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Art in Miniature

Bonsai is one of the more beautiful results of man’s attempts to curb nature. Here we show you how to make the most of these tiny trees

The art of creating miniature indoor trees began over two thousand years ago in China. Now known as bonsai, this term derived from the Chinese word pen’jing, meaning “a tree or shrub planted in a shallow dish or tray”. In the 12th century, the Japanese put their own slant on the tradition by growing the trees outdoors.

Those that we’re offering on our site will make exciting additions to any interior. However, they do need regular attention and care, so make sure you’ve got the time to look after them properly to avoid disappointment later on.

Delivery Water your bonsai as soon as soon as you receive it. A couple of weeks after delivery some of its leaves may turn yellow. This is to be expected as it gets used to its new location. Just flick these leaves off – don’t pull them in case you damage any buds.

Watering Bonsai should be watered by immersion. Submerge the pot in water for five minutes or so, then allow it to drain. Do this daily in the summer, and every other day through the rest of the year. Compost should be moist to the touch at all times; don’t let it dry out. Stand the pot in a tray of moist gravel.

Location Think carefully before deciding where to stand your bonsai. It will need lots of light but should be kept out of the midday sun. The temperature should be warm, so avoid windowsills, where conditions can fluctuate. If your chosen location has only once source of light, remember to regularly turn your tree to ensure balanced growth. Rethink the location if your tree starts to lose its leaves.

Fertilizer Bonsai trees like lots of food, so feed yours every two weeks in the summer, and once a month in winter. Use either a specially formulated bonsai food or phostrogen tomato feed, and apply only after you’ve watered your plant. Take care to follow instructions, overfeeding can lead to scorched leaves.

Pruning Use the tree’s original shape as your pattern for pruning. Simply cut off the long shoots to maintain its look. You’ll need to do this throughout the year, particularly in the summer when the tree does most of its growing.

Repotting Make sure you repot your bonsai every two or three years, preferably in the spring. Trim away a small amount of the root, and replace the old soil.

Troubleshooting Brown, crinkly leaves – indicates that you’ve not been watering your bonsai enough. Let these leaves fall of their own accord, and follow the watering instructions above.

Yellow leaves – suggests you’ve been overwatering your tree. Follow the watering instructions above.

Glossy or sticky leaves – possible aphid infestation. Take the plant outside and spray the underneath of its leaves with a proprietary insecticide. Or spray every three days with a weak solution of washing up liquid and water, a maximum of three times. NB. If your tree is affected in any of these ways, stop feeding it until new growth appears.


Articles reprinted with premission from Greenfingers.com



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