Indoor Bonsai Tree Care
Where To Place Your Bonsai In The Home
Where you put your bonsai tree is a major factor in how healthy it will be. In reality, there is no such thing as an indoor tree, only trees which can survive inside. Houses are generally darker, warmer and dryer than outdoors.
Consider light, temperature and humidity when placing your bonsai.
Bonsai need plenty of light. Areas near windows are good. Windows which catch sunlight either in the morning or the afternoon are best, rather than windows which get sun all day.
Avoid sources of heat such as radiators and televisions. A cooler room is better than a warm room.
You cannot keep a bonsai on a window ledge if there is a radiator below it. If you use the radiator even once the heat will dry out and kill the tree.
The best rooms to keep indoor bonsai in tend to be kitchens and bathrooms due to the moisture from the taps and sinks.
Keeping the tree on a drip tray will allow some water to sit under the pot. This will evaporate slowly and increase the humidity level around the tree.
Mist spraying can also be done using a small mister available from most garden centres.
If in doubt
We find kitchens are good places. Somewhere near a window. Don't have the tree in full sun all day though. Conservatories are also very good, especially if some shade can be given from strong summer sun.
We recommend that all trees are put outside for at least a couple of months in summer to benefit from the increase light and fresh air. This will reinvigorate the tree.
How To Water A Bonsai Tree
Bonsai are usually kept in small pots to restrict the root growth and help keep the tree miniaturised. Due to this, they require regular watering.
In warm weather they will need to be watered much more than in cold conditions.
Water when the top of the soil feels dry to the touch. After time, you will be able to tell when the bonsai needs watering by lifting it and feeling its weight. The look of the soil, its colour, is also a useful guide.
Very effective – fill a clean bowl with cold water and sit the whole tree in for a few moments. Some soil and granular feed can be lost however which will need to be replaced periodically. Be careful when a tree has recently been repotted as much soil can be washed away, it is better not to emerse the pot of recently repotted trees. Ask the seller of the tree when it was last repotted.
Water From Above
Pour water onto the soil surface. Be gentle or soil can be washed away.
Keep the tray filled up with water to provide humidity.
Which Is Best?
We find that trees which have been recently repotted should be watered from above as the loose soil can we washed away. Trees which have not been repotted for a while can be immersed in a bowl of water or watered from above. If the soil will not easily accept water (as it tends to run off the soil surface) it should be immersed.
How To Feed A Bonsai Tree
As with all plants, feeding promotes growth and health.
Liquid or granular feeds can be used. Smaller bonsai benefit from liquid feeds where larger bonsai suit granular feeds. This is only because the granules can fall or be washed off smaller bonsai more easily. Also note that if you water by emersing the pot in water, granular feed can be lost into the bowl. Where liquid feed is used, go for liquid bonsai food. If you use a higher strength liquid feed, dilute it down to less than the manufactures recommendation.
Our Granular Feed
Work a small amount (a tablespoonful) of the granules / powder into the soil. Try to press them in as watering can wash them off. They will gradually melt into the soil, feeding the tree. They can go mouldy but don't worry, it won't harm the bonsai. When it disappears, use more.
Liquid feeds need to be mixed with water. Follow the instructions on the pack. Never use too much food. If in doubt, make the food up at half strength. Feed every two weeks.
Use low strength feeds – NPK 7-7-7 or less.
How to Prune Your Bonsai
Pruning your bonsai is essential to maintain its shape and keep it health.
Long shoots weaken the fine branches, transferring the energy to the tips.
With scissors, trim new shoots back to one or two sets of leaves.
Your bonsai has individual branches. It is not a bush. Prune growth to maintain the gaps between the branches.
Make pruning a regular task, rather than leaving your bonsai to overgrow. Start soon after you get the tree, don't leave it too long to start pruning.
Many styles of bonsai feature a broadly triangle shape. Any new growth which breaks this outline can be removed to prevent the tree looking overgrown. You can also see that there are empty spaces between the branches. These empty spaces will fill up with new growth which should be pruned off.
How To Repot
All potted plants need to be re-potted from time to time.
There is nothing complicated or difficult to worry about.
Your bonsai can grow surprisingly quickly. It will need re-potting after a couple of years in order to keep it healthy.
Ease the tree out of the pot. Inspect the roots. If there are lots of roots and little soil, it is time to re-pot. Tease out the long roots with a small fork so that they hang down from the root-ball. Trim these off with scissors. Put fresh soil in the bottom of the pot. Put the tree back in. Push soil around the root-ball. Fill any space with fresh soil and work it in gently with your fingers.
Water gently from above with a watering can.
Do need feed for a month or so.