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outdoor bonsai

Bonsai Care, Outdoor Bonsai Trees

How To Care For Outdoor Bonsai Trees

Outdoor Bonsai

Most bonsai trees should be kept outdoors just as regular trees are. They need to be exposed to the seasons and go through dormancy in the winter. Indoor bonsai trees are tropical or subtropical, and can only survive outdoors in certain climates. There are thousands of outdoor bonsai species, but we will just be going over the top three. We will also go over how climate may affect your tree and how to take care of your bonsai tree.

Popular Outdoor Bonsai Trees

Just about any tree can be turned into a bonsai tree. It is recommended that you grow a tree indigenous to your area, but any tree that can grow in your climate will work. Some of the most popular outdoor bonsai trees are junipers, pines, and Japanese maples. If fruit is grown in your area, you can also try growing a fruit tree as a bonsai. 

Outdoor Bonsai Tree Climate 

Outdoor bonsai trees can grow well in most climates, but in some climates you may need to take certain precautions. 

Trees imported from Japan grow best in temperate climates. Mediteranian and subtropical trees can survive well in this climate but they will need to be protected from frost in the winter in a greenhouse or something similar.

In climates with cold winters and hot summers, your tree will need to be able to receive shade throughout the day. Protection from frost will also be required for your trees in the winter. In these continental climates, it is best to grow a tree that is native to your area. 

In maritime climates, a well-draining soil will help your plant thrive. Trees that prefer full sunlight will not thrive in these climates.

Caring For Your Outdoor Bonsai 

Taking care of a bonsai tree is different from taking care of a regular potted plant. These trees are planted in shallow containers that limit their water and nutrient storage. Outdoor bonsai also have dormancy periods in the winter. This means the tree stops growing at lower temperatures in order to survive the winter and prepare for the spring. 

Outdoor Bonsai Lighting

All bonsai trees need lots of light. Most outdoor trees need to be placed in a spot where they can receive as much light as possible. Other trees may need partial shade. If your tree does not get enough light, its leaves and internodes will grow too large. This will cause your tree to be susceptible to diseases and pests. Place conifers in all sun at all times.

Outdoor Bonsai Humidity and Temperature Requirements

These trees need relatively high humidity. If your yard is paved, it is likely that your tree is suffering from low humidity. To increase humidity, you can place a humidity tray filled with water underneath the plant’s container. Make sure the plant’s roots do not fall into the water as this will rot the roots. You can also try wetting the concrete areas around your tree or misting the plant daily. These trees need high temperatures in the summer and cold temperatures in the winter, but need protection from frost in the winter.

Watering and Fertilizing Outdoor Bonsai

Never water your tree on a routine. Check it’s soil every day, or two times a day in the hotter months. When your tree needs to be watered, water generously until the water drips out of the drainage holes. Once the water stops dripping, water once more. In the winter, your tree may not need to be watered as often as it does in the summer. 

The fertilizer you use should have Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). Use a balanced fertilizer all year as often as the directions advise.

Having an outdoor bonsai tree is a rewarding process that anyone can do. There are so many trees to choose from! Some trees thrive better than others in certain climates, but with some extra care and precautions, almost any tree can thrive right in your yard! Taking care of an outdoor bonsai tree is different from caring for a regular potted plant, but that does not mean it’s any harder. Simply water when needed, fertilize as directed, and keep humidity up. So long as you take proper care of your tree, it will thrive.

Bonsai Care, Outdoor Bonsai Trees

Can Bonsai Trees Live Outside?

Outdoor Bonsai

Bonsai trees are just regular trees housed in a shallow container in order to limit its nutrient and water storage. Because of this, bonsai trees grow best in the climates that their full-sized counterparts grow in. Some trees grow best outdoors, while others grow best indoors. Here we will talk about the trees that grow outdoors. Different trees grow better in certain climates than others. We will also go over the best and most popular outdoor trees as well as how to care for outdoor trees. 

Is Your Local Climate Good For Outdoor Bonsai

Just like regular trees grow better in some climates than others, bonsai trees are the same way. In general, outdoor bonsai trees need a climate that gets cold enough for it to go into dormancy and stay that way for a few months in the winter. Some prefer lots of sun, others prefer a few hours of sun and lots of shade. 

Many bonsai trees can be grown outdoors in subtropical and mediterranean climates. Trees that cannot survive through frost are a good fit in this climate. Some species may need protection from the constant direct sunlight. Some trees that can survive in this climate are pomegranate, Chinese elm, Japanese black pine and olive trees. Certain mediteranian Junipers will thrive as well. Japanese maple and trident maple trees will do fine so long as they are able to go into winter dormancy. Trees that will not thrive in these climates are cherry and apple trees because they prefer cooler climates.

The trees mentioned above will love subtropical and mediterranian climates. Those trees will also survive in temperate, continental, and maritime climates so long as special precautions are made.

Imported Japanese species grow very well in temperate climates. Subtropical and mediterranian trees will also grow well so long as they can be protected in a greenhouse or something like that. 

In continental climates, growing native trees are common, but you may also grow other trees if you can provide semi-shade in the summer and frost protection in the winter. 

Maritime climates have hot summers, so well draining soil is recommended for your trees. Bonsai that prefer full sun will not thrive here.

How to Care For Outdoor Bonsai 

Because of the shallow containers these trees are planted in, their nutrients and water intake is limited. Therefore, caring for outdoor bonsai trees is different from caring for a regular houseplant. Always remember that all outdoor bonsai trees need to go into dormancy in order to survive. This dormancy allows the tree to survive for the winter and prepare for growth in the spring. 

Light and Humidity For Outdoor Bonsai 

Outdoor bonsai trees need sunlight for at least a few hours a day. Conifers need to be placed in full sun in order to thrive. Some trees prefer to have afternoon shade to prevent their leaves from burning in the intense sunlight. 

Without the proper amount of light, their leaves and internodes will grow very large and will become susceptible to diseases and pests.

Watering and Fertilizing Outdoor Bonsai

Check the bonsai’s soil every day, or a few times a day in the summer. If the soil is dry, you need to water your tree. Watering on a routine can cause over- or under-watering, which can be fatal if it happens frequently. When watering, water with a fine nozzle watering can generously until the water starts to drip out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the container. Wait a few minutes, then water once more. 

Since the tree isn’t able to get nutrients like regular trees, fertilization is required. Your fertilizer should include Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Other micronutrients can be included as well, but they are not necessary for the tree’s survival. Apply a balanced fertilizer during the entire growth season as often as the directions advise. 

Many may think that bonsai trees can only be grown indoors. This is untrue! Many trees can be grown outdoors as bonsai trees. The only trees that do not do well outdoors are tropical trees and some subtropical trees. The rest grow very well outdoors, depending on your climate. Some trees need protection from harsh light, while others thrive in full sun. Some need to be protected from frost, others will survive just fine. So long as you are taking any precautions necessary, your outdoor tree will thrive!