The care of bonsai is different from the care of houseplants; Bonsai will require different techniques to grow and create. A bonsai is not a houseplant. The tree is kept outdoors and on occasion brought indoors for enjoyment. These trees need proper light, moisture, temperature, humidity, nutrients, and maintenance to be successfully grown.
For care of species of trees that are suitable for Bonsai please
All plants normally grow outdoors; however, some can be conditioned to survive indoors. Plants need proper light, moisture, temperature, humidity, nutrients, and maintenance to be successfully grown indoors.
In discussions about keeping bonsai indoors, we refer to 'Cool House' Bonsai and 'Warm House' Bonsai. Cool House refers to trees that are not as cold tolerant, and need winter protection from freezing or severe cold. Most of these trees still need a winter hibernation period for their health. Most homes are too warm for these trees to be kept in the living areas of a home. Here in the coastal Georgia/South Carolina area trees that can be kept in a warm house are best: Ficus, Schefflera, Buttonwood, Norfolk Island Pine, Texas Ebony, Brazilian Raintree, Fukien Tea, Jacaranda, Black Olive, Nicodemia, Aralia, Jades
The ideal location of a plant for decoration may not be the ideal spot for plant growth. Lack of adequate light is the most common factor limiting the growth of plants in many areas of the home. Light provides the energy plants need to make the food required for them to grow and flower. Plants are the only organisms able to use light to produce sugars, starches and other substances needed by them as well as by other living enough light? The growth pattern of the plant can be a good indication. No growth may indicate poor light but could be a sign of other problems as well. A healthy plant under poor light may develop longer internodes (length of stem between leaves). Leaves may develop larger than normal on some plants (stretching to increase the amount of energy received. Many times artificial lighting is needed.
The air in most modern homes is extremely dry. A furnace humidifier can help plant growth. If one cannot be used, humidity trays placed beneath the plants and filled with constantly moist gravel help increase humidity around the plants. Pots must be placed on, not in, the wet gravel. Misting over the leaves daily can help a plant overcome the stress of low humidity. Humidity often runs higher in kitchens & bathrooms. Relative humidity between 40 and 60 percent is best for most plants but is difficult to attain in the house. The color of many plants in poor light may be pale green, and lower leaves may yellow and drop.
Leaves wilted: -Too much or too little water Too small or too large a pot Leaves dropping off slowly: -Too much water Leaves drop off suddenly: -Too dry, too cold, or gas Bottom leaves are yellow: -A few are to be expected Leaves are pale or yellowish: -Too little or too much light Lack of nitrogen or ironPlant thin & etiolated: -Too little light Growth stunted: -No drainage hole Too heavy a soil mix Leaves have dry tips: -Humidity too low or soil too wet Leaves rolling up: -Cold Drafts, Insects
Water: Bonsai are probably injured more often by improper watering than by any other single factor. No general schedule can be used for watering all plants. Size of plant, pot, light, temperature, humidity and other conditions influence the speed with which the soil mass dries out. Soil kept either too wet or too dry causes plant roots to die, which leads to poor growth or death of the plant. Learn to gauge the moisture content of the soil by its color and feel. As the soil surface dries it becomes lighter. Under continued drying, the soil begins to crack and pull away from the sides of the pot. When severe drying occurs, some damage already will have been done to the roots. Soil kept too moist becomes sticky and slimy, thus inviting root rots and other disease problems. Many homeowners soften their water by using a filtration system to exchange the calcium and magnesium in the water for sodium, creating softer water that allows soap to function better. Plants use sodium only in very small amounts. Over time, sodium becomes toxic to plants. Plants may be watered from either the top or the bottom of the pot. If one prefers watering from the top, use a watering can with a small spout. Each time, wet the entire soil mass, not just the top inch. Add water until it comes through the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot. Discard water that remains beneath the pot one hour after watering. Periodically plants should be watered by soaking. This is done by immersing the plant into a bucket of water so several inches of water are above the soil line. Then allow it to drain. Potted plants should always have good drainage. Occasionally roots may clog the drainage hole.
Fertilize: Miniaturization is not achieved by starving bonsai. The health of ones bonsai depends on a sufficient but not excessive diet of nutrients. The three main elements necessary for healthy plant growth are: Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Nitrogen promotes green foliage and stem growth, phosphorus encourages flowering and root production, and potassium contributes to overall strength and disease resistance. Feed plants only during their growing season at one third of the recommended strength. Never apply liquid fertilizers to wilted plants. Water the plants first and apply fertilizer after the plants have recovered and the soil has dried slightly. Some people prefer to use organic fertilizers, but either organic or inorganic fertilizers or a combination of both will be satisfactory sources of nutrients. Fertilizers that release nutrients slowly require less frequent application than liquid forms.
Temperature: Bonsai are kept outdoors and on occasion can be brought indoors for about three days. Leave them outdoors as much as possible. They need to go through their seasonal changes (dormancy). Learn the Hardiness Zones for each type of tree that you want to grow. Some trees are hardy to 20° F (Pines, Maples, Junipers). Others are less hardy only to freezing (Serissa, Carissa, Sweet plum). Azaleas are hardy to only 25°F. Because bonsai are planted in shallow containers the roots can freeze faster than they would if planted in the ground. So protect the pots also. Shield bonsai from strong winter winds that dry out the foliage and twigs.
Light: Most plants grow in the full sun in nature The more sun a plant gets, the more compact the leaves and the tighter the twigging. But here in Savannah the summer sun is very intense. "Full Sun" in New York is about 30% shade here. Without some shading the foliage may burn or watering may become a constant chore. Plants grown in shade will burn if placed in the full sun, the same as with an accountant placed on the beach. If this occurs, remove the burned foliage. In 3 weeks new foliage will appear, as fully acclimatized to the sun as a roofer.
Pruning: Trim excessive and distractive new growth that interferes with the harmony of the bonsai’s style. Trimming encourages new growth and speeds the ramification of the branches. Any wire used to shape the bonsai is temporary and should be removed before it damages the tree.
Repotting: When the tree becomes almost root bound or doesn’t drain properly it needs to be repotted. Bonsai soil is very coarse, with many spaces for air. It is good for the long-term health of the plant. Fine material has to be removed to avoid compaction of the soil, which would exclude air.
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