Article by Totally Bonsai Bob
Black pine is an excellent candidate for bonsai because it is a sturdy, beautiful tree. Being very hardy it makes an excellent tree for a beginner. Black Pines also respond well to a number of techniques, making it equally desirable for the advanced bonsai enthusiast.
SoilSoil for your black pine bonsai should be a good 50% akadama and 50% pumice mix. If it’s a young tree, you may want to use more grit. These materials drain water well, helping the black pine bonsai grow healthy roots.
WaterBlack pine bonsai will do well with soil that is evenly moist, so take care not to water too much. They can manage a little dryness and with soil that’s free-draining, over watering won’t be a problem. When in doubt with a black pine stay a little on the dry side.
Try to water your black pine bonsai with tap water that has a pH balance range of 5.5 to 6.5. Water two or three times to thoroughly wet the soil.
SunBlack pines love to soak up the sun, but be careful with them during hot months. While a black pine is fine with temperatures up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, constant exposure at that heat will turn the plant’s leaves yellow. Best keep them in a partial shade or place them under a shade cloth for protection. A black pine does best with 5 hours a day of direct sunlight.
PruningPrune the leaves of your black pine bonsai during the fall or winter. These are the best months when the cutting won’t cause too much bleeding. In the spring, prune the larger branches. Use a putty paste for plants to seal the cut.
RepottingBlack pine bonsai will do well with repotting every other year when they’re younger, while older ones will do well with repotting every three years.
Cut only minor roots if you have to, but be careful not to cut too much, especially the small feeder roots that lead to the big lower branch. After you’ve repotted your black pine bonsai, place it in bright shade for a few weeks and be mindful of sudden temperature changes.
PestsCheck your black pine bonsai each week for pests such as aphids, spider mites and mealy bugs. If you find any of these bugs, you can either use water to spray them off, or eradicate them completely with a good pesticide.
About the Author
Totally Bonsai Bob discovered the art of bonsai many many years ago while traveling overseas. Now he’s dedicated to teaching others about growing and caring for bonsai trees. To read more go to Totally Bonsai.