How to take care of bonsai: an important guide with tips to follow

Do you want to learn how to take care of bonsai? Well, you know that it is not an easy process and it is very important that the tree get well. Therefore, in our article we separate some important guidelines for those who want to maintain this tree type.

Learn to choose a bonsai

There are some types of bonsai, and to take care of them you need to pay attention to the climate of the area in which you live and the home environment in which they are grown, as they are factors that affect them Influence growth. Prefer the native species of the western hemisphere. Check some considerations:

  • Plant species with leaves like Chinese or Japanese elm, magnolia and oak are an excellent choice. Just pay attention to the maximum size you can actually find in your area.
  • Conifers such as juniper, pine, fir or cedar are also great options for those who prefer to grow them;
  • Well, if the intent is to take care of a bonsai indoors, or if you live in a warm climate, the ideal is a tropical species. Some types of olive trees are ideal for growing as bonsai in this state.

Decide how to plant the bonsai tree

Choose the ideal plant

Some people prefer to plant a bonsai tree from their seeds. It can be a very slow process, but it turns out to be rewarding and rewarding when you see the result.

If that’s your idea, you need to be patient to see it take root and become strong enough to prune it. Depending on the type, however, this can take up to 5 years.

For many, this wait is worth it because the cost of the seeds is low and you can prune the tree at every stage of its growth. However, a bit of caution is needed to plant a bonsai seed:

  • Buy a bunch of bonsai tree seeds. Before you plant them on soil with good drainage and nutrient composition, leave them in a water bath overnight;
  • Do you have a quality land to grow this type of tree;
  • Plant it in a “growth jar”. Avoid the ceramic container that is normally only used when the tree is ripe;
  • Give the seeds a correct amount of water, sun and constant mild temperature as it is more a requirement of this genus;
  • Let the tree grow sturdy and firm before you start “training” it.

Look for bonsai seedlings

Bonsai change

Now the next step is to choose a good bonsai seedling. Look carefully for a seedling, because if you take care of a bonsai that you find in nature, you need a lot of skill and knowledge. Therefore, consider the following factors when collecting your seedlings:

  • Choose a tree with a sturdy trunk, but still young enough because the older trees don’t fit well in a container;
  • Choose a tree with roots that spread evenly in all directions instead of growing sideways or overgrown with roots of other trees;
  • Dig around the tree and extract the soil along with the roots, as this will prevent the tree from dying from thermal shock when moved into the container;
  • Plant the tree in a “training ship” and ensure that it is made according to the special needs of the species you cultivate;
  • Wait about a year for the tree’s roots to get used to the new container before “training” it.

Buy a seed that has already been pruned

Bonsai pruning

If you want to be simple in the world of bonsai art and don’t care about values, buying a pruned seedling is the best solution.
If you find that bonsai that has already been grown from small seeds and has therefore already been trained, observed and cared for, they become more expensive than if you choose a seedling that has not yet gone through this process.

To find such seedlings, search on the Internet or at local nurseries and plant stores in your area. However, follow a few guidelines:

  • Talk to the gardener who takes care of the tree about the specific needs of the cultivated species;
  • If you take the bonsai home with you, take a few weeks to adapt to the new environment before you start working.

Bonsai transplant

You need to understand how to do a regular transplant to prevent a bonsai tree from being ejected from the vase and even dying. Remember that the bonsai transplant does not keep you small, but provides the tree with new nutrients that it must develop and bloom.

Find out how often bonsai are transplanted

  1. Fast growing trees need to be replanted every two years (sometimes even every year);
  2. Older and older trees should be transplanted every 3 to 5 years;
  3. Check the tree every spring, carefully removing the tree from the pot;
  4. A bonsai must be transplanted if the roots form a circle around the root system;
  5. If the roots are still in the soil, wait another year before testing again.

Understand when bonsai should be transplanted

  • It should happen in early spring when the tree is still slumbering;
  • Since the tree cannot yet withstand adult foliage, the process is valid;
  • It also ensures that root system damage is repaired as soon as the tree begins to grow.

Make the bonsai soil mix

  1. It should drain enough to prevent the roots from rotting while absorbing enough water to water the tree;
  2. Mix Akadama, Pumice Stone and Lava Stone in a 2: 1: 1 ratio;
  3. If you don’t have time to water your trees regularly, choose a mixture that absorbs most of the water (use more akadama or even plant soil);
  4. You should choose a drier mix (use more lava rock) if you live in a humid climate.

Choose the right pot for the bonsai

  • Choose a vase that your bonsai will fit in, taking the size and style into account.

