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How to care for a Bonsai Tree & make it live forever?

How to care for a Bonsai Tree & make it live forever?

Published by Alva L. Hayes (Miami Tropical Bonsai) on 1st Sep 2020

Recently, a friend of mine told me about a special species of trees named Bonsai Tree. Or, at least I thought it was a special species when I first heard as I knew very little about it before. I had heard its name only once or twice before. Honestly, I actually did not even know about their appearance.

So, like everyone else, I used Google to learn more about this mysterious tree. I saw some pictures of it, and it caught my attention immediately. It was a small tree that had the looks of a full-size tree. I was fascinated to see such a tree and was really interested to learn more about it.

Let me walk you through my journey of learning about Bonsai Trees.

What is Bonsai Tree?

As I told you before, I thought of Bonsai as a special species of trees, but the reality was quite different.

Bonsai is known as a form of art in Japanese culture. Utilizing some cultivation techniques, they produce small trees inside a container that imitates a fully grown tree's appearance.

You can use these techniques on literally any type of tree, but the amount of effort that you have to give can vary from tree to tree. There are also various Bonsai styles.

Bonsai Styles

  • Broom Style
  • Formal Upright Style
  • Informal Upright Style
  • Slanting Style
  • Cascade Style
  • Semi Cascade Style
  • Literati Style
  • Window Swept Style
  • Double Trunk Style
  • Multi Trunk Style
  • Forest Style
  • Growing on a rock Style
  • Growing in a rock Style
  • Raft Style
  • Shari Style

These are mostly all the Bonsai Styles.

Things to consider before selecting a plant for Bonsai

I was really excited to learn that any plant can be used for Bonsai. Although, just like everything, there are a few things to consider before selecting a plant for Bonsai.

  • The climate of your country.
  • The size of your tree
  • Availability of Bonsai material
  • Whether you want to grow an indoor or outdoor Bonsai.
  • Is there enough space to grow a Bonsai

All the necessary procedures of growing a Bonsai plant

The first sight of Bonsai was very intimidating for me. I assumed it would be very difficult to turn a regular plant into a work of art. But, as it turns out, it is not that complicated to create a miniature artistic version of a typical plant. But it takes time, effort, and a lot of patience to do so.

Read the following steps to learn more about how to grow a healthy tree.

Watering

This seems like a pretty straight forward action. Though watering is a simple task, you need to be extra careful about how you are doing it.

You need to ensure that the plant is getting enough water specifically at the time of needs. Do not set a routine to water the plant. You need to monitor to figure out exactly when it needs water constantly. But keep in mind that overwatering can be as harmful as underwatering.

The amount of water a plant need can vary depending on the species, weather, pot, and overall condition of the plant. You must make sure that the soil is not completely dry at any given moment because bonsai plants have a small root system, and the complete absence of water can be fatal for them. These plants are kept inside a small pot. That is why the soil dries out faster than other plants.

Pruning

This is the most important technique, as this helps in keeping the tree in a small stature.

If you are growing the plant inside your house, there are no set rules for pruning. You can trim the plant when you see a few inches growth. But if you are growing it outside your house, make sure you are trimming it during the growing seasons only.

Follow these three steps for pruning.

  • Removal of the weed and deadwood: Keep an eye out for weeds and deadwood. If you see any growing weed, pluck them out carefully from the pot, making sure the roots are unharmed.
  • Cutting off the crossed and broken brunches: Crossed brunches can be harmful as it can inflict damage to the main body, leaving it vulnerable to pests. Broken brunches can hamper the growth of the tree, so it is better to trim them off.
  • Make sure the twigs have no more than 3-4 nodes: The joints from which leaves grow out are called nodes. If there are more than 3-4 nodes, cleanly cut them off with knob cutters. This keeps the tree in its miniature form.

Fertilizing

If you think that your tree is not growing how it is supposed to, you can use fertilizers to boost its growth. But do not assume that a fully grown bonsai does not require fertilizers. You have to use fertilizers for a grown tree as well, but not as frequently.

You can use organic or mineral fertilizer or a mixture of both. Keep in mind that organic fertilizers are a bit smelly. So, think before you decide to use organic fertilizers indoors.

Wiring

Wiring is used to encourage branches to grow in a specific direction.

You can use either anodized aluminum or annealed copper wire, depending on what type of tree you are using it on. You have to wrap brunches in wire and reposition them towards the direction you want them to grow. It may sound very easy, but it can be very tricky to master.

Repotting

Repotting is the final step for growing bonsai trees. A tree that is still growing should be repotted once every two years, and a grown one can be repotted in three or more years, depending on its growth. Repotting gives the tree fresh new soil and allows the root system to be trimmed back.

Follow these steps while repotting your tree.

  • Ensure that you have all the necessary tools.
  • Cut the wire anchoring the tree to the pot
  • Use a root rake to remove the tree from the pot carefully.
  • Check if repotting is needed or not. (check if roots are growing out)
  • Carefully remove the soil from the roots without hurting them.
  • Cut off overgrown roots, but do not cut off more than 30% of the roots.
  • You can reuse the previous pot by fixing it or use a new one.
  • Add some heavy grain soil in the pot first and then create a thin layer of bonsai soil.
  • Put the tree in the pot and hold it in position.
  • Put bonsai soil around the tree, ensuring they are reaching the tree roots.
  • Water the plant thoroughly.

It is okay if you are feeling overwhelmed, but once you start doing it yourself and get the hang of it, growing bonsai trees can be very enjoyable. 

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