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 Species

Fruiting Bonsai Trees

fruiting Bonsai Tree

Bonsai trees are not genetically dwarfed trees. Instead, they are regular trees that are planted in small containers in order to limit their water and nutrients storage, and pruned to stay miniature. While many bonsai trees are flowering trees, there are also a great many fruiting bonsai possibilities. Bonsai trees do require more maintenance than a regular houseplant or a full-sized tree, but the reward is so much greater. 

Popular Bonsai Fruit Trees

Any fruit tree can be made into a bonsai tree so long as it is done properly and is properly taken care of. Popular fruiting bonsai trees include apple, cherry, and citrus trees.

Apple bonsai trees can grow a few regular sized apples at a time. Apple trees like cold and wet climates. Cold winters followed by cool spring and summer seasons with lots of light are preferable.

Cherry bonsai trees look fantastic all year round. Typically, they will fruit in the summer and foliage will follow in the winter. These trees like low humidity and mild temperatures. Tart cherries will grow well in cooler climates

Citrus bonsai trees are tropical trees, so they should usually be grown indoors unless your climate has high temperatures and high humidity all year. Citrus trees include oranges, lemons, and limes.

How to Grow a Fruiting Bonsai Tree

Growing a fruiting bonsai tree is the same process as growing a regular bonsai tree. First you need to decide what kind of tree you want, and acquire a tree. The tree you grow must be able to survive in your climate, so it is recommended to grow a fruit tree that grows in your area. You can get a pre-bonsai or use a cultivation method to make a bonsai tree. 

Once you have decided what tree you want to grow and how you want to grow it, it is time to actually get your tree! Buying a ready-made bonsai from an online store is one viable option. These trees will be pruned and wired already. You could also buy a prebonsai, which is a raw tree that has not been pruned or wired yet, which will let you create a bonsai tree essentially from scratch. 

Cultivating a tree is another option, and while this method is much less expensive, it can take 3 to five years before you are able to style and shape your tree. 

How to Care for Fruiting Bonsai

Once your fruiting bonsai tree is three to five years old, you can begin styling and shaping it. Styling and shaping techniques include pruning and wiring. Usually, pruning should be done in the spring or summer, depending on the tree. Wiring can be done any time of year, but the wires will cut into the trees very quickly, so check on them often so that they don’t scar.

Each bonsai tree has their own care preferences, but there are some guidelines you can follow for all trees. Important care aspects include watering, repotting, and fertilizing.

The frequency in which you should water your bonsai depends on factors like tree species, soil, climate, and container size. Never water your bonsai on a routine, instead, check the tree’s soil every day, or twice a day in the hot summer months. If the soil is moist, your tree does not need to be watered, but if it is slightly dry, you need to water your tree. Watering on a routine can cause over-watering, which will cause the roots to rot, or under-watering, which will cause your tree to dry out. Both will eventually kill your tree. When watering, water generously until you see water dripping out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Wait until all the water stops dripping, then water once more. 

Every two years on average your fruiting bonsai tree will need to be repotted. Without repotting, trees will become pot-bound, making it very hard to soak up water and nutrients. Repotting is crucial to keep your tree healthy and strong. Older trees can be repotted every three to five years, younger trees every one or two. 

Fruiting Bonsai trees are planted in shallow containers that limit their nutrient and water intake. Because of this, the trees do not get enough nutrients on their own, so fertilization is necessary to keep it healthy. Each tree species has different preferences, but applying any fertilizer that contains Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium will work fine. Follow directions on the packaging.

Growing a bonsai tree is a very rewarding experience, and having a bonsai tree that bears fruit is an added bonus! The care requirements are pretty much the same for these trees. Taking care of your tree properly will ensure fruits will grow for a long time!

Bonsai Care, Bonsai General Info, Bonsai Species

How to Care For Banyan Tree Bonsai

Banyan Tree Bonsai

A great way to start your new bonsai tree hobby is with a Banyan bonsai tree. Whether you are a seasoned veteran in the world of growing bonsai trees or just a rookie looking for a new hobby, a Banyan bonsai tree may be the perfect solution for you.

