Bonsai Tree Maintenance 101

For many people, even the most basic of house plants can seem difficult to grow. Bonsais seem to be some of the most enigmatic plants available. Read below for a primer on bonsai tree maintenance 101.


Bonsai tree maintenance begins with the soil. Before you become concerned with the specific type of soil your bonsai tree needs, what you need to know is the physical effect that the soil needs to have in order to be good bonsai soil. Instead of compact, thick, poorly draining soil, you need soil that drains freely and is open. A generic potting mix can be used, or, there are also bonsai soil mixes.


Water is also a key element in bonsai tree maintenance. As bonsais are trees it is recommended that they are kept outside. Because of this, watering will depend on the weather. In dry or exceptionally hot times, it is important that the soil is moistened every day. In the winter or in cooler months, three days a week should keep your bonsai well hydrated.


Generally, there are two times to feed your bonsai each year as part of your bonsai tree maintenance. These times are early in the spring to late in the summer, and then again in the fall. In each case, fertilizer with low amounts of nitrogen should be used. There are several different fertilizers available on the market for use. Many masters of bonsai tree maintenance opt for fertilizing pellets that have a slower release rate and work over time.


In regards to pruning bonsai trees, it is important that the reader understand that there are actually two areas of pruning: branch pruning and root pruning. Branch pruning, however, is what most people think of when they think of bonsai pruning. Still, the pruning that takes place on the root level needs to be reflected in the branch pruning. The time to prune varies depending on the specific type of bonsai tree. Specific branches that you do want to cut are those that grow facing you, grow in toward the trunk or down toward the ground.



Repotting these beautiful plants is important to general bonsai tree maintenance. For the smaller, younger plants, repotting should occur at least every two to three years. Older plants do not need to be repotted quite as frequently. Use wire mesh and threaded wire to act as an anchor for the plants support as it gets its bearings. A gravel layer and a layer of soil should be added in the bottom of the pot. You can then place the tree in the pot and wrap the wires around the root ball, twisting them together so that the tree is secure. Add more soil until the soil level reaches the bottom of the tree trunk.

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