Bonsai is an ancient Japanese gardening technique, developed over thousands of years, where you cultivate miniature trees in small pots. Along with creating a spectacular piece for your garden, growing bonsai is fantastic way to de-stress and help your sense of wellbeing. We explain all you need to know about starting to create and care for these gorgeous plants.
Choosing your plant
Traditional bonsai can be broadly grouped into two different types – coniferous trees (pines), and deciduous or broad leaf trees. However, there are no set restrictions to bonsai, so you can always try something a little different with other plants, including jade plants or Christmas cacti. When choosing a plant make sure it is a young cutting or seedling so it can grow into it’s new pot.
Like most trees, bonsai trees usually need a good six hours of sunlight and therefore are best kept outside. Although certain varieties can be kept indoors, you will need to make sure they stay outside for at least two days a week to keep them happy.
Bonsai need regular watering to thrive and survive. Water when the top couple of centimetres of soil have become dry. Make sure you soak the roots well by watering your bonsai until water starts to come out of the bottom of the pot.
Potting & re-potting
Bonsais will need to be planted into a small bonsai pot when they are small (as cuttings or seedings) with Kings Potting Mix and pumice. Depending on which type of bonsai you’re growing, you may also want to incorporate some other additives into the soil.
Most young bonsais need to be replanted and their roots trimmed every two to three years, while older trees only need this done once every four to five years. The best time to re-pot your bonsai is in late winter while the tree is still dormant. The aim is not to re-plant into a larger pot, but to trim the roots back to restrict them from becoming rootbound, and then add in new mix.
Keep your bonsai thriving by fertilising them from early spring to late autumn when they have their biggest growth period. Use a balanced fertiliser with similar NPK levels, or at least balanced levels of nitrogen (N) and phosphorous (P). Use a general feed such as Thrive All Purpose Soluble Food, or Kings Fast Food fertiliser at half strength once a month.
For more information please visit kings.co.nz or call 0800 plants