Caring your bonsai

Caring your bonsai

This blog is aimed for the new comers in bonsai, offering tips on how to care for your bonsai, to help them achieve good results.

The miniature size of bonsai trees makes fascinate a good number people around the world, and exactly for the same reason, or for the fact that people can’t understand how to train a bonsai into a miniature one, will keep them off, without even trying to understand.  It might also be the lack of proper information that people who love the culture of bonsai will keep them from starting.  This will happen until they will receive a bonsai tree as a present.  Now they have no option apart from trying to care for it the best possible way, the only way they think.  Some might follow the only tip given by the nursery sales person. which normally knows nothing about bonsai.

To succeed in this new venture, some people might find a friend who trains bonsai and ask for for some guidelines to help them care their bonsai.  I recommend this approach, and this is the reason why I am writing this blog.  A friend of mine wanted to have some tips on how to care a new bonsai species she was given for ‘Mother’s Day.  Her intentions are to keep the tree alive and healthy.  For this kind of people, there are simple rules that they should follow to achieve success which will reward their efforts, by bringing nature in their own houses with indoor bonsai, and putting a miniature world in their yard or back garden with outdoor bonsai species.

Each tree species might need different ways to follow, but we will be dealing with just the basics every bonsai tree needs, being a new comer, an enthusiast or a professional grower.  All has to follow these steps: the more you advance the more you need to refine these basics.  Japanese professional growers follow different  ways on how to train their species, following rules they built by their previous generations.

The five basics

  1. Watering
  2. Location
  3. Soil
  4. Feeding
  5. Wiring and Trimming


When you hear the word bonsai, most people will think that you have to water daily.  This might be true, in fact, professional growers water their bonsai daily, and sometimes twice or even more times daily.

Tip 1:  Water when needed.  

Check the soil inside the pot before watering.  If the soil is still wet, do not water, if the soil started to dry out, water your bonsai.  Water until you see that water is coming out of the pot drainage hole.

Avoid: Excessive water will create root rot, thus damaging the tree’s health.


A bonsai tree needs to have the necessary location to grow healthy, and for most species, plenty of direct sunlight is necessary, so place your bonsai in either outside while other species can live indoors, mostly near a window.

Tip 2:  Place your bonsai in the right location according to the species.

Place out door bonsai species under direct sunlight and in door bonsai species inside the house.

Avoid:  Do not place indoor bonsai trees were direct air current is present.


There are more than one type of soil that can be used.  Compost is normally the soil of a bonsai tree bought from a nursery.  Enthusiast and professional growers use a soil mix from a variety of soils.  Once the tree needs re-potting, try to mix your soil with different mixes:

  1. Compost:  To maintain good humidity
  2. Pumice/Perlite:  To add more air inside the soil while maintaining the humidity

Tip 3:  The soil mix must be appropriate to the location the bonsai tree will be placed.  Bonsai in hot sun should have compost soil that can absorb and maintain humidity, while having more pumice or Perlite for indoor bonsai trees.

Re-potting should be carried out between January-February.

Avoid:  Do not use pots with small or no drainage holes.


Vigorous growth of your bonsai cannot be achieved only by watering, feeding is very important, since the tree needs nutrients from the soil, mostly since the tree is potted in a small container.  Commercial bonsai feed can be used.

Tip 4:  Use fertilizer with low Nitrogen content to maintain small leaves, since nitrogen will increase the leaf size.

Look at the NPK of the fertilizer before buying.  N stands for Nitrogen, P stand for Phosphate and P for Potassium.  Small portions of other nutrients will be present in most liquid fertilizers.

Avoid:  The use of excessive percentages of fertilizer when diluting in water.

Wiring and Trimming

Wiring and trimming has two major factors:

  1. Maintain or create the bonsai shape
  2. Permit more light to penetrate

Aluminum or copper wire to wire and shape secondary/tertiary branches.  Use a sharp and clean scissors when trimming.

Tip 5:  Trim your bonsai foliage in a triangular shape.

Learn the good way to wire around branches.

Avoid:  Some species have brittle branches, so bend attentively when shaping the style. 

Feel free to contact us with your questions.  We promise to do our best to answer.

Martin Abela

Author Martin Abela

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Join the discussion One Comment

  • Anuj Agarwal says:

    Hi Martin,

    My name is Anuj Agarwal. I’m Founder of Feedspot.

    I would like to personally congratulate you as your blog Kengai Bonsai Garden has been selected by our panelist as one of the Top 75 Bonsai Blogs on the web.

    I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 75 Bonsai Blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!

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