Betula bonsai trees are attractive, eye catching and grow quickly. The Betula bonsai should be kept where plenty of sunshine is available. However, birch tree bonsai should be protected from extreme sunlight and heat. Betula bonsai trees require special care and upkeep, hence, before planting a bonsai tree, gathering some information about the species is beneficial.
Betula or birch tree is also known with its scientific name Betula. It belongs to the Betulaceae family and is pale to reddish brown or yellow in color. Belonging to temperate zones of Northern Hemisphere, birch trees are medium in size and height. This species of tress usually spread across 20-25 feet. Normally, the bark of the birch tree is in white color and papery to appearance. It is a common deciduous hardwood tree found in tropical regions mainly. The barks of Betula or birch trees are distinctive and enticing. It is found in colors like gray, black, white, and silver with horizontal patterns on it. Betula or birch trees also bear flowers and fruits. A native of Asia and European continents, different birch tree species are found across the world. Most commonly cultivated birch trees are Downy birch, Silver birch, and Dwarf birch.
How long does it take to grow Betul (Birch) Bonsai tree?
In the bonsai form, Betula tree can look elegant and stunning, especially in the bonsai pot. The height of the tree can grow up to 25 cm and 30 cm in diameter. Young trees have brown bark and later as the tree ages, the bark turns white and becomes flaky. By midsummer, each year, the Betul bonsai grow faster and require regular feeding with moist soil. Betula tree are ideal for bonsai as they grow fast and easily under plenty of sunshine. They also have minimal needs in terms of seeding, soil, feeding, pruning and propagation. With not much hardwork, the bonsai of Betula tree emerges out well within weeks.
In beauty and appearance, Betula or birch trees look picture-perfect. Their lengthy trunk with pale to reddish brown or yellow color fall foliage adds beauty to any landscape. The white and silvery bark of this tree looks dramatic during night. They look stunning by the lanes, walkways and create an arch-like shape when one trunk leans on other tree trunk. If given a lot of space, birch trees grow full and round in shape. The underplanting of birch trees which grow well in acidic soil are dicentra, lady fern, host, ajuga, bluewood sedge and vinca minor.
Betula or birch trees grow quickly and better in moist soil. They require good quantities of water to grow. These trees are available in more than one species, and can be planted as per different climates. Some commonly found Betula or birch tree species are –
- Cherry birch: Large in size cherry birch has a dark brown bark and yellow foliage. A native to eastern US, Cherry birch flowers during April and May, and serves as food source for animals.
- Bog birch: Bog birch is a native to North America, and grows well in full sun.
- Himalayan birch: With white papery bark, Himalayan birch is native to western Himalayan and Nepal. It ideally grows in cool climates and grows quickly into pyramid like shape.
- Paper bark birch: Native to North America, Paper birch trees have white papery bark and yellow foliage.
- Japanese white birch: Found in Korea and Japan, Japanese white birch grows in moist soil. This speices grows well in cool to temperate climates.
- Dwarf birch: Native to cool temperate regions, Dwarf birch is found in Greenland, Iceland, Northern Europe, Asia, and America.
- River birch: A fast growing landscape tree, this speices of birch tree has reddish-pink bark, which has layers of papery bark that keeps exfoliating, all year round.
- Weeping birch: Having multiple varieties, weeping birch are often found growing naturally and are usually short in height.
- Silver birch: Native to Europe and Asia, Silver birch is one of the most attractive birch species which adds to any landscape when planted.
All these varieties of Betula or birch tree require different landscape, fertilization and pruning. Not all birch tree species grow tall with bark. There are species like Betula nana or Dwarf birch which grows only 1.2 meters and are categorized as shrubs. They generally grow in tundra and arctic regions. This species can survive cold climate and is found in countries like Iceland, and Greenland. The climate also plays an essential part in the growth of this species of trees. The leaves are triangular in shape and bright green when the tree is fully grown. As Betula or birch is deciduous hardwood tree, the fall foliage turns yellow, giving it a dramatic appearance throughout different seasons.
The lifespan of this specie is short and they last upto 30 years. Though they can bear the sun, but the barks are not strong enough to counter gusty winds or storms. Many birch trees get damaged during heavy rainfall or storms. Betula or birch tree are good for reforestation and controlling soil erosion. The wood of this tree is used for furniture, flooring, and as plywood for various purposes. The trees are known sources of birch beer and birch oil as well. Providing food to animals, these trees are priced possessions to maintain the ecological balance.
How to Plant and Grow Betul (Birch) Bonsai?
Before planning to grow any species of Betul Bonsai tree, knowing the ideal climate as per the species will help. It is advisable to understand the lifecycle of the Betul tree before planting them as Bonsai. The temperature of the place also matters in deciding which species to choose.
Position: Check the outdoor where you want to keep your Betul Bonsai. The place where you want to keep the Betul Bonsai should get plenty of sunshine. The Bonsai should be protected from too much cold and frost.
Feeding: Bonsai are limited to container size and hence don’t fertilize the Betul species Bonsai until 3-4 weeks after potting. Feed the Bonsai fortnightly to maintain the size and shape till the summer season. Feed organic fertilizer and always use fertilizer in liquid form.
Watering: Betul or birch tree require lots of water. In summer it needs lots of water, and in winter you can keep the soil moist.
Pruning: Like normal size trees, the Betul Bonsai will also require regular pruning and removal of old branches. The Betul trees are good for growing in the outdoors, Betul trees grow better in full sunshine but extreme heat can adversely impact them. Betul Bonsai will also need pruning of roots. To have a balanced growth in the container, make sure that the roots don’t grow and look tidy.
Propagation: Betul Bonsai easily propagated from seed and thus, a lot of work is not needed. Propagation method can also vary according to the species. Birches grow from cutting but it is better to grow them through seed. Also the time to plant the seed can vary significantly as per the region and type of birch is chosen for cultivation.
Repotting: Repot the Bonsai in every two years. Remove the one-fourth of the roots when pruning. Prune the roots when new buds open.
How to care for your Betul (Birch) Bonsai?
As birch trees grow in its full glory in open landscapes, light and ideal soil conditions are significant to maintain the health of the tree. The bonsai form of the tree is best grown in temperate climate with mild cold conditions. Avoid putting the Betul (Birch) Bonsai in harsh cold; this can spell direct damage to the tree.
The best species for bonsai are Yellow birch or Betula allegheniensis, Cherry birch or Betula lenta, Silver birch or Betula papyrifera, and Gray birch or Betula populifolia. Root pruning helps keep the health of the root system and reduces unnecessary roots from the pot, as well. While doing so, remember to add organic fertilizer fortnightly before summer and every week afterwards.
Betula or birch trees are prone to attacks by insects and pests, mostly in places where it is wounded. Insects like bronze birch borer attacks birch trees, often. So, if you are planning to put Betula bonsai, please make that pruning and removal of damaged or dead branches is done regularly. This helps the bonsai trees fight kinds of infestations. Also, removing the diseased branches will help in maintaining the health of the tree. It is better to regularly prune the tree branches and stems as per the season, before any disease or infestation appears.
Betula or birch trees are suitable for bonsai as they can be kept in the outdoor, and you don’t need plan an extra space for them in the house. Growing Betula or birch bonsai is also not challenging to grow. They grow in full within 3 weeks of proper care. By merely choosing the right pot, seeding, fertilizing and watering, you can get an attractive and healthy Betula or birch bonsai.