These ten simple tips will help all bonsai growers to keep their plants healthy and alive. Avoid doing these common problems and follow the advice to make the most of each bonsai tree.
1. Lack of Water
The most common reason that bonsai trees die is because they are under-watered. These trees are placed within very shallow containers that are made to drain water continuously. Within a day after being watered, the water will completely be dispersed out onto the ground. If they are not watered correctly, they will die.
To water a bonsai tree, users need a fine water nozzle. Any strong spray can wash away soil in the pot and expose the roots. Some experts on bonsai trees recommend watering the entire plant gently. Many of the insects that can cause problems for the plant do not like water. By gently misting the whole plant, the insects lose their warm, dry home. Each bonsai tree needs to be watered every day. During the hot, dry months of summer they may need to be watered once in the morning and once in the evening.
2. Living in the Wrong Environment
People have an unfortunate tendency of treating bonsai trees like house plants. These trees are not house plants; they are trees and should be treated as such. Before the bonsai tree’s environment is picked out, individuals should find out what the natural environment is like for the plant. Most bonsai trees will do better on the patio than in the house. Whatever area they are put in should mimic the natural environment the tree is in.
Just because many bonsai trees are naturally grown outside does not mean they should be left there all year. As temperatures change, the bonsai tree may have to be brought inside. The harsh months of winter or sweltering days of summer may be too much for the plant. Find out what the specific species requires and make sure that it is placed in an environment that matches it as closely as possible.
3. The Wrong Soil Type
Bonsai trees do not grow in regular potting soil. These plants require constant drainage. If they are put in the regular potting soil, the water will not drain and the roots will begin to rot. The bonsai soil should be loose and gravely. When new soil has to be added, the correct soil should be placed in the pot. Too many individuals put bonsai trees in the wrong soil and then wonder why the plant dies.
4. Not Using Fertilizer
Most people believe that bonsai trees stay small because they are lacking in nutrients and are hungry. This concept could not be further from the truth. Bonsai trees are smaller because they are pruned and grown to be that way. Just like every other plant, bonsai trees still need to be fertilized. Without the proper nutrients, the bonsai will not grow and may even die.
5. The Wrong Tools
Using the wrong tools can cause severe damage to the plant. The main tool for growing bonsais is a pair of bonsai scissors. Regular scissors are sharpened so surfaces are flat. If a regular pair of scissors is used on the bonsai tree, it will crush and damage the tree. Bonsai scissors are made to cut wires and branches without crushing the plant.
Other tools that are needed include branch cutters, wire cutters and wire pliers. As the plant needs to have older, sturdier branches trimmed, the branches will need to be cut off with branch cutters. Likewise, users will need to have wire cutters and wire pliers that are specifically formatted for bonsai trees. As the tree is shaped towards its ultimate form, these tools will be increasingly vital.
6. The Wrong Pot Type
Unlike other plants, bonsais must have a container that promotes proper drainage. The bonsai pot should have at least one hole in the bottom. Although plastic pots can be used, there are enough cheap ceramic ones on the market that the user might as well purchase the prettier, ceramic option. Once the pot has been pot, a screen should be placed over the hole so that the soil does not escape. Users can use wire so that the screen does not move from its intended spot.
On an aesthetic level, the pot should be selected so that it enhances the beauty of the bonsai. Great pieces of artwork have a frame. Likewise, bonsais are framed by their pot. Garish or excessively ornate pots detract from the natural beauty of the pot. By selecting an elegantly designed pot, users can enhance the beauty of the tree without detracting from it.
7. Transferring it Wrong
Transferring the plant requires attention and care. Users should put enough soil in the new pot for the bonsai to be at the same height. Before it is laced in the pot, a bamboo stick can gently break apart some of the roots. Once the transferring process has been complete, the bonsai and pot should be submerged in water for 20 or 30 minutes so the soil is not so dry. When individuals transfer the plant incorrectly, they can ruin the health of the plant and cause injury. Be careful about breaking apart the roots and always remember to water it afterward.
8. Over Pruning a Bonsai
At some point, users will have to prune their bonsai to get it into the right shape. Correct pruning can accelerate the growth of the bonsai and make it more aesthetically pleasing. Ideally, pruning should expose some of the inner branches to extra sunlight. Before pruning is done, users should look up the correct technique for their plant species. Not all bonsai trees need to be pruned in the same way or with the same regularity. If a bonsai is pruned too much, it will affect the plants ability to absorb sunlight and create nutrients.
9. Not Enough Sunlight
If individuals place their bonsai inside the house, it may not receive enough sunlight. Sunlight helps the bonsai to produce food and grow healthily. If the plant does not get enough hours of sunlight, it can cause it to wilt and become unhealthy. Too much sunlight can produce the same effects. Look up the specific requirements of the species and make sure that it is getting its ideal sunlight amount.
10. Sitting in Standing Water
Bonsais cannot be left in any standing water. About 90 percent of bonsai tree deaths are because of issues with watering. If the bonsai is not properly drained, the roots will begin to rot and the plant will die. To fix this problem, owners need to always purchase a pot that has holes in the bottom and use soil that is intended for bonsais. If there is not bonsai soil available, they can use any loose and gravely soil that allows for proper drainage. These plants are not intended to spend their time in a puddle of water and should always have a good drainage system.