How hard is it to keep a bonsai tree alive

Fertilizing Bonsai, feeding is crucial for trees

The basic components of fertilizer

There are three basic elements in any fertilizer; Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium (NPK.) Nitrogen increases the growth of the leaves and stems or the growth above ground. Phosphorus contributes to healthy root growth and the growth of fruits and flowers. Potassium enhances overall plant health. Growers often use different ratios of NPK for different trees and at different times of the year. However, experts are increasingly recommending using the same NPK ratio throughout the Bonsai growth cycle. Apart from the three macronutrients (NPK), fertilizers can also include a range of micronutrients like Iron, Manganese, Boron, Molybdenum, Zinc, and Copper.

When should I apply fertilizer?

Most Bonsai trees should be fertilized during the entire growing season; early spring through mid-fall. Older and more mature trees are often fertilized less frequently, depending on the species, time of year, stage of development, and health of the tree. Indoor trees can be fertilized all year round. Check our care guides for specific information about when to fertilize each specific tree species.

Biogold is an organic fertilizer from Japan, often used for bonsai trees, with an NPK of 6:7:4. The fertilizer pellets can be placed on the soil surface with fertilizer covers.

Which fertilizer to choose?

It is important to choose the right fertilizer for your Bonsai plants and apply the right quantities. For outdoor Bonsai we recommend using a relatively high Nitrogen content fertilizer like NPK 10:6:6. in spring, a more balanced fertilizer like NPK 6:6:6 is more optimal for summertime, and a low Nitrogen fertilizer like NPK 3:6:6 for autumn. More and more, experts are favoring using a balanced fertilizer throughout the growing season, and slowly decreasing the amount applied towards the end of the growing season.

The fertilizer you choose should also depend on the developmental stage of your trees. Our goal for a Bonsai in early development is strong growth, hence we need a relatively strong fertilizer. For a Bonsai in late development we desire balanced growth for fine ramification, and a balanced fertilizer would be recommended. For far more in-depth explanations, consider enrolling in our Beginners course.

Subtropical tree species are usually kept indoors and don't experience seasonal changes. They grow year-round and need to be fertilized consistently. For indoor Bonsai, we recommend a balanced liquid fertilizer. Follow the guidelines as stated on the product packaging.

There are a few exceptions worth pointing out for using varying ratios of NPK. Using a high Phosphorous fertilizer like NPK 6:10:6 can help promote the flowering growth of a Bonsai tree. Using a fertilizer with a slightly lower Nitrogen content or reducing the amount of fertilizer used can be advantageous for older or more mature Bonsai. Bonsai fertilizer is like any other, but buying from an online Bonsai store will ensure you find the right NPK values to promote Bonsai growth. Biogold is a favored fertilizer among Bonsai enthusiasts, but any fertilizer with the right NPK value is perfectly fine. There is a wide variety of liquid, solid, synthetic, and organic fertilizers. What type of fertilizer you use, doesn't matter, but you have to make sure to carefully follow the application guidelines as stated on the product’s packaging.

Solid Bonsai fertilizer.
Liquid fertilizer.

How much fertilizer should I apply?

The quantity of fertilizer you use and the frequency in which you apply it can vary depending on which fertilizer you buy. Follow the instructions listed on your fertilizer packaging to make sure you feed your Bonsai correctly. Make sure your Bonsai is planted in a proper, well-draining Bonsai soil, to prevent a buildup of salts.

You can choose to slightly reduce the recommended quantity for trees that are no longer in training to balance their growth, instead of stimulating it. When using solid fertilizer it helps to use fertilizer covers to make sure the fertilizer stays in place. Never overfeed your trees, as this will have serious consequences for their health.

Bonsai soil, recommended substrate mixtures

Bonsai substrates

The quality of soil used directly affects the health and vigor of your tree. It’s our experience that unhealthy trees that lack vigor, are very often planted in poor Bonsai soil. Or worse, planted in normal garden soil. These types of soil harden easily when it gets dry, which is very harmful to the growth of Bonsai trees and makes proper Watering very difficult.

