How to maintain a bonsai?

How to maintain a bonsai?

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  • Prune your bonsai like a master
  • Defoliate your bonsai
  • Ligation, good or bad practice?
  • Watering and choice of soil
  • How to repot your bonsai?

1. Prune your bonsai like a master

The size of a bonsai is the most delicate phase of its maintenance, because it is on it that depends the final aesthetic rendering of your dwarf tree. Take inspiration from Japanese masters, who draw a sketch of the ideal tree as they see it. The size of the bonsai then aims to reproduce the model sketched on paper. There are two types of size:

  • Training pruning: It consists of pruning your bonsai during its growth, in order to impose on it, by successive cuts, the desired silhouette. Observe each emerging branch. If it deviates from the line of your drawing, cut it at its base. This sorting, carried out daily, will allow you to shape the shape of your bonsai over the years.
  • Maintenance pruning: As its name suggests, it is carried out on an already formed tree and consists in regularly shortening the existing branches, so that the bonsai retains its imposed shape. No good gardener without good tools! Do not hesitate to invest in a pair of bonsai scissors: their specific shape is a guarantee of precision when pruning your dwarf tree.

2. Defoliate your bonsai

Maintaining a bonsai involves granting a special attention to his leaves . From an aesthetic point of view, these must keep a reduced size, in harmony with that of the trunk and branches. Ask yourself 3 questions about defoliation of your bonsai:

  • When: when the first buds appear
  • How: by cutting the leaves at their base, closest to the branch
  • Why: to get the most miniature leaves possible in the long term Here again, the bonsai chisel will do wonders! A profitable investment in the long term…

3. Ligation, good or bad practice?

The ligature consists of use copper wire, which is wrapped around the branches in order to constrain their shape during growth. The sons act therefore like a tutor, but with more precision. If this practice achieves excellent results, it is not without risks! Over time, it is not uncommon for copper wires to become embedded in the heart of the bonsai bark. Removing them becomes very delicate!

4. Watering and choice of soil

To properly maintain your bonsai, make sure that it has all the elements necessary for its vitality. A small tree, bonsai is necessarily more fragile than its congeners. Particular attention will therefore be paid to watering and the choice of soil:

  • watering : It must be carried out almost daily, to prevent the tree from drying out. Do not wait until the soil in the pot becomes dusty or cracks. Your bonsai could die!
  • The choice of soil : Ideally, you will opt for a mixture of compost, gravel, and akadama. This granular clay, red in color, contains all the nutrients necessary for the growth of your bonsai.

5. How to repot your bonsai?

Your bonsai must be regularly repotted, in order to allow its roots to flourish properly. Repotting takes place in several stages:

  • Take your bonsai out of its pot and carefully untangle its tangled roots.
  • In the new pot, place a grid over the drainage holes to prevent the roots from coming out.
  • Pour some of the compost, gravel and akadama mixture into your new pot.
  • Carefully repot your bonsai, and cover the roots with the remaining mixture.
  • Water abundantly in fine rain: the water, flowing, will allow the earth to grasp the roots of your tree.

You will understand, maintaining a bonsai is first and foremost a matter of patience!