If you don’t have a green thumb, bonsai trees can seem intimidating to take care of because they seem high maintenance.
Most people who love plants but don’t have a green thumb opt for plants that require less maintenance. However, the bonsai trees have irresistible beauty that even beginners can’t seem to resist.
You don’t have to be an experienced gardener to keep a bonsai tree alive and thriving. Once you know the proper guidelines to follow, taking care of bonsai trees is a walk in the park.
We’ve shared everything you need to know to take care of these plants the right way. Let’s get this show on the road, shall we?
Are Bonsai Trees High Maintenance?
Bonsai trees are more delicate than the average indoor plant. For this reason, most people consider them high maintenance plants.
However, bonsai trees are not as difficult to take care of as they seem. If you follow the basic guidelines of taking care of these plants, you should have no problem keeping them in tip-top condition.
Nonetheless, if you’re a beginner, it helps to choose a beginner-friendly bonsai tree. These are easier to take care of. They include:
- Ficus bonsai tree: These tend to grow well indoors as long as they’re placed in a bright location. Furthermore, they are more forgiving if you forget to water and are relatively easy to shape with wire because the branches are supple and bend easily.
- Chinese Elm: This plant has naturally small leaves and is quite affordable compared to other bonsai trees. Most importantly, it’s easy to prune, and it’s frost-hardy.
- Portulcaria: It thrives in hot climates, and you can get away with forgetting to water it a few times. The plant can also thrive indoors.
- Cotoneaster: It’s easy to prune and always responds well to pruning.
Bonsai Tree Care
Like any other plant, bonsai trees require certain care practices to thrive. Therefore, you don’t have to be intimidated by these plants. Whether you have a green thumb or not, all you need to do is understand what the plant need, provide it, and you won’t experience any challenges. Below are a few tips on how to take care of bonsai trees with ease.
Choose the Right Position
Tree positioning is everything when it comes to bonsai plants. It doesn’t matter how much you water the plant or fertilize it. If the position is wrong, the tree will die quite first. To determine the location, understand what type of tree you’re working with and whether it’s an indoor or outdoor plant.
Juniper, pine, and spruce trees are mostly outdoor plants and should be exposed to the seasons all year round. Outdoor bonsai trees also include deciduous trees, meaning they change their leaves with the seasons. These include plants like ginkgo, elms, and maple.
On the other hand, indoor bonsai trees are typically subtropical species that thrive off stable temperatures throughout the year. Some examples include:
- Hawaiian umbrella trees
- Ficus trees
- Jade plants
Once you’ve figured out the kind of bonsai tree you’re dealing with, the next step is to place it in the right position. Ensure your bonsai tree is kept away from direct heat or draft. In addition to this, ensure there is sufficient sunlight in the area. Lastly, bonsai plants need humidity to keep their soil moist.
One of the primary causes of bonsai tree deaths is under-watering. Because these plants are planted in small containers, the soil is shallow and tends to dry out fast.
As a general rule of thumb, you should water your bonsai tree when the topsoil appears dry. However, the frequency of watering depends on the type of soil and the type and size of the try. Therefore, it’s best to water each bonsai tree individually rather than sticking to a routine.
When you’re watering your bonsai tree, your goal should be to fully saturate the root system with water. Keep watering the plant until you notice water coming out of the drain holes.
However, be careful not to overwater the plant because doing so can have detrimental effects as well. If you notice any of the following signs, you’re probably watering your bonsai too much.
- Yellowing leaves
- Shriveling branches
- Stunted growth
Trees extend their roots in search of nutrients for growth and survival. Bonsai trees can’t do this because they’re confined in a small pot. For this reason, you should also fertilize your bonsai tree regularly during the growing season.
Older plants should be fertilized less depending on the species, time of year, stage of development, and the health of the tree.
Indoor bonsai trees, on the other hand, can be fertilized all year round. Ensure your fertilizer has the basic components for optimum growth – nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Boron, Zinc, Manganese, Copper, and Molybdenum are also crucial micronutrients to look out for when buying fertilizer for bonsai trees.
Repotting is also a crucial step in maintaining the health of your bonsai tree. Repotting is done to remove excess roots that may cause the plant to starve or not receive enough nutrients for its mass.
Furthermore, repotting ensures your tree continues to thrive in a small pot. You should repot your bonsai tree every two to five years, depending on how fast it grows.
To repot your bonsai:
- Carefully remove the tree from its pot.
- Use sharp shears to trim away the outer layers of the roots.
- Inspect the roots for rot and trim away as needed. These areas indicate the spots where the bonsai tree isn’t getting enough drainage.
- Clean the pot and remove any green spots.
- Place mesh squares over the drainage holes to prevent the soil from falling out.
- Layer the bottom of the pot with soil and place the plant on top.
- Fill the remaining gaps and holes with soil.
Pruning is a necessary process in bonsai tree care. It’s done to keep the leaves small and maintain a good shape. There are two types of pruning – structural and maintenance.
Structural pruning is an advanced technique that’s done when the tree is dormant. The process involves removing the tree’s primary structures and requires the expertise of a professional.
On the other hand, maintenance pruning is done to strengthen the tree by encouraging new growth. The process involves cutting away young shoots and leaves, thereby exposing the leaves underneath to sunlight which strengthens the tree and benefits its overall health.
How Long Do Bonsai Trees Live might be an interesting article for you!
Bonsai trees add effortless beauty in any room they are added to. However, many people are reluctant to add these plants to their space because they seem high maintenance. As you have seen, it’s relatively easy to take care of a bonsai tree if you know what to do.
As long as you have the plant in the right position, you’re watering and fertilizing often, you should have no problem keeping this plant alive.
The only time you’ll need a professional is if you need the plant structurally pruned. Don’t forget to choose a beginner-friendly bonsai tree if this s your first attempt growing one; they’re way easier to take care of.