How to Take Care of a Bonsai Tree

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Caring for bonsai means more than just the regular watering and pruning of the plant. It will require dedication and a lot of patience on your part if you want to have a healthy and adorable bonsai tree.

If you’re looking to grow a bonsai tree, you will need to know from the get-go that you should give it plenty of care and attention. A bonsai tree is not something which has simply evolved and can take care of itself, it is a very carefully maintained and grown tree, which has traveled many miles!

How to Take Care of a Bonsai Tree

Bonsai trees originated in China over 2000 years ago, before being adopted into Japanese culture. From there, bonsai trees have signified opulence, serenity, mysticism, and basically a really nice appearance!

A bonsai in a pot behaves in the same way as it would in a natural habitat. Fruit bearing trees will bear fruit, deciduous trees will shed leaves and change colors, and even pine trees will shed needles too. Your type of tree will still exhibit its natural characteristics the difference lies in the fact that your tree is a bonsai and it grows in a bonsai pot.

Because of the slightly different appearance of a bonsai tree, there is a slightly different type of maintenance required, and if you’re planning on having one of these beautiful trees in your house, you need to know what you’re doing to care for it and keep it thriving.

When caring for bonsai, the most important factors that you have to remember are:

  • Watering
  • Lighting
  • Soil
  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Nutrition

These essential factors will work well together to maintain a healthy bonsai that will flourish for a long time. Bonsai are known to survive hundreds of years if they are cared for properly. You can even make it a family heirloom if you give it proper bonsai care!

Watering

As mentioned time and again, watering your bonsai is the most important thing that you should bear in mind.

You should water your bonsai tree constantly throughout the year, but it’s best to do this when you feel your tree needs it, and not to do this according to a routine.

Regular watering is needed to keep the moisture in your soil and plant. Check the bonsai soil every day, make sure that it remains moist but not soggy since soggy soil might cause root rot. During hot months, water your bonsai twice a day in the morning and in the evenings. In regular temperature days, it is okay to water your bonsai only once a day.

As a general rule, if the soil looks dry, or your tree in general looks dry, you should water your bonsai tree.

To do this, place another tray underneath, to catch the excess, and totally soak the soil, to enable the water to head down into the roots. Once this is done, wait a few minutes and then repeat the process.

Using rainwater to water your bonsai is a great choice; you can collect rainwater in a container and use it when needed. Avoid using chlorinated water for your bonsai since it could do harm to it.

Lighting

We all know that light is a source of energy and nutrition to most living things and your bonsai is not exception! Giving your bonsai the right amount of light will help it grow into the tree you want it to be. Exposing your bonsai to balanced light will allow it to develop evenly that is why you have to position your bonsai in a way that all parts of the plant will receive equal exposure. Rotate the plant often in order to accomplish the desired results.

You need to try and mimic the conditions a bonsai tree would have had in its original conditions, e.g. the Far East. For that reason, it’s a good idea to place artificial lighting on or very close to your bonsai tree for around 10 hours per day. It’s also a good option to leave your tree close to a window, or in a window will, so it is subject to natural light for the entire day.

Soil

Aside from relying on light and water, your bonsai also needs the right kind of soil in order to live longer. There are many varieties of soil for specific kinds of bonsai and there are even soil mixtures that are considered best for most types of trees. Just keep in mind that bonsai soil should be dense enough to keep moisture for the tree roots, and it should drain fast enough to keep the bonsai roots from being spoiled by standing water.

Temperature

Again, you need to try and mimic conditions in a warmer place, and that means maintaining a high temperature constantly. This is generally the average living room temperature, so not too hot, but not too cold either, and you should try and avoid major drops or spikes in this.

Humidity

The Far East is a humid place, and your bonsai tree will react much better if you can try and place a high level of humidity in and around it. A good go-to is to place a larger planting tray underneath the tree and to fill it with water; on top of this, mist your tree a few times a day.

Nutrition

Nutrition for your bonsai is provided by the water, light, and soil that you nurture it with but those three are not enough. Your bonsai needs a supplement like fertilizers to keep it in good shape.

In order to provide the correct nutrition you will need to do some research into the right type of fertilizer for your particular type of bonsai tree, but overall there are two main types – solid and liquid. A liquid fertilizer is fed to your bonsai tree in exactly the same way as watering, i.e. with a watering can, directly into the soil.

Solid fertilizer is broken up into cubes and placed in a cup or small basket, and then placed face down onto the soil, to allow it to be absorbed into the soil that way.

How often you fertilize depends on your type of bonsai tree also, so this is something you need to read into – check out the videos at Balcony Bonsai for a little more information.

These are the main areas you need to take into account in terms of looking after a bonsai tree, however you also need to taking pruning into account. Bonsai trees are famous for their iconic shape, and this is created by hand.

You will need to carry out two types of pruning – maintenance and structural. Maintenance pruning is literally what it says on the tin; you will need to simply remove any branches which are looking ragged.

Structural pruning is more about maintaining the shape of the bonsai tree you desire, so this is going to be a little more in-depth. You should place the tree at eye level and then remove any branches which are growing in the wrong direction for your particular design.

A bonsai tree is certainly a rewarding item to grow, because from tiny seeds grows this beautifully cultivated design!

Maintain it to the best of your ability, and show it plenty of care and attention. Bonsai trees were thought to be items of great pride when they were first discovered and designed, and it’s your responsibility to keep this tradition going!

When caring for your bonsai, be observant of any changes with your little tree. Minute changes may be signs of problems that need to be attended to. Be on the lookout for diseases and pests that may afflict your bonsai and treat them right away.

A healthy and beautiful bonsai needs your dedicated bonsai care. Just by following the essentials, you can be assured that your bonsai will live for a long time!

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