Taking Care of a Bonsai Tree

We bought a Bonsai from a vendor on the side of the road. That sounds a bit sketchy, but it seems legitimate! I promise. Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about taking care of Bonsai so I did a lot of research and now you get to read my findings!

Bonsai is an art form that reproduces trees in miniature. They are grown in pots and great care must be given to keep them thriving. Ours is a Juniper, which is one of the more popular ones at least in our area.20141223_193411

Placement during winter and summer

As long as the evening temperatures do not dip below 40F, the bonsai can be placed outdoors where sufficient sun is available. Morning sun is best. Bonsai need 4-6 hours of sunlight. Once the temperatures reach below 40F, the Bonsai must be brought indoors. A window facing Southward is best followed by West or East facing. If necessary, grow lights can be positioned above the Bonsai.

Watering

The soil of the Bonsai should never be dry and water should be given as needed. Watering of Bonsai is the most important part of care. There are holes on the bottom of the pot and water should be applied until water starts draining out. When the Bonsai is moved indoors, it is a good idea to place the pot in a tray with water. This helps to keep the Bonsai moist as water evaporates. Most Bonsai are lost due to dehydration or the lack of water. The porous quality of the soil for Bonsai helps for quick water flow as well as gas exchange. Some sites recommend submersing the entire container in water and waiting until the bubbling stops to ensure full saturation. This should be done once a week.

Fertilizing

Since Bonsai grow in small, contained pots nutrients need to be replenished. A liquid fertilizer can be used, but likely at half their strength. Except during the winter months, fertilizer should be applied once a month.

Trimming & Potting

New growth should be pinched off, but not so much that the trim will damage the Bonsai. When the roots start outgrowing the pot, the plant needs to be repotted in a bigger container. This repotting should take place in the mid-summer with everything being removed from the container. The bottom and outer roots should be pruned back, at which point the plant can be put back into the container. New gravel can be placed on top of the drainage holes, followed by adding new soil and worked around the root mass so that air pockets are no longer present. Once repotted, the Bonsai must be watered thoroughly and then moss or some other cover to  prevent any soil erosion.

Online Resources

http://www.bonsaiboy.com/catalog/indoorbonsaicare.html

http://www.helpfulgardener.com/bonsai/

http://www.brusselsbonsai.com/bonsai-care.cfm

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