December 5, 2021

6 Steps On How to Start Bonsai Trees?

Bonsai is the aesthetic art that regulates the growth of plants. It is a Japanese art that can be traced back to the 17th century. It comes from the word bon meaning tray and sai which means to plant or grow in a pot. A bonsai is an art form using trees grown in containers. Bonsai practice features dwarfing trees growing in pots, while aesthetically maintaining their shape and size by growth pruning.

Though a bonsai tree may be expensive or need extra care it is easier to start it as a bonsai enthusiast and with some early precautions, it becomes easier.

What Need to Know Before Planting a Bonsai Tree?

Bonsai planting is not like regular planting; therefore, it is necessary to prepare the soil specifically for bonsai. The soil must be light, yet well-draining. A good quality potting mix works best to plant a bonsai tree for this practice. Once you have chosen your bonsai tree and picked out its spot in the yard or garden, you are ready to plant.

You have to prepare the soil for your bonsai tree by adding organic materials, such as peat moss, crushed bark, or compost. You can also use a combination of these ingredients if you so desire. The best time to plant bonsai trees is in the spring when there are no signs of cold weather; however, they may be planted during any month. However, it is easier to keep them indoors until nighttime temperatures do not drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius).

How to Plant a Bonsai Tree?

Here are the following things you will need to start bonsai. A container, soil, wire for training branches, wooden tools, and a greenhouse/nursery.

A Container:

The container is the bowl, pot, or another receptacle that holds your bonsai tree and its soil. It must be smaller than the root system of your tree. The depth of the container should be at least two inches deeper than the height of your bonsai.

Obviously, you need proper potting soils for planting a bonsai tree. There are many good quality soils available in nurseries and garden centers; however, it is best to use a light soilless mix such as peat moss and sand to fill containers for this practice.

Wire:

Sometimes wire has to be used on some branch(es) while training branches; therefore, it becomes necessary to purchase wire (preferably aluminum wire). Some will already be wrapped on the branches when you plant a bonsai tree. If not, these are easy to purchase in any nursery or garden center.

Tools:

The next thing you need is your desired tools for planting a bonsai tree. You will need pruning shears for cutting away dead needles and clipped branch ends after planting; wire cutters to cleanly remove wires from branches; sharp-pointed barbs for making holes in the soil before inserting roots of your tree; and a water sprayer for keeping wet while planting bonsai trees.

Greenhouse/Nursery:

One last item you might want to consider purchasing is a greenhouse/nursery depending on where you live geographically because if it gets too cold, you can bring it indoors until the temperature is right for planting your bonsai tree.

How to Start Bonsai Trees?

After you have bought all the items needed, you are ready to plant a bonsai tree. Follow these steps for maximum output-

# Step 1: Prepare Root Ball

When planting a bonsai tree, it is important to prepare the root ball first. This is done by gently removing the tree from its container and shaking off any loose soil. You can then use a sharp knife or scissors to trim away any dead roots. Cut the roots on an angle so that they will grow new healthy roots. Be sure not to cut any live roots. You can then replant the tree in your desired container and fill it in with soil.

# Step 2: Dig a Hole

To plant a bonsai tree, dig a hole that is equal in depth to the container your bonsai tree came in. This will hold your soil firmly around your bonsai tree, but not too much. Add some organic materials such as peat moss and compost to the bottom of your hole.

# Step 3: Add Soil Mix

Next, you will need to add the soil mix you have purchased or made to fill your bonsai tree’s hole. Add organic materials first followed by enough good quality potting mix so that it reaches the top of the root system of your tree. It is not necessary for you to remove any excess roots at this time because they will be pruned later when planting a bonsai tree. This is why it is important not to over-pot your tree in its container before transplanting it into its permanent home.

# Step 4: Watering Your Bonsai Tree

Water your newly purchased bonsai tree thoroughly with at least two quarts of water. Do not water again until you see that it is necessary; then give only enough to keep the soil moist throughout its growing season (usually about six months). You can tell by gently squeezing the top couple inches of soil in between your fingers.

If it’s dry, you will need to water your bonsai tree soon. If it feels damp, do not water yet because over-watering will lead to rotting roots and damaged leaves if too much moisture gets trapped around them.

# Step 5: Start Shaping The Bonsai Tree

Use the wire cutters to snip away any branches that may be sticking out from your bonsai tree. You can rewire a branch before you plant a bonsai tree, but this is not necessary because pruning and shaping will occur soon.

# Step 6: Prune Your New Bonsai Tree

Trim away any excess roots around the bottom of your bonsai tree’s root ball with sharp barbs. For instance, use pruning shears for trimmings under an inch in diameter and your sharp knife for those larger than one inch in diameter.

How Should You Style Your Bonsai?

Bonsai trees need a certain amount of trimming and styling to maintain a natural appearance. But, bonsai trees should not be pruned or styled too heavily or they will lose their natural beauty. If you’re a beginner you can be guided by any professionals or books or the internet (see bonsai books recommendations) on how to style your new bonsai tree. 

After a couple of years, when you get familiar with bonsai trees and start to learn more about their care and develop your own techniques, you may find it rewarding to style your bonsai yourself.

Conclusion:

We hope that this article was helpful for you to decide if bonsai trees are right for you. The truth is that each bonsai tree requires a great deal of time and patience, but those who choose to plant them will find it rewarding as they age. Bonsai plants require ongoing pruning and training as the trunk thickens and the bonsai tree grows. Pruning is done with sharp, clean shears or pruning scissors.

If you’re used to performing these activities, bonsai pursuits will be ideal for you. Otherwise, it will just cause you a lot of discomfort. So it’s upon you.

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About the author 

Greg Reed

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