Bonsai plants come in a variety of species. Whether an evergreen, succulent or anything in between, the bonsai is cultivated with careful pruning to a miniature size. With gentle care, the bonsai plant or tree can thrive for many years.
Repot the bonsai to prevent it from becoming root bound. Newly purchased or gifted bonsais require immediate repotting. Repot the bonsai every one to two years, preferably during the summer.
Select a new container for the bonsai that has a depth that is at least equivalent to the diameter of the bonsai's trunk. Pour a layer of soil at the bottom of the new container. Use nutrient-rich soil that contains an equal amount of soil, peat compost and fine sand.
Remove the bonsai from its original container. Gently remove the excessive soil from the root system. Center the bonsai in the new container and fill the container with the remaining soil. Press the soil lightly but firmly around the plant to secure its position.
Place the bonsai in a well-ventilated location. Ensure that the location provides at least six hours of full sunlight each day, preferably morning sunlight. Keep the bonsai away from extreme hot and cold temperatures.
Water the bonsai regularly. Make efforts to become familiar with the tree's requirements. Never allow the bonsai to become excessively dry and do not over water. Check the soil's moisture levels before each watering by putting your finger into the soil about one or two inches. Water the plant when the soil feels dry.
Soak your tree when the soil feels excessively dry or if you are unsure of the current moisture levels; do this no more often than bi-monthly. Fill a sink with tepid water and place the bonsai, in its potting container, into the water. Allow the bonsai to rest until the bubbles stop rising from the soil. Remove the bonsai from water and place in its location. Check the moisture levels daily and do not water until the levels near a dry state.
Feed the bonsai during its growing season from early spring through the middle of summer. Distribute a well balanced, slow-release fertilizer that contains a combination of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Use the fertilizer at half strength and gently incorporate it into the soil. Avoid placing the fertilizer on the roots to avoid possible root burn.
Prune the bonsai plant to develop and maintain its intended shape. Trim the branches, stems and foliage to direct the growth. Pinch away new growth, shoots and buds to promote miniature replacements. Avoid pruning all of the new growth concurrently. This may cause stunting or dieback. Complete extensive pruning and repotting during the early spring before the growing season begins. Prune the roots of the bonsai plant during its second and subsequent repotting.
Pay careful attention to the bonsai plant and inspect it regularly. Look for signs of disease and infestation. Prune away wilted, dying or dead stems, branches and foliage as they appear. Treat insect infestations and disease immediately. Speak with a nursery or horticultural specialist for diagnosis and selection assistance.