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Caring for Bonsai from China and Japan

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Every home should have a bonsai plant or two, but how do you care for these mysterious plants from Asia?
Bonsai plants cultivated in Japan or China require special care and treatment to grow effectively. Bonsai plants form miniature trees and shrubs. As these plants age, with care and direction, they become valuable and graceful.

If you are not yet be ready to start you own bonsai from scratch, that should not stop you from purchasing a bonsai tree. These plants exude an elegant beauty that alone can enhance any room. And they will provide years of calmness to your life as you direct the growth of your plant. So it is important that you understand how these plants are cared for.

The bonsai trees or shrubs from Japan and China require water, fertilization, sunlight, mist, etc. To help you learn a few steps in caring for your bonsai let's start with watering your plant.

How to water bonsai:  The soil for Bonsai trees is designed to drain quickly. Why? Because roots are routinely trimmed, they do not tolerate water as well as your common houseplants. Additionally, bonsai typically require less soil than common houseplants. Because the trees drain quickly, bonsai require more frequent watering. But the exact amount of water you pour in and how often will be infuenced by the soil, light, location, and weather condition, and average temperature the plant is dealing with.

A key to determining how you water is to focus on the foliage. If the tree feels light after testing the moisture content of the soil, the tree will need water. You can purchase a water meters to test soil moisture to help maintain your bonsai plant.

Bonsai like all houseplants require fertilizer. Again, since bonsai have less soil to draw nutrients from, you will need to fertilize the plant often. During the spring you can lightly fertilize your bonsai, however during the fall season you will want to increase this feeding. What kind of fertilizer should you use for the healthiest growth of your bonsai? Look for fertilizers that contain potash, nitrogen, chelated iron, and phosphoric acids. The use of Superthrive Vitamins and Hormones - 4 oz., a vitamin and plant hormone tonic/supplement is highly recomended as well. Before you add any fertilizer, be sure that you water your bonsai first.
Japanese Kingsville Boxwood Bonsai Tree  (buxus microphylla compacta)

Japanese Kingsville Boxwood Bonsai Tree (buxus microphylla compacta)

Native to Japan the Kingsville Boxwood is an extremely slow growing tree. It has the smallest leaf of all Boxwoods which is why it is sought after for bonsai. The Kingsville Boxwood is an evergreen tree with light green leaves and has excellent branching characteristics. A great indoor bonsai tree recommended by the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.

Most Bonsai trees require direct sunlight. The sunlight should come from south, west, and east for the best results. During winter months, you can use indoor growing light, but bonsai grow best with natural light. Misting your bonsai tree is a good idea as well. Japanese and Chinese bonsai trees can handle humidity beyond what we can stand indoors. You can purchase a tray, and add water at the bottom, set your bonsai pot into the tray. Doing this will raise the humidity around the plant. Be sure to add a layer of gravel at the bottom of the tray so that the pot isn't sitting directly in the water. This will help prevent root rot.

How to trim your bonsai:  Trimming and pruning bonsai is your way of shaping and creating unique forms. This is one area where your artistic temperament comes into play. There is a symmetry in this work as you want the amount of growth of the root system to be consistent or match the growth above ground. Form and shape the bonsai to your liking, matching it to your personality and surroundings. You will need sharp shears or scissors to trim your tree. Light branches and foliage is best removed with shears designed to handle bonsai pruning and trimming. Concave cutters are ideal if you have heavier shrub growth. In fact, if all you have are the cutters that will be adequate for most of the trimming you will perform on your bonsai trees.

Bonsai trees need to be watched over. To keep you bonsai tree healthy, reduce insect infestations from and prevent illness provide plenty of sunlight and ventilation. Clean your plant often, dusting the leaves. And remove any debris in the soil, such as fallen leaves.

Chosing a bonsai soil:  The Bonsai soil you use to plant your bonsai in depends upon the species of tree or plant you are working with. There is specialized soil for conifers ( Bonsai Conifer Soil Mix - 2 lbs. ) as well a tropical and subtropical species ( Tropical/Subtropical Mix Bonsai Soil 10 lbs. ). And there are other specialized soil mixtures ( Professional Bonsai Soil - 2 lbs. (1 Qt.)).

When adding soil to a planted bonsai, be sure to shield the drainage openings. At some point you will need to repot your bonsai tree. Even though these are dwarf trees, they will get bigger and outgrow their currant containers. Therefore, you will be purchasing new pots as needed. When you see that the tree is becoming larger than the pot, it is time to transfer it to a larger container. Give your bonsai room to grow over the many years that it will be a part of your life.

News About Japanese Bonsai Trees

The Independent

Ashlander John Whitt enjoys lifelong project of bonsai trees
The Independent
ASHLAND Bonsai! The very name evokes images of faraway lands and beautifully landscaped gardens. For Ashland resident John Whitt, a childhood love of reading encyclopedias led him to discover Japan and its miniature trees. He learned the art of ...


Bonsai master takes hobbit-size trees to Philadelphia Flower Show
Bonsai master Chase Rosade, 82, prunes a Japanese maple bonsai in his New Hope studio March 8, 2017, next to a Japanese white pine. He started the ...

and more »

Bucks County Courier Times

Bonsai master devotes life to ancient art of tiny ornamental potted trees
Bucks County Courier Times
Solebury's Chase Rosade has dedicated his life bonsai. His creations and live demonstrations have been a yearly staple at the show, which opens to the public ...

and more »

Japan to be first stop for World Cultural Celebration
During the Friday evening event, in addition to the breathtaking bonsai exhibit, you will be able to sample Japanese cuisine and sake will be available to top off your cultural enjoyment. Benihana restaurant will sponsor delicious sushi appetizers. On ...

Tasmania Examiner

The art behind tiny trees | Photos
Tasmania Examiner
She was introduced to the craft by her husband, Neil Farrell, who has since passed away. At the time of his passing, Mrs Farrell said she wasn't sure whether to give away the hobby that she had taken a keen interest in, or to pursue it. She dived right ...

Bobby's Bama: North Alabama Japanese Garden
Robert Black is the man credited with starting the North Alabama Japanese Garden on Monte Sano Mountain. "My oldest daughter and I got a little project going on. I closed a garden center down and I had a lot of Bonsai and little Japanese plants around ...

ABC Newspapers

Garden Views: Caring for your outdoor Bonsai tree
ABC Newspapers
The word bonsai, literally translated, means “a tree planted in a shallow container.” The art of bonsai originated in China and was later refined in Japan. There are indoor bonsai and outdoor bonsai. My tree is an outdoor tree, so I will be challenged ...

5-day workshop on Hon Non Bo organized
Daily Pioneer
Hon Non Bo is an art of making miniature landscapes; it means the mountain landscape panorama. It is developed from the Chinese art of Penjing just like the bonsai in Japan. Bonsai is one of the most favourite hobbies of the people across the world.


Create living sculptures with Kokedama
The next step is to layer a handful of the bonsai mix, which includes bark, lava rock, sand, and peat moss. After placing the plant and its roots onto the mound, add a little water until you can form a small ball of earth without it breaking apart ...

South Bend Tribune

Library in Mishawaka offers a glimpse into Japanese culture | Local ...
South Bend Tribune
New room at Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library features items from Mishawaka's sister city in Japan.

and more »

Google News