When many people think of bonsai plants, they think of cute little trees sticking out of small pots. However, bonsai plants started in China about 1,000 years ago and are considered an artistic and spiritual form. Bonsai means "tray-planted" in Japanese. The plants are dwarfed through wiring the branches and trunk and pruning the branches and roots. The goal is to create the desired form while having an equal balance of root growth and foliage growth.
Use soil specifically designed for bonsai plants. It dries out faster than normal soil, which is beneficial because bonsai plants are put in tiny containers.
Water bonsai plants often. Hold a watering can over the plant and let the fine spray fall over the entire plant. Let the soil absorb the water then apply more. Continue until water comes out the drainage holes to keep the soil from eroding and cut down on runoff.
Feed bonsai trees with a fertilizer that contains a balanced ratio of nitrogen, potash and phosphoric acid. A blend that contains chelated iron, too, is perfect. Give it the food in the fall and spring. Follow the instructions on the label.
Place the bonsai someplace where it will get direct sunlight, such as a south, west or east-facing window. If there is not sufficient sunlight, put the plant outside for a few hours each day.
Shape bonsai trees from the time they are young until they mature. Tie copper wire around the trunk and branches to control the shape. Cut off the wire before it can dig into the tree because that will cause scarring.