The soil requires several qualities for it to be considered a good soil mix for your bonsai:

Good water-retention
The soil needs to be able to soak in and retain sufficient quantities of water to supply moisture to the Bonsai between each watering. However, too much water retention will damage your tree.

Good drainage
Excess water must be able to drain immediately from the pot. Too much water-retention will rot the roots and kill the bonsai tree. Soils that don’t drain well enough also lack aeration and are prone to a buildup of salts.

Good aeration
The particles used in a Bonsai mix should be big enough to allow tiny gaps, or air pockets, between each particle. Other than providing oxygen for the roots, these air pockets also allow for good bacteria and mycorrhizae. This allows the processing of food to happen before being absorbed by the tree’s root-hairs and sent to the leaves for photosynthesis.

Organic or Inorganic Soils

Soil mixes are described as being either organic or inorganic. Dead plant matters such as peat, leaf-litter, or bark are described as being organic soil components. The potential problem with organic soil components is that organic matter breaks down and reduces drainage over time. Some organic components deteriorate at varying speeds, so it’s hard to say how quickly organic soil becomes harmful. If you’re adamant about using an organic soil mix, we recommend choosing a mixture that uses pine bark. Most potting composts absorb water very poorly once they are completely dry. This is one of the biggest problems for cheap indoor Bonsai trees purchased at garden centers. You’d think you watered the tree but the water runs past the soil into the bottom of the pot!

Inorganic soil components contain little to no organic matter such as volcanic lava, calcite, and baked/fired clays. They absorb fewer nutrients and water than organic soils but are great for drainage and aeration. The limited absorption capacity also gives us more control over the amount of fertilizer in the soil.

A particle-based, well-structured, inorganic soil allows water to drain quickly and fresh air to continually enter the soil. A compacted organic soil that lacks structure also lacks aeration and drainage which deteriorates the overall health of your tree, and without swift action, will eventually cause root rot and kill your bonsai.

Soil components

The most common components for Bonsai soil mixtures are Akadama, Pumice, Lava rock, organic potting compost, and fine gravel also known as grit.

From left to right; organic potting compost, Akadama, Pumice, and lava rock.

Akadama is hard-baked Japanese clay specifically produced for Bonsai purposes and available on all online Bonsai shops. If you purchase Akadama, keep in mind that It needs to be sifted before use, and after about two years it does start to break down which reduces aeration. This means that regular repotting is required, or that Akadama should be used in a mix with well-draining soil components. Akadama is rather expensive and is therefore sometimes substituted with similar fired/baked clays that are easily available at any garden center. Even cat-litter can be used as a substitute, check our Bonsai forum to see which brands are available in your country.

Pumice is a soft volcanic rock, which can absorb water and nutrients quite well. When used in a Bonsai soil mix it helps to retain water and allows the roots to ramify very well.

Lava rock also helps retain water and create a good structure when part of a Bonsai substrate. Roots can't grow into the Lava rock.

Organic potting compost is made up of peat moss, perlite, and sand. On its own, it retains too much water and doesn't allow for proper aeration and drainage, but as part of a soil mixture, it can work very well.

Fine gravel / grit helps to create a well-draining and aerated Bonsai soil. It is also used as a bottom layer in Bonsai pots to enhance drainage. Most experts have stopped using it, as they tend to stick with a mixture of Akadama, Pumice, and Lava rock.

Recommended Bonsai soil mixtures

Different tree-species demand different soil-mixtures, so make sure to check our Tree species guide to find the optimum mixture for your specific trees. However, we can describe two main mixtures we use for either deciduous or coniferous trees. Both mixtures consist of Akadama for water retention, Pumice for good substrate structure, and Lava rock for aeration and drainage.

Note that both mixtures can, and should, be adapted to your circumstances and/or location. If you know you won’t have enough time to check on your trees twice a day, then add more Akadama or organic potting compost to your mix for increased water retention. If you live somewhere with a wet climate, add more lava rock or grit to enhance the draining qualities of your mixture.

