The very word â€˜bonsaiâ€™ conjures so many thoughts to many people. Almost a warrior sound yet in reality the word bonsai refers to a miniature tree called a bonsai tree.
Where Bonsai Started.
Most of us associate bonsai with the Japanese. Apparently the art of bonsai care and development as we know it today originated in China and was known as Pensai in China. Pensai as it was known has been traced back to around 600 a.d. and subsequently made itâ€™s way to Japan
The word "Bonsai" comprises of two parts â€˜boneâ€™ meaning tray and "sai" meaning plant, which when literally translated equates to â€œtray plantâ€. We are so emphatic to ensure that we correctly call bonsai â€“ trees when part of the derivation of the word does in fact mean plant.
In the care of bonsai trees weâ€™ll take a few clear topics:-
O Watering bonsai
O Light and Humidity for my bonsai tree
O Bonsai Feeding
How frequently to water a Bonsai.
The first question most budding bonsai carers ask is â€œHow often should I water a bonsai tree?â€ and the answer depends on many different factors. Watering and caring for a bonsai tree is a constant balance between too much and too little.
Variables to consider are when caring for your bonsai tree are:-
O The type of bonsai tree.
O The time of year is it â€“ winter, summer, spring or autumn (fall).
O The location of the bonsai tree within your house or garden.
O The location of your property â€“ i.e. Alaska or Arizona.
How should I water a bonsai tree?
The "best" way to water is to first wet the soil a little, this will improve the soil’s ability to take in or absorb a larger volume of water, and then you should water thoroughly until the soil is saturated. Make certain that the entire soil mass gets wet – every time – you water and wait for the excess to run out of the drainage holes to be sure.
When should I water a Bonsai tree?
The "best" time to water is probably early in the morning, before the bonsai tree begins its day of growing activities. Also take a look during the day if the bonsai tree located in a particularly hot and dry place. Bonsai trees do not grow when the soil is too wet and they do not grow when the soil is too dry. A bonsai tree takes in water and nutrients during the â€˜in betweenâ€™ periods.
Work out a sensible watering schedule that is realistic and achievable and try and maintain a regular caring plan for your bonsai tree.
What kind of water should I use to water a bonsai tree?
Water your a bonsai with room temperature tap water. If the water is too hot or too cold it may â€œshockâ€ the treeâ€™s roots. If you have the ability, facility and time to collect rain to water â€“ great.
Light and Humidity for my bonsai tree.
What light does a bonsai require?
Lighting is critical to your bonsai tree and keeping it healthy. Unfortunately there is no scientific formulae to â€˜how much lightâ€™ does my bonsai tree need. Light requirements vary within the type of tree and the layout and design of your home.
What is the best kind of light for a bonsai?
Sunlight is by far the best type of light for bonsai trees and most other members of the planet earth! If the window providing most light is a convenient place then by all means use the best window klocation. Itâ€™s all down to balance â€“ you donâ€™t want to have your bonsai tree in a â€˜windyâ€™ hallway â€“ even if it is the brightest place in your homw. If you preferred location doesnâ€™t get too much light then utilise som e artifical light. So, in a case like this you need to find an alternative and more practical location and use some type of artificial lighting system. A simple â€˜grow-lightâ€™ and timer will be a low cost and practical solutuion.
What about humidity and my bonsai tree?
Humidity helps to reduce water loss and a very dry environment cuase a bonsai tree to naturally loose itâ€™s water content. Obviously avoid artifical and local causes of â€˜drynessâ€™ â€“ i.e. donâ€™t place next to a fire or heater. Indoor bonsai trees slow their growth in winter and do not need as much water. If you have a dry home (lacking humiditry) you can place your bonsai on a "humidity tray" filled with pebbles â€“ this is probably improves your own environment too! The tray should be kept wet at all times so as to increase humidity levels. The other very simple solution is a spray. Using room temperature water spray the bonsai tree with a fine mist or spray.
Why Do Bonsai Need Fertiliser?
The bonsai environment is â€˜artificialâ€™ and therefore requires our intervention, help and care in order to maintain the health and development of the bonsai tree. The simplest way to achieve a healthy bonsai tree in addition to frequent watering is a frequent dose of fertiliser to the soil.
What type of fertiliser to use?
Use a balanced fertiliser to feed your bonsai tree – typically 20-20-20, at 25% strength, every other week. The numbers 20-20-20 are the percentage, by weight, of the N-P-K (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) contained in that fertiliser. These elements will enhance the growth of your bonsai tree.
What Does N-P-K Stand For & What Does It Do?
N – Nitrogen is responsible for the size and amount of new growth and, to some extent, the green colour of the leaves. Nitrogen is required for cell division and, also, protein manufacturing.
P – Phosphorus is also necessary for cell division and is associated with good root growth and flowering.
K – Potassium activates cell enzymes and is related with overall healthy cell activity.
Bonsai Fertiliser Notes
O Always water your bonsai thoroughly before fertilising and never use fertiliser on a dry tree.
O Never fertilise a sick tree, as fertiliser is not medicine.
O If you are not sure how much fertiliser to use, follow the directions on the label and never use more than recommended.
O Fertiliser is a good thing, but too much is a bad thing.