Bonsai trees have the same needs as other plants. They need water, light and a suitable temperature. A bonsai grower should be aware of these requirements. The success of bonsai growth depends on these factors. However, there are different types of bonsai. Each has their own needs that the grower should provide.
The bonsai grower should first identify the origin of the bonsai. The care depends on the species. The placement of the plant is also important. Growing bonsai indoors and outdoors requires different care. Two of the most difficult requirements to meet are temperature and lighting. A tropical bonsai may find it hard to live in a place where seasons are extreme. With this, the grower should find the means to control the environment in order for the plant to remain healthy.
Temperature is very important in growing bonsai. During the winter, all indoor bonsai plants should be kept warm but not hot. Proper temperatures should be between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. However, this temperature range may not be suitable for all types of bonsai. Growers should base the temperature on the plant’s origin. Indoor bonsai plants need a standard room temperature. Tropical trees can live in places where room temperatures are maintained for the entire year. Unfortunately, they cannot endure the freezing cold of winter. Because of this, they should not be placed near an open window or in cold places during the winter.
A smart bonsai grower will place their tropical bonsai trees in a place that will keep them warm the whole year round. This is because these plants grow without a dormant period in their natural habitat. They prefer temperatures from 64 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and between 57 and 61 degrees Fahrenheit at night. This temperature range is actually the normal indoor temperature during the winter in most homes. Growers should avoid cold bonsai feet and roots. This usually happens when their roots are colder than the indoor environment. Because of this, growers should make sure that their bonsai trees are placed near a heat source. With this, the plant will not lose moisture. It will also keep humidity at proper levels.
Meanwhile, Mediterranean and sub-tropical bonsai trees can tolerate cooler temperatures even in the winter season. Non-tropical trees actually need this in order to live. They need a cool environment during the winter. They can be placed in a cold room or on a cool window ledge. Sub-tropical bonsai trees can also be placed outside. However, they should be protected from drafts.
Maintaining Bonsai Root Temperature
Bonsai roots are very sensitive to changes in temperature. Growers should ensure that they do not get too cold during the winter or too dry during the summer. The first thing they should do is to trim the bonsai tree in spring. It is best that they do the trimming in the shade to make sure that the root ball does not get dry due to sun exposure. Growers should always carry a spray bottle with water to moisten the roots every time they appear dry.
It is very crucial to manage the temperature during the summer. The placement of the bonsai trees will depend on their origin. Tropical trees should be in warmer environments while temperate species should be placed in the shade or in a partly-shaded area. These temperate species are very sensitive to extreme temperatures. Similarly, tropical species may also die from extremely high temperatures. In fact, they are more likely to be damaged by heat than other plants.
Bonsai tree growers should decide on a winter survival method for their plants. Again, their decision will depend on the bonsai’s origin. It is highly recommended that they change the placement of the plant before the temperature has dropped. This will help them minimize damage to roots due to very low temperatures.
Temperate species should be allowed to stay in the cold to facilitate the dormant period. However, growers should ensure that their roots don’t get frozen. The dormant period is the time when the new growth in all tree species gets hard and sturdy. Unfortunately, bonsai trees do not harden due to the fact that they are planted in a container. This makes them more prone to getting cold feet. The best location to store temperate species during winter is in the shed or garage. They should be covered with newspapers that are anchored with clothespins. This is to ensure that they get proper insulation.
On the other hand, tropical species should be kept warm during the winter. The best place to store them is in a greenhouse. These bonsai trees can only maintain their root temperature when they get access to sunlight and stay in a warm environment. These factors are very important for tropical bonsai trees. Otherwise, their roots will get cold. It may be difficult to revive them after this happens.
Monitoring The Temperature
Bonsai plant growers should be very watchful with changes in temperature. They should be able to monitor even the slightest changes to ensure that their bonsai grows as they expect it to. They may use the thermostat on their wall to control the temperature. Another great option is to use a thermometer. These devices are quite small and very suitable for monitoring temperatures in a smaller environment. Growers should place them in an area close to the bonsai tree. This will provide the actual temperature of the microenvironment.
Avoiding Temperature Fluctuation
The indoor temperature is greatly affected by the presence of windows, heating systems, fans and breezy hallways. Bonsai plants are very sensitive to sudden temperature changes. A drastic and sudden drop or spike can injure the bonsai. The best thing that bonsai growers can do is to ensure that they follow the guide that comes with their bonsai plant. Otherwise, they should not keep any indoor bonsai near an open window or door in order to protect them from drafts.
Examples Of Bonsai Species & Their Required Temperatures
Ficus trees are among the most common tropical trees used for bonsai planting. They come in many varieties like the houseplant ficus, the fruit-bearing fig and the rubber plant. This species can actually be planted at home or in landscaping. Either way, they require proper temperatures in order to grow continuously and healthily.
Ficus trees require 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit at night. They can also live in temperatures ranging from 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Growers should make sure that these tropical trees live in an environment with temperatures below 85 degrees Fahrenheit. These plants will be damaged by drought. They will also experience leaf wilt if the temperature is too high. Conversely, this species will not grow well in cooler temperatures. They will go through a dormancy period in the wrong season when the temperature is not controlled. Basically, Ficus trees should only be planted outdoors in places with mild climates. They grow best in an environment where there is no extreme hot or cold weather.
Juniper Bonsai Tree
Juniper is among the favorites of new bonsai gardeners. They are easy to grow and do not require too much maintenance. They can grow outside under the direct heat of the sun. Juniper trees can also grow in cold regions without protection unless the climate becomes too frigid during winter. They need protection only when the temperature drops lower than freezing. In this instance, growers should protect their roots with covering or mulch.