The art of bonsai has been around for many generations. The concept of growing a mighty to scale tree in a container as small as a walnut shell has enthralled people for thousands of years. Though it seems like a difficult hobby bonsai is a simple concept. Simply give the tree what it needs and it will reward you with many years of beauty.
Many fruit trees are especially suited for bonsai culture. Citrus grow fast and can be brought indoors without harm. Their blossoms fill the air with sweetness and their beauty can lift a person’s spirit.
Things You'll Need
- Fruit tree
- Barky compost
- Garden clay
- Slow release fertilizer
- Copper wire
- Shallow pot
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How to Grow a Bonsai
Check the fruit tree over carefully. Look for pests or diseased limbs and remove any found. Use very sharp pruners to cleanly remove any bad limbs. Remove the fruit tree from its growing pot by tapping it sharply across the bottom and sides with your hand or on a sturdy surface.
Using a small sharp handsaw saw off 1/3 of the trees root ball, make the cut as clean as possible. Use a strong jet of water to wash all the remaining soil from the roots of the fruit tree. Look closely for diseased or pest infested roots. Remove any suspicious looking critters or growths. Place roots in a bowl of water to prevent them from drying out.
Turn the bowl while looking at the shape of the canopy and trunk. Visualize what you want the finished tree to look like. Remove any limbs that interfere with the flow of the tree.
Gently wrap the copper wire around sections of limbs that need training. Be very careful not to use too much force as the branch may break. Do not wrap the wire tightly as it will scar the tree permanently. On stress areas, small pieces of soft rubber can be added under the wire to prevent rubbing.
In a large bucket, mix 1 gallon of medium sized sand and small bark pieces together. Add 3 cups of good garden clay to this mixture and combine well. Sprinkle on the recommended amount of fertilizer. Add enough water to make the mixture moist and set aside. They key to good bonsai soil is keeping the mixture well draining. It should never stay soggy with water.
Cut a large enough piece of screen to cover the drain holes of the bonsai pot. The screen can be secured with aquarium sealant or copper wire. The screen prevents soil from washing out through the drain holes.
Fill the pot half full with soil and pack it down firmly. Adding a hill of soil slightly off centered will create a better display for the finished bonsai.
Place the bonsai with its roots splayed out on top of the hill. Add enough soil to fill the pot and pack it down firmly. Keep adding soil and packing until the pot is nearly full.
Top the bonsai with small natural colored pebbles. The pebble top dressing finishes the planting and hides any visible fertilizer pellets in the soil. Mosses can be purchased online for found in a person’s yard. Use mosses that can withstand the amount of sun and water given to the bonsai.
Bonsai are generally kept in very shallow pots with minimal soil. When displaying the bonsai find an area with dappled shade. If placed in full sun the soil dries out fast. Even in a shady area, the bonsai may need to be watered several times a day. Never let the soil dry out completely as it can kill your plant.