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Outdoor Bonsai

Can Bonsai Trees Live Outside?

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!

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