How to Care for Bonsai

Hey, don’t think that taking care of Bonsai trees isn’t fun, but to grow any bonsai successfully one can say there are several things that are more important than others: light, water, air, humidity, and soil composition. The more light a treetop gets – the better, although it mustn’t be exposed to direct sun very long. That especially goes for plants in shallow pots because its roots and the pot itself gets easily overheated and the leaves don’t get enough moisture, so they fade on edges and jeopardize the tree’s health. The best spot for most of bonsais is somewhere where it can be exposed to sun before noon, and afterwards in the shade. It should be protected from wind and draught though, because that dries the leaves.

Proper watering depends on a type of bonsai, and it’s in direct proportion with light exposure – more light – more water. Usually during spring you need to water often, while in the summer - very often. It’s not a good idea to make a “swamp” of the soil, so wait until it’s superficially dry before you water it again. Surplus of water may prevent a root from getting enough air and can also cause the root to rot – leading eventually a tree to die of thirst. It is best to water with rainwater or tap water that has been put aside for a while. That water should be around two degrees centigrade warmer than the air’s outside temperature.

If we’re going to live up to a proper taking care of Bonsai trees, we also shouldn’t underestimate the importance of air quality during taking care of Bonsai trees. If bonsai grows in a room full of smoke, with no regular ventilation (fresh air exchange), in radiator dried air – it won’t last for long. An outdoor bonsai tree would suffer being in industrially polluted area. All trees love fresh air, but you should prevent draught because it may cause tree to dry and cool too rapidly. Air humidity should be above 40%. In order to increase humidity, it’s a good trick to put a bonsai on a bigger plate filled with gravel and water. That water will evaporate therefore increasing the air humidity.

To secure a healthy root, soil has to be loose enough to facilitate good growth and air and water flow. If we prepare the soil by ourselves, we should know that it must have 2 components. First consists of 3 peat layers, leaf compost or any other type of organic material, and the second layer is rough sand or fine gravel. Before mixing you should sift the gravel to separate the 1.5 to 6 mm size stones. Too small ones prevent air and water flow and too big stick to the root to much.

One more tip for taking care of Bonsai trees. For all bonsais, except for those that bloom, the ideal fertilizer is the one with equal parts of all 3 basic elements. Supplementary nurturing is strictly off-winter action. We can use granules or sticks that slowly melt releasing nurturing matters, fertilizing the water during watering, or through leaves while watering with sprinkler.

If we plan to be away from home for 10 or so days, we could resort to the above mentioned trick to solve our watering problem. We place our bonsai onto a bigger plate filled with gravel and water, providing we pull a rope, starting from plate, through the drainage holes, finally placing it around the roots. The rope should get the watering job done quite well for you.

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