Deciduous Bonsai soil

  • 50% Akadama
  • 25% Pumice
  • 25% Lava rock

Coniferous and Pine soil

  • 33% Akadama
  • 33% Pumice
  • 33% Lava rock

Bonsai: description, cultivation, types (photo)

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Once upon a time, a Chinese emperor ordered the creation of a miniature empire for his palace, with mountains, plains, meadows, forests and rivers, the sight of which would please his heart and eyes. To fulfill the ruler's command, the gardeners created tiny living trees, a miniature analogue of growing giants.


  • 1 Plants in a flat jar
  • 2 Appearance
  • 3 Bonsai trees in the house
  • 4 Growing features
  • 5 Necessary maintenance

Plants in flat jar

The art of bonsai (translated from Japanese means "a plant grown in a tray") is the process of growing in a small shallow vessel an exact, but reduced to a miniature size, copy of a tall tree grown in natural conditions.

The birthplace of this fascinating art form is China, where it originated about two thousand years ago, and six centuries later, together with the Buddhists, it ended up in Japan, where it developed: the Japanese not only improved the methods of growing graceful trees, but also systematized (Japanese bonsai differs from Chinese in great elegance).

If we talk about Japanese art, it must be borne in mind that it is not just a process of growing a bonsai, but is a whole philosophy, since the person involved in this must have the appropriate attitude: be wise, benevolent, delicate and have a sense of justice.

Since the art of bonsai in the twentieth century became extremely popular, this approach to growing miniature trees by Europeans was somewhat simplified: those who want to have such a miracle in their home, it is enough to take their work seriously, with love and show maximum attention to the plant. In this case, miniature trees are quite capable of living for more than a hundred years, uniting several generations of the family with their presence.


Bonsai of pine and other plants must completely resemble a tree grown in natural conditions and even through the leaves have well-visible branches and a strong trunk with clearly visible roots. It is necessary to plant a homemade bonsai in a shallow vessel of a simple shape with a discreet color.

Trees grown by this method are usually small: the largest plant is 120 centimeters high, the smallest one does not exceed five. In this regard, the following classification of plants is distinguished:

  • Large - height from 60 to 120 cm;
  • Medium - 30 to 60 cm;
  • Small - 15 to 30 cm;
  • Miniature - 5 to 15 cm;
  • Tiny - up to 5 cm.

The most popular indoor bonsai are from five to thirty centimeters: they are so beautiful, fragile and graceful that, causing involuntary awe, they give the impression of belonging to an amazing magical land of miniature things.

Dwarf trees in house

Before you create a bonsai at home, you need to consider that experts do not recommend forcibly turning large and medium-sized plants into dwarfs.

In order to grow bonsai at home, it is advisable to either buy an adult tree of the right size, or grow it using seeds.

Experts recommend that people who are interested in how to grow bonsai purchase seeds of plants with small foliage or needles. For example, bonsai of pine, dwarf bamboo, cypress, buckthorn. Ficus bonsai Benjamin is also well suited - an evergreen shrub (despite the fact that this plant does not belong to traditional Japanese art, it is very popular in the world because of its ease of care and rapid growth).

Before you grow a bonsai with your own hands, you need to take into account that the occupation is not easy and you will have to constantly take care of the tree: in order to get a full-fledged plant, it will take at least four years (this is how much it will take for the seeds to germinate and form a strong trunk).

It should also be borne in mind that indoor bonsai are trees, therefore, like other plants of this species, they need fresh air and enough light. For example, bonsai pine is quite a way to grow both indoors and outdoors, but Japanese black pine prefers to grow only outdoors, so in winter you need to place the plant in the coldest room and monitor the lighting.

Growing Features

Create bonsai from tropical and native plants. Before you make a bonsai, you need to consider the following points:

  • What kind of soil does the tree grow on;
  • How light-loving it is;
  • Where it prefers to grow - in the shade or in the light, in wet or dry areas.

Having chosen a suitable soil, having looked at the place where the created bonsai will be located with your own hands, you need to decide which method to grow a tree: by cuttings or with the help of seeds.

