How to Care for a Bonsai Tree

Essential Guide on How to Care for a Bonsai Tree

Are you planning to grow your own bonsai tree? While you may assume that growing and caring for this type of tree can be time-consuming and stressful, bonsai tree care is quite simple when you know the basics. As you learn more about key guidelines on how to care for a bonsai tree, you can ensure its remarkable appearance and health for a number of years.

how to care for a bonsai

Photo Credit: hkoons via Compfight cc

1. Watering

An important part of caring for your bonsai is by regularly checking the soil about 1/2 inch under its surface. If it looks and feels dry, then it is time for you to water your plant. In case the soil is still damp, it means there is enough moisture for your tree to absorb. With this in mind, you should avoid watering the plant on a routine or schedule since each tree soaks up water at varied rates. Moreover, the absorption rate changes depending on the season and humidity. The amount of moisture retained also depends on the soil mixture that you use for your plant.

2. Soil Mix

The three essential components of a bonsai soil mix include the akadama, fine gravel and organic potting compost. Akadama is a type of special clay soil that is used in bonsai pots. The soil mixture varies from one plant specie to another. For instance, deciduous trees thrive well with 50 percent akadama, 25 percent compost and 25 percent grit (although the percentage may still vary depending on what your plant needs). On the other hand, coniferous varieties prefer a higher quantity of akadama, less grit, and least amount of compost. Furthermore, the soil used should match the type of climate in your country. For wet climates, more akadama and grit is ideal to promote better drainage while bonsai grown in drier climates must use more compost to prevent your tree from drying out.

3. Fertilizer

Trees in the wild use their powerful root systems to look for nutrients in the soil by expanding. Unfortunately, bonsai trees require fertilizer since they are confined in small pots. When buying fertilizer, you will notice that it is categorized by the nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium ratio. The ratio depends on the different points in the bonsai growing season. In spring, for instance, more nitrogen is ideal for enhancing growth while summertime requires a balanced mix of these three elements. In fall months, you should use fertilizer with low nitrogen content to give the tree enough time to prepare for winter. If you have a flowering tree, you may use fertilizer with a higher potassium content to encourage its flowers to bloom quickly.

4. Repotting

A crucial aspect of caring for your bonsai tree is regular repotting. This process is essential for your plant as it refreshes the soil and prevents your tree from starving. Fast-growing species must be repotted once every two years while older and full-grown trees require repotting at least every five years. A great way to check if your tree needs repotting is by checking in the spring. Remove the tree from the pot as gently as possible. If you notice its root system is struggling to stretch outwards or is wrapped tightly around the soil at the pot’s edge, then you will need a new container for it.

By following these simple guidelines on how to care for your bonsai, you can keep it in superb condition and enhance its outstanding appearance for years.

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