A healthy bonsai requires regular attention and care. The care of the bonsai is relatively easy and often relaxing for its owners. Like other trees and plants, placement, irrigation and sunlight are important factors in its overall growth and development.
Place the bonsai tree in a partially shaded area that provides at least six hours of daily sunlight. Choose a location that is well-ventilated and provides ample air circulation. Avoid placing the bonsai near sources of extreme heat and cold.
Check the bonsai's soil moisture levels daily and water only when the level is low to dry. Most bonsais prefer to dry out completely before their next watering. Stick your finger approximately one to two inches into the soil to feel for moisture. If you are unsure of the level, check the soil again in several hours or the following day before watering. Water the tree in early morning to allow the tree ample time to process it before the day's end.
Maintain nutrient soil levels for the bonsai tree. Plant the tree in nutrient-rich, well-drained soil. Combine equal amounts of soil, peat compost and sand to provide the sandy loam that the bonsai prefers.
Feed the bonsai using a well-balanced fertilizer. Feed succulent bonsai trees with low levels of nitrogen, such as a 10-20-20 or 10-10-10. Apply the fertilizer during the tree's growing season (early spring through mid-summer). Distribute using half strength, incorporating gently into the soil. Never allow fertilizer to rest directly on the roots of the bonsai, as this will cause root burn.
Prune the bonsai to maintain its miniature size. Watch the tree's growing patterns and determine the intended shape of the tree. Prune the tree's foliage, stems and branches. Pinch back new growth, shoots and buds that do not complement the desired shape. Prune the tree regularly during the growing season but don't get carried away. Healthy bonsai trees require time and space to grow.
Look over the bonsai tree daily. Check for signs of insect infestation such as webs, yellowing and spots at the tips of foliage. Inspect the tree for signs of disease, such as browning, wilting, powdery mildew on leaves, weak branches, etc. Treat the bonsai immediately when signs of disease or infestation are located. Spray the tree with a fungicide or insecticide that addresses the issues of the tree. Speak with your local nursery or horticultural specialist for diagnosis and selection assistance.
Dust the tree daily while completing the inspection. Dusting reduces the potential for airborne fungal diseases. Promote humidity levels and maintain air circulation. Place the bonsai tree on a humidity tray, or place a small fan near the tree to promote good circulation. If a fan is used, mist the tree's foliage daily with a water spray.