You have now become part of an oriental art form dating back to the 5th century. The Chinese were the first people known to cultivate trees dwarfed by nature. When first discovered, many of these naturally dwarfed trees were centuries old, but less than 4 feet in height. They were dwarfed due to severe weather, poor soil, lack of soil and other natural conditions. The trees were dug up and replanted in large wooden tubs. When Japanese warriors invaded China, they were fascinated by the tiny trees. Specimens were taken back to Japan and presented to the emperor. There was, however, a drawback. When the trees were removed from their natural environment, they began to grow at their normal rate. The royal gardeners were instructed to find out why. Their research led to the styles of pottery and potting mediums in use today. A new art form was born. It was called BONSAI (pronounced bone-sigh), which mean ‘tree in a pot’. Before long trees were being dug up all over Japan. As natural specimens became harder to find, prices escalated. Today a naturally dwarfed bonsai sells for many thousands of dollars. Through the use of nursery stock, and a little effort, a bonsai can have an aged look at an affordable price.
Bonsai cultivation was fairly unknown in this country until the end of World War II. Servicemen stationed in Japan, were exposed to the bonsai, and many started cultivating them on their return home. With a little care, your great grand children can enjoy this bonsai.
HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR BONSAI
Your Bonsai does not require any special or exotic care. There are, however, a few points to be remembered.
1. During the warm weather (over 60 degrees) all bonsai may be kept outside. The more time they spend in the sun, rain & fresh air, the better they will do. Increase the frequency of watering as the temperature increases. If it rains on your bonsai, you may skip watering.
2. NEVER, NEVER let your bonsai get dry. Dry soil is the most common cause of bonsai death. When in doubt, water. There are different accepted ways of watering. They all have some merit. Which ever way you choose, water thoroughly. If you water from the top, make sure you saturate your bonsai. Remember; outside temperatures & direct sun affect the frequency of water needed.
3. From April to October you should fertilize about once a month. This will help bonsai growth. However, don’t over do it as you may burn the roots. A good vitamin/hormone such as SUPER-THRIVE is advised for all bonsai.
4. Throughout the year, spray monthly with a mild pesticide for protection from insect damage (especially when kept indoors). Please ask what type of pesticide is best for your bonsai.
5. WINTER CARE: Sub-tropical bonsai must be kept indoors in a sunny location or under a VITA-LITE. Avoid chills & drafts. When natural light is available, keep your bonsai as near as possible to the window without letting it go below minimum temperature. If using a VITA-LITE, keep the bonsai 1 to 6 inches from the bulb. Keep the light on as follows. October & March = 14 hours. November & February = 13 hours. December & January = 12 hours. This will simulate the shorter winter and longer spring days.
6. Serissa, of all types, need a little more water than normal, especially in the warmer weather.
BONSAI CARE INSTRUCTIONS
Aboricola ‘Luseane’ – Bahama Berry
Buxus – Chinzan Azalea – Ficus – Fukien Tea – Mini Jade – Okinawa Holly – Serissa – Serissa Kyoto – Zelkova
WATERING – Check the soil daily. When the soil is completely dry, water thoroughly until the water runs out through the holes in the bottom of the pot. Prolonged dryness will damage the bonsai. Over watering may prove harmful also.
MISTING – Mist the leaves daily. In the winter, you may have to mist more frequently because of your heating system.
LIGHT – Bonsai should have plenty of light, whether natural or grow light.
TEMPERATURE – Ideal temperature is 60 to 85 degrees. Bonsai should normally remain indoors. However you may put them outdoors, in shade, in the summer.
FERTILIZER – Use common houseplant fertilizer. Use 1/3 to 1/2 the strength listed on the label. Fertilize twice a month from March thru October. Fertilize once a month during winter months, November thru February.
TRIMMING – A new shoot should be trimmed when it becomes 2 to 3 inches long, or when the leaves on the new shoot are the same color as the older leaves. On the average, trimming will be done once every 1 or 2 months.
REPOTTING – Repot every 1 to 2 years. Usually in the spring. Consult a good Bonsai Book.
Chamaecyparis – Ilex – Juniperus – Picea – Pyracantha
WATERING – MISTING – LIGHT – FERTILIZING – TRIMMING – REPOTTING: Follow the same directions as above.
TEMPERATURE: In the winter, during dormancy, they need much cooler temperatures. They could be outdoor regularly. However they need protection from frost and snow.