N.B. the information that follows assumes you are growing a hardy plant as a bonsai outside.
There is no mystery about the care of bonsai - They should for the most be grown outside in natural surroundings in the fresh air. Remember bonsai are not house plants but HARDY trees. They should be grown outdoors and not brought inside for more than a few days at a time. Do not change them from one extreme of temperature to another without giving them a chance to acclimatise in between. A common fallacy amongst the uninitiated is that bonsai are produced by stunting (withholding food and water) in fact the reverse is true and for healthy growth the trees must be regularly fed and watered.
When to Fertilise?
Fertiliser should be added during March-April to July - August.
Fertiliser may be Vermicompost , Neem Khali and Bonemeal.
Delhi bonsai don’t recommend any fancy fertilizers mixes.
When to Water
The tree must have sufficient water. In Summer water the soil daily, in Winter daily watering is not necessary but never let the tree dry out.
DO NOT OVER WATER
WITHOUT WATER IT WILL DIE!
Ordinary tap water is usually suitable but if your water is hard (contains lime) use drinking water.
Re-potting and Root Pruning
Any plant growing in a pot will eventually become 'root-bound' - the roots will fill every available air space in the compost making it impossible for water, food and air to reach the roots and finally choking itself to death. Bonsai are no exception and regular repotting is necessary to keep them healthy.
Your bonsai will need re-potting on average every 3 years or else mentioned with the type of plant and as it is generally re-potted back into the same pot some roots will need to be pruned to allow room for fresh soil.
The major root pruning has been done on your bonsai when it was first potted. Observation of the root system by gently tilting the tree and soil intact from the pot will help you to determine if root pruning and repotting is necessary. If the tree appears to be root-bound gently tease out the encircling roots and trim them. The root ball should be reduced by about 1/3 all round. This root pruning can only be done safely in early march before the tree starts into active growth (around March/April). Your tree is in a mixture we feel will enable it to grow and keep its beauty. Bonsai soil mixture should be free draining . Delhibonsai don’t recommend any fancy potting mixtures available in the market.
It is best to prepare the re-potting mixture by mixing 2/3 of local soil + 1/3 (vermicompost + Neem Khali+ bonemeal in equal quantities)
Shaping and Styling
If you have bought an established bonsai your tree will have already received basic pruning and styling and on older trees some more advanced refinement. Further shaping will be necessary as your tree sends out shoots. This is done by pinching and pruning. Pinching is done by gripping new growth by thumb and index finger and removing the growth with a plucking action. Pruning is done with sharp scissors or shears being careful to cut neatly through stem, twig or branch without cutting through the leaves or foliage. Constant pinching will induce fine twiggy growth and compact foliage masses.
Choice of Pot
Pots are chosen to enhance and complement the tree. It should not detract from it, subdued earthy colours are most appropriate for the majority of trees. Coloured glazed pots are sometimes used for deciduous and flowering trees. All pots should and have adequate drainage holes.
Bonsai although hardy do appreciate protection from the worst of the frost and drying winter winds during Dec/Jan. A protected spot in the garden, sun bathing balcony can be used for winter storage but take care not to over protect. Do not bring into the house. Bonsai need a dormant period to survive.
You can also avail service of free Bonsai Care at our specially organised camp during the month of March.
Watch out the website for venue and timings.
Feng Shui and Bonsais
Feng Shui is all about fostering harmony and balance. In a similar manner, Bonsai trees are trained to grow in shapes that represent natural balance.
Feng Shui supports the addition of plants in the home, including Bonsai trees.
Placement according to Feng Shui:-
When placed in an office setting, the trees are believed to bring luck. This is especially true of plants placed in the room’s east, south-east or south corners. Bonsai trees can also be used to soften sharp lines and promote air flow through dead spaces.
The best placement of any feng shui cure is defined by its feng shui element and the correspondence with a specific bagua area. A bonsai tree obviously belongs to the feng shui element of Wood, so place it in a bagua area that is either defined by Wood (East and Southeast), or nourished by Wood (South).
Bonsai might be an excellent feng shui choice for you if you love it and take good care of it. It might speak to you of patience, order, the need to control, etc.
When the principles of Feng Shui are applied to Bonsai, the result is a balanced natural landscape that in turn can bring balance to the surrounding environment. Bonsai trees are a practical way to bring both nature and the positive energy associated with Feng Shui into the home.
The Curves and twists are often used to confuse and eliminate evil spirits.