Friday, May 6, 2011

How to Bonsai for Beginners

'How to Bonsai for Beginners'

Article by Justin Guo

The first how to bonsai step is to do some research to find the right bonsai for you. You need to determine if you want to keep your bonsai indoors or outdoors because outdoor bonsais will not do well indoors and vice-versa.

Indoor bonsai trees: Ficus, Jade, and Fukien Tea

Outdoor bonsai trees: Juniper, Azalea, Chinese Elm, and Serissa.

There are many more types of bonsai trees, but I only included some of the most common ones.

The second how to bonsai step is getting your bonsai materials such as the liner, pot, soil, wire, and food. Make sure you obtain a pot that is big enough to allow room for the tree’s roots to grow to prevent future root bound. Also, make sure the pot you purchase has a drainage hole on the bottom to prevent your bonsai from drowning when you water it. You can use regular potting soil to plant your bonsai in, but make sure you mix some sand and perlite to increase water circulation and prevent root rot.

Another important how to bonsai step is feeding. There are many different kinds of plant fertilizers out there, but you should use a slow-release organic fertilizer for your bonsai. If you never feed your bonsai, your plant will suck up all the nutrients until all that’s left is a barren wasteland. Remember, your bonsai is potted in a planter so there is a limited amount of soil and nutrients available. You should wait one month before feeding after planting your bonsai. Most bonsai trees only need to be fed during the growing season (early spring to late fall). There is no need to feed your bonsai during the winter where growth is stunted.

The last notable how to bonsai step is watering. Most bonsai trees will need to be watered three times a week and soaked in water once a week for ten minutes; however, there is no universal watering guideline that applies to all bonsai trees. Even though most bonsai trees like to always be in moist soil, there are some exceptions. For example, the jade bonsai is a succulent that likes the soil to dry out in between watering. The jade bonsai has sensitive roots that will rot if over watered.

Other important reminders:

If you plan to wire your bonsai, you can use copper wire on trees with more resilient branches, but you should use aluminum wire on bonsais with more delicate branch systems to prevent scarring the bark.

Bonsais should be repotted every two to three years. When transplanting your bonsai, do not forget to trim a third of the rooting system. After you trim a third of the roots, you can either plant your bonsai in a larger pot or the original one. Also, make sure to use new soil when repotting to replenish the nutrients in the container.

You need to trim a third of your bonsai tree’s foliage and branches a month before repotting to prevent overburdening and shocking your bonsai during the transplanting process.

About the Author

Justin is a bonsai enthusiast helping beginners to start their bonsai hobby successfully. For more information, visit

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