There are many reasons why people find bonsai trees so fascinating. Perhaps it is because of the way they grow in a small pot? Or maybe it’s because we see them in movies and want to create our little world for them to live in? Or maybe we just appreciate that these miniature plants can survive with such limited resources.
Whatever your reason, this blog post will give you Tips for Making a Bonsai Tree!
Tips for Making a Bonsai Tree
How to Make a Bonsai Tree
The most important part of making a bonsai tree is choosing the right plant. Not all plants are suitable for this type of cultivation and some will be much harder to work with than others.
Once you have chosen your plant, it is time to start pruning! You will need to remove any branches that are growing in the wrong direction or are too large for the pot. Be very careful not to remove any vital branches and leaves as this will stunt the growth of your tree.
After you have finished pruning, it is time to start wiring! This is one of the most important steps in making a bonsai tree as it helps to shape the plant into the desired form. Make sure to use wire that is specifically made for bonsai trees as the regular wire can damage the bark.
The final step is to water and fertilize your tree regularly. Bonsai trees need a lot of care and attention, so make sure you are willing to put in the time and effort if you want one of your own!
Choosing the Right Bonsai Tree to Plant
Choosing a bonsai tree to buy and plant can be confusing and sometimes disappointing, so we have compiled pictures of some good choices for beginners.
Trees are often sold as “bonsai” but look nothing like their wild counterparts; in fact, the term “bonsai” simply means “plant in a pot.” The key to success with bonsai is selecting the right tree and then providing the appropriate care.
One of the best things about bonsai is that they can be grown almost anywhere, from the tropics to the tundra. When choosing a tree, pick a species native to your area for the best success. Most conifers will not survive outdoors in hot climates but are perfectly suited for temperate or cold regions.
Choosing A Tree
There are several key characteristics to consider when choosing a tree for bonsai:
Branch structure – The branches should be spaced well apart and in pleasing proportions to the trunk.
Trunk thickness – The trunk should have a pleasing shape, free of scars and insect damage.
Leaves/needles – Most trees are evergreen so they keep their leaves year-round. Needles are an excellent choice for small bonsai because they adapt well to trimming and remain small.
Fruit – Some trees produce edible fruit, which can be a nice feature in the garden.
When selecting a tree, it is also important to consider the size of the mature plant. The tree’s pot should be about one-third the size of the mature tree. A small bonsai can be created from a large seedling, but a large bonsai should start with a small tree.
The following trees are good choices for beginners:
Juniper – Junipers are the most popular choice for bonsai because they are hardy and easy to care for. The species shown here is the Japanese juniper (Juniperus procumbens ‘Nana’), which has a small, roundish shape and dark green needles.
Hawthorn – This tree is native to North America and has attractive white flowers in the spring. The hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) shown here has a naturally twisted trunk and small, shiny leaves.
Hemlock – This evergreen, native to North America, is the traditional choice for bonsai in Japan. It has flattened needles that are soft to the touch and are often used for needlework crafts.
Pine – Many species of pine are good choices for bonsai, making them one of the most popular trees to grow. Japanese black pine (Pinus thunbergii) is a good choice because it adapts to any growing conditions and has strong tortuous branches perfect for bonsai.
Pruning Your Bonsai Tree
For your bonsai tree to look its best, you must prune it regularly. Pruning helps to control the size and shape of the tree, as well as encourage new growth. The best time to prune your bonsai tree is in the early spring before new growth begins.
To start, you will need to gather your bonsai tools. You will need a pair of shears capable of pruning the branches of your tree. It is also advisable that you use nose scissors (also called tweezers) for detail work and wire cutters for removing wire used in the placement of new branches. Hand shears or loppers can also be helpful for larger branches.
Once you have your tools, it is time to start pruning. The first step is to remove any dead or damaged branches. Dead branches will not grow back and will only serve as a safety hazard, so it is important to remove them. Damaged branches can be repaired with a little bit of pruning putty.
Next, you will want to thin the branches of your tree. Using your shears, simply snip off any small or competing shoots so that only one or two remain on each branch. You may also use your wire cutters for this job.
After completing the initial shaping of your bonsai tree, it is time to start pruning the foliage. Cut off any leaves that are brown or wilted. Also, cut back the branches so that they are no longer than the desired length. Be sure not to cut too much off at once, as you will want to leave some foliage to help the tree photosynthesize.