One of the first things to consider when choosing a species of bonsai tree is the climate where you live and if you will be growing your tree inside or outside. When I was looking for my first tree to grow I chose a Banyan tree because they are able to tolerate low-light and are able to withstand humidity fairly well. This is an excellent tree for beginners due to the lack of maintenance they require.

The Banyan style is made up of over 700 species of fig and ficus trees. Banyan trees grow from seeds that fall on other trees or into crevices in the earth. The trunks of the Banyan tree surround the existing routes of the host tree and sprout robust trunks that resemble pillars. The routes, leaves, and bark of Banyan trees have been used to produce medicines for thousands of years.

If you find yourself increasingly interested in beginning a bonsai hobby, the Banyan style of bonsai tree may be perfect for you. Listed below are three different varieties of Banyan bonsai trees to help your hobby grow.

Ficus Ginseng Bonsai Tree

Our first choice is the Ficus Ginseng. This bonsai tree is perfect for at home or in-office grows.


The Ficus Ginseng is best grown indoors unless you live in an area that stays above 60 degrees. These trees like partial sunlight and light watering but are low-maintenance overall.


Like fingerprints, no two Ficus Ginseng plants are exactly the same and each tree has its own unique characteristics. You can get your own Ficus Ginseng here.

Ficus Retusa Bonsai Tree

Our next favorite is the Ficus Retusa. This bonsai tree is also known as the Banyan Fig. This is an indoor tree that also requires little maintenance. The Ficus Retusa is known for its longevity and is said to become more beautiful as it ages.

This Banyan style tree does best in indirect sunlight but can also survive in low-light conditions between 60-80 degrees. For best results, it is recommended that the soil stays moist but not wet and the plant should only be watered when the top inch of water is dry. If you have pets beware that the Ficus Retusa is toxic to animals if eaten.

Strangler Fig Banyan Bonsai

The Strangler Fig is a Banyan bonsai tree that has a very particular style. This is a plant that thrives is well-lit indoor settings but will appreciate being outside during the warm spring and summer months. Once overnight temperatures reach below 40 degrees, it is recommended to keep your Strangler in a window sill with direct sunlight for at least 4 hours per day.

More sunlight is always better with the Strangler. Unlike the Ficus Retusa, this bonsai tree requires regular watering and the soil should never be allowed to be dry.

Bayan Bonsai Are Great Bonsai Trees

Banyan bonsai trees can be a wonderful addition to any home or workspace. No only will your bonsai trees make your space look more appealing, they will also help purify the air you breath. Also grooming Banyan bonsai trees is a fantastic way to clear your mind which will help you remain at peace each day.

Bonsai Care, Bonsai General Info

Taking Care Of A Bonsai Tree

Taking Care Of A Bonsai Tree

Bonsai trees are not as hard to care for as some may think. These trees do have different care requirements than regular potting plants because they are planted in shallow containers that restrict the tree’s growth. Here we will talk about some of the basic care guidelines for bonsai trees, including,
watering, fertilizing, light and humidity, and soil.

Watering Bonsai Trees


Each individual bonsai tree is different and has slightly different needs, but these guidelines can be applied to all bonsai trees. The first of which being that you should only water your tree when the soil gets slightly dry. Check the soil every day to see if the tree needs watering. Do not water the tree if the soil is still damp as this can cause root rot. When your plant needs watering, water generously until water drips out of the drainage holes, then repeat once more.

Fertilizing Bonsai Trees

All fertilizers should contain Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). Each serves a different purpose, but all are equally important. Nitrogen promotes stem and leaf growth, Phosphorus increases growth of any fruits or flowers and root growth, Potassium encourages growth of the plant in its
entirety.


For indoor bonsai, it is recommended to use a balanced, liquid fertilizer all year round as often as it directs on the packaging. Outdoor bonsai, on the other hand, need fertilizers with different ratios depending on the time of year. A fertilizer with a high Nitrogen content is recommended in the spring, a balanced fertilizer in the summer, and low Nitrogen in the autumn.


In order to encourage your bonsai to flower, use a fertilizer with high Phosphorus content. For more mature trees, use a fertilizer with a lower Nitrogen content or reduce the amount of fertilizer you apply.

