Do you need to know how to get started with bonsai and care for bonsai plants? Bonsai trees are very popular and many people have them as both hobbies and decoration. But it’s not as easy as it might look to care for and shape these little plants. So what do you really need to know about bonsai plant care?

In Japanese, “bonsai” means tray planting but it has changed quite a bit since it’s beginnings in Asia. The tree and the pot form one single unit that has shape, color and texture that compliment each other. Bonsai is more than just planning a tree in a pot and letting it grow. The tree has to be shaped to the desired image.

Growing, pruning and training each branch of the tree will lead it to the desired shape that is visually appealing to you. You will have to work carefully and meticulously to achieve and then maintain the desired look for your bonsai tree. If you do not take proper care of your tree, not only will it look bad but it will die.

A successful bonsai tree is considered a horticultural masterpiece. It is a popular hobby that takes a lot of time and patience but is very rewarding when pulled off. It is a pleasing hobby to undertake. It is actually more diverse then you may think. Since coming to the West, there are now more techniques and styles to learn.

There are five basic styles of bonsai although they can also be very different. The five types are:

  • Formal upright
  • Informal upright
  • Slanting (windswept)
  • Semi-cascade
  • Cascade

Each style has its own beauty and serenity. There are different basic principles to each style. There are also outdoor and indoor bonsais and you need to position your tree in the proper place and remember to care for it every day as needed.

Watering depends on your climate. You need to keep it moist and not let it get dried out. In summer you probably have to water every day but you can go every three days in winter unless you are in a very dry climate.

You also want to feed your bonsai so that it will grow healthy and strong the way that you want it to. To do this you need to apply a fertilizer of some type. There are different types on the market such as the pellet style like Osmocote. These are slow released so you do not have to feed as often. In fact, most can last a couple of weeks.

You should typically feed your bonsai from early spring to late summer but it can vary depending on your location. You should use a balanced fertilizer with a low nitrogen content year round and you will want to use one with little or no nitrogen in autumn.

Most fertilizers will have all three of the essential nutrients the tress needs (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium). You can get feed from bonsai nurseries and they will contain the NPK ratio on the package. You can also find more information including directions on feeding and caring for your tree from a bonsai nursery.

Published: August 24, 2005

Written by: Organic Gardening Staff Writer – Copyright Organic-Gardening.net all rights reserved