A person interested in how to grow bonsai should consider that growing bonsai from seed is the longest process. To create a bonsai of pine, cherry, oak and other trees that are poorly cut by cuttings, it will not work in any other way: only with the help of seeds.

Seeds of plants growing in temperate latitudes should be cold worked. To do this, they must first be placed in a container with moistened sand and put in the refrigerator. At the same time, there is no such trouble with the seeds of plants of subtropical and tropical latitudes, but they must be soaked in slightly warm water the day before sowing.

The soil in which the seeds should be planted should be loose and well breathable (excellent soil for seed germination is obtained by mixing peat with sand). In order for the seeds to germinate, the soil must be moist, and the air temperature should not be lower than 25 degrees.

But after the appearance of sprouts, the situation changes dramatically: the air temperature should not be higher than eighteen degrees. At the same time, young sprouts need moderate moisture and a lot of light, otherwise they will become weak and prone to diseases. After three to four weeks, they are seated in separate vessels (it should be borne in mind that in large dishes the plant may die, since its small root system cannot cope with the abundance of moisture).

Propagation by cuttings is the fastest way. It must be borne in mind that the cuttings of many trees do not take root well, and therefore, in order for everything to work out, optimal conditions should be constantly maintained: combine high air humidity with low soil moisture.

The age of the trees from which cuttings will be cut should be between 5 and 10 years, and if the plant is considered difficult to root, then younger (from 2 to 3 years). At what time of the year to cut the cuttings depends largely on the latitude where the tree grows: for deciduous plants in temperate latitudes, this is May and July, but for conifers, this period occurs either in early spring before the buds begin to swell, or in late summer, when active growth ends.

To get a cutting, you need to take the middle or upper part of the shoot up to 20 cm long, on which there are at least two nodes. A cut is made two centimeters from the lower shoot, after which the cutting is inserted into the ground so that its lower node is completely immersed in the ground: the root system will be located here.

As with seeds, the substrate must be porous to allow good air and water permeability. The sprout should be periodically sprayed or placed in a sufficiently damp place (the planted stalk can be placed under a glass jar or covered with polyethylene). The air temperature must be at least twenty-four degrees, and the place where the cutting will be located should be well lit and ventilated.

tree shape

When forming a composition, you need to remember that everything should look natural, and all components should be combined with each other. For example, it is impossible to plant flowering and fruit trees, grass and shrubs, or shrubs and trees in one vessel. Also, the composition should not have a lot of greenery or color.

One of the most difficult tasks is to create a tree of the intended shape, for which they use methods such as pruning, bandaging, cutting branches and other methods (the plant should not have more than two or three branches). Among the variety of forms, the main types of bonsai are distinguished:

  • Straight - the tree has a straight, slightly thickened trunk;
  • Oblique - grows at an angle;
  • Multi-stemmed - the tree lies on the ground, and several trunks grow from it;
  • Cascading - the top of the tree is inclined below the soil boundary.

Essential maintenance

While the plant is just being formed, it should be borne in mind that it needs to be watered very often, but not flooded, fertilizers should be given in limited quantities, and transplanted once a year, in spring, removing excess roots. As for the soil in which the tree will be planted, it is advisable to make it yourself by mixing humus, clay and fine gravel or coarse sand (soil sold in stores is not very suitable).

When caring for miniature trees, it should be borne in mind that it is easier to grow it outdoors, since room air is too dry for it. If the plant is kept on a balcony or in a garden, it is quite easy to take care of it (the only thing is that in summer you need to cover it from direct sunlight, and hide it from rain and wind in winter). But indoor bonsai require careful care, so they are usually short-lived.

There are trees designed specifically for the apartment, and therefore, having greater endurance, they require less maintenance. But they still need to be kept away from heating devices: they need high humidity. Also, when caring for these plants, it must be borne in mind that they are afraid of drafts.

In any case, both outdoor and indoor miniature trees are among the most demanding indoor plants, and therefore care for them is not easy: improper care will either kill the tree or turn it into an ordinary, unattractive plant.

Given that bonsai is mainly a plant of tropical and subtropical latitudes, the climate of the temperate zone does not suit it, therefore, it must be created independently.