Light & Humidity

If your bonsai tree is outdoors, it should receive enough light outside. It will need at least 5 hours of sun every day or their leaves will grow very large and will be susceptible to diseases and pests. Conifers need full sun in order to thrive. As for humidity, your tree is likely to suffer from low humidity when placed outdoors. You can improve its humidity by placing a humidity tray filled with water under the plant’s pot and misting the leaves several times a day. Wetting the walls and floors around your tree can also help.

Indoor bonsai trees often do not receive enough natural light. In order to receive the most amount of light as possible, place your tree in front of a South facing window at all times. Removing the tree from this spot will decrease the light intensity significantly, which will weaken and can kill your tree. Even if your tree is in front of a South facing window, chances are your tree is still not receiving enough light. If your tree is not getting enough light, artificial lighting for around 10 hours a day can help. Your tree also needs high humidity, higher than the levels in your standard home. To increase humidity levels, you can place a humidity tray filled with water underneath your plant’s pot and misting the leaves several times a day. You can also try opening your windows during the day to allow for air to circulate.

Bonsai Soil

Using the right kind of soil is crucial for the health of your bonsai tree. Bonsai soil needs to provide proper drainage and aeration. There are two kinds of soil, organic and inorganic. Organic soil contains dead plant matter such as bark, peat, or leaf-litter. Using this kind of soil for bonsai trees is not
recommended. Organic soil does not provide sufficient water drainage or aeration. Inorganic soil should always be used for bonsai soil. Inorganic soil includes lava rock, fired clays, and calcite clays.


The soil you should use for your bonsai tree is inorganic soil. A mixture of Akadama, Pumice, and lava rock at a ratio of ½, ¼, ¼ for deciduous trees and 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 for coniferous trees.

Caring for bonsai trees is a rewarding process that anyone can do. Water your tree when the soil gets a little dry, fertilize at the rate needed, provide the sufficient amount of light and humidity, and use the right kind of soil. With the proper care, your bonsai will grow healthy and strong for many years.

Bonsai General Info

What’s A Bonsai Tree

whats a bonsai tree

What Does Bonsai Mean?

In Japanese, bonsai is written like this:  盆栽
“Bon” is a thin bowl or dish.
“Sai” is a growing plant or tree that is planted.
Therefore, “Bonsai” means “a tree which is planted in a shallow container”.

What Exactly Is A Bonsai Tree?

A bonsai tree is a tree that is grown in a small container in order to restrict and redirect growth. Special training techniques such as wiring and pruning branches and pinching buds are also used to redirect growth. Despite what many may think, bonsai trees are not genetically dwarfed trees. They are, however, commonly kept very small at about one meter in height. Almost any tree can be grown as a bonsai tree, so long as they have a woody trunk or stem, can grow true branches, can be grown in a container in order to restrict its food storage, and have small leaves.

What Does a Bonsai Tree Represent?

The art of growing bonsai trees has been practiced and refined over hundreds of years. The main qualities that are seen in bonsai trees are harmony, balance, simplicity, and age. Keep in mind that bonsai trees are interpreted differently by every person that observes the tree.

Harmony

Harmony is a very highly valued part of Japanese culture. Japan’s culture is very anti-conflict. This is seen in their laws and customs. People typically want to live in a harmonious place. A common theme in bonsai growing is the representation of harmony in nature. The aspect of co-existing with
elements is seen in the bark’s curves and the branch’s fine lines. Jagged edges and crooked corners often symbolize hard life moments.

Balance

One very prominent feature on bonsai trees is the element of balance. The triangle is used in the bonsai design because this shape symbolized stability and strength. Specifically, the isosceles triangle is used rather than the equilateral triangle. Isosceles triangles’ sides are unequal and thus creates the look of asymmetry. This is valued in Japanese culture. Asymmetrical triangles provide a sense of movement which symbolizes life’s continuation.


