BONSAI frequently asked questions

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frequently asked questions


We have compiled some common questions we receive that we hope you find useful

Are bonsai difficult to care for?

Bonsai are not difficult to care for, however they do require more attention than most other plants. Soil can dry out very quickly in shallow bonsai containers. Keep soil moist but not soaking. Regular watering is eminent due to the shallow depth of the pot and ongoing maintenance is usually required, such as regular pruning.

Bonsai specialists offer this service to help you maintain a healthy tree.

How often do I water?

Ensure that your soil remains moist. Each bonsai will require different watering regimes depending on the species and its microclimate. However, as a general rule we recommend to water daily in Summer, twice weekly in Winter, until excess water flows out of the drainage holes. If you own an 'indoor' bonsai watering once a week should be sufficient and more frequently during the hotter months.

Both overwatering and underwatering your tree can potentially cause irreversible damage.

Can a bonsai grow indoors?

Yes, the most suitable tree for indoors is the ficus, fig in our Australian climate. The ficus grows exceptionally well indoors because it is a subtropical species. Other options are the Japanese maple, Chinese elm or an Azalea. Any bonsai can be used for indoor display for short periods, however for no more than three days at a time and ensure that it is situated in a well lit position.

What is the wire for?

Wire is used to manipulate the trunk and branches to grow in the direction that you desire.

When should the wire be removed?

Remove the wire before a Spring growth to prevent damage to the bark or the trunk of the tree. Otherwise, the wire should remain insitu until you have achieved your desired shape and style.

When should I repot?

Generally, every 2 years using a good quality potting media followed by a fertilser at 6 monthly intervals.

How much of the roots need to be pruned?

The larger feeder roots should be gradually removed to promote the growth of the finer extensive root sytem every 2 years whilst repotting. Larger roots are pruned to stimulate the growth of the fine feeder roots. No more than a third of the root system should be removed at one time, decreasing approximately the same amount of foliage to discourage any stress to the tree.

How old is a bonsai?

The age of a bonsai is not necessarily important.....and it is a common misconception in this art. The theory of 'bonsai art' is to create the perception that a tree is of substantial age and at its maturity. Bonsai is an art form that contains essential elements creating a panorama on a very small scale.

What sort of potting media should I use?

This is a very controversial question. There are general bonsai potting mixes available that should be suitable for most species. Many bonsai growers make there own blend like us, to create a media that is suitable for there particular species and as commercial mixes can be very expensive. Common ingredients used are: compost, akadama, sphagnum moss, gravel, peat, leaf mold and pine bark.

Here at "Bonsai Art World" we suggest initially to purchase commercial bonsai potting mix and experiment with your own blends with starter plants. You will discover that many species prefer different preparations and ph levels. The content should be sifted so that your aggregates are relatively even in size to promote drainage. Any contents that is smaller than 2mm in size should be sifted and diregarded.

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