This article was originally published on the web on wsbonsai.co.uk however that website is defunct at February 2009. The copyright is with the original owners of wsbonsai.com
How to look after your outdoor Bonsai
IMPORTANT – NEVER LET YOUR BONSAI DRY OUT!
During the summer months you should water your bonsai daily, for best results you should water last thing at night.
Using a watering can or a hose with a fine spray watering nozzle soak the soil until water is running from the drainage holes in the bottom,
Leave for a minute or two and water again until water is running from the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.
During the winter months, when most outdoor Bonsai are dormant, just make sure the soil is damp (not wet) at all times.
Remember the soil should be moist to the touch at all times, if wet don’t water, NEVER let your Bonsai DRY OUT.
Most Outdoor bonsai enjoy full sun to semi shade, but NOT the blazing midday sun.
Try to place them where they will receive morning and afternoon sun but be shaded during midday.
Try to keep your Bonsai out of strong winds that burn the shoots and leaves.
You will know it’s in the right place as it will flourish and grow many new shoots. If it’s in the wrong place, its leaves will curl and start to brown.
Protect from severe frosts during winter, you can place them in a cool shed or green house.
All Bonsai need fertilizer to make up for the lack of nutrients normally available in the wild.
Either use a specially formulated Bonsai feed or Phostrogen tomato feed.
We recommend that you feed once a week with half the recommended strength during spring & summer.
Do NOT feed during winter (or when the tree is not growing).
Be sure to fertilize after watering and do not exceed the specified dose as over feeding will burn the roots and possibly kill your Bonsai.
Your bonsai needs pruning during summer.
Just cut off the long shoots to one or two leaves to maintain the shape of your Bonsai.
They also need maintenance pruning at the end of autumn to help keep light spaces between the branches.
Buying a book describing each species is recommended, as this will help you learn more about your particular Bonsai and its needs.
You may need to repot your Bonsai every other year and should be done in early spring. This is done to maintain fine fibourous healthy roots.
To do this, tease the Bonsai out of the pot and loosen about 1 third of the soil from the sides and underside of the root ball and trim away the long hanging roots. (Use a clean sharp pair of root cutters).
Clean the pot or choose a new one.
Repot using a free draining soil mix (1 part fine grit 2 parts organic soil) or buy a pre mixed bag.
- Brown crispy leaves – Lack of water. (Follow watering instructions above).
- Sticky leaves – the Bonsai could have Aphids, whitefly or greenfly. Check the underside of the leaves for both insects and eggs - to treat, spray with a contact insecticide and be sure to cover both sides of the leaves.
- Every leaf turning yellow – Over watering (follow the watering instructions above).
If your tree suffers any of the above conditions STOP fertilizing immediately as this will do more harm than good.
Restart to fertilize only when new growth appears.
If you follow these simple instructions your Bonsai should stay healthy and reward you for many years.