Simplicity

Simplicity is another feature that is evident in Japanese culture and the bonsai tree itself. Art, architecture, homes, offices, and more all have elements of simplicity in them. The bonsai tree’s container is very simple so that it does not draw attention away from the tree itself. The color should be earth toned and fairly plain. All bonsai trees have elements of simplicity to them. Every tree is beautiful all on its own, there is no need for extravagant designs or decorations.


Age

Bonsai aesthetics often include different portrayals of age. The tree’s characteristics, such as the trunk, branches, and roots, can manipulated in order to depict age. Exposing the tree’s roots can be used to look like the appearance of age. Youth can be seen in a smooth trunk with no blemishes. On the other hand, scarred trunks can symbolize old age. A dead piece of trunk placed within the tree’s composition can represent the evolution of the tree. Drooping branches can be seen as old, while branches growing upward can be seen as young. Youth can be depicted in full leaf growth, while sparse growth can depict old age. The elderly in Japan are treated with great amounts of respect. Three of more generations often live under one roof. This is often portrayed on bonsai trees with some aspects of youth and other aspects of older age that complement each other.

A bonsai tree is a trained tree that grows in a small, plain container. Bonsai tree’s fertilizer is restricted in order to redirect growth. While the literal translation of bonsai is roughly, “tree in pot”, bonsai’s have many other meanings. They often portray different aspects of harmony, balance, simplicity, and age. All of these elements are highly valued in Japan. Every element of a bonsai tree means something. Nothing is added “just because” or without careful consideration. The bonsai tree often depicts the future. But most importantly, a bonsai tree is whatever you want it to be!

Bonsai Care, Bonsai General Info, Bonsai Species, Flowing Bonsai Trees

How To Care For Flowering Bonsai

flowering bonsai tree

There is nothing quite as beautiful as a flowering bonsai in full bloom. Styling and shaping flowering trees should be done just the same as regular bonsai trees. These trees need to be planted in shallow containers, watered, and repotted just like every other bonsai tree. The main differences between flowering and non-flowering trees is the amount of light and the type of fertilizer they need, and the fact that they need to be pruned after blooming. 

Popular Flowering Bonsai Trees

There are so many flowering bonsai trees to choose from. They range from regular trees to fruiting trees, white flowers to purple flowers. The most common, well-known flowering bonsai is the Azalea tree, but other popular trees include the pomegranate, snow rose, hawthorn, and more!

Azalea’s (also known as Rhododendron indicum) are base dominant trees, which is very different from most species. A base dominant tree just means that the branches at the lower portion of the tree are stronger than the apex, which is the top of the tree. Because of this, the apex should not be heavily pruned. Azalea’s should be pruned every summer after flowering. If you want your tree to flower the next year, do not prune much after flowering. 

Species like the crab apple, firethorn, hawthorn, blackthorn, and flowering quince flower on short shoots. On these trees, you can shorten longer shoots, but try to leave all short shoots on the tree. 

Pomegranate, snow rose, Chinese quince, bougainvillea, potentilla, and lagerstroemia trees and others are examples of species that grow flowers at the ends of their new shoots. To allow the shoots to flower, do not trim these young shoots until after they have flowered.

Trees that grow abundant amounts of flowers should have their flowers thinned out otherwise your tree can become increasingly weak. Flowers should be distributed evenly throughout the tree and should all be around the same size. We recommend pruning the smallest and the largest flowers off the tree to maintain the tree’s look of balance. 

How to Grow a Flowering Bonsai

When growing a flowering bonsai tree, it is crucial that you pick a tree that will survive in your climate. Tropical and subtropical bonsai trees grow best indoors because they need high temperatures and high humidity. Growing a tree that is indegioness to your area is recommended, so if you see your favorite flowering tree in your area, try growing it is a bonsai tree!  

Once you have decided what tree you want to grow, it is time to buy your tree. 

You can buy a pre-bonsai, which is a bonsai tree that has not been pruned or wired at all. Essentially, pre-bonsais are blank canvases that you can style exactly the way you want. 

Another option is buying a ready-made bonsai, which is the exact opposite of a pre-bonsai. Ready-made bonsai trees are already pruned and wired and ready to go. 

A cheaper option is to cultivate a bonsai tree yourself using cuttings or seeds. While this option is cheaper, it will take much longer, about 3-5 years, to be able to style and shape your tree.

