Trees are these amazing things of nature, standing with their branches and leaves dancing in the air, receiving light, giving us shadow, fruits, flowers, many things. As plant lovers, we want to bring nature as much as possible into our daily lives even if we live in apartments, but in the tree department it is not very realistic to have a tree inside your house, but there is this magical thing called a bonsai, these magical miniature trees that are so fascinating. Bonsai is not just a plant, it is an art form from Japan with which you can have dwarfed trees that look very much like their big version but can be houseplants because of their size. For many years they have been seen as part of the decoration in traditional homes in Japan. And in the latest times, they became more well known in other places.
Are bonsai trees hard to maintain? Wouldn’t say hard, but if you’re looking to get one of these beauties and bring it into your home, there are a few things that are important for you to know about bonsai tree care. So stick around because we will talk about all the bonsai tree care instructions.
Do Bonsai Trees Need Sunlight?
Bonsais like the sun, so they will need direct sunlight every day, around five to six hours of it. If the sunlight in the place where your tree is sitting is not very strong, the number of hours will need to be increased( something like 16 hours a day) so that it compensates for the amount of sunlight that your tree is getting. If you plan on moving your tree from a place with lower light to a place with a stronger light, do it gradually so your tree doesn’t get damaged. Artificial lighting should be avoided because it won’t give the bonsai the spectrum of light that it needs to properly develop.
Light conditions are something that is changing as time passes, depending on the time of the year, so the best practice is to change its location with the changes to keep a balance of light, temperature, and humidity.
How Often Do You Water a Bonsai Tree?
I think this is the biggest challenge in bonsai tree care, to establish the time and amount of water to give them. The water necessities are dependent on a few factors:
- Amount of sunlight exposure time.
- Variety of bonsai.
- Conditions of the soil.
- Size of the tree.
There isn’t a general formula to determine the frequency in which you should water your tree, so you’ll need to monitor the topsoil condition. When the top 3 to 4 centimeters of soil feels dry, it means that it’s time to give water to your plant. When you gain more intimacy with your bonsai you will know what it needs, can be water once a day or even once in a few days, it will depend on your bonsai.
Bonsai water care instructions:
- You can press gently your finger into the soil to monitor its dampness. Be careful so you don’t cause damage to the roots.
- The recommended time to water the plants is in the morning.
- When the weather is warmer, your bonsai will need to get more water.
- During the winter reduce the watering significantly so you don’t drown your plant. Once a week is good.
- Watering requirements will also be affected by sunlight exposure. If there’s more light, more water, less, less water.
- Have a regular watering schedule for your bonsai, so it can adapt to it.
Condition of the Soil
The soil you use has to be specific for bonsai. A soil mixture with the right texture and distributions of ingredients that are uniform should be considered. For bonsais, good potting soil will have good water drainage and allow air. The soil should preferably have a pH value between 6.5 to 7.5.
This is an important step in bonsai tree maintenance. Your plant should be repotted regularly if you want to encourage it to develop and grow, repotting it triggers its development. Right after winter is the best time for you to make the pot change of your bonsai. The winter is their dormant season so after that they have a lot of energy stored which can give it a growth boost as summer starts.
Repotting intervals can vary between one to five years. It depends on your plant, younger bonsais that grow fast need to be repotted more often, once a year is good, as they get older they will need this less often, getting closer to the five years gap between repotting.
Because they are decorative and are usually grown in smaller pots, bonsais depend more on fertilizer compared to other house plants. The fertilizers that are best for bonsais are phosphorous, nitrogen, and potassium because they are what ensures the green color of the leaves, flowers, and the development of the roots. Go for fertilizers from a known distributor, that is specific for bonsais.
- In the case of outdoors bonsais, fertilize them during the periods when they are growing.
- In the case that they are indoors, they will need a more regular application schedule. In the duration of the year.
- Nitrogen use should be regulated during the summer and the season when it’s dormant.
Prune and Trim
Some people prefer to call gardeners that are experienced to do this task, and this is an option. But it is also possible for you to do it yourself. Pruning for maintenance can be done basically at any time in the year, however, structural pruning should be done when the dormant period has passed and the plant is starting to grow. A sharp pruning tool should be used so you don’t hurt your tree.
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