How to Grow a Bonsai Tree – The Worst Mistakes You Can Make When Growing Your Bonsai

August 21, 2018

Gardening

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It is a sad fact but beginners, when trying to grow a bonsai for the first time, can end up killing their trees. Bonsai is an art, a skill and a science. Here’s the worst mistakes you can make when growing a bonsai tree.

HOW TO GROW A BONSAI MISTAKE 1: PICKING THE WRONG TREE IN THE FIRST PLACE

While it is true that pretty much any tree can be shaped into a bonsai tree, you have to pick a plant that will thrive in your home conditions. Talk to your local garden center or nursery gardener and make sure the tree you pick is suitable for the soil, sun, wind and humidity conditions in your own garden.

HOW TO GROW A BONSAI MISTAKE 2: OVER WATERING

Watering a bonsai might seem like the most basic and easiest part of training a bonsai, but under watering or over watering can kill or badly damage many trees. The key tip is to check your bonsai’s water requirements daily BUT only water if required. Look to see if the surface of the compost is starting to dry out before watering. It may be 12 hours to up to 7 days before they need water depending on the temperature, wind, climate and humidity levels.

HOW TO GROW A BONSAI MISTAKE 3: OVER PRUNING

Pruning back to shape is necessary but do not start snipping at every leaf that looks out of place. To keep your bonsai plant healthy and vigorous, it needs to be able to grow freely at times. Bonsai trees also need enough leaf for photosynthesis to occur.

HOW TO GROW A BONSAI MISTAKE 4: RE-POTTING AT THE WRONG TIME OF YEAR

Do not carry out big jobs such as repotting or major restyling at the wrong time of year as this can lead to poor health in the tree.

HOW TO GROW A BONSAI MISTAKE 5: DOING TOO MANY THINGS AT THE SAME TIME

It is important not to cause undue stress on the tree by doing several operations at the same time. Let the tree rest between wiring and replanting for example. Plants are living things. Just as a human needs time to recuperate from surgery, as does a bonsai. A good of rule of thumb is to wait one to three months after a transplanting before your start working on the tree again. And keep a watchful eye on your bonsai, make sure you see clear signs of vigorous growth and good health before you start your next major job.

HOW TO GROW A BONSAI MISTAKE 6: FIDDLING

It is such a temptation for beginners and even hardened pro to continually fiddle with their bonsai creations. Cutting off bits and piece here and there, continually watering, misting, moving, re-potting etc. Regular checks for water and health problems are necessary but if everything looks okay, resist the temptation to muck around.

HOW TO GROW A BONSAI MISTAKE 7: IMPATIENCE

Sometimes it’s the hardest thing to simply allow your bonsai to grow and ‘do its thing’. Get used to the fact that it takes time for bonsai plants to grow. You’re not talking weeks but years, even decades.

BONSAI GROWING MISTAKES: THE FINAL WORD

Although things may not go to plan, do not give up. Generally bonsai trees are hardy things and they can take the odd over-prune, over-water and other mistakes. Follow our instructions on growing a bonsai and avoid the common pitfalls often made by newbies.

Remember, that this is a hobby of trial and error. With patience and experience, you will grow a beautiful bonsai that you can enjoy with great satisfaction for years and years to come.