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.