Transplant bonsai step by step

  1. Make sure you have the right tools to transplant your tree: a root rake, scissors, a wire cutter, and a Chinese chopstick;
  2. Bonsai are often anchored in the pot in which they are planted; In this case, cut the wire;
  3. Use a root rake to carefully remove the tree from its vase.
  4. We can now judge whether a transplant is necessary: ​​in this case it is because the roots circle around the inside of the vessel;
  5. With a chopstick, we started to remove the old floor, starting at the sides and bottom of the tree. Try not to damage the roots in the process. When transplanting pine trees, at least half of the root mass should remain untouched to protect the mycorrhizal fungus, which is essential for the survival of the tree.
  6. Use scissors to cut the roots that have been growing for a very long time. Do not cut off more than 30% of the total roots on average.
  7. In this case, we transplant the tree into the same pot. We prepare the vase by covering the drainage holes with canvas;
  8. The screens are held in place with a piece of wire;
  9. We also put an additional wire with which we will later stabilize and anchor the tree in the pot;
  10. Add a thin layer of heavy first soil grains, such as lava stone, sand or Akadama, which serves as a drainage layer;
  11. Then add another thin layer of bonsai soil;
  12. Put the tree in your pot. We used the wires previously attached to hold the tree in place;
  13. Add bonsai soil around the tree;
  14. Use your Chinese chopstick to work the soil around the roots, making sure to fill all the air pockets in the entire root system.
  15. Finally, we water the tree completely;
  16. This is the appearance of the tree two weeks after the transplant.

Bonsai fertilization

Vase with bonsai

In order for your bonsai to survive, it is necessary to properly feed it during the growing season. Because they are planted in small pots, they need to be fertilized to replenish the soil’s nutrient content.

Know the basic components of fertilizers

  • The fertilizer consists of 3 elements: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), each element serving different purposes;
  • Nitrogen increases the growth of leaves and stems;
  • Phosphorus stimulates healthy root growth;
  • Potassium stimulates the growth of fruits and flowers.

Understand when to fertilize the bonsai

  • Adube during the tree’s growing season, which should be from early spring to mid-autumn;
  • Indoor trees can be fertilized all year round;
  • Although controversial at times, maintain transplanted trees for about a month;
  • Don’t care for sick trees.

Learn to choose the right fertilizer

  • Use a relatively high nitrogen fertilizer (around NPK 12: 6: 6) at the beginning of spring to promote tree growth.
  • Use a more balanced fertilizer during the summer (e.g. NPK 10:10:10);
  • Use a fertilizer in the fall to harden the tree for the coming winter (like NPK 3:10:10);
  • To make the bonsai bloom, use a potassium fertilizer (K) (e.g. NPK 6: 6: 12);
  • For older trees you can use fertilizer with a slightly lower nitrogen content (N) or reduce the amount of fertilizer;
  • You can choose to use liquid or solid fertilizer, which is not that important. Simply follow the application guidelines that appear on the product packaging.

Feed the trees

  • Feed your bonsai with the amounts and frequency as indicated on the fertilizer packaging;
  • You can easily reduce the recommended amount for trees that are no longer in training to balance their growth rather than stimulate them;
  • If you use solid fertilizer, it helps to use the fertilizer holders, which ensure that the fertilizer stays in place;
  • Never excess your trees as this will have serious consequences for their health.

Fertilize bonsai step by step

  1. Choose the tree you want to fertilize;
  2. If we use solid organic fertilizers, we prefer organic gold, aoki and tamahi. But of course you can choose other brands!
  3. Place the fertilizer in cups / baskets to ensure that it is not carried by water while being watered or eaten by birds;
  4. The cups are then placed on the surface of the floor;
  5. In this tree and vase size, we provide three baskets full of organic gold fertilizer;
  6. But we can also feed the tree with liquid fertilizer;
  7. This is a Japanese brand of liquid fertilizer, but feel free to choose another brand;
  8. Read the fertilizer guide to find out how often and how much you should use bonsai fertilizer;
  9. The liquid fertilizer is applied while watering your tree.

Water bonsai

Bonsai watering

Irrigation is the most important part when caring for a bonsai tree. However, their frequency depends on factors such as the type and size of the trees, size of the ship, season, soil mix and climate. Therefore, it is impossible to determine how often you should water the bonsai.

Find out how often bonsai should be watered

  • Water your trees when the soil is a little dry;
  • You shouldn’t water your tree when the ground is still damp, but only when it feels a little dry;
  • Use your fingers to check the floor about an inch deep;
  • Once you have more experience, you will be able to see (rather than feel) when a tree needs watering;
  • Never water in a routine;
  • Watch your trees one at a time, rather than watering them everyday, until you know exactly what you’re doing.

Use the right soil mix

  • For most bonsai trees, a mixture of akadama, fine gravel and compost mixed for plants in a ratio of ½ to ¼ to ¼ should be excellent;
  • However, use a mixture that contains more water (with more fertilizer for plants) if you can’t water your trees as regularly.

Understand when bonsai should be watered

  • No matter what time you drink a bonsai;
  • Just try to avoid watering during the afternoon when the soil has been warmed by the sun and cools down quickly when using cold water.

Learn how to water bonsai trees

  1. Water when the soil is a little dry. However, if the tree needs water, it must be completely submerged so that the entire root system is moist.
  2. Keep the water until the water comes out of the drain holes and repeat the process a few minutes later.
  3. Water the tree from above with a sprinkler with a thin tip to prevent soil from being drawn in;
  4. The use of rainwater is better (since it does not contain any additional chemicals), but if this is not easily possible, there is no problem with the use of normal tap water.

Now that you know how to take care of bonsai, how about starting to grow it in your home? The experience is unique and for many the process has even become a therapy, as it takes a lot of patience, love and care to take care of a bonsai tree.



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