Top 10 Bonsai tips for beginners

Bonsai tree informations

Every beginning is hard. However, to make it easier for you, we have written down the 10 most important tips for your bonsai.

1. When to cut my bonsai?

This varies from tree to tree, but it can be said that most bonsai need one or more prunings in the summer. Of course, it also depends on what goal you want to achieve. However, there is a rule of thumb that says if you want the trunk and branches to increase in thickness, do not prune at all in the summer. If you want smaller leaves and denser branches, you should cut back more often. Larger branches can usually be done in the winter, depending on the type of tree. 

2. When to water my bonsai?

Water requirements increase through the spring and peak in the summer. Depending on the tree and the substrate, a tree may need to be watered several times a day during the summer. In winter, the water requirement is greatly reduced. In some cases, watering is only required once a week. A basic rule is, when the upper layer of the soil is dry you can water. When watering, the entire soil must be soaked and the water must flow out of all holes in the bonsai tray.

3. Where is the right location for my bonsai?

This question cannot be answered in a general way. Since first the question of the species must be answered - indoor or outdoor - indoor basically like it very bright with a high humidity. However, it should never stand on the heater! Where the best location for your outdoor bonsai is, you can find out in our care calendar. Click here!

4. When do I need to repot my bonsai?

Most trees can be repotted in the winter, after the leaves have fallen, into the spring before the trees sprout again. Copper beech trees like to be repotted at Christmas time. More in our care calendar.

5. When do I fertilize my bonsai?

Fertilizing can be started when the trees have sprouted. For azaleas, do not fertilize until after blooms. In midsummer, when it is extremely hot, you should stop fertilizing and then start again in about September, when it gets cooler again. 

6. What bonsai soil (substrate) does my bonsai need?

It should in no case be normal potting soil. This would ensure that the trees drown with too much water. A permeable, coarse soil, which can also store water, is advantageous. An example is Akadama (Japanese dried clay soil), pumice, lava granules or expanded clay. This permeable soil ensures that the roots are supplied with sufficient water and air.

7. How to protect my bonsai in winter?

Winter can be particularly dangerous for outdoor bonsai, especially in March when late frosts can occur. Basically, bonsai do not like icy winds, so they should be placed in a wind-protected location. At the same time, especially the deciduous species should not be placed in the sun. This could bring the tree out of hibernation too early. Since this issue can be very critical, please check the care calendar for your bonsai.

8. What Bonsai tools do i need?

At the beginning a good pair of scissors is essential, you can find a perfect pair of scissors for beginners here. Gradually you can get more tools. For example, a pair of concave pliers to cut thicker branches. If you are repotting for the first time, you should think about root shears. Finally, you should get a pair of pliers to cut bonsai wire. With these four tools you can do most of the work.

9. What should I consider before buying a bonsai?

The most important question you need to ask yourself is, "Where do I want my bonsai?" Indoors or outdoors. Depending on that, some tree species already fall away. Then you should pay attention to whether the tree looks healthy, does the trunk and foliage have an unhealthy color? Is the bonsai soil dried out or is the tree in too much water? Basically, it is good if a tree has too many branches rather than too few, so you leave all doors open in the design. The trunk should have a natural movement. Try to imagine the bonsai in the wild, this often helps to make the right decision. The trunk should be thinner and thinner from the bottom to the top and not have the same thickness throughout. The most important feature is the root base (nebari), achieving a beautiful and wide root base is the most tedious part of working a bonsai. By choosing a bonsai with a good root set you will save yourself several years of care.

10. What's the best beginner bonsai tree?

The perfect beginner bonsai is probably a ficus bonsai. It is a type of tree that should definitely be indoors in the winter but can be outdoors in midsummer when temperatures don't drop below 15 degrees. A Ficus is really tough, it really forgives you a lot, which is perfect especially for beginners. Furthermore, you get beautiful Ficus trees already for little money.