Bonsai are miniature trees that are typically grown in shallow pots. These shallow pots leave little room for error when feeding or watering these unique plants.
Watering a Bonsai Tree
The water requirements of bonsai vary, depending on the type of tree, whether the tree is kept indoors or outdoors and on the humidity conditions of the plant’s environment. Providing a bonsai with the proper amount of water is vital. A tree can be quickly killed as a result of under- or over-watering.
The shallow pots that bonsai are traditionally planted in can quickly become dried out. Since these trees take so long to create, it is worth the effort to learn how to properly water and feed them.
Bonsais should never be allowed to dry out. Keep the soil moist at all times, but do not let the tree become waterlogged, as the roots will begin to rot if they remain too wet for a prolonged period of time.
Although outdoor trees will get rainfall, do not assume that rain is providing an adequate amount of moisture for the tree. The tree’s canopy may block water from falling on the soil below. It may be necessary to hand water using a watering can with a fine rose spout.
Indoor bonsai can be watered by submerging their container, soil and all, in a bowl of water. When air bubbles stop rising to the surface of the water, the plant can be removed from the bowl and allowed to drain. Indoor bonsai can also be watered using a can with a fine rose.
The soil moisture of a bonsai should be checked every day, and during spring, summer and fall, they often need to be watered daily. Outdoor trees that go dormant during winter may not need much more watering that the rain and snow provide. Trees that are indoors will also need less water in winter, but should not be allowed to completely dry out.
Bonsai also require food in order to thrive. The easiest way to provide a consistent flow of fertilizer is to purchase pellets or cakes that are specifically formulated for feeding bonsai trees. Specialized fertilizers can easily be obtained from bonsai suppliers online.
General balanced liquid or pellet plant fertilizers with nitrogen : phosphorus : potassium (N:P:K) ratios of 6:12:10 can be used to feed bonsai spring through early fall. Follow directions on the label for using the proper amount. In late fall bonsais should be switched to a low or no nitrogen mixture (0:10:10) to prepare for dormancy.