How to Care for Flowering Bonsai

All bonsai trees are different, but there are some guidelines that can be followed for every bonsai tree. Watering and repotting requirements are the same for these trees as every other bonsai tree, but fertilizing and light needs are slightly different.

Flowering bonsai trees need fertilizer with a low Nitrogen content and high Phosphorus and Potassium content. Also make sure these trees get lots of light. Don’t let the soil dry out, water as soon as the soil gets slightly dry. Don’t let the flowers on these trees get wet, as this will cause them to wilt.

Flowering bonsai trees are beautiful all year round, when in bloom and when not in bloom. There are so many trees to choose from, whether they are locally growing trees or fruit trees or imported trees from Japan. You can choose to grow these trees from seeds or buy an already grown tree from an online store. There are some special requirements these flowering trees need, but overall the care needs are very similar to those of regular bonsai trees. We hope you enjoy caring for your beautiful flowering bonsai tree!

Bonsai General Info

Why Are Bonsai Trees So Expensive?

why are bonsai trees so exspensive

Are you a lover of nature? Would you wish to spruce up your yards and gardens with trees? Well, we are pleased to announce to you that you have arrived at just about the right place. We do engage in the sales and distribution of the Bonsai trees.

These are miniature trees that are typically planted in containers and shipped for transplanting elsewhere. Though an increasingly popular practice, these trees are expensive and have hence kept many aspiring arborists off. But just why are the Bonsai trees expensive?

Why Are Bonsai Trees So Expensive?

This is a question we cannot answer in one swoop. We have to examine the circumstances and factors that inform the actual costs of the Bonsai trees to appreciate why. These we showcase on the discussions that fall hereunder. They all aim at letting you appreciate these trees better.

Bonsai trees take a long time to grow!

Generally speaking, the Bonsai trees take a longer duration of time to grow. Most estimates place this at around 10-15 years. The exact length of time, however, depends on a large part, the various conditions under which the trees are forced to grow. Some conditions may, in fact, hasten the process of growth.

Warm and humid regions have specifically been noted to offer better growing conditions. Thus, the Bonsai trees that are grown under these conditions will normally take shorter to mature. The opposite, of course, is applicable. Those grown in extremely cooler regions will normally tend to
take longer.

Bonsai Tree Training Takes A Long Time

As trees grow, they have to be trained. Training simply infers pruning or configuring the trees in shape to see to it that they achieve a given style or appearance. As is the case with the growth of the trees, training them also takes a longer duration of time.

Such trees are not as responsive as those of the ordinary strains. The main reason underlying this is the fact that the roots take longer to solidify and strengthen. Remember, it may never be really easy to trim and train them with weaker roots as that may pose some damages later on.

In many cases, the trees will take roughly 3 years to attain the strength and maturity they need to be strong enough to endure the trims and the pruning. Contrast this with under one year for the normal trees. The longer duration of time definitely brings about added operational expenses on your part.

Shipping Live Bonsai Trees Is Difficult

Also contributing to the higher operational expenses is the comparatively higher cost of shipping the live Bonsai trees. The extra expense mainly comes about as the result of the extremely delicate nature of these trees. They are in fact easily susceptible to the risks of damages while in transit.

If they have to be shipped, they tend to cost a lot more as the courier or shipping company has to pay extra attention to the seedlings while in transit. You the buyer will definitely have to care for this extra expense in the form of the inflated cost of purchase.

Cost Of Naturally Collected Bonsai

Like with many other tree species, Bonsai too, is abundantly available in nature. Even then, they still cost a lot more than the other tree species. The exact cost varies from region to region. This notwithstanding, you should prepare to part with no less than $20 to lay your hands on a naturally-collected Bonsai tree.

Cost Of Nursery Grown Bonsai

These trees yet again may be grown in the nursery. The actual also varies significantly from nursery to nursery as the amount of money spent to grow them similarly varies from region to region. As such, there is no unifying price for which you may obtain the trees. All factors considered though, the trees, when sourced from the nurseries, do cost roughly $50-$100.

