How to start and grow your own bonsai.
The mechanics of starting and taking care of bonsai is not mysterious or baffling. All that’s necessary are the basic principles and daily care, as will be seen, in the following instructions.
Genuine pottery containers should be used, mostly in the soft colors of nature, such as unglazed brown, glazed green, or glazed white. An upright symmetrical plant, should be centered in a round or square pot, while a flat spreading plant is best in a shallow oblong or rectangle container, planted to the side. Some upright and all cascading plants.must be planted in deep pots. There should be a pleasing balance between both plant and container. But most of all, the small pot restricts root growth, therefore keeping the plant small.
Bonsai soil should have a balanced mixture of sand, peat moss, and garden soil. The sand for good drainage, peat moss to hold water in and garden soil for sustenance.
Usually, a plant which seems too big for the pot is chosen, and then pruned down to size. As much as 1/3 of the root ball soil may be taken away with a pointed stick, and then the outer edges of the roots cut away with sharp shears. Cut away just enough to fit the pot. Cover the pot holes with screen mesh, then put a layer of crushed gravel in the pot, then a layer of soil mix. Place the tree in the container, and while holding the tree, place the soil mix around and between the roots, with a blunt stick such as a chopstick. After the tree is potted, soak the container in water,until the soil is saturated. Then add pieces of moss on the surface of the soil.
Displaying your bonsai.
A bonsai is a miniature forest tree, and it must live out of doors all the time, being brought into the house only on special occasions. Bonsai should be kept in a well lighted area shaded from the direct sun. The best type of shelter is a patio, porch, or something similar which can filter the sunlight. And, yes a bench placed under a shade tree, watered by an automatic sprinkler system, is an excellent location for your bonsai. Even though most bonsai can withstand temperatures down to freezing and colder, we recommend that they be put into a cold frame for the winter, or in a sheltered area, bury the pot in the ground.
Never let the plant roots dry out, because of the small space in the container, the tree must be watered everyday. And when it is very hot, it will have to be watered two or three times a day. With a soil mixture of peat moss and sand, there is little danger of over watering.
The best fertilizer to use is fish emulsion fertilizer diluted and applied according to the manufacturer’s directions. Fertilize the plant during the spring and summer growth. Feed every 2 or 4 weeks. Apply to the soil only.
The bonsai will have to be repotted every two or three years, depending on the plant. Lift the plant by the trunk and work the soil away from the outer roots with a pointed stick. Trim away the heaviest of the old roots, and shorten all roots so there will be space around the root ball for fresh new soil. Keep the plant in the shade and do not fertilize for a few weeks.
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