How to Make a Plum Tree Bonsai
image by Fir0002, March 2005
You can enjoy the ancient art of bonsai as a long-term project by nurturing a plum tree bonsai. With plenty of rich soil, bonsai plum trees will flower and produce edible fruit that is slightly smaller than normal. The key elements of successful plum bonsai creation are in the planting, the wire training, the pruning, and the watering and fertilizing.
Choose a pot that is aesthetically pleasing to you and has a shape and color that complements the bonsai. The container can be made of untreated wood or clay and should have drainage holes. Standard fruiting bonsai trees should be grown in 12- to 15-gallon pots with for enough soil, water and nutrient retention to support the tree's flowering and fruiting.
Remove your new plum tree from its pot or packaging and clip off any damaged roots with clean sharp scissors and untangle the roots so they are free to grow outwards into the soil.
Fill your bonsai container halfway will soil. Hold the bonsai tree into the pot with the crown of the trunk at the level the soil will be when the bonsai is planted. Allow the roots to hang loosely. Fill soil in and around the roots to support them, and fill the container with soil up to the base of the trunk. Tamp down the soil around the roots with the palm of your hand to collapse any air pockets and ensure good root-to-soil contact. Water well.
Wire your plum tree for training in early Summer when its leaves have matured. Start winding your wire up from the base of the trunk, then the main branches, then the smaller branches and lastly the tips. Wind the wire at a 45-degree angle to the branch. Wrap snugly but not tightly; you want it to hold but not gouge into the bark.
Water your bonsai regularly so that the soil feels moist but not wet a inch or two down. Fertilize with a water soluble formula regularly according to the product's directions. Do not over fertilize; it will not speed the growth and may damage the roots.
Prune with an eye on the trunk, the main feature of the tree, and the larger branches in relation to the trunk. Leave any extra branches growing on weak areas of the trunk to strengthen those areas. Prune away any crossed, misdirected or damaged branches immediately. Always make pruning cuts consistent with the overall desired shape.