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Growing Bonsai Trees in Containers, Indoors, Backyard

Growing Bonsai trees in containers

Bonsai plants are grown in containers in such a way so they look they’re most beautiful. Bonsai plants are considered as one of the best backyard plants. In this article we also discuss below topics;

  • Can you plant Bonsai tree in pots
  • Do Bonsai trees need special pots
  • Which plant is suitable for Bonsai
  • What is the best fertilizer for Bonsai trees
  • How often should you feed a Bonsai tree
  • Is it normal for Bonsai trees to lose leaves
  • Bonsai plants growing tips

A step by step guide to growing Bonsai trees in containers

Varieties of pots/containers for growing Bonsai trees

There are so many varieties of pots for Bonsai growing and these vary in shape, width, depth, colour, and material. Bonsai pots are available in different shapes and sizes and such as circular, triangular, rectangles or square. You have to choose the right kind of pot with adequate room for soil and good drainage to remove excess water. 

In general, many types of containers can serve as an effective and beautiful pot for any Bonsai tree, as long as they can meet certain requirements. A good Bonsai pot must have drainage holes and wiring holes so your Bonsai tree can be fixed to the container. Bonsai pots can be manufactured with the following materials Plastic, Porcelain or Ceramic, Concrete, Metals, Clay, Mica, Stoneware, and Wood.

Why should you grow Bonsai trees?

Bonsai brings together the best qualities of both a pet and a houseplant; it is a living entity that needs just enough of your care and attention without being demanding in your life. Here are the main reasons for you to create Bonsai plants;

It takes up very little space – There are breeds of Bonsai trees that can be cultivated to fit any space. Whether you want them on your desk, living room on outdoors, different species can be grown for the purpose. You can also carry them wherever you go.

They are Easy to Care – Many of the easy-to-grow Bonsai trees are surprisingly low-maintenance. They adapt well to your home and thrive well with some sunshine and water every day, an occasional fertilizer and replanting once every few years. With that, they will live healthily and bloom over and over again, adding beauty to your living space.

Every Bonsai is unique and grown as a result of your styling and its quirks. You can work with them as they grow understanding their nature to bring out the best effect. With careful training and pruning, you can work to bring out its unique qualities, making it a work of art.

Size of Bonsai trees growing in containers

Your Bonsai trees can be grown and arranged in an extensive number of sizes may vary from 6 inches to 3 feet and the sizes vary according to the species that you are choosing to adorn your outdoor garden. If you want to grow your Bonsai tree from seeding or cutting, you can begin by growing a shorter one. It is better always to grow your Bonsais from cuttings because it is easier and faster to grow Bonsai from cuttings compared to seeds. Also, choose the size of the pot as not so small and not so big, according to the size of your Bonsai tree.

Choosing the right soil for growing Bonsai trees in containers

Potting soil ideal for Bonsai growing is available from Bonsai nurseries and garden stores. The ideal potting soil is soil that can hold much nutrients and water and at the same time drain out excess water and fertilizer as well to prevent nutrient toxicity and root rot.

The main important to choosing the right soil for your Bonsai is to select one that has proper drainage.  Add large particles to your soil mixtures, such as stones or volcanic rock, to increase the drainage capability and to introduce air into the soil. The ideal soil mixture should also be capable to hold water which can be improved by adding clay.

Fertilizing your Bonsai tree ensures that it receives the correct amount of nutrients it needs to stay healthy. A balanced Bonsai fertilizer contains equal amounts of phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium. Before you fertilize the Bonsai tree, make sure that you’ve watered your tree thoroughly as it is harmful to fertilize the plant in case the soil is in dry condition. Be sure to read the instructions on the fertilizer to avoid overfertilizing.

The soil is a key factor when growing Bonsai trees in indoor. With the proper soil, your Bonsai tree is helped in getting the right amount of water and nutrients it needs. The soil also holds your Bonsai plant in place on its pot.

Select the best Bonsai trees for growing in containers

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Bonsai Fruit Tree.
Bonsai Fruit Tree.

