Bonsai For Beginners
Leigh Parker, a keen Bonsai keeper, shares over 25 years of experience with us so we can all have beautiful Bonsai!
Wisteria - 19yrs old
I have been growing Bonsai for over 25 years and find it very rewarding as it combines artistic talent and a love of horticulture.
All Bonsai should be kept outside. Even though they are small they are still trees and should experience all the changing seasons, receive at least 5 hours of direct sunlight a day and they love rainwater!
TOP TIP: Bonsai can be brought inside occasionally for a few days only to enjoy. Just water them well beforehand and don't place them in direct air flow from an air conditioner and they will be fine.
They can be fertilised and pruned to shape just like any pot plant. They should be repotted every 1-5 years depending on the age of the tree, the older the tree the less often it needs repotting. Trim off a third of the rootball and repot into a good free draining Bonsai mix.
Water your trees about once a week in Winter and once a day in Summer. In extreme heat stand your Bonsai in shallow trays of water and water once in the morning and again in the evening. I use Hoselink's Soft Shower Spray Wand because it does not wash out any of the surface pebbles or soil from my pots, I love it!
The Bonsai trunks and branches are shaped with anodised aluminium wire and make sure to remove it if it starts to cut into the bark.
Many people think Bonsai are just starved, stunted little trees but as you can see this is not the case. Just like any plant, if they are cared for properly, they will reward you with many years of beauty and enjoyment!
Japanese Black Pine - 50yrs old
Cedar - 17yrs old
Juniper - 20yrs old
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N.B. This article has been written for Australian gardens. If you're reading this from around the world, we do hope you've found it a useful stepping stone for your own further research.