CONCLUSION

As you may observe from the foregoing explanations, the Bonsai trees are understandably expensive. There is absolutely no way the actual prices can come any lower, not unless there is a severe shift in the dynamics that determine the costs of planting and handling.

You should not despair though. We are here to help you out. Our company exists to furnish these trees to tree-enthusiasts around the world. Given that we understand the harsh economic realities, we are always keen to negotiate prices with you. Feel free to speak to us soonest!

Bonsai General Info

What Does Bonsai Mean In Japanese?

bonsai in japanese

Bonsai is the Japanese word for the horticultural art form of growing plants in containers. In English it has come to be associated with normally large plants grown in miniature by using small containers.

There are however a very wide number of plants that can be grown as bonsai, or in miniature form. From shrubs, trees, even bamboo, these all can be grown as a smaller, but still healthy version of themselves by planting them in a container and carefully pruning and restricting fertilizer.

Bonsai plants can get up to three feet tall and have been shown to grow to
up to 800 years of age. Bonsai is the Japanese, and now widely used in English word for it, but the practice originated in Chinese where it is called Penzai or Penjing.

Penzai is the art of creating entire miniature landscapes. These are created with the addition of rocks, and miniature water features. Single plants can be shown as well but usually accompanied by rocks.

The Japanese bonsai is a more simplified form of Penzai in that the bonsai plants are commonly grown singular,they are more carefully shaped, and the containers are simple.

The art of bonsai comes in with the shaping of the plant into a form that inspires the grower and caretaker. Bonsai and Penzai have been depicted in ancient theater and tomb mural paintings. A scroll dated from 1195 had a depiction of a bonsai tree on it. The earliest documented Penzai is from a tomb dated from 706 that has a depiction of a man carrying a miniature landscape in a shallow pot.

Different regional styles have developed. These have translated into named styles of bonsai dependent on the shape or medium used. One of the earliest examples the explorers first saw were of bonsai growing on coral. Bonsai over or in rock is a style still used today.

Bonsai growers will use bamboo, strings, wires, or other instruments to bend and shape their bonsai plants to certain shapes they find appealing. The earlier Chinese versions preferred a more wild appearance, whereas the Japanese used a more purposefully shaped look. Even today, there is a difference between the shapes and styles of older and younger generations of growers.

It was in the early 1900’s that books started being published about creating and caring for your own bonsai and it is a more commonplace occurrence in all households worldwide. Since there is such a variety of plants that can be both grown indoors or outdoors, and the fact that they are specifically designed to not take up much space, bonsai has become very popular. There are now many bonsai clubs all over the world as well to meet and connect with fellow bonsai enthusiasts. It is easy to find a plant that inspires you. Bonsai is, after all, an art of love and a challenge of patience that brings everyone who grows bonsai great pride and of course want to show off their plants to people who appreciate the time and artistic value that goes into them.

Although you may keep them for only you to look at and enjoy, there are many bonsai shows throughout the country, as they are a very portable art form. You can start by purchasing a tree that is already growing and maintain proper care, or start or your own from a seed or cutting.

Every Japanese cultural fair I have been to has a bonsai show. There are also bonsai collections at arboretums and cultural centers. Bonsai shows started in the late 18th century in Kyoto, when growers from around the region would bring one or two bonsai specimens from their collection. There are many different plants that have been turned into bonsai versions, so you can easily search to see what type of plant you would like and see if it has already been turned into a successful bonsai.

There are a few more common varieties that are seen of bonsai either because of their ability to appear as an exact duplicate of a full grown tree except in miniature or because it is a local species. Any plant with a woody trunk and smaller leaves with the ability to grow in a pot can be turned into bonsai. Careful pruning, restricted use of fertilizers, and root restriction causes what would normally be a large plant to grow to an old age in such a miniature presentation.

Bonsai are traditionally grown in wide, shallow containers of earthenware. Part of the fun and the challenge of growing bonsai plants is to keep the trees healthy and growing so that they live long and can be shaped how you desire. Bonsai plants will change color with the seasons, and even produce fruit depending on the type of bonsai plant. It should be a joy for you to participate in this ancient art form.

