Bonsai Tree Care

Most new bonsai tree owners are not equipped to grow it. Often, they see the plant, think, 'Wow, how cool!' And bring it home, knowing nothing about how to take care of it.It's not difficult to grow a bonsai, but it does require that you understand the fundamentals about how to take care of them.

Indoor Bonsai tree care. Caring for an indoor Bonsai is different from that of normal potted house plants. The main reason is that Bonsai trees are planted in small pots and therefore 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. Best time to water the bonsai tree is early in the morning when the sun is just coming up. During winter season, which is the dormant season for most of the trees, it is a good practice to water once in a week as the demand during this time is less. Overwatering during this time will lead to destruction of plant roots.

You need to learn about bonsai if you want a happy, healthy plant. If you take the time to learn, your tree will bring you years of joy.Below you'll find the basics in caring for your bonsai and making sure it lasts. The first thing you need to do is to identify what type of tree you have, because each kind requires different things in order to thrive.Until you know what kind it is, you won't know how much light and water it wants, what temperature it craves, or other conditions it needs in its environment.How do you know?. Look at the tag or tab that came with the plant for more information. Ask the place you bought it from about the type and care of your bonsai. Do some research of plant descriptions online to determine the type.

Look at the leaf style and go from there.Questions you might ask or answer to identify the type of bonsai you have:. Is it coniferous (with needle-like, or scaly-looking leaves)?If it is, it might be juniper, pine, larch, spruce, cedar, or yew. Look those types up on your computer to compare leaf shape and description. Is it deciduous (does it lose its leaves seasonally)?If it is, it might be privet, maple, elm, fuchsia, quercus, cotoneaster, azalea/rhododendron, crabapple, boxwood, pomegranate, hornbeam, or beech, among others. Look those types up on your computer to compare leaf shape and description.

Does it seem like a tropical species? Does it have fruit or flowers?If so, it might be jade plant, sweet plum, bougainvillea, olive, fukien tea, snowrose, or ficus, among others.

Look those types up on your computer to compare leaf shape and description.Once you've identified what type of bonsai you have, you can do more research to discover what conditions that type thrives in. The leading cause of death in bonsai trees is drowning (too much water) or dehydration (not enough). Signs of Under-Watering. If you look carefully at the trunk, you can see tiny creases that indicate that the plant is shriveling up. If when you stick a finger into the soil, it feels hard and dry. An extensive root system may indicate that the roots have been venturing far and wide, trying to find water.Signs of Over-Watering.

The roots appear to be rotting and the trunk is soft. A shallow root system may be a sign that the roots have not had to search for water. Root-rotting bacteria love moist environments and feed on dead roots.

As roots die as a result from over-watering, bacteria spread. You may see tiny white things in the soil. This may be a sign of fungus gnat larva, which like soil that is kept too moist for too long and also feed on the smallest, finest feeder roots. The plant looks tired and no longer vibrant and healthy. An excessive number of leaves turn yellow and fall off.

The smaller branches shrink and die away. Eventually, the roots may not be sufficient to hold the plant up, and it may fall to one side.As you can see, it's much easier to recognize the signs of too much water; a lack of water is much harder to detect. Watering your bonsai correctly is the most important skill to master to ensure a healthy plant.Here's how you do it:. Every day or so, take the tip of your finger and gently stick it into the dirt near the edge of the pot. When the soil feels almost completely dry, that's when it's time to water.But wouldn't it be easier to follow a watering routine?The quick answer is no. Why?Because following a routine will not take into consideration the changes in conditions.

Bonsai Tree Care

The person who sold you the plant might tell you to water every day but a true bonsai expert knows that only by observing the condition of the bonsai soil will you be able to accurately gauge the bonsai's needs.It is true that your bonsai might need water every day (or even twice a day!), especially if it's located in a hot, bright spot or during spring or summer, but the only way to know for sure if your bonsai needs water is to check the soil.So the only routine you should follow is to to check the soil every day in order to determine if the bonsai needs water. After doing this for a while, you will begin to notice the signs of dryness.You'll begin to know if it's dry without touching it and just using visual cues in the color of the soil. As mentioned above, one factor is the type of bonsai you have. Tropical bonsai may be able to tolerate more water than other types, but not always.Depending on how much water you give the plant at a time, where the plant is, what size pot the bonsai is in, and how much water the plant needs this time of year, it can take anywhere from half a day to a full week for the soil to almost dry out.Remember, every bonsai is different, and the only way to know for sure is to check the soil with your finger.

When you poke your finger in and the soil feels almost dry to the touch, it's time for water. Adjusting Sunlight and TemperatureIf your bonsai isn't thriving, and you know that you're watering correctly, it may not be getting enough light. Many bonsai trees prefer to be placed outdoors because of the temperature and the fact that they need at least three to six hours of sunlight each day.However, if you have to have them indoors, or you live in a place with harsh weather, then you should place your bonsai in an area that receives plenty of sunlight (by a window) in a room that is neither too warm nor too cold (although cold room temperature works well if the tree is given a good source of light but this can vary species to species).Also, make sure that the room is reasonably humid so the soil doesn't dry out too quickly.

