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How to Grow and Care for Bonsai Trees

Are you eager to start growing bonsai and want to know bonsai tree care guide? In this article you will learn how to grow a bonsai tree and how to take care of a bonsai tree.

Bonsai plants transform the whole atmosphere and attract positive energy. It would be best to have window-sills, balconies, or terraces to create lush green havens.

Moreover, the bonsai plant is one of the potted plants gaining popularity due to its miniature appearance. People from across the country have started to grow bonsai plants as a hobby.

So what is a Bonsai? Are you eager to grow Bonsai plant at home? How to care for a bonsai tree? Why should you grow Bonsai?

These are a few of the things you might have in your mind. So here’s all you need to know about how to start Bonsai gardening at home. Let’s get started!

Also Read: What is Coconut Coir?

What is a Bonsai Tree

Bonsai is an ancient art form from Japan that uses cultivation techniques to grow a tree or shrub.

That has been intentionally dwarfed by pruning to maintain its miniature form. The idea behind this art form is to keep the plant in a small natural shape.

The word ‘Bonsai’ literally means a plant in a vessel or a container in the Japanese language. Moreover, growing a Bonsai reflects Zen ideas of nature, elements, and change.

Therefore, it’s a living art form that needs special attention and regular care to thrive. In addition to this, Bonsai plants are ideal indoor plants that increase the aesthetic appeal of your home and offices. 

It can also be grown in outdoor space depending upon the climate you live in. Though in Japan, it’s traditionally grown in outdoor space.

Besides, growing Bonsai plants at home has health and psychological benefits.

Any tree can be cultivated and turned into a Bonsai. But deciduous trees and shrubs work well as Bonsai. Remember, Bonsai plants are typically miniature versions of regular trees.

How to Grow a Bonsai Tree

So we have divided the method of growing Bonsai plants and taking care of them to hone your Bonsai skills to master them in just a few days.

Since this art form demands time and patience, here are a few pointers that will help you to start bonsai gardening at home. 

1. Choose Pots and Containers

Though growing Bonsai remains a specialized niche, but with the help of care tips and instructions. Your plant will thrive in an indoor environment year-round.

Pots and containers play an important role in the overall health and wellness of a tree.

Because the type of pots provides the same levels of peace as the tree, they hold the roots and ensure adequate water and nutrition for a plant to thrive. 

The perfect pots made from terracotta, ceramic, and non-ceramic are great options because the pots will blend with the tree and add value to nature. Containers vary in size and price.

Here are a few points that you should keep in mind while choosing pots and containers to start Bonsai gardening at home. 

  • Make sure to use deeper pots as the trunk’s width and about as wide as a tree’s canopy.
  •  The pot should not be too small or too large.
  • It’s always better to purchase oval, round and square pots. The depth of the pot should be equal to the diameter of the thickest part of the trunk.
  • Check for drainage holes below the pot. As it helps to drain water easily.
  • Bonsai plants with bushy canopies prefer round pots. At the same time, other Bonsai plants prefer to grow in a rectangular pot.

Do you have succulents? Always gets confused on how to choose pots for succulents?

Find out the guide on how to choose succulent pots the right way.

And also check how to propagate succulents the easy way.

2. Choose Soil and Fertilizers

For effective Bonsai tree care, regular fertilizer and well-draining soil play a fundamental role. In addition, a good soil mixture must have good water retention, drainage, and airing. 

Keep these points in mind while potting soil and choosing fertilizers to grow Bonsai plants at home. 

  • Prefer proper draining soil for your Bonsai plant. Choose a mixture of red soil, sand, vermicomposting, fertilizer, and decomposed leaf fertile in an equal ratio and mix them.
  • To improve drainage, add large particles to your soil mixtures like volcanic rock or stones.
  • Fertilize the Bonsai plant during the growing season every week or two to receive an equal amount of nutrients.
  • A balanced Bonsai needs an equal amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to promote proper growth.
  • Water the plant before fertilization. You can also use cow dung manure, neem cake, castor cake, peanut cake as a Bonsai fertilizer for the soil.
  • You can also use solid or liquid fertilizer as long as you use it in smaller quantities for Bonsai.

Check another post helping people on how to prepare the soil for planting.

3. Find the Position

When choosing a Bonsai plant, check for lighting requirements. Different breeds of Bonsai require different light conditions.

Placing an outdoor Bonsai inside or vice versa without any knowledge is sure to kill your plant.

For example, subtropical trees are outdoor Bonsai that require a lot of light and high humidity.

At the same time, tender Bonsai need to go indoors or in a greenhouse. If you plan to grow your Bonsai inside, position your tree in plenty of sunlight away from direct heat. 

4. Choose Types of Bonsai Species

Many of the easy-to-grow Bonsai require less maintenance. Species such as Fiscus, Carmona, Chinese Elm, and Crassula grow well as indoor Bonsai. These plants grow well in low light and humidity.

