to Care for Bonsai Trees
by Francesca Black
The term bonsai literally means 'a plant in a tray', however,
the generally accepted meaning is a tree in a pot. To "bonsai" a
plant is to keep the plant from growing in its natural form, therefore
controlling its growth to suit the owner. First you need to examine
the plant to see whether it has bonsai potential. A Japanese Juniper
is traditional tree commonly used for bonsai, and makes a great
plant for the beginner. Chinese elms are also a good starting plant
for anyone interested in bonsai. If there are any large roots that
might prevent the plant from fitting on the bonsai tray, use clippers
to remove them. By clipping the roots back and wiring the limbs,
and keeping it in containers helps to keep the Bonsai small.
A well-grown bonsai plant will "miniaturize" in all its parts and
eventually have the appearance of a mature tree. The goal of bonsai
is to create a plant, small in size, that would suggest a larger
natural scene. In other words without a size reference you would
have no idea that the tree is a miniature.
In order to enhance the poise of the height & width of the 'bonsai',
the pot must be in scale with the tree. The trunk is what gives
the tree its "stature", poor trunks make poor bonsai. The basics
of how to grow your own Bonsai are relatively simple. A tree becomes
a bonsai by applying a variety of horticultural techniques to "miniaturize"
Watering Bonsai Gardens
You have to be careful with both over-watering and under-watering.
It is suggested that bonsai's be watered every two days in the Winter
and every day or twice a day in the Summer. In general the soil
should be moist, not soaking wet, and never bone dry.
Soil for Bonsai Trees
Using good soil is essential. Healthy soil will help plants recover
from the trauma of pruning.
Fertilize Bonsai Trees
A bonsai needs to be more fertilized than a normal sized tree. Don't
feed a bonsai if the tree is in a sicken condition. It is suggested
that a bonsai not be fertilize for 3-4 weeks after it is repotted.
Wiring In young, vigorous bonsai, shaping the branches with copper
or aluminum wire is an extremely important part of the training
process. Wire's should not be too tight or remain on the tree too
long or scarring will occur.
Because of their relative lack of protection from the elements,
bonsai care can be quite difficult. In the spring, start new bonsai's,
prune the old ones, and continue training measures.
Pruning Bonsai Trees
Decide on the final shape and size of your bonsai before beginning
the pruning process. The main factor to maintaining bonsai is the
removal of all but the most important parts of the plant. Always
inspect your bonsai tools after each use to be sure they are clean
and in good working order. If the blade on your bonsai shears has
sap on it, use a little soapy water to remove it.
Trim your bonsai gently, removing sick or dying limbs. There are
no universal rules about how much to prune a bonsai; the techniques
vary according to the species. Researching how a traditional full
grown tree responds to pruning will provide insight into how a specific
bonsai species should be pruned.
The ideal temperature for a bonsai should be no higher than 70 degrees,
additionally you should avoid placing bonsai on or near hot-air
ducts and radiators.
Do not be in to much of a hurry. Be patient and don't wish the years
away. Many bonsai plants take many years to train and grow to achieve
the effect intended by the practitioner.
Outdoor Bonsai Trees and Gardens
Contrary to popular conception, most bonsai trees are not indoor
plants, and if kept indoors will most likely die. Trees are generally
outdoor plants, putting them into pots does not transform them into
Good bonsai's can be kept outdoors all year long. In general, bonsai
trees must be kept outdoors and are brought indoors only for display.
Growing bonsai takes dedication and patience but the result is
well worth the investment. A Bonsai will live can live for hundreds
of years and can have incredible beauty and value.
About the Author
Francesca Black works in marketing at Bonsai Garden http://www.bonsai-garden.com
and Pilates Shop http://www.pilates-shop.net
leading portals for bonsai gardening and natural exercise.