If your new to bonsai, have been given one as a gift or just purchased your first tree, there are a couple of basic things you will need to learn if you are going to keep your little tree alive.
These are only general bonsai care instructions and more in depth information can be found on specific varieties in the bonsai tree care section.
There are links you can follow to learn more about each area of bonsai care under the individual headings.
Bonsai are trees grown in small pots, trained to resemble old mature trees growing in nature.
As a bonsai is a tree, it requires the same elements as any other tree, such as air, wind, rain and lots of natural light. They are outdoor plants and placing them inside for long periods is detrimental to the health of the tree.
Bonsai should spend no more than 1 week indoors and at least 3 weeks back outside before bringing inside again.
Watering requirements vary with tree varieties, but usually watering once a day (preferably morning), in summer and every second day in winter is sufficient. The goal is to maintain moist, not dry or soggy soil.
During the growing season (Spring/Summer) feeding fortnightly with Phostrogen, Seasol or fish emulsion is recommended.
Mix fertiliser to manufacturers recommendations.
Learn more about fertilizing your bonsai!
The bonsai you have purchased may have aluminium or copper wire wrapped around the trunk or branches, this is for shaping purposes and can be removed once the limb has set in place.
IMPORTANT. Check carefully once a week for signs of the wire cutting into the bark. As soon as you see this beginning to happen, remove the wire immediately, using wire cutters to cut it off is safer than trying to unwind it.
Learn more about how to wire bonsai
Depending on the pot size and age of the tree, most bonsai need repotting every one to two years. Re-potting is best to bedone at the beginning of spring.
Your bonsai may need to be potted into a larger pot or just root pruned and placed back in it’s original container.
Note: Most commercial potting mixes are unsuitable unless made specifically for bonsai, check with your local nursery if the soil they sell is suitable for bonsai.
Regularly prune to maintain compact growth. This can be done with bonsai scissors or in some cases pinching the foliage back using your fingers.