When growing a tropical tree, it must be remembered that since the day is shorter in temperate latitudes, additional lighting must be created for the plant (this issue is especially relevant in winter). Considering that each tree needs a different amount of light, it is advisable to check with specialists or on the Internet on special thematic forums about how to care for your plant (how much light it needs and where exactly to put it).

Subtropical trees, such as rosemary, pomegranate, olive, are kept in a room in winter, the temperature in which ranges from 5 to 15 ° C, and taken out into the fresh air in summer. But it’s more difficult to take care of tropical trees: they don’t like cold, so they are kept indoors, the temperature of which ranges from 18 to 25 ° C, and even in summer they are not recommended to be placed on window sills made of stone. It should be remembered that the higher the temperature indicators of the atmosphere, the more the tree needs light, water and nutrients.

Since a small tree is in dire need of moisture, it needs to be provided. To do this, you need to put a pot with a plant in a flat vessel filled with water, at the bottom of which there are pre-laid pebbles or a grate. The water should always be at the same level, and the tree itself should be regularly sprayed with water.

As for watering, it must be taken into account that the earth must be constantly wet (subtropical plants are watered less often). As for tropical plants, they do not tolerate cold water, so it is advisable to use either melted or settled water.

How to grow bonsai at home

Bonsai is the ancient Oriental art of growing trees in miniature, the main goals of which are maximum realism and similarity with prototypes. Many people think that doing this art is too difficult. But this is far from true. Of course, to get a beautiful bonsai tree, you need to make some efforts and strictly adhere to certain rules, but you will not need special gardening skills. You can also always buy a ready-made tree. In our catalog you will find a lot of indoor plants and flowers in Uzhgorod and other cities of Ukraine.

What plants are suitable for bonsai

In fact, bonsai can be formed from any tree species that are not naturally prone to intensive growth, but the fact is that not all plants can withstand such frequent pruning. So, before you buy a tree, find out how whimsical it is, and whether your microclimate is suitable for this species. So, if you consider yourself a “teapot” among plant growers, we recommend stopping at the Chinese juniper. This woody plant of the cypress family takes root well in our natural conditions and reacts positively to pruning. The next undemanding species, which also has beautiful foliage and even bark, is the common hornbeam. Also pay attention to the Japanese maple, hawthorn and decorative apple tree. But certain types of trees with large leaves are best avoided, with those you will have to get confused. The most win-win solution is to grow bonsai from local tree species that are inherent in your natural area and climate type.

How to grow bonsai

There are several ways to create a bonsai composition. And the first thing you need to buy the source. If you are not in a hurry and ready for a slow but productive process, then choose young trees - you can easily create bonsai from them in your own unique style.

Growing bonsai from cuttings

If you are going to grow a floral masterpiece from cuttings, you will need to prepare for a long and painstaking process. For those who are not in the know, cuttings are nothing more than small pieces of twigs cut off from the mother plant. A very important point is which donor tree the cutting is taken from. The plant must certainly be healthy and preferably annual. At the same time, the length of the cutting should not exceed ten centimeters, and the number of leaves on it should not exceed five to eight.

Cut cuttings are devoid of roots, and they take root by planting in the ground. The best periods for cutting conifers are considered to be the middle of spring or the very beginning of autumn. And for hardwoods, it's always June. The most successful containers for planting bonsai are plastic mini-vessels.

In order for the cuttings to take root quickly, they can be additionally treated with a growth stimulator solution before planting. All stimulants are created on the basis of hormones, so the result will certainly be positive. Moreover, deciduous trees take root much faster - in just a couple of weeks. But the rooting of conifers can take a year or even more.

So, take your container, fill it ⅔ full with sand and peat mixed together, and start planting. In this case, the distance between the cuttings should be the same. Now you can pour the seedlings with water and wrap the container with a transparent film. Put the greenhouse in the shade and do not forget to check every day whether there is enough moisture in the soil.

