How to Plant Bonsai

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Bonsai plants and trees are becoming a common sight in many gardens, homes and shops. Caring for and training these beautiful plants is not an easy task, especially when it comes time to repot them. To plant your bonsai correctly, there are steps you must take. This can be time consuming, but if done incorrectly it could lead to the death of your bonsai.

Things You'll Need

  • Bonsai sword or stick Sharp scissors Small hand rake or similar tool New pot Bonsai soil Fertilizer Water

How to Plant Bonsai

  • Read and learn all you can on your specific type of bonsai. Each species may have slightly different needs. Leave your tree or plant in its original pot for the first 2 to 5 years. After that, depending upon the species, it may need to be repotted every 1 to 3 years. You'll also only want to repot during the right season, which is typically spring.

  • Choose your new bonsai pot. Generally speaking, you'll want it to be as shallow and small as fits your bonsai. You do not want the new pot to be deeper in length than the trunk measures in diameter.

  • Loosen the soil by slowly and carefully moving the stick, or bonsai sword, along the interior edges of the pot. You don't want to loosen the soil near the plant, just along the edges of the pot.

  • Gently lift your bonsai out of its pot, taking care not to disturb the compacted soil and roots.

  • Very carefully go around the edges of the plant, cutting back about one-third of the root ball all the way around using the bonsai sword or sharp scissors. Cut any roots pointing down.

  • Loosen the outer roots with the small hand rake, then trim any thick roots that stick out.

  • Using the soil, replant your bonsai in its new pot. Add fertilizer and water. Continue pruning and shaping your plant in the same manner as before.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not repot your bonsai too early or it will most likely die. Do not rush any process with your bonsai, as this art form takes time and patience.

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References

  • Bonsai Gardener
  • The Secret Techniques of Bonsai; Masakuni Kawasumi, Kay Yakota, and Yasuo Saji; 2005
  • Photo Credit ragesoss
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