Caring For Bonsai

Indoor bonsai requires constant care and attention to establish a rhythm and routine that will not only benefit the plant, but also the grower, whose increasing knowledge and experience will create a stronger awareness of the plant world in general

Both you and your bonsai tree will benefit if you draw up a routine tree care schedule, such as daily maintenance checks of light, water, temperature and humidity, along with regular feeding, pruning, checking for spider mites, re-potting etc

It’s easy enough to follow the instructions regarding watering, feeding and pruning, but understanding a little of how a bonsai tree functions will increase your enjoyment of bonsai and give you more confidence for caring for your own trees.

Bonsai root pruning is an important part of the care of bonsai plants. Because the roots are out of site it’s very easy to overlook the importance of a healthy vigorous root system.

As in the wild, the bonsai root structure provides the anchorage and absorbs moisture and soluble nutrients from the soil. Therefore it is essential to check every day if the bonsai is in need of water.

More often or not when a bonsai begins to look sickly, it because it has some form of root disorder. If the root lacks vigour or is decaying it will not hold the tree firmly in the pot

For indoor bonsai care, it’s also a good habit to check the fertilizer and soil in the bonsai pots every day. Baring in mind that the bonsai tree should always be watered before it dries out completely

But however dry the soil may appear to be, take care not flood it. The soil should be watered slowly, with brief interruptions, to allow for complete permeation.

To guarantee that the watering has been successful you should watch for water seeping out of the drainage hols in the bottom of the bonsai pot. If the soil is too dry, the water will not be absorbed and spill out over the rim of the pot

Do not spray the bonsai with water. It’s far better to use a long spouted watering can, which will reduce the force of the water and promote better permeation to the soil for bonsai

At the base of the trunk, healthy growing roots show plump and white at the tips. This is the most active part of the root system. Behind the white part, the root is clothed in minute root hairs.

Although water can be absorbed by other parts of the root it is through these tine root hairs that the water and most importantly nutrients are more readily absorbed due to their enormous combined surface area

Older thicker roots on more mature trees develop bundles of sap conducting cells, which are also present in the trunk and branches. These cells conduct the sugars from the leaves and distribute them to all parts of the bonsai plant, wherever they are need for growth, including the roots

Every bonsai variety needs a different amount of water; for this reason, as a grower, it’s in your own interest to familiarise yourself with the type and habits of each individual plant

A final piece of advise on watering your bonsai. Never use water that is too hot, since this will limit the ability of the plant to absorb the all-important nutrients for healthy new growth

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For Regular Garden Maintenance or Garden Cleanups in the Upper Highway area from Westville and Pinetown to Kloof, Hillcrest and Assagy call Matt on 0847125129, email him on or visit Specialists at Maintaining and Servicing Gardens in the Upper Highway area, Hillcrest, Gillitts, Kloof and Waterfall

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