Be sure your bonsai care instructions are specific to your tree.
Since these small trees are created from many different kinds of plants, they often require different cultivation.
To properly maintain your bonsai, it is important to know what type (species) of plant you have.
It is much easier to find help, when you know.
Whether you buy your tree from a nursery, garden center, plant shop or a bonsai artist ...
Always ask for the scientific name and bonsai maintenance information!
Once you know what kind of plant you have, find out what that particular plant likes. Sun? Shade? Lots of water? Little water? Will it grow indoors?
The basics of growing a bonsai are no different than growing any container plant.
Remember bonsai is two part - art and horticulture.
Shaping and styling is the art part; keeping them alive is horticulture.
Growing a plant in a bonsai pot is no different than growing it in a clay or ceramic pot of equal size.
Azalea - Bonsai West, Littleton, MA
Some questions to ask about your bonsai care basics:
If you start with a green thumb, you have a distinct advantage. If you are a plant killer, you have a lot of work to do.
Sometimes the best lessons are learned from experience. Hopefully, you can learn from other people's bonsai care experience!
You may want to start with an inexpensive bonsai. Ask lots of questions and do your best to follow the instructions you receive.
Remember, no one can accurately give you bonsai tree care answers unless they know what type of tree you have.
Watering is considered one of the most misunderstood aspects of any plant care. Bonsai care is no exception, and it's no wonder.
General directions such as water your bonsai every day, or every three days or even once a week are not adequate instructions and confuse the issue even more!
See more about this on the
Watering Bonsai page.
Indoors or out, good air circulation is very important. Indoors, a paddle fan or oscillating fan will help prevent pests.
Outdoors, bonsai very close together or touching, could invite problems.
What's eating your bonsai trees?
All plants are susceptible to pests; however, healthy plants have fewer problems.
Each species has its own set of potential pests. Bonsai care basics include watching out for them.
Although they are plant eaters ... it's unlikely giraffes will be your problem.
Having bonsai indoors, does not protect them, sometimes quite the opposite.
To learn more about pests, go to the Plant Pests and Bonsai page.
"Light" can mean indoors or out. Not all plants require full sun, some even prefer shade. Here again, it will depend upon the species of plant you have.
I know hearing that over and over again can be frustrating; however, it may be the most important lessons in bonsai.
If you are growing bonsai trees indoors (even part of the year), there is good information on artificial lighting on the Indoor Bonsai page
All plants do best outdoors in their natural environment. However, there are some tropical and subtropical plants which can be considered "indoor bonsai."
To keep any plant healthy indoors, the more you duplicate its natural environment, the happier it will be.
There are a many ways to accomplish this, see Bonsai Indoors.
Fertilizer is somewhat like food for plants. Plants in the ground draw their nutrition from nature.
In the case of container plants, such as bonsai, we need to help them out.
Learn about the important basics of Bonsai Tree Fertilizer here.
No matter where you live, winter care is a serious concern.
All container plants need special consideration during winter - bonsai included. See the page on winter care.
Bonsai are never finished. To maintain a desirable shape, you will always have to trim new growth as well as roots.
Even bonsai pruning will depend on the type of tree you have.
Plants with leaves are trimmed with sharp shears, juniper needles are often pulled or "pinched" and sheared.
Don't be surprised if you get conflicting information about your bonsai from internet sites. Sometimes, it is a matter of opinion and experience.
Other times, it is a total lack of knowledge.
With a little research, you will learn the best people and best sites to trust. (I have linked to several of them on this site.)
If you have not used the many links on this page, consider starting with
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