Many don’t know this, but gardening is a very relaxing hobby. Re-potting, watering and caring for your plants is a great way to release stress and it allows you to think. But for those who don’t have the space or the time for a big garden, one option they have is to care for a bonsai tree.
Bonsai literally means plantings in a tray. This Japanese tradition of raising miniature trees actually dates back thousands of years. Taking care of a bonsai tree is an art not meant for the half-hearted. It requires more than just watering it and placing it under the sun. Here are some of the basics you need to know about caring for your very own bonsai tree.
Know the Species
There are many species that you can use for your bonsai tree. It is important to at least know the general name, because the needs of each specie differs. One of the more popular types to be used, however, is the juniper. If you want a flowering bonsai, you can opt for the bougainvillea, which is easy to grow. Another flowering variant is the azalea. If you want the fruit bearing type, you can try a citrus bonsai tree. The only difference between fruit/flower bearing and non-bearing bonsai is that the former needs more light.
You might think that since you’re a beginner when it comes to bonsai trees, you would need a young tree. In this case, age matters more. The younger the bonsai, the more sensitive and fragile it is. If you pick an older bonsai that is around 10-15 years old, you have a higher chance of keeping it alive. An older bonsai is more sturdy and can last longer without water, just in case you forget to water it on time. Compared to the younger bonsai, it can withstand a wide range of temperatures and is more resilient in handing the ph imbalance in the soil.
Bonsai cultivation means you have to master the art of watering, not too much and not too little. You have to give your bonsai just the right amount of water at the right time. Remember how important it is to know what kind of species your bonsai is? This is so you will understand how much water and light it needs to thrive.
Generally during summer, you have to water it every evening. Watering it in the morning will dry it out quickly. In spring and fall, the amount of water should be lessened. When the soil’s surface begins to dry out, then you can water it. In winter, bonsai requires only a little water, just enough to keep the soil moist. Do not over-water it and do water it when the soil starts to dry.
Since the bonsai is being cultivated in a contained environment (small pot with little soil), it is vital that you supplement it with the lacking nutrients. For any beginner, you can’t go wrong with balanced fertilizer. Organic fertilizer also works better than most. Just make sure to use the daily recommendations and your bonsai should be fine. Remember that practice makes perfect. Don’t stop with one bonsai. Get more and hone your skills in cultivating bonsai trees.
Based in San Diego, California, Tiffany Matthews is a passionate writer and an avid reader. She has worked for several successful companies, including Total Landscape Care. When not writing, she can be found in her little garden, exploring her newly discovered green thumb.