How to grow a Bonsai

Caring for a bonsai needn’t be a chore like you think.  Admit it, you’ve always wanted one but the lack of know-how to properly take care of it, has made you put buying one, off.  Read on.  Follow these simple steps and you will have a flourishing small wonder on your desk.  Snip snip.


Who can forget Mr. Muagi in Karate Kid meticulously trimming away at his bonsais?  Since then most of us who have seen the movie wanted one.  Bonsai care is nothing to be afraid of, but it is a commitment nonetheless.  We will teach you how to take care of one without the “wax on, wax off” training.


Use our quick guide to grow a proper Bonsai

  • Step one in caring for your Bonsai

If you hadn’t already, buy one.  Don’t be surprised by the cost though.  Some very old trees like 25 year olds, can burn your pocket well into the hundreds of dollars.  Typically they range from $5 to $350.  Remember to buy pruning shears, fertilizer, disease and pest control.



  • Step two in caring for your Bonsai

Like they told you in business school, it is all about location location location.  Your little Bonsai will need approximately 4-6 hours of direct sunlight every day.  Although it is very well possible to grow a Bonsai on your desk or in your living room, we recommend starting out, outdoors.  If you must keep it indoors, keep it at least 30 centimeters away from the glass of the window.


  • Step three in caring for your Bonsai

Fertilize deciduous trees once a month in growing season (summertime) with Nitrosol; flowering and fruiting trees monthly with 3-1-5 during the growing season; and evergreen trees once a month throughout the year.  An ailing tree should never be fertilized.



  • Step four in caring for your Bonsai

You will struggle to control your tree once it has grown out of shape; so if you have bought a ready-grown tree you will need to maintain it regularly.  Prevent shading of lower branches by removing leaves, branches and needles that might cover them.


  • Step five in caring for your Bonsai

One of the most common causes of your little Bonsai’s demise, is incorrect watering.  The soil should not be sodden, but never allow your tree to go bone-dry for more than 8 hours.  You can keep the foliage dust free by spraying a fine mist of water onto them.  To test if your Bonsai is thirsty, feel if it is moist, cool, soft or spongy, if you feel any of these, then it doesn’t need any water.



Author: Shaun De Kock

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