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Valuable Bonsai Tips

Bonsai is a very peculiar art form for a lot of different reasons and if you have experience growing other plants that experience will come in handy when it comes to bonsai - yet, the art is very different and you have to go counter to some of your experience when it comes to bonsai. Here are some tips to help you raise, grow and care for them successfully.

I recommend that you get a book on bonsai even if you have a green thumb. There are simply things about it that are quite different. Here are some books I recommend



  • The quality of the water that you use is very important! This is because over the course of time any chemicals or additives will have a cumulative effect in the soil and this could kill your bonsai. There is so much root and so little soil in the dish; they are sensitive to additives and chemicals. What you might consider using is bottled water. Not spring water in the bottle because this will have minerals and other things but simply an inexpensive filtered water.
  • Do not use a nitrogen based fertilizer on your bonsai! Stuff like the typical Miracle-Gro is fantastic for regular plants but not so good for your bonsai. This can build up too much nitrogen in the soil and nitrogen stimulates the growth of large leaves which is not what we want in bonsai! It will not look right. We want it to be miniature. Note: If you are growing your bonsai from seed it will be okay to fertilize with a nitrogen fertilizer for the first year to encourage a good start. But once it is repotted you should stick with fertilizer made specifically for bonsai. Pellets: Bonsai Boy's Slow Release Bonsai Fertilizer Pellets
  • Slatted light: This is one of the secrets of successful bonsai artists. Many species of bonsai tree do not want full sunlight all day. Slatted light as if in a gazebo is best for them so they get intermittent light throughout the day.
  • Wintering: This is something that many beginners overlook and even fret over. But, depending on the type of tree you have it will probably need to be wintered. It can drop it's leaves and go dormant for the winter. You need to realize this and facilitate it. Often times people make the mistake of thinking their bonsai has died and they dispose of it! Yikes.
  • Finally, this is very important and it ties in with the wintering too. You should look up and learn about your specific bonsai tree species. Every tree species is different and it will have different needs! Bonsai is the art of sculting a tree! It is not the art of growing trees! As funny as that sounds what you have to do is learn about the needs and requirements of your specific type of tree and fulfill those! In terms of light, humidity, water etc.. Then you apply the practice of bonsai to the tree!
  • Watering: This varies from tree to tree and variables include size of tree, size of pot and type of soil but you will get a good sense of watering with some practice. Typically during the growing season you will water every day. Feel the soil, stick your finger right in it and if it is dry then you definitely have to water. And sometimes you will water your bonsai by submerging the dish about right in an inch or two of water and allowing it to soak up through the holes in the bottom of the dish.


Bonsai Encyclopedia

The Complete Practical Encyclopedia of Bonsai: The essential step-by-step guide to creating, growing, and displaying bonsai with over 800 photographs This book defines and describes the ancient craft of bonsai. The techniques of this precise art form are clearly described, and provides a stunning and fully comprehensive reference that is ideal for the beginner as well as the more experienced bonsai artist.


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