A sign that the cutting has begun to take root will be the appearance of the first young leaves on the shoot. At this moment, it is already possible to slightly open the film so that the future tree slowly hardens and begins to get used to the general environment. After a couple of months, such shoots become suitable for transplanting into separate containers. The best substrate for cuttings is loose earth mixed with clay.

In the first year of life, the stalk does not need to be fed - in fresh soil, there will be enough useful minerals and microelements anyway. And in order for the shoots to survive the first winter, they need to build a shelter. To do this, take containers with seedlings, dig them a little into the ground and cover with a lid or a dense film that will not let the wind through.

It should be noted that not all tree species can be grown by cuttings. These include cedar and pine. But among the most “fast” in terms of growth, elms stand out (in particular, dwarf elm), as well as privet, maple and barberry.

Growing bonsai from seeds

Be prepared for the process of growing bonsai from seeds to be very long. So, it will take you no less than 10-15 years to form a mini tree. All those plants in pots that you can find on the shelves in specialized stores are just about that age. Why does seed growing take such a long time? Let's figure it out further.

The fact is that in order to obtain a certain form from certain types of trees, you need to start striving for this almost from the first minutes of the plant's life. This primarily applies to all types of elms. The only way to transform an elm tree into its signature vertical style is to remove some of the roots in the first year of its growth. Then you just have to regularly trim its shoots on the sides.

If everything is done correctly, by the twentieth year of life it will be clearly seen that the bonsai is grown from seed and has been shaped as such from the very beginning of life. This is determined by the appearance of that part of the root system that is above the soil surface. Thus, the roots of a properly grown bonsai are like equidistant rays of stars that extend from a perfectly shaped trunk. At the same time, the ratio of the size of the crown of a tree and the height of its trunk is proportional. It is impossible to achieve such subtleties by cuttings.

By the way, if you grow bonsai from ephedra, do not be afraid to experiment and try to bend its branches into curls. So you can create your own unique fantasy composition. To create another interesting effect, you will need a wire: lay it on the bark and wait until it grows a little into its top layer. Over time, the resulting line will resemble a scar, as if it were a healed wound on the human body. On a rough bark, such scars look especially impressive.

The trunks of black pine grown from seed are very good for curling. From this tree, the wire can be removed already three years after installation - the bonsai will just have time to get used to its new shape, and its bark will not suffer from this manipulation. Moreover, if desired, the wire can be fixed and re-fixed.

Any intrusion into the trunks and branches of the bonsai is not allowed even after the plant has reached the age of 45. The fact is that over time, the bark begins to coarsen and the “wounds” from the wire simply will not “heal”.

And now back to the question - where to get the seeds for growing bonsai? The easiest way to get them is to buy them in the store. But you can collect the seeds yourself just during an autumn walk through the forest or botanical garden. Do not pass by plantations of hazel, juniper, blackthorn - the seeds of these tree varieties have a hard shell and are easy to grow. To do this, take a container with wet sand, put the seeds, and sprinkle another layer of sand on top. Cover the seedlings with foil, put in a place without drafts and without direct sunlight, leaving the container there for the winter. Periodically moisten the soil with a spray bottle and do not allow it to dry out. This method is called freezing: winter frosts have a devastating effect on the seed coat, which causes cracks to appear on it, from where spring sprouts then sprout.

As a rule, not every seed can sprout, and this is quite normal. Do not throw away unsprouted seeds, they can still sprout for the next season. If the winters in your area of ​​​​residence are more like a long autumn, you can use the freezer to freeze.

As for soft-shelled seeds, they can be planted in the ground as soon as they have been harvested. Maple seeds germinate the fastest. The only feature is that the container with maple seedlings needs to organize diffused light. In warm winter, the first sprouts will appear without even waiting for spring.

Maintenance and care of bonsai

In order for your bonsai creation to grow and develop, it must be properly and regularly maintained. However, do not forget that each tree species has its own special requirements. Earlier we already figured out what cyclamen care is, and now we will dwell in more detail on the rules for caring for bonsai.

Bonsai site

To begin with, it is worth understanding that some types of bonsai require outdoor cultivation, and some can only grow indoors. So, street bonsai cannot be placed in the house, and home bonsai cannot be transferred to fresh air. Be sure to check this point before buying, so as not to accidentally harm the plant.

