Having an indoor bonsai tree has been a true joy for me. Nothing brings a breath of life into my dull workstation like my bonsai tree. Today I want to talk to you about caring for an inside bonsai tree and share information that has worked for me. We will also talk about the different individual needs of inside bonsai trees compared to the needs of outside bonsai trees. I hope you are as excited about these beautiful trees as I am! Some of my favorite inside bonsai trees are Gardenia Bonsai, Juniper Bonsai, Jade Bonsai, Evergreen Bonsai, and Azalea Bonsai trees. These are hardy little trees, and just like their names, several of them are flowering trees.
There are so many differences between inside and outside bonsai trees, including the pots they are planted in and whether you need a pot to hold water in or one that drains well, lighting differences, soil types, watering and pruning, and the best way to train them and how your particular bonsai will respond to training methods.
Pots For Indoor Bonsai Trees
There is a large array of choices when it comes to a pot for your inside bonsai tree. My preference is ceramic pots because they are durable and beautiful to look at, coming in almost any color and pattern you would desire. Ceramic pots can be glazed or unglazed, depending on what you’re looking for. Next, we have clay pots, also known as unbreakable mica. These are a nice choice for outside bonsai trees. These pots are available in plastic as well and will weather just fine. My favorite pots are the self-watering pots because they are so convenient.
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Soil Types For Indoor Bonsai Trees
Now let’s talk about different soil types for indoor bonsai trees. You can start out with a simple general purpose soil that is relatively inexpensive. My favorite is Akadama, which is a soil mix including black lava, pumice, haydite, and charcoal. My bonsai does well with this mix. There are also topsoil mixes that are specific to the needs of certain bonsai trees, such as the following: Juniper, Japanese Black Pine, Cedar, and Cypress. There are many other specific topsoils as well.
Fertilizer For Indoor Bonsai Trees
To keep your bonsai healthy and looking its best, I recommend using a good fertilizer/plant food on a regular basis. These are available in many forms; here are a few I like. I use fertilizer pellets and super food spray because they are mess free. I also like liquid plant food that comes in the form of little sticks. Most bonsai trees should be fertilized during the entire growing season of the tree, from early spring till mid-autumn. Indoor trees can be fertilized throughout the year. It is often recommended to use a fertilizer with a relatively high nitrogen content in spring, such as NPK 10:6:6, which is a balanced fertilizer.
Watering Schedule For Indoor Bonsai Trees
The watering of your bonsai must never be neglected. Apply water when the soil appears dry. Never allow the soil to become completely dry. If your bonsai is receiving full sun, it may be necessary to water it once a day. This schedule will vary with the size pot, type of soil, and type of bonsai tree you own. Water your bonsai with room temperature tap water, since cold water has the potential to shock its roots. My favorite way to water my bonsai is to collect rainwater – they seem to thrive on it! If you can’t use rainwater, simple bottled water is fine. You only need to use bottled water if your tap water is hard, and has a lot of lime in it.
Lighting For Indoor Bonsai Trees
Lighting for your bonsai can be a little confusing at times. Generally, your bonsai needs about 5 hours of direct or indirect sunlight per day. Certain species of bonsai do best in winter if they receive most of their light from indirect sources. When using a grow light for your bonsai, the best bulbs to use are Full Spectrum fluorescent, which output the natural UV range that sunlight contains.
Training Techniques For Indoor Bonsai Trees
There are several different types of training for your bonsai tree; wire training and jin are my favorites. Wire training is difficult and tedious but well worth the effort. I find most bonsai trees respond well to this whether they are indoor or outdoor trees. I’ve been training my bonsai with practice and patience, and it has turned out beautiful!