Pruning your bonsai tree is an important part of keeping it healthy and looking its best. By following these simple steps, you can keep your tree-shaped and groomed to perfection.
Wiring Your Bonsai Tree
Once you have your bonsai tree, you need to wire it. This will help you to shape the tree the way you want. You should use copper or aluminum wire. Make sure that the wire is not too heavy for the branches of the tree.
Start by wiring the trunk of the tree. Wrap the wire around the trunk and twist it to secure it in place. Then, start wiring the branches. Wrap the wire around the branch and twist it to secure it in place. Be careful not to damage the bark of the tree.
Make sure that the wire is tight enough so that it will hold the shape of the tree, but not too tight so that it will damage the tree. You should check the wire every few weeks to make sure that it is still in place and is not damaging the tree.
Once you have wired your tree, you can start shaping it the way you want. You can use scissors to cut the wire, or you can use pliers to twist it off. Be careful not to damage the tree when you are shaping it.
It will take time for the tree to grow into the shape that you have wired it into, so be patient and keep checking on it. You may need to rewire the tree a few times as it grows.
One helpful tip is to protect your tree when you are not working on it. You can buy spray foam insulation at any hardware store and spray it around the wiring so that nothing will damage the wires or the bark of the bonsai tree.
Watering Your Bonsai Tree
Watering a bonsai tree is an important part of keeping it healthy. How often you water your tree will depend on the time of year, the type of soil, and the size and type of tree. In general, you should water your tree when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.
During the summer, you will need to water more frequently. Watering should be done early in the day, as you will lose a lot of moisture if you water at night and your plants will stay wet for hours and burn up. If you do not know when to water your trees, set an alarm on your phone or install a drip irrigation system that waters for a set amount of time.
- Remember, bonsai trees are different from other plants. They do not like to be soaked or waterlogged. Use lukewarm water and never use softened water on bonsai plants as it contains salt and will damage the plant’s roots and leaves.
- First, you should check the soil using your finger. If it feels dry, then it is time to water your tree. You can water the tree using a watering can, hose, or spray bottle. Be sure to water all of the soil and not just the surface. The goal is to get the water down to the roots, not just wet the leaves.
- You can tell if you have watered your tree enough if the water starts to run out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. If it doesn’t, then you should water again until water starts to come out of the drainage holes.
- It is important to not overwater your bonsai tree, as this can also be damaging. If the soil is constantly wet, the tree will not be able to breathe and will eventually die.
- If your tree is in a container that does not have drainage holes, you can place the pot on a tray with rocks or gravel in it so the water can drain. Be sure to empty the tray after each watering.
In the winter, when your tree is dormant, you can water your tree less frequently. The soil will be even drier during the winter, so only water it when it is dry an inch deep. Overwatering in the winter can cause root rot or fungal diseases that might kill your plant.
- If you have a lot of trees and they are all being watered at once, use multiple watering cans so you do not have to go back and forth between plants.
Never use softened water on bonsai plants because it contains salt, which will damage the plant’s roots and leaves. If you are able, collect rainwater or snow runoff in a clean container for your trees. This still may contain small amounts of salt but it will be diluted so it is safe to use on your trees.
It is important to know how to water your bonsai tree so that it stays healthy and looks good. Follow these tips and you will be able to keep your tree looking great for years to come.
Fertilizing Your Bonsai Tree
It is important to fertilize your bonsai tree regularly to help it grow and thrive. Fertilizer should be applied every two weeks during the growing season, and once a month during the winter.
There are many different types of fertilizer available, so it is important to select one that is suited for your specific tree. Be sure to follow the instructions on the package, and never apply more fertilizer than recommended.
Over-fertilizing can damage your tree, so it is important to be careful not to overdo it. If you are unsure about how much fertilizer to apply, or which type of fertilizer to use, consult a bonsai expert or your local nursery.
Here are a few of the most commonly used fertilizers:
Fish Meal – An excellent source of nitrogen, this is a popular choice for bonsai trees with pink or red leaves. The fish meal must be dissolved in water before being applied to your tree. Do not use fish emulsion on your tree as it may burn the foliage.
Bone Meal – A good source of phosphorus, bone meal is ideal for bonsai trees with blue or purple leaves.