Subtropical seedlings will thrive best in places where there is a lot of light and high temperatures. You can put such bonsai in open space only if you live in the southern latitudes and are sure that there will be no sudden cold snaps. But it is better not to take risks and put a pot with a tree in a warm room. For outdoor bonsai varieties, even if you grow a representative of the local flora, one way or another, you will need to create a shelter for the cold season.

Soil and irrigation

A range of factors influence the frequency and volume of watering a seedling. And this is not only the type of tree, but also the size of the container in which you grow it, and the composition of the substrate, as well as the type of climate and environmental conditions. In any case, an excess of moisture will lead to the development of root rot, which can cause the death of the tree. And the lack of moisture will not bring benefits. Moreover, bonsai trees are always planted in small pots, which is why the soil in them dries out pretty quickly. Therefore, check daily that the substrate is sufficiently and, most importantly, evenly moistened.

The soil for bonsai must be fertile, rich in nutrients. Gardeners recommend repotting bonsai once every two years. It is in a couple of years that the root system of a tree can grow quite strongly and compact the soil, preventing it from being properly saturated with water, which is so necessary for the plant.

Top dressing

Top dressing is an important aspect of bonsai care. Of course, the type of soil plays an important role, but since trees are always grown in containers with limited space, fertilization is mandatory for normal growth and development of the crop. It is best to add top dressing to the soil during the growing season, that is, exactly when the plant forms its immune system. However, first of all, you need to focus on the needs of your particular bonsai variety. The form of release of dressings (dry or liquid) does not matter.

Methods of forming bonsai

The art of bonsai involves not only growing a tree, but also its formation or, in other words, transformation. This process is both creative and painstaking. It took Eastern craftsmen more than one hundred years to bring the methods of bonsai formation to perfection. But now everyone can master the subtleties of trimming and shaping bonsai with wire. The main thing is not to rush, because the miniaturization of trees is a leisurely journey that should be enjoyed every day.

Bonsai pruning

Pruning is considered to be a very important method of keeping a bonsai neat and tidy and maintaining the tree's original appearance in the wild. The best periods for pruning bonsai are considered the spring and summer seasons. Get ready for the fact that in order to work with thick branches you will need to acquire special gardening tools. And it is better if it is not a pruner, but concave scissors - the cuts obtained after them grow somewhat faster and more painlessly for the plant.

To understand which branches should be cut and which should be left, it is desirable, of course, to see the tree live. However, there are certain points that will become signals that you definitely cannot do without pruning. For example:

  • if two branches on your bonsai grow at the same level, then one of them must be pruned;
  • you need to get rid of all branches with too strong bends;
  • too thick branches in the upper part of the crown always look cumbersome and also not needed.

Forming bonsai with wire

We have already mentioned above that you can give the desired shape to bonsai using ordinary wire - gently bending and unbending branches with an ingrown metal tape. The main thing is not to overdo it and remove the wire in a timely manner with wire cutters until the branches begin to coarsen and thicken.

Moreover, on trees with smooth bark, the wire should remain for a slightly shorter period than on trees with rough trunks. This is due to the fact that on a smooth surface the marks will remain more distinct and not always aesthetic. It is allowed to fix the wire in any season of the year.

Artificial aging of bonsai

Artificial aging of a young tree is a very popular method of shaping bonsai. Miniature old-timers always look very unusual. Coniferous species are most easily amenable to artificial aging, but in the case of deciduous, everything will also work out.

So, in order to age the plant, you will need wire cutters or a sharp knife. Remove a small layer of bark with a tool. It is unlikely that it will be possible to do this confidently and accurately the first time, so at first it is better to practice on any branches (the main thing is that they are not dry).

Please note that the bark must not be removed completely. Leave a few thin stripes - they are necessary for the access of moisture and organic matter from the soil to the crown.

Clean removal of the bark is allowed only on those branches that will be cut in the future, as well as on those that, according to the idea, will be “dead”.

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