Bonsai are miniature plants that are realistic depictions of trees in pots.
The art of creating bonsai, is the reproduction of natural tree forms in miniature, has its roots in China and Japan where it has been applied for centuries. In eastern countries, it has a strong symbolism and is associated with peace, harmony and balance with the natural environment. The ornamental value and beauty of a bonsai grows as it ages and depends on the type of plant and the shape of its trunk, branches and roots.
It is known that bonsai need special care and proper care to remain beautiful and healthy in this tiny form. Although they have a limited growth of up to 1 meter in height, bonsai are not necessarily dwarf plant varieties. Plants that have relatively small leaves are easier to turn into bonsai, however all species of plants that have a woody trunk and grow branches can become bonsai. When the trees are planted in pots, the growth of the root system and the absorption of nutrients is limited. With various techniques, such as pruning, placing wires on the shoots, with controlled watering and fertilizing we can shape the plants and create the corresponding miniature trees. The process of creating a bonsai plant is extremely complex and usually takes several years.
What is the proper placement for bonsai?
A very common misconception is that bonsai trees are kept indoors. In fact, bonsai should be placed outside and exposed to spring, summer, autumn and winter conditions like real trees. Only tropical and subtropical plants can survive in the microclimate of homes and offices.
What kind of soil do bonsai need to thrive?
Bonsai soil must provide the required moisture to the plant’s limited root system and at the same time ensure proper drainage to remove excess water during irrigation. At the same time, the soil must have the appropriate structure and flower arrangement to ensure good ventilation of the plant root, which is necessary for a bonsai plant to thrive. In the market we can get special soil for planting bonsai that usually contains peat, sand, lava, pumice and akadama, a granular clay material that is used extensively in substrate mixtures for bonsai. Alternatively, a good soil mix recipe for most bonsai species is to mix peat, sand, pumice and lava in a 1: 1: 1: 1 ratio.
What are the needs of bonsai in watering and fertilizing?
The most important care for bonsai is watering. Water the bonsai as soon as the soil starts to slightly dry. The bonsai needs enough watering until all the roots in the system are well moistened. To achieve this we have to water until the water starts to come out of the holes of the pot. For best results, in some cases you may need repeated watering a few minutes after watering. For watering the bonsai, use a watering can or watering gun that draws water in the form of a shower so that the soil does not move away from the pot. We can use tap water to water the bonsai, although it is ideal to collect and use salt-free rainwater.
Bonsai need fertilization during their growth from the beginning of spring until the end of autumn. Normal trees can expand their roots in search of nutrients while bonsai planted in small pots need fertilizer to replace the nutrients in the soil. For bonsai, we use a balanced complete liquid fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium in relatively small proportions such as 5-5-5 or 6-6-6. Add the liquid fertilizer once a month, putting larger quantities during the spring and summer period and less in the autumn. Larger trees usually have less need for fertilizer and nutrients, although this also depends on the type of plant, the season and the general image of our bonsai.
One last tip for caring for bonsai
Bonsai pruning is divided into configuration pruning and maintenance pruning. Maintenance pruning is done from spring to early autumn and aims to maintain the shape of the bonsai by slightly pruning the vegetation at the top of the plant. The pruning is usually done in early spring and involves cutting larger shoots of the plant so as to give the plant the shape we want.