Blood Meal – A high-nitrogen fertilizer, a blood meal is perfect for bonsai trees with green leaves.
Be sure to strain the mixture before applying it to your tree, as bits of compost can clog the pores on the leaves and hinder the tree’s ability to absorb nutrients.
Tips for Bonsai Pot Selection by
When buying a bonsai pot, you are not only looking for an aesthetically pleasing object but also the best size and shape to suit your tree.
Here are some tips on how to select an appropriate bonsai pot-with focus on practicality over aesthetics.
1. Look for a pot with a depth of about two-thirds of your tree’s height to display the tree in its best appearance.
A common mistake is to choose a small width and depth-this restricts root growth and can cause permanent damage to the bonsai trunk over time.
In most cases, if you have a large bonsai, purchase a pot that is two or three times the size of the tree’s root ball.
2. Select a pot with drainage holes.
Bonsai pots must have drainage holes in the bottom to allow for proper watering and avoid root rot.
If your pot does not have drainage holes, you can drill them yourself or use a pot with holes that are slightly too large for your tree.
3. Consider the material of the pot.
Pots are made from a variety of materials, including ceramic, stoneware, plastic, and metal.
Each material has its benefits and drawbacks:
- Ceramic – Ceramic pots are beautiful and can be very expensive. However, they must be well-protected from sudden changes in temperature and humidity as a small crack could ruin your entire pot. If you decide to use a ceramic pot, it is best to have a spare available just in case the first one breaks.
- Stoneware – Stoneware pots are durable, non-toxic, and relatively inexpensive. They also come in a vast selection of shapes, sizes, and colors.
- Plastic – These pots are widely available and very practical as they are lightweight, waterproof, and resistant to changes in temperature and humidity.
- Metal – If you would like a more artistic pot that allows for air movement between the soil and the pot, then a metal pot is a good option. However, they are more expensive and can be very heavy.
4. Choose a pot that is the right color for your tree.
A pot should complement the color of your tree-not clash with it. For example, if you have a Juniper bonsai with vibrant green foliage, an unglazed red or yellow pot would be in poor taste.
5. Once you’ve decided on the right pot for your tree, consider making it even more personal by having your bonsai artist paint a picture on the side of the pot.
Many artists specialize in painting directly onto pots.
By choosing a pot with beautiful, intricate designs you can enhance the natural appearance of your bonsai.
Re-Potting Your Bonsai Tree
There will come a time in the life of your bonsai tree when it will need to be repotted. This is typically done every two or three years, depending on the size and age of the tree. When it’s time for your bonsai to be repotted, there are a few things you’ll need to do first so you can successfully repot your bonsai tree.
1. Prepare Your Repotting Tools – Gather all of the tools you’ll need for this process. You’ll need a pair of scissors, wire cutters, wire, fresh soil that is appropriate for bonsai trees (available at any bonsai supply store), and a bucket or container to put the old soil in.
2. Remove the Tree from its Current Pot – If your tree is in a pot, you’ll need to remove it from the pot before you can begin the repotting process. Use your hands or a pair of scissors to cut away the wire that is holding the tree in place, then gently remove the tree from the pot. Try not to damage the roots in the process.
3. Trim Damaged Roots – If you notice any damaged or dead roots, trim them away with your wire cutters. Be careful not to damage any healthy roots in the process.
4. Soak the Tree in Water – Soak the tree in water for about an hour before you begin the repotting process. This will help loosen the soil and make it easier to remove.
5. Remove the Old Soil – Remove all of the old soil from the roots of the tree using your hands or a pair of scissors. Be careful not to damage any healthy roots in the process. Discard the old soil.
6. Clean the Pot – Clean any dirt or debris from the pot using your wire cutters. Remove all traces of old soil from the surface of the pot, too. If necessary, replace any decaying or damaged parts with new ones purchased from a bonsai supply store.
7. Wire the Tree to the New Pot – If your pot doesn’t have any wire embedded in the top, you’ll need to wire the tree to the pot before you begin filling it with soil. Wrap the wire around the trunk of the tree and twist it tightly to secure it in place.
8. Fill the Pot with Soil – Fill the pot with fresh soil, adding or removing soil as needed until the roots of the tree-sit at the same level in the pot that they previously did.
