Contrary to popular belief, growing bonsai is not as challenging as it seems. Though many aspects must be considered to achieve bonsai mastery, the art of finding the tree’s balance should be a relaxing and peaceful one. Bonsai, loosely meaning "tree in a pot," requires the gardener to grow a miniature tree with proportionately sized branches, stems, foliage, flowers and fruit. Though it is the bonsai tree’s responsibility to grow, the grower must provide the means.
Selecting the right bonsai can determine the overall success or failure of the bonsai. Like full-sized trees, these smaller counterparts have their own requirements regarding cold hardiness, drought tolerance and sunlight requirements. Growers, especially beginners, must ensure that the bonsai selection closely matches the attention she is willing give to the bonsai. Temperate trees are ideal for beginners or if you live in a cooler climate. These trees, such as maple, oak and junipers, are quite tolerant to temperature variations and forgiving to pruning. The succulent jade plant is also an excellent selection with its minimal watering and pruning requirements.
Properly irrigating the bonsai is the most important and generally the most challenging part of bonsai. It is important the bonsai receive ample amounts of water so that it can produce its required nutrients. Still, overwatering the tree can have devastating effects, including the disease and death of the tree. Rather than establish a watering routine for the bonsai, pay close attention to its needs. Check the soil’s moisture levels daily but only irrigate the tree when the soil feels somewhat dry. Avoid stirring the soil when you water the bonsai–use a watering can with a fine spray to irrigate the tree.
The bonsai’s environment is just as important as selection and irrigation. The environment will have a great effect as to how the tree reacts to its irrigation and how it produces its nutrients. Always monitor the bonsai tree carefully for signs of environmental distress. The bonsai should always rest in a warm location that provides at least six hours of sunlight each day. Keep the room’s temperatures at a moderate level. Most indoor rooms have dry air, which can be harsh on a bonsai. Keep the bonsai on a humidity tray or mist the bonsai’s foliage daily to promote comfortable humidity levels for the tree.