If you find that your bonsai tree still begins to wilt and needs revival, then the best move is it place it outside.Again, every bonsai is different, so you'll need to be as careful, observant, and diligent as you were with the water to find the ideal spot to place your bonsai. For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: Show Details NecessaryHubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site.

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Developed byIndoor bonsai are cultivated for the environment. Traditionally, bonsai are trees grown outdoors in containers.

Tropical and sub-tropical tree species can be cultivated to grow and thrive indoors, with some suited to bonsai aesthetics shaped as traditional outdoor or wild bonsai.Bonsai and related practices, like, and, involve the long-term cultivation of small trees and in containers. The term bonsai is generally used in English as an umbrella term for all miniature trees in containers or pots. Contents.Indoor vs. Traditional bonsai Indoor bonsai is the cultivation of an attractive, healthy plant in the artificial environment of indoors rather than using an outdoor climate, as may occur in traditional bonsai.

Indoor penjing is the cultivation of miniature landscapes in a pot or tray, possibly with rocks, bonsai trees, and ground covers, and sometimes with small objects. Other forms of house plant Compared to the usual potted house plant, bonsai are rooted in a much smaller amount of soil. Consequently, they require more frequent watering and feeding. This form is therefore best suited for drought-resistant species. Compared to usual house gardening, bonsais require a lot more pruning, both of branches and roots.

This often requires a significant shift in attitude for house gardeners.The spiritual benefits of bonsai cultivation ( bonsai no kokoro ) are available equally to classical and indoor bonsai gardeners.Cultivation and care. ( Schlumbergera) Lighting An indoor room comfortably lit for human use provides too little light for most species of tree to grow.

Few species will thrive with less than 500 available several hours per day. Successful indoor bonsai cultivation requires either selecting from the short list of low-light-tolerant trees, or providing additional lighting for the trees. Insufficient light may not kill some species outright, but will make their growth so slow that the bonsai shaping techniques cannot be used: the plant will not grow back after pruning or leaf trimming.The simplest way to provide extra light is to place the bonsai close to an outside window. Care must be taken not to harm the plant either with cold air entering through the window, or with high radiated heat from direct exposure to the sun.

More controllable light, and more flexibility in situating the bonsai, can be obtained using artificial lighting. Fluorescent lighting (preferably with ) and can give sufficient light to support a significant number of indoor bonsai species. These lights also have the advantage of blending with other indoor lighting, so that the plants can be grown in normal living quarters. For plants needing the highest amount of light, or for large numbers of bonsai being maintained indoors, a can support high-intensity lamps and optionally the special ventilation or cooling often needed for their use.Temperature. National Bonsai and Penjing MuseumSuitable temperatures for indoor bonsai extend from downward. The best temperature range for a tree is determined by its species and, less directly, by its normal range in the wild. Tropical trees are usually tolerant of room temperature year-round but cannot tolerate temperatures approaching freezing, as might occur near an open window in cold weather.

Semi-tropical and Mediterranean-climate trees often grow better when temperatures drop well below room temperature during winter months. The lower temperature, combined with shorter periods of daylight, triggers an expected annual dormancy which many non-tropical species need in order to thrive. These non-tropical trees need a cool location in the winter, such as a cool window ledge or 'cold room' area in the house. In addition to the need for seasonal temperature variation, many non-tropicals grow better when there is a distinct difference between day temperatures (warm) and night (cooler).Humidity Indoor conditions, particularly in homes outside the tropics, imply very low humidity. Both air conditioning and room heating reduce air humidity significantly. Some tree species, such as ficus sp.

With their waxy leaves, are tolerant of low humidity. Many species, however, require additional humidification to survive indoors. As with lighting, some humidification solutions can be integrated into the regular living area and some require a dedicated space. Local humidity can be raised by locating the bonsai containers over a tray of water, or by placing them in a bed of dampened sand. For better effect, the bonsai can be placed in enclosures, such as, that are humidified from within. For the maximum humidity, a dedicated room with high-capacity evaporative or misting humidifiers can support the most sensitive bonsai.Plants suitable for indoor bonsai Tropical The creation of bonsai is limited only by the imagination and talent of the gardener, although some species are much more suitable than others.

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Members of the genus are among the most versatile, while many succulents can be grown in a similar fashion. Here is an incomplete list of the most popular species.: The jade plant is a very robust and drought-resistant house plant.

The miniature cultivars like the baby jade plant ( C. Ovata arborescens) is considered the best plant for a first bonsai.

This plant will sprout on old wood. Thus, an old specimen can be pruned back to a stockier shape with thick trunk. It is kept dry in winter, placed outdoors in summer for full growth. Its roots are thin and cannot be exposed.: This plant is often used as an indoor bonsai. Though it does not have a traditional tree shape, it can give an image of a tropical island.: The dragon plant has an interesting palm-like shape. It can sprout on old wood.