9. Place Pot in Sunlight and Add Water – Put your bonsai tree back in its original spot and add water to moisten the soil and settle it into place.
10. Add More Soil, if Needed – Add more soil around the roots of the tree and pat it down firmly to remove any air pockets.
Once your bonsai has been repotted, continue its care according to a normal schedule and add fertilizer every few months so it can begin growing strong again.
Wire Training Your Bonsai Plant
When first starting to wire train your bonsai plant, it is best to use a thin wire. As your bonsai tree grows, you can then switch to a thicker wire.
- To begin, select a spot on the trunk of your bonsai where you would like the branch to grow.
- Loosen the soil around the trunk of your tree with a chopstick so that the wire can be easily wrapped around the trunk.
- Once you have wired the branch in place, gently tug on it to ensure that it will remain where you want it for an extended period.
Wire your bonsai plant carefully – if you’re unsure how to do it, ask someone at your local nursery for assistance. With a little practice, you’ll be able to create the perfect bonsai tree in no time!
When wiring your bonsai, always make sure that the wire is snug against the trunk and that no loose strands are sticking out. This could potentially damage the tree.
In addition, be sure to check the wire periodically to make sure that it has not become loose. If it has, re-tighten it immediately. As your bonsai tree grows, you may need to adjust the position of the branches. Be very careful when doing this, as you don’t want to damage the tree.
Why is Wire Training Your Bonsai Tree Important?
Wire training is important for many reasons.
- For one, it can help create a more natural shape as compared with using clips and other such devices.
- In addition, wire training will encourage your bonsai’s branches to grow thicker quickly, which is important if you plan on displaying or selling your tree shortly.
- However, one of the most important reasons for wire training your bonsai tree is that it allows you to manipulate and position branches to encourage new growth where you want it.
Because some types of trees produce more flexible branches than others, wire training will likely be more successful (and therefore desirable) on some plants than on others.
As you continue to wire train your bonsai tree, you will come to understand which techniques work best on which plants and will be better able to create the perfect shape for your tree.
Tips on Monitoring Your Bonsai Plant Growth
Bonsai enthusiasts know that proper watering, pruning, and fertilizing are important for the healthy growth of their miniature trees. But did you also know that monitoring the temperature and light conditions is equally important?
Here are some tips on how to do just that:
- Temperature: Most bonsai thrive in temperate climates, so it’s important to know how hot your bonsai is getting. The optimal temperature range for most species is between 64 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. You can monitor it easily with a thermometer.
- Light: Special bonsai lights that simulate sunlight and help plants grow indoors are available, and they can be adjusted to mimic different times of the day. For example, you might set the lights to turn on in the morning and off at night so your plant gets about 12 hours of light every day.
- Humidity: Your bonsai will need 50 to 70 percent humidity, which you can maintain with a humidifier. A hygrometer is a perfect tool for keeping track of humidity levels in your home or office. As an alternative to buying one, put pre-moistened (but not dripping wet) facial tissue or paper towel in a sealed container next to your bonsai. The tissue or towel will absorb moisture from the air and keep the humidity level high.
- Fertilizing: Fertilize your plant according to its specific needs, which you can find out by reading the instructions on the fertilizer package. The amount of fertilizer you use will depend on your climate and the size of your plant.
- Watering: You probably already know that you should water your plant until the excess moisture runs out of its holes in the bottom of the pot; however, you might not know how much water that is. The general rule of thumb is to soak the pot and then let it drain completely before watering again. If your plant was recently transplanted into a new container, cut back on the watering until its roots get established.
When making a bonsai tree, it is important to monitor the growth and health of your bonsai.
- This can be accomplished with a few simple tools that you probably already have around the house, such as a thermometer for monitoring temperature and a hygrometer for humidity levels.
- You should also keep track of how much water or fertilizer your plant needs, depending on its climate and size.
- With a little bit of practice, you will be able to keep your bonsai looking its best for years to come!
- Wire training is important for many reasons: it can help create a more natural shape, encourage thicker branches quickly, and allow manipulation of branches to promote new growth.
- Temperature, light, and humidity are all important factors to consider when taking care of your bonsai. Fertilizing, watering, and monitoring growth are also crucial for the healthy development of your plant!
Reviewing these tips will help you take better care of your miniature tree during its early years.