With correct care, your bonsai will stay healthier, beautiful and miniature for several years to come. Because your bonsai may be a residing miniature tree, it should maximize in elegance because it matures through the many years. The guidelines under are just the fundamentals and, for this reason, we advocate that you simply buy one of the many fine books obtainable for the topic.
PLACEMENT SPRING, Summer & FALL
When nightly lows do not dip under 40 degrees, your bonsai should be placed outside, such as on a patio, balcony, terrace or in a garden. Once outside, your bonsai should be positioned in which it should receive sufficient sun -- morning sun and afternoon shade is best. A bonsai can be viewed best when it is placed approximately three to four feet high (eye level), such as on a table, wall or bench.
Once nightly lows begin approaching the 40 degree mark, it is time to bring your indoor bonsai inside. The ideal indoor location is on a window sill facing south. An east or west exposure is second best. A northern exposure will work, but will necessitate the use of "grow lights" to provide sufficient light to keep your bonsai wholesome. Four to six hours of sunlight per day should suffice. If you can provide more, so much the better.
The watering of one's bonsai must never be neglected. Apply water when the soil appears dry -- never allow the soil to become completely dry. If your bonsai is receiving full sun, it may be necessary to water once a day. This schedule may vary with the size pot, type of soil and type of bonsai tree you own. Evaluate each tree's water requirements and adjust your watering schedule to accommodate it. It is actually a good idea to use a moisture meter until you get to know the requirements of one's bonsai tree. Watering should be done with a watering can or hose attachment which should dispense the water in a soft enough manner as not to disturb the soil. Water should be applied until it begins running out of the holes in the bottom of your pot. A good rain is usually a sufficient watering.
During the cold months, when your bonsai is inside, we highly recommend placing it in a shallow tray filled with a layer of gravel with water added. This provides extra moisture around the tree as the water evaporates and reduces the amount of moisture lost to modern heating systems.
Fertilizing is also necessary if your bonsai is to remain balanced and spectacular. Considering the fact that your bonsai is growing in such a small amount of soil it is necessary to replenish the soil's supply of nutrients periodically. Any general-purpose liquid fertilizer will do fine and is on the market at most garden centers. We suggest that fertilizers be used at half their recommended strength. Fertilizer should be applied at least once a month except during winter. Your bonsai will also respond well to foliar feeding, with a water-soluble fertilizer applied every other month as a spray.
This brief explanation of basic care does not cover training. Training deals with the art of bonsai and should be thoroughly understood before undertaking -- or left to a professional. However, most on the true bonsai trees you find have already been as a result of their training period, thus requiring only periodic trimming and pinching to remain miniature.
TRIMMING & PINCHING
Trimming and pinching keep your tree miniature. Pinch and trim back the new growth to the farthest safe point. Never should all of the new growth be removed. A little should be left to sustain the health of your tree. Tropical and sub-tropical trees used for bonsai will require periodic pinching and trimming throughout the year. Considering the fact that different trees grow at different rates, it is necessary to evaluate each tree’s rate of growth and adjust your trimming and pinching to accommodate it.
Repotting must be performed periodically on all bonsai when their root system has filled the pot. The reasons for repotting are to supply your tree with fresh soil, and to encourage a more compact root system. As a rule, most deciduous trees require repotting every two or three many years, while evergreens only need to be repotted every four or five years. Since trees grow at different rates, this schedule will not always hold true, therefore, you should examine your tree's root system each year to determine if it's become pot-bound.
In most cases, the potting process is easy and safe if performed properly and at the right time on the year. Repotting should be done in mid-summer. The tree, along with all of its soil, should be removed from the pot. The outer and bottom most fourth from the tree's root mass should be removed. This is done by raking the soil away, then pruning back the roots. In most cases, it is not good to prune back more than one particular fourth with the tree's root mass. After this, the tree can be placed back in its original pot or into another. The pot should have screen placed over the drainage holes. Then a thin layer of small gravel is placed in the bottom within the pot for drainage purposes. On top of this gravel is placed the new fresh soil. Place a layer of well-draining soil which is sufficient enough to elevate the tree to its previous height in the pot. After placing the tree back in the pot, the area left vacant by the pruned root mass should be filled in with fresh soil. This fresh soil should be worked in around and under the root mass in such a manner as to avoid leaving any air pockets. After repotting, your bonsai should be thoroughly watered. This can be achieved by submerging the entire pot in a tub of water. Moss or other ground covers can be used to cover the surface on the pot to help prevent soil erosion when watering.
INSECTS & DISEASES
Seeing that your bonsai is often a tree in miniature, it can be treated for insects and diseases the same as any other tree. If you discover any insects or diseases, visit our website the place you will be able to obtain the necessary products to eliminate the problem.
Indoor Bonsai tree care
Caring for an indoor Bonsai tree is different from that of normal potted house plants. The main reason is that Bonsai trees are planted in small pots and as a result have limited storage for nutrients and water. More important is that tropical trees are used to much light and high humidity; circumstances that are quite difficult to create indoors.
Specific care of indoor Bonsai species:
The main problem with keeping a tropical indoor Bonsai tree is that the intensity of light indoors is much lower than outside. Trees won’t die immediately when light intensity is too low, but growth will decrease, eventually weakening the plant. Therefore, make sure to place your Bonsai at a bright spot, preferably directly in front of a window facing the south.
Even when you have a window facing the south, chances are that the intensity of light is still too low. Artificial lighting can help, for example by using fluorescent lighting (with radiating growth-friendly spectra) or light-emitting diode lighting about 10 hours a day.
Another issue with keeping a tropical Bonsai tree indoors is that the tree needs a relatively high humidity, much higher than the indoor conditions of one's house (especially when you use heating or air conditioning). You can expand humidity near your Bonsai tree by placing it on a humidity tray filled with water and by misting your tree a few times a day. What also helps is to circulate air from outside, by opening a window during the day.
3. Watering and fertilizing
The most important rule is; never water on a routine. Ignore the label attached to your Bonsai tree which states you need to water every 'x'days. Instead, monitor your tree and only water when needed. Please read the watering and fertilizing pages for more detailed information.
Tropical tree species need relatively high temperatures throughout the year, similar to the standard room temperature of one's residing room.
Subtropical Bonsai trees can withstand somewhat lower temperatures, and generally thrive when they enjoy a winter season with temperatures well beneath that on the standard room temperature.
To summarize, make sure to select the right tree species and consider into account the specific care guidelines for indoor trees, and you will do just fine!