A few of the trees that are popular with Bonsai collectors are the Chinese elm, the number one Bonsai tree, hornbeam, Japanese maple, birch and Japanese black pine. The conifers, such as hemlocks and pines, need less attention than the broadleaf trees, such as maples. Some of the most common varieties of a Bonsai tree are Ficus, Serissa, Hawaiian Umbrella, Camellia, Gardenia, and Kingsville Boxwood.

There are many trees that you can grow indoors, but by far the most is the Ficus Bonsai. The Ficus is tolerant to low humidity and can withstand quite a lot; a good choice for beginners. Other popular indoor Bonsai plants include the Crassula, the Schefflera Arboricola, Dwarf Umbrella Bonsai, Chinese Elm Bonsai, and Ginseng ficus, Hawaiian Umbrella, Fukien Tea Bonsai, Chinese Elm, Carmona and Sageretia.

Some general tips on Bonsai tree positioning that apply to all types of Bonsai trees.

Positioning – Your Bonsai should be kept away from direct heat or draft.

Lighting – Keep your Bonsai in an area with plenty of sunlight.

Humidity – Bonsais need humidity to maintain their soil moist.

How to plant a Bonsai trees in containers

Bonsai plants are grown and trained in shallow pots, so they often require daily watering in warm weather. In the winter season, tender Bonsai need to go indoors or in a greenhouse; hardy plants can stay outdoors as long as they’re protected from direct sun and drying wind.

Step 1) Remove the plant from its nursery container, and cut off the bottom 2/3rd of the root ball. Rake through the soil on the surface to expose some plant roots. Moisten all the roots using a spray bottle.

Step 2) Remove dead branches and any branches that distract from the vision you have for your tree. Remove any large roots and any dead roots that will interfere with potting. Position the Bonsai plant in the pot, and work the soil in around the roots. Top the soil with moss or gravel, and water well.

Step 3) Choose which branches would benefit from shaping. To achieve the desired shape, wrap wire snugly but not so tightly that it inhibits growth. When the branch has grown enough to hold its new shape, remove the wire.

Best time to water Bonsai trees growing in containers

Watering should only be done if the Bonsai soil is drying out or slightly dry. You need to pour water slowly then wait until the water seeps into the bottom of the Bonsai pot. It’s crucial to wait until the Bonsai soil gets dry again before you pour more water. By doing so, your Bonsai trees will never get dehydrated or drowned.

You must have safe and clean water to be used on your Bonsai plants. You may use tap water or rainwater as long as this is clean water which won’t pose any risk to your plants. When watering your Bonsai tree, the main goal is to fully saturate the root system with water. To ensure proper saturation, keep watering until water escapes through the draining holes. To allow for proper draining, several Bonsai trees come with a tray to collect excess water.

Overwatering can also be harmful to your Bonsai tree. Symptoms of an overwatered Bonsai include the yellowing of leaves. If a Bonsai plant is overwatered, its roots are drowning in water and are deprived of oxygen which prevents further growth to support the tree. The main cause of overwatering is poor-draining soil.

Applying fertilizer to your indoor Bonsai trees

When it comes to indoor Bonsai trees, water-soluble fertilizers always work the best for them. Insoluble fertilizers may cause unwanted results because they make the Bonsai soil too dry and end up killing the Bonsai tree. It’s best to apply or feed fertilizer to your Bonsai trees only once or twice monthly during the vegetative or growing season.

You need to only apply Bonsai fertilizer to wet soil to help your Bonsai trees properly grow. Buy a high-quality water-soluble Bonsai fertilizer to guarantee the best results. You need to wait for the next Bonsai growing season if you want to switch to another type of fertilizer. It’s smart to ask a Bonsai specialist about the best type of Bonsai fertilizer specifically for your Bonsai trees.

Repotting the Bonsai

Re-potting is necessary to replenish the lost nutrients in the soil and also to accommodate the growth of your Bonsai tree. Faster growing trees may need to be re-potted once a year while the slower growing ones do well when re-potted once every two or three years. Since it is a delicate operation, it’s best done under an expert’s guidance the first time.