Bonsai Care, Bonsai General Info

Repotting Your Bonsai

beautiful bonsai

Bonsai trees are potted in small containers in order to limit its nutrients. While this is crucial in growing a bonsai, after a few years, your tree will start to become pot-bound. Pot-bound basically means that your tree’s roots have grown and are taking up space that the nutrients in the soil used to. Without the proper amount of nutrients, your tree will die, which is why it is so crucial that you are repotting your tree regularly. 

How Often Should I Repot My Bonsai?

How often you repot your bonsai depends on your tree’s pot and the species of your tree. Fast growing trees, especially young trees, should be repotted every year or two. Older, more mature trees should be repotted every three to five years. These guidelines are pretty general. In fact, you can only really know when your tree needs to be repotted if you check the plant. 

Signs My Bonsai Tree Needs Repotting

Before you repot your bonsai tree, it is important to make sure your tree actually needs to be repotted. There are several signs that your tree needs to be repotted.

  • Growth rate slows
  • Discolored leaves (yellowing leaves in particular)
  • Increased amount of dropping leaves in the summer
  • Leaves losing their glossiness 
  • Reduction of leaf size
  • Falling of leaves in autumn 
  • Thinning of twigs & increased death of twigs in the winter
  • Poor water absorption in soil
  • Liverwort and algal slime forming on soil
  • Root ball visible through the soil

When Should I Repot?

Repotting should be done in early spring. It is best to repot when the tree is still in dormancy. This is so that the least amount of damage is done to your tree. During the spring, your tree does not have full-grown fulliage, so this will put less strain on your tree. 

Best Soil Mixtures

The soil you use for your bonsai trees is very crucial to the health of your bonsai. The reason repotting is necessary is because roots grow and soil breaks down every two years or so. Different bonsai elements include Akadama, Pumice, lava rock, fine gravel, and regular potting soil. Organic potting soil is not recommended on its own as a bonsai soil, but added into a mixture will do fine. 

Each tree prefers a different soil mixture, but you can use these guidelines until you figure out what your tree likes. There are two main mixtures you can use, the first is for deciduous trees, and the second is for coniferous trees. Both of these mixtures contain Akadama, Pumice, and lava rock, but the ratios are different. 

Deciduous bonsai tree soil: Akadama, Pumice, Lava rock at a ratio of  ½, ¼, ¼ 

Coniferous bonsai tree soil: Akadama, Pumice, Lava rock at a ratio of ⅓, ⅓, ⅓ 

There are a few exceptions that can be made. For example, if you are not able to check on your tree several times a day, you can increase the amount of Akadama in your mixture to increase water retention. Or, if your local climate is very wet, you can increase the amount of lava rock to enhance drainage.

How Do I Repot My Bonsai?

  1. You should first make sure you have all the tools that are needed to repot your tree. This includes scissors, wire cutters, a rootrake, and a chopstick.
  2. It is common for the bonsai to be stuck to the pot that they are potted in. If this is the case, cut the wire at the bottom of the pot.
  3. Using a rootrake, carefully remove your tree.
  4. You will now be able to determine whether repotting is necessary or not. If the roots are circling around the pot, it is time to repot.
  5. Remove the old soil with a chopstick. Start at the bottom and the sides of the tree. Be careful around the roots. Leave at least half the rootmass alone when repotting pine trees.
  6. Cut away any roots that have grown too long using a pair of scissors, but cut no more than 30% of the plant’s roots.
  7. When repotting in the same container, cover the plant’s drainage holes with mesh.
  8. Hold the mesh in place with wire.
  9. Attach another piece of wire in order to make the tree anchor to the pot later. 
  10.  Now we add in soil. First, add a layer of lava rock, akadama, or grit. These heavy soils will serve as your drainage layer.
  11. Now add a thin layer of soil.
  12. Put the tree back into the pot. Use the wires that we attached before to help the tree stay in place.
  13. Add more soil around the tree.
  14. Using a chopstick, work soil around the tree’s roots. This is to fill any air pockets around the roots.
  15. Water the tree generously.
  16. You’re done! Enjoy your newly potted bonsai!
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.