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BONSAI BASICS

Often people believe that caring for a Bonsai tree is extremely difficult, it is not difficult, but is also not as straight forward as with other plants and trees.  These small trees do require special attention to thrive, and be a flourishing bonsai tree.

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Many people who own a bonsai tree for the first time, receive it as a gift. Bonsai trees are becoming increasingly popular as gifts, not only for Mother's Day, but also for Christmas and anniversaries. The popularity of bonsai trees increased significantly after they were featured in The Karate Kid and ever since, trees have been exchanged as gifts between family, friends, and co-workers. Alternatively, you may have purchased your bonsai from a store or nursery because you were intrigued by the beauty of the little tree.

Location

It’s a common misconception that most bonsai are indoor trees. In fact, most bonsai are outdoor bonsai.  The popular bonsais found in grocery stores, such as the Ginseng Ficus, are only suitable bonsai for indoors.  There are possibly 2 other specimens suitable for indoor, such as the Money Tree (Pachira aquatica), or the Spekboom (Portulacaria afra).  Now that you’ve obtained your first tree, here are some basics on where your new bonsai tree should live.

Bonsai go out doors!

Quick back to school! - Sunlight is required for photosynthesis, in which the sun’s energy is absorbed by the tree’s leaves and is used to fuel the tree’s health. The amount of sunlight your tree needs will depend on the type of tree you have.  Conifers, like junipers and pines, require a significant amount of sunlight to thrive, while deciduous trees, like maples and elms, enjoy morning light, but could experience leaf burn if constantly subjected to the intense afternoon sun.
 

Regardless of the level of sunlight required, all of the above species should be kept outside exclusively.

Find a stable place for your tree outdoors, and be sure that the placement you choose is protected from:

  • Wind – the foliage (leaves) of your tree will invariably act as a wind sail during gusts of wind. If you can, place your tree where it has some protection from unexpected windy weather.

  • Rain – In general, rain isn’t an issue with bonsai, because a proper bonsai tree is potted in a well-draining soil and a pot which has adequate drainage holes.

Bonsai Tree
Image by Devin H
Image by Csaba Talaber
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