Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How To Properly Care For A Bonsai Tree

By Sarah Duke

Once you purchase a bonsai tree, or the seeds to plant it, you'll definitely want all the information you can get when it comes to caring for it. You'll need to know how often to water your plant, which fertilizer is best, and how to prune your plant regularly in order to make sure your tree grows to be extremely healthy. Here are some tips that will help you to get started.

One of the first things that you'll want to think about is what type of species you want to grow. The goal of this form of horticulture, in addition to keeping the tree healthy, is to create a miniature replica of what a larger tree would be. So, you don't necessary have to be using a Japanese plant to create the tree that you want. If a plant can live in a smaller container and adapt to pruning, you can care for it using bonsai techniques. Plants with a naturally long life include the pine tree, while cotoneasters tend to not live very long. However, the length of life for your plant is largely dependent on how well you care for it.

Watering is an important part of caring for a bonsai tree. You'll need to spray the leaves of the plant often to keep them green and fresh, but don't immerse the plant in water in order to give it extra moisture. This will only cause the roots to rot, and could ruin your plant altogether. There are also different variations of trees, so finding out all you can about the plant you have will let you know exactly how much you should water it.

When you're feeding a bonsai tree, be sure to get the highest quality of fertilizer you can find. The fertilizer should have ample amount of nitrogen so that the plant can grow (especially if you want your plant to get larger with time), as well as potassium and phosphates. A soil with B vitamins and iron is also necessary for the health of the tree. Most people think that this small plant can feed itself, since most other trees are able to do so, but this plant is confined to a pot, which means you will have to provide the food. You should feed your tree about every two weeks or so to make sure that it is thriving at a normal rate.

It's also very important to re-pot your tree every couple of years. The ideal season for re-potting is spring, since the weather will be fairly neutral (not too hot, not too cold) and it is more likely that your plant will develop faster in the new soil. This is also a good time to prune the roots, but be sure not to cut too much--only about one third from the tip of the root should be sufficient. If you want your plant to grow in the same shape or at the same pace, you should re-pot in a pot with a similar shape.

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