Tropical bonsai trees are grown indoors while varieties of trees from temperate zones can be grown as bonsai trees outdoors. Whether your outdoor bonsai tree is an evergreen or deciduous tree, extra care has to be taken in the winter months. An ordinary outdoor tree has its roots protected by the soil. A bonsai tree rooted in a shallow bonsai planter is exposed to the worst the winter has to offer.
Guarding Your Treasure
If you live in an area with potentially violent winter weather, your outdoor bonsai tree might do well indoors. Some trees won’t tolerate a heated home well but could flourish in an unheated garage or shed. A deciduous tree – one that loses its leaves in the winter – should be allowed its dormancy. A warm winter home might get it to continue growing at the wrong time of the year. Whatever you do, don’t bring the tree in after the cold weather sets in and then take it out again into the cold. Whether your outdoor bonsai tree remains outdoors or is put into an unheated shelter, the protection usually provided to the roots by soil should be imitated with mulch.
You can pile mulch up to the branches if necessary. Don’t forget to water your tree, especially if the winter is dry. Whatever kind of protection you choose, make sure you begin before the freezing weather starts. By the same token, your outdoor bonsai tree should continue its protection into the spring, well after any chance of freezing is past. Never fertilize in the winter as you don’t want to encourage growth during the cold months. When you return your outdoor bonsai tree to its usual place, allow it some shade at first to help it adjust to its sunny home.
Once spring arrives, you can begin working on it. This is the best time of the year for such chores as repotting, wiring and pruning. Pruning is always best done after the buds are set but still closed. The tree can recover from these stressful activities best in the spring. Remember that pruning the branches requires a balanced pruning of the roots as well. Every season of the year brings new rewards from your lovely outdoor bonsai tree as well as stress and different needs. When you fulfill the seasonal needs, you will be sure to receive the seasonal rewards for the life of the tree.