•We like natural "systemic" sprays that are made from plants and are safe for bonsai, animals, and people. Always read warning labels about plants that may be sensitive, skin contact, etc.
Containers for bonsai
• Finished bonsai are ready for specially designed bonsai pottery that will compliment the finished tree. Usually pots are imported from Japan, China, or Korea. American handmade pots lend a special art.
•Make sure the tree trunk is at a desired diameter before putting into the finished container. It's up to you, your own design - see styles and sizes at "Starting Up."
•Trees in different stages of training can be grown in pots of varying materials like plastic, terra cotta, and even wood. Drainage, heat, and cold are factors for choosing a pot. Water evaporates through terra cotta and is held in with plastic. Potting in wood- use cedar and redwood for longevity.
• Depths and sizes of containers are factors that help make the tree trunk larger or the whole tree stay small.
• Used pots need to be cleaned inside and out with brush and water.
• Strong, angular pots are used for rugged, strong trees and pots with finer, rounder lines are matched up with delicate, graceful trees. Choosing the best match may vary from this general rule. Consider plant health also.
• Generally, glazed pots work for indoor bonsai and unglazed for outdoor bonsai. Some exceptions are- very small bonsai (especially the mame) are usually highlighted with colorful glazed pots, red maples are complimented with subtle colors of glazed containers; other colorful deciduous trees might use a glazed color as well as trees with fruit, berries, and flowers. Unglazed pots are gray, dark brown, terra cotta, and other earthy colors.
• Find a complimentary pot and size to suit your plant. Peruse many library books for a vision of how pots are matched up to trees, how they bring out the characteristics of trees.
• No need to feed dormant plants.
• Indoor plants can be fed year-round with a lighter application in winter.
• Trees that bloom and bear fruit can benefit from a "bloom" solution at the start of their budding season.
• Consult local garden professionals if you have trouble finding information, and read recommendations from Bonsai Masters such as John Naka, Harry Tomlinson, Amy Liang, Colin Lewis, and Herb Gustafson.
• Moss, baked clay bits, broken brick bits, sand are used for groundcover in bonsai pots. Size of particles go with size of bonsai.
• Groundcover keeps soil in place while watering.
• Most groundcover holds moisture itself; traps moisture under it; blocks sun from drying soil.
• Groundcover provides insulation in winter cold and wind. Snow will help insulate bonsai large enough to stay outside in colder regions.
•A few conifers are deciduous. Bald cypress needles turn a rust-brown in winter and drop.
• A healthy bonsai will do the same as its counterpart in nature: leaves turn colors and drop. Flowers, fruit, and berries produce - sometimes more continuously and abundantly for the special care they receive.
• Keep roots damp by misting while pruning and planting.
• When "potting up" to grow trunks larger, keep pots in relation to size of plants - roomy enough for growth, but not too large; or plant in the yard or field to speed up growth even more.
• A finished bonsai should fit snuggly in its pot, but before a bonsai gets very root-bound, prune and repot it so all nutrients in the soil don't get depleted, and roots don't get too entwined.
•Even when shopping at a pre-bonsai grower, keep in mind the quality of tree you want to grow. Start with the best shape you can select to go with your skill level.
•You may want to remove awkward limbs that tend to confuse the picture. These limb types may be twisted, crossing each other forming an X, parallel branch, switchback branch across the tree, two branches exactly opposite each other on the trunk, curving or arching branch, tangled branch or a branch that sticks out straight-forward on the side you have chosen for the front of your tree. Some of these visual problems may be alleviated with bonsai wire, others may need to be pruned off completely.
•Quarantine newly brought home plants until you know they are bug and disease free. Give them a preventive bug spraying to be sure they are safe, and read labels so not to injure your plant. If a tree defoliates after spraying, treat it normally as it will most likely recuperate and re-grow its foliage. Protect tender leaves from sun and over-watering.
• If a problem is found on a tree (disease or bugs), take it away from other plants, treat it, then keep it isolated until well. You may take extra precaution and treat plants that were near the sick one.
•Trees with limbs touching provide skyways for bug traffic!
•When it snows, the air is cold; a summer rain may be refreshing and feel a bit warm like the air. Try for natural water temperatures avoiding cold water on warm roots and vice versa. Why not consider the air temperature indoors too when watering indoor plants?