It does not tolerate root exposure.: The Weeping Fig is a popular indoor tree that lends itself to the classical, upright form. It is one of the few tropicals that are accepted as 'true' bonsai. The miniature cultivars like 'Too Little' are also well suited for bonsai. It forms aerial roots and can be shaped as a tree. Ficus are intolerant to branch down-pruning; one must start with a small tree and keep it small. They are sensitive to stress.: According to Jerry Meislik, 'the most useful fig for bonsai is the willow leafed fig.

The small leaf is in excellent scale for bonsai and the tree has good branch ramification, good basal rootage and excellent aerial root formation.' .: The dwarf jade looks a lot like a baby jade plant and is used similarly.: The Hawaiian umbrella tree is a popular, hardy houseplant that is ideal for irregular, banyan or roots-on-rock forms.

Since it can sprout on old wood, an old specimen can be pruned back to a stockier shape with thick trunk and roots. It tolerates root exposure very well, is drought-resistant and requires a moderate amount of light. Under high humidity conditions, it produces and can therefore be shaped as a tree.: The Christmas cactus does not have a real trunk but easily lends itself to a cascade-type bonsai shape.

It tolerates shade, not drought. The tamarind has recently become popular in bonsai culture, frequently used in Asian countries like Indonesia, Taiwan and the Philippines. In the last Japan Airlines World Bonsai competition, Mr. Budi Sulistyo of Indonesia won the second prize with an ancient tamarind bonsai.Small succulents may be used as accent plants:.Other climatic origins With proper care, a number of non-tropical plants can also thrive as indoor bonsai. National Bonsai and Penjing Museum.: The Norfolk Pine is a needle-bearing evergreen. It does well indoors and is often seen in commercial buildings, but is not easily shaped to bonsai styles.: The spear-flower will flower and produce berry-like fruit when grown indoors.: This flowering shrub, native to South America, will grow indoors with sufficient light. molineti: The black olive is native to southern Florida in the USA, and has a compact growth habit suited to bonsai forms.: Found on nearly every continent, boxwood varieties are tough but attractive bonsai.

The varieties Buxus harlandii and Buxus microphylla (Kingsville boxwood) have tiny leaves and develop mature-looking bark, supporting bonsai aesthetics. haematocephala (Red powderpuff): The Calliandra family includes evergreen bushes growing in tropical and subtropical areas worldwide. The haematocephala species has small needle-like leaves and unusual-looking feathery blossom that appear in spring and summer. (Common camellia), Camellia sinensis: In the mountains of Japan and Korea, trees of the Camellia family grow up to 10 to 12 meters high. Camellia sinensis in particular suit bonsai treatment, with relatively small leaves and flowers.: The sturdy trunk and glossy green leaves of the Fukien Tea make an attractive indoor bonsai.

Tiny white flowers appear regularly, and a characteristically rough or gnarled bark gives an appearance of age on even young bonsai. Era of celestials warrior guide. (Horsetail tree): The horsetail tree grows up to 25 meters in the wild, but can be cultivated indoors as a compact bonsai. Its foliage is needle-like although the plant is considered a deciduous tree, and it can be shaped to resemble a spruce or pine. (Kumquat): This fruiting tree is one of the varieties, and relatives with small leaves suitable for indoor bonsai include, (Marumi kumquat), (Key lime), and (Calamondin). The trees flower and may even bear fruit in pot cultivation.: The Monterey Cypress is one of the few evergreen conifers that can be grown indoors. Trunk thickness is difficult to develop, but the fine juniper-like foliage suits even small bonsai.

Feroniella lucida: Native to southeast Asia, this tree flowers and produces edible fruit. It is a slow grower in a container, but small leaves and a rough trunk make it very suitable for bonsai. uhdei (Tropical ash): Though the leaf clusters do not match common bonsai aesthetics, this tree can be shaped into an effective bonsai, particularly as the trunk ages and develops character. sp.: Some privet species, including Ligustrum japonica and Ligustrum rotundifolium, are suitable subjects for indoor bonsai. Montreal Botanical Garden, City of Montreal.

National Arboretum of Australia, Canberra. Retrieved 21 October 2019. UK National Bonsai Collection, The Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Retrieved 21 October 2019. Archived from on 2009-11-30. Retrieved 2009-11-30.

The Path of Bonsai No Kokoro, online article from the North American Bonsai Federation 2008-03-03 at the. Lesniewicz, Paul (1985). Indoor Bonsai. Blandford Press. Why Bonsai Beginners Love Baby Jade, By Lee Dobbins, available via but Wikipedia has blacklisted this site, so cannot link it.

Figs Under Lights, By Jerry Meislik,. Schefflera 'The Indestructible Bonsai', By Jerry Meislik,. Pike, Dave (1989). The Crowood Press. Lesniewicz, Paul (1996).

Bonsai in Your Home. Sterling Publishing Company. Busch, Werner M. Indoor Bonsai for Beginners. Cassell Illustrated. Morris, Pat Lucke; Saphire, Sigrid Wolff, eds.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden. D'Cruz, Mark. Ma-Ke Bonsai. Retrieved 2011-08-19.