Do you know that many native Indian trees are also suitable for making Bonsai? Ideally, a banana tree can be grown as an indoor Bonsai.

At the same time, evergreen trees like juniper, pine, and spruce will not thrive in an indoor environment. 

Like tropical and subtropical breeds cultivated as Bonsai, many Bonsai trees require ample moisture. So misting the plant with a spray bottle or placing it near the humidifier will provide the humidity. 

5. Watering Requirements for Bonsai Tree

For any plant to grow, water plays an essential part. First, however, you need to water the plant based on the species for a bonsai plant:

  • Water the plant thoroughly to avoid over-watering.
  • When it’s time to give your plant a drink, let the water soak all the roots until water runs out of the drainage holes in your pot.
  • It’s beneficial to water your Bonsai plant before sunrise and after sunset.

On average, water your Bonsai once a week or when the topsoil looks dry. Make sure the soil is moist and doesn’t turn crumbly and dry.

Overwatering of Bonsai will lead to root rot. Pay attention to your watering plants per season, pot size, type of tree, and soil. The need for watering varies accordingly. 

Humidity is an important factor to keep in mind. So keep your Bonsai plants in a shallow tray filled with water and gravel.

Bonsai trees require protection from frost during winters because of their small and shallow pots. 

So, these are all the steps that you need to follow to start Bonsai gardening at home. 

How to Prune a Bonsai Tree

Pruning is necessary to keep tree shape compact and encourage new growth. It maintains its desired shape. The tropical and subtropical Bonsai require more pruning than others.

There are two different pruning techniques that one should perform with utmost care.

In addition to this, you need to choose good pruning tools such as pruning scissors and clippers. 

The two pruning techniques are:

  • Maintenance pruning 
  • Structural pruning 

1. Maintenance Pruning

This type of pruning is required to maintain and refine the shape of the Bonsai plant intact.

The key to keeping the Bonsai attractive is to cut off the new growth and outer parts of the tree, promoting the plants’ inner growth. 

Also Read: 19 Indoor Big Leaf Plants

2. Structural Pruning

Structural pruning requires rigorous pruning by cutting off all the unwanted branches and trimming here and there to give a tree its basic shape and style.

In addition, you can put a healing paste on the prune branches to prevent disease. Defoliation is another method of pruning that is done during summer. It ultimately leads to a smaller size.

Thus, it promotes growth and improves nutrient and water absorption. The key to achieving your ideal Bonsai plant as a miniature is to prune the foliage and roots.

It is one of the creative ways to keep you therapeutic and bring inner joy because of Bonsai gardening. Patience and care is the key to achieving the ideal shape of a Bonsai plant. 

When to Repot Bonsai

Repotting a Bonsai is essential to replenish the lost nutrients in the soil. To repot your Bonsai plant every two years, so it doesn’t starve and get pot-bound.

Repotting depends upon the type of plant species and pot. Faster growing trees may need repotting once a year.

At the same time, smaller ones do well once every two to three years. The prime reason for repotting is to eliminate the excess roots which may starve the Bonsai plant. 

Also Read: How to Grow Money Plant

To repot the bonsai, trim away the outer layer of the root mass. Then clean the pot thoroughly before repotting the tree.

Remember you need to perform this exercise when you see the bonsai roots coming out of the pot.

So don’t wait too long to change the pot as soon as possible. To repot the bonsai plant, upgrade it to a larger pot and make sure the soil mixture isn’t different from what the tree is used to. 

How to Take Care of a Bonsai Tree

As we mentioned above Bonsai plants are babies that require more attention and time, here are a few Bonsai plant caring tips that you must follow: 

  • When repotting, use sharp Bonsai clippers to chop off the outer layers of the root.
  • Water your plant when the soil is dry, keep an eye on the soil during watering it.
  • Ensure to nurture the plant’s soil with a good amount of Fertilizer.
  • The perfect kind of soil for a Bonsai plant would be well-drained soil that retains enough moisture.
  • The placement of the Bonsai plant must change as per climate conditions.
  • It would be best to trim the plants properly to grow the Bonsai in the desired shape.
  • Try to keep your Bonsai natural and place it in fresh air and sunlight.
  • Growing bonsai plants in containers requires more care than other house plants.

Bonsai plants need proper watering, care, fertilizer, and trimming to stay healthy.

These Bonsai caring tips ensure that the plant you are growing will be healthy and as per your requirements. 

How to Care for a Bonsai Tree

Bonsai plants can easily fit into any space as long as you take good care. Growing bonsai plants calls for patience and dedication, so don’t be trying to hush things. Let it grow, the result will be worth the effort that goes into it.

Although the Bonsai plant is a living art form that is centuries old, cultivating and keeping a bonsai as a fascinating hobby is invaluable to your soul and wellbeing.

To start Bonsai gardening at home, we are sure that our guide will be useful for you. Will you start Bonsai gardening at home, do let us know and if you already are doing, send us some photos.



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