a half and a quarter respectively should be excellent.
You can also make use of a mixture that retains more water by even potting compost or using more akadama when you cannot water your trees regularly. With the combination of a well-perforated container and a good soil mixture, you will have no difficulty over watering your bonsai tree, and you will be offering it a more comfortable growing environment.
Make sure the whole body of soil is homogeneous to allow a proper drainage system. Soil that retains water will place most plants at high risk of root rot, but it can be considered when you don’t water your tree regularly.
The soil should contain no more than one third by volume of loamy soil, and the rest should be one-third rough surface of grain size of about 1mm to 3mm and one third a mix of peat and compost.
Repotting is necessary and essential to ensure the soil remains good. It is usually done at intervals from a couple of years for young plants to five years plus for more established plants. Repotting can become brutal when ignored for too long.
NEVER WATER EVERY DAY
You can try to be observant when it to your tree. So you can avoid watering it daily until you’ve learned how the plant grows to know when it comes needs watering.
A bonsai container should have a proper drainage system. Your bonsai container should have the following three characteristics.
WHEN THE CONTAINER IS EMPTY
It should be able to drain completely. Stagnant water will eventually attract anaerobic bacteria that are bad for the roots of your tree. Little hollows, most importantly those that occur in warped pots where there are often indents inside the container. So in summary, drainage is very much important.
The drainage holes made on the container must be adequate, not smaller than 10mm and 15 mm-20mm is appropriate. Mesh is also required for covering the drainage holes to prevent soil spill. There should be at least one such hole for each 75cm square base area.
The bonsai container should have feet that lift its base above the surface it stands on. It allows air convection current to circulate through the soil when it heats up. It will enable cooler clean air to come through the holes. Another significant effect of the feet of the container is the aesthetic component which gives the bonsai an airy floating world kind of feeling that contributes to the illusion one is trying to create.
A good environment is a primary key to a healthy bonsai. The bonsai variety may thrive outdoors or indoors. The outdoor species would require a season of cold weather and would become dormant. The outdoor bonsais are likely to die when kept indoors for a specified period.
When the season becomes milder like summer and spring, the bonsai tree should be brought indoors for a week. Well, for an indoor bonsai tree, it must be kept at temperature levels between 50 and 80 degrees. In milder seasons, they may be kept outside, but remember extreme cold will cause it to die and so it should be kept indoors.
Many bonsai enthusiasts chose to create their soil mixture. A store-bought potting mix can also be used. The significant difference between the potting soil mixture and the bonsai soil is the reduced amount of fertilizer.
The moisture of the soil should be carefully observed to avoid it getting over or under watered. The bonsai tree should be watered frequently in hot seasons like summer. The bonsai plants need fertilizers for optimum growth.
The compost should contain Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium which would be given to the plant at the right time of the year.
The potassium protects the plant against disease and encourages flowering. Nitrogen enhances the growth of stems and leaves. While the Phosphorus contained in the fertilizer ensures the plant attains healthy roots and stimulates budding. A bonsai tree has a healthy growth cycle like any other plant. So generally, a bonsai tree is expected to live as same as its parent. The lifespan of the bonsai tree also depends on the species, growing condition, climate, pests, etc. The most important thing is how you take care of the tree.
It doesn’t matter what time you water your bonsai tree. But I’ll advise you to avoid flooding with icy water in the afternoon when the soil has been warmed up by the sun. When watering, ensure the entire root mass is wet.
For a healthy and flourishing Bonsai plant, these above tips will guide you on all you need for a successful Bonsai grooming. We’ll be happy to know if our suggestions were helpful, let us know the outcome of these tips in the comment box below. Thanks for reading through.