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Bonsai - miniature Japanese beech forest Species grown as bonsai are labelled as such. Note, however, that growing conditions for bonsai differ from those of other Trees and Shrubs. Bonsai-destined seedlings are sown into gritty well-drained compost, and usually grow faster, and are more vigorous, if these are started outside.

The very shallow soil they are forced to inhabit dries out easily and is quickly depleted of nutrients. Watering is a daily affair for most bonsai, fertilizing should take place every 2-4 weeks, and repotting usually every 2 years. Water bonsai several hours prior to transplanting.

Bonsai require good drainage as well as adequate moisture retention. In general, a good mix of equal parts of soil and coarse sand will suffice. Flowering species, however, require relatively more rich humus, up to three quarters of the total mixture. Conifers, especially pines and junipers, love a light mixture composed mainly of sand (just over half of the mixture for most conifers, up to three quarters for pines). Finally, acid-lovers like Azalea or Cotoneaster thrive in soil mixed liberally with peat, then cut with the same amount of sand.

Bonsai as a rule do require fertilization, though fertilizers should be diluted to well below normal strength. Small amounts are used frequently during the growing season, i.e. from early spring to early fall. Start off with a high-nitrogen fertilizer, i.e. a 10-6-4; after midsummer feed with a low-nitrogen and high-potassium mixture, i.e. 4-7-10. As with other flowering plants, flowering bonsai benefit from tomato fertilizer used in late summer or early fall. Organic formulations may of course be substituted.

While most bonsai benefit from full sun, and should be grown outside, in summer some protection from scorching is typically required, even if larger, freely-grown specimens tolerate full sun very well.

Bonsai - Chinese peashrubJapanese maple bonsaiBonsai - Spiraea japonicaRhododendron bonsai

View listings for Bonsai by Common Names or Species Names

Topics Referenced

Trees and Shrubs
Water and Irrigation

See Also

Cacti and Succulents
Fruits and Vegetables
Grains and Grasses
Plants of Home and Garden
Trees and Shrubs
Water Plants

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