Bonsai tree care for growing healthy plants

Follow the tips we have here about bonsai tree care, to help you grow beautiful and healthy plants and trees. These tips can also be used for all kinds of house house plants. Bonsai trees and plants are simply a reproduction of a natural tree grown in miniature. All of these small ornamental trees, plants and shrubs are grown in pots and are totally dependent on you for proper care. In the summer months when the nightly temperature does not dip below 40 degrees, you really should place your indoor bonsai trees outside, on a patio, balcony or in a garden. Once outside they should receive sufficient sunshine, morning sun and afternoon shade is best. This really helps to produce healthy branches and flowers.

To help your care for bonsai plants grown or kept indoors, spray and mist your bonsai off regularly. This procedure will help to remove all dust and debris from the bottoms and tops of leaves, allowing your bonsai to breathe freely and to continue its photosynthetic processes. Air circulation is very important for the health of a new bonsai tree and its care. Photosynthesis requires an unrestricted exchange of fresh air and stagnate conditions could compromise your bonsai’s ability to continue this process. More importantly, closed or confined spaces are a perfect environment for pests and disease. Air also prevents possible root rot conditions, from soil saturation, by assisting in water evaporation.

If you have your indoor bonsai displayed outdoors and temperature is starting to get close to 40 degrees its time to bring it in for the winter. This should be done gradually over several weeks for proper bonsai tree care. Bring it in for a few hours the first time, slowly increasing the time it spends indoors until it becomes acclimated to its new environment.
Apply water when the soil appears dry, never allow the trees soil to become completely dry. If your indoor bonsai is receiving full sun or its very dry in the home, it may be necessary to water once a day. When your bonsai shrub is inside, we recommend placing it in a shallow tray filled with a layer of gravel with water added. This provides extra moisture around a small ornamental tree, when the water evaporates and reduces the amount of moisture lost to your heating system. Water should be applied until it begins running out of the holes in the bottom of your pot. Since your indoor bonsai is growing in a small amount of soil its necessary for proper indoor bonsai tree care to replenish the supply of nutrients periodically with a liquid fertilizer.

Prune back the new growth to the farthest point, but never remove all of the new growth. A little should be left for the health of the tree. Tropical or sub-tropical trees used for bonsai will require periodic trimming throughout the year, because they normally grow faster.

Placing your indoor bonsai in a new pot should be done when the root system has filled the pot. This should be done when it is warmer in the home and outside (summer months). Don’t to cut or trim back more than one fourth of the tree’s root mass. The bonsai tree can be placed back in its original pot or if you wanted a more decorative chinese pot. The pot should have screen placed over the drainage holes. Then a thin layer of small gravel is placed in the bottom of the pot for drainage purposes. On top of this gravel is the the new bonsai soil, enough to elevate the tree to its previous height in the pot.


Insects and diseases can affect indoor plants and trees. With the proper indoor bonsai tree care techniques you should be able to keep most of these away. If not all bonsai can be treated with any other spray that you would use on any of your house plants. There is a section on plant pests and bugshere.

Outdoor bonsai tree care; tips for healthy trees

Outdoor bonsai trees are also grown in pots and are totally dependent on you for their care. With proper care, your outdoor bonsai will remain healthy, beautiful and miniature for many years. Since your bonsai is a living miniature tree, it will increase in beauty as it matures through the years. Outdoor bonsai are not house plants and must be cared for in a cool to semi cold environment during the winter season. As a general rule, around Thanksgiving is the time to prepare your tree for winter dormancy which should last about three months.

Two methods of winter care
One way is to bury your tree in the ground (preferably without the pot) up to the rim of the container and then mulch up to the first branch. It is best to choose a location that is protected from strong wind and sun, but not necessarily rain and snow. The second method which is common is to place your trees in an unheated garage or shed. Your tree does not require light because its in a dormant state, but will require watering normally every two weeks.
Throughout the spring, summer and fall your bonsai should be placed outside, such as on a patio, balcony, terrace, or in a garden. Once outside, your bonsai should be positioned where it will receive sufficient sun – morning sun and afternoon shade is best.

Watering instructions
Apply water when the soil appears dry, you should never allow the soil to become completely dry. If your bonsai is receiving full sun, it may be necessary to water once a day. The amount and frequency may vary with the size of the bonsai pot and type of soil. If you haven’t had a good rain you will need to water your tree. Water should be applied until it begins running out of the holes in the bottom of your pot. Watering should be done in a soft manner so you don’t disturb the soil. Since your bonsai is growing in such a small amount of soil it is necessary to replenish its nutrients periodically. Any general-purpose liquid fertilizer will do fine and is available at most garden centers. Fertilizer should be applied at least once a month and used at half strength except (during growing season) not needed during the winter.

Trimming outdoor trees
Pinch and trim back the new growth to the farthest safe point. It is not advisable to trim all of the new growth. A little should be left to sustain the health of the tree. Tropical or exotic trees used for bonsai will require periodic pinching and trimming throughout the year.

RE-POTTING outdoor trees
Repotting a tree should done periodically on all bonsai when the root system fills the pot. The reasons for supplying your tree with fresh soil, is to encourage a more compact root system.

Deciduous trees require repotting every two or three years, while evergreens only need to be repotted every four or five years. This of course is only a general rule of thumb. Some bonsai trees grow faster so you need to inspect each tree yearly. This type of bonsai tree care should only be done around mid summer and only a quarter of the root mass. The bonsai pot should have a screen placed over the drainage holes. Then, a thin layer of small gravel is placed in the bottom of the pot for drainage purposes. On top of this gravel is placed the new fresh soil.
After you place your bonsai in a new pot, it should be thoroughly watered. This can be done by submerging the entire pot in a tub of water. Use moss or other type of ground cover to cover the surface of the pot to help prevent soil erosion when watering.

INSECTS & DISEASES
Since your bonsai is a normal tree, only miniature, it can be treated for insects and diseases the same as any other tree. If you discover any insects or diseases, bonsaiboy has several products which will help you eliminate the problem. You can also see our section on pests and bugs.

More information here about bonsai tree care:

  • pruning bonsai trees and plants, it takes time and patience.
  • watering bonsai plants and trees. Don’t ruin your furniture with drips.
  • Back to more tips on trees and bonsai plant care How much light do bonsai plants and trees really need?
  • plant care tips for growing and maintaining all kinds if small trees and plants in your home.
  • Find and control house plant bugs and pests on leaves.
  • Keep up with your indoor plant maintenance, here are a few tips on propagating plants and trees.
  • humidity drip trays will visually enhance the placement of your tree, make watering simple, provide essential moisture for your plant and protect surfaces from stains and damage. These accessories are also ideal for all house plants.
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