Controlling pests and diseases in Bonsai plants

Diseases and pests can turn out to be some of the worse enemies of your Bonsai tree. You need to be on the lookout for common fungal and bacterial diseases that tend to destroy trees. Re-potting and organic pesticides are good ways to keep your little tree from getting sick. You also need to ensure that the tree receives a good balance of nutrients and nothing in excess, which can harm it.

Pruning Bonsai trees

Pruning is essential for keeping Bonsai trees small and for maintaining their compact shape. The two main types of pruning are maintenance pruning and structural pruning.

Maintenance pruning strengthens the tree by encouraging new growth. By cutting away young shoots and leaves it exposes the leaves underneath to air and sunlight which further strengthens the tree and benefits its overall health. Typically, you should prune your Bonsai tree when you see new growth that’s starting to morph the shape of your tree in an undesirable manner. For flowering Bonsais, pruning should take place during the spring to encourage more flowers to grow the following year.

Structural pruning is a more advanced technique that should only be done when the tree is dormant. It involves the removal of the tree’s primary structural branches and requires the skills of a professional to ensure that the tree can recover.

Bonsai plants care and maintenance

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Bonsai tree care.
Bonsai Fruit Tree.
  • The required frequency of watering a Bonsai depends on a wide range of factors, including species of tree, pot-size, soil and climate. Over-watering can result in root-rot, one of the most common causes of death. Though, as Bonsai are planted in such small pots, they also tend to dry up very easily. Choosing the right soil mixture and re-potting regularly is crucial to keep your tree healthy.
  • Besides watering and repotting, fertilization is another important thing to keep in mind. Since the trees are put in small pots, with little space and nutrients available, fertilizing regularly in the tree’s growing season is key to keep it healthy.
  • One of the primary causes of failure among Bonsais is dehydration; the shallow shape of Bonsai pots means that they have very little nutrients and water in reserve. The other big killer is a lack of light; tropical trees are accustomed to ample light, and high humidity, even a south-facing windowsill is not enough light for some.
  • Low humidity levels are always a consideration for indoor tropical plants. Indoor areas are rarely as humid as the tropics both heaters and air conditioners reduce the level of ambient moisture. If all this sounds like too much trouble for you or the person receiving your Bonsai, don’t worry.

Different ways of planting Bonsai

Different ways to grow Bonsai plants are;

1. Growing from Seeds

If you wish to start from scratch, growing them from seeds is the way to go. It’s also a great way to grow a larger number of trees at a low cost with the added advantage of getting your hands on some really good quality trees. You can either collect the seeds of trees such as conifers, birch and beech of the trees or have them shipped to you by a supplier. The seedlings you grow can have some useful variations perfect for Bonsai, and the rest can be discarded.

2. Growing from Seedlings

City dwellers who wish to do most of the growing on their own but lack the space to sow a large number of seeds can start growing their Bonsai from saplings. As the seeds of some of the hard-coated types such as beech, quince, ginkgo, yew and lime take time to germinate, about two years or more can be saved by starting from seedlings bought from nurseries.

3. Growing from Cuttings

Cutting is a quick way to obtain a young plant if you wish to save more time. For many of the Bonsai species, it’s also the ideal way to grow. The advantage of growing a Bonsai tree from a cutting is that you know exactly how it will turn out to be as they inherit the same characteristics as their parent tree. The cutting procedure is faster when compared to seed growth in creating a Bonsai tree and growers may have a tree species that will make trees with healthy roots quicker than some species can sprout initial growth.

Cutting is the process of taking branches from a healthy tree and placing it into the soil to create a new tree. Moreover, the cutting method is the most popular for Bonsai tree developers and is one that will create high-quality trees. The reason for most Bonsai gardeners uses the cutting method is that the new tree will hold the positive features from the parent tree.

4. Growing by Layering

Flowering shrubs and trees whose shoots can be easily bent to the soil can be propagated by this method. A healthy shoot of a one-year-old plant is given a slit at the tip and bent to touch the soil. It is then pegged, and the sit shoot is covered with a good amount of soil and watered regularly. When they are layered around spring, the new plant will be ready by autumn for harvest and re-potting.

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