The Beginner's Guide to Growing Bonsai

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The Beginner's Guide to Growing Bonsai

Growing bonsai is a popular pastime that many enthusiasts find engaging, relaxing, and therapeutic. This ancient Japanese art remains very popular in the modern era. Knowing the tools you need and some of the basic techniques for growing bonsai ensures your bonsai trees thrive.


Tools Required to Care for Bonsai

One of the essential bonsai tools is the concave pruner, with which you can cut branches in a way that promotes rapid healing of the wound you create. Bud scissors are necessary for snipping off buds, leaves, and smaller branches. These scissors have short blades and small finger holds to offer precision and control when delicately trimming a bonsai. The blades offer considerable cutting power thanks to their short stature and increased mechanical advantage, allowing you to slice cleanly through small branches. When you close the blades of the bud scissors, the finger holds remain apart. This prevents you accidentally crushing other parts of the bonsai while focusing on trimming a particular branch. A root hook is vital for repotting, as it allows you to easily untangle and position roots and safely remove soil without damaging delicate roots. Single point root hooks are the best option, as they reduce the risk of damaging the roots.


Watering a Bonsai

Proper watering is crucial. Too much or too little, and you quickly kill your bonsai. It takes considerable practice to water your bonsai properly. The amount of water your bonsai requires depends on the climate, the time of year, and the type of tree. Always water your bonsai early in the morning, before the plant begins its daily photosynthesis. However, in hot weather, your bonsai may benefit most from small amounts of water throughout the day. Add a small amount of water at first, which encourages the soil to hold onto the water, then thoroughly saturate the soil until water drips from the drainage holes in the base of the pot. Use water at room temperature, as cold water limits the amount of water the roots absorb, and weakens them.


Feeding a Bonsai

Because the bonsai enclosure is a small area, it can only hold a limited amount of food and nutrients, as there are no natural replenishments occurring. Feed your bonsai every other week with a balanced fertilizer for the best results. Water your plant before fertilizing, as the water helps the roots to absorb the fertilizer. Never fertilize a dry bonsai, as the lack of water results in burned roots.

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