We received the following e-mail this morning about bonsai tree identification:

If this is too cheeky, please ignore. But I wonder if you would indulge a previous customer and bonsai lover with some info and advice please? If you don’t do this sort of thing, I’ll understand of course.
It’s just that I have inherited a bonsai tree recently and know nothing about it. It seems very healthy and is lovely, but I would love to know what it is, roughly how old and any advice on looking after it from now on? I attach some pics of the tree and the leaves.
Any help would be most gratefully received. With thanks and regards,

Reply from Bonsai Direct:

Dear David,
Thank you for your e-mail.
I believe the bonsai to be a Ligustrum (Chinese Privet). This is an indoor bonsai and is not frost hardy.
It is very difficult to gage the age of the bonsai because it may have been growing very slowly, but I would guess between 10-15 years.
This is an easy bonsai to care for and is a hungry tree and does like to be fed with bonsai fertiliser regularly.
It also likes to be root pruned once a year (during summer months). It is a bonsai which puts out a lot of new root and requires regular root pruning to keep it healthy.
I attach our general indoor care instructions below.
I think other readers may be interested.
With thanks
Kind regards

Bonsai Tips

· Your bonsai is a living tree and with the right care it should live for many years. We hope that your bonsai brings pleasure to your home.
· During winter place your bonsai in the brightest place possible, trying to avoid hot objects like radiators and televisions. Good daylight is essential to the trees health. In summer time beware of hot south facing windows, a little sunlight morning or evening is beneficial, but too much and your bonsai could over heat.
· To aid the health of your bonsai place it on a humidity tray. This will catch the water draining through the holes in the bottom of the bonsai pot. This water will create some humidity around your bonsai. Please take care that the tray does not overflow onto your furniture and make sure that your bonsai does not sit in the water.
· Watering is the most important part of growing bonsai. Check your bonsai morning and evening to see if it needs watering. If the soil looks dark and feels wet then it will not require watering. Only when the soil looks light brown and feels damp will your bonsai require more water. Water thoroughly all over the soil until the water drains through into a tray or saucer. Never let your bonsai dry out and avoid keeping it constantly wet. The soil should go from wet to damp between watering. Remember the hotter the position the more water your bonsai will use. If the soil surface becomes hard during hot weather simply submerge your bonsai in water, to cover the soil surface, for about ten minutes.
· To maintain the artistic grace and beauty of your bonsai it will need to be pruned regularly. Once new shoots have grown to about 2-3cm, using a sharp pair bonsai scissors carefully cut back to the first pair of new leaves.
· To keep your bonsai strong and healthy we recommend the use of a good bonsai fertiliser. Bonsai fertiliser, an informative DVD and further advice are available from our website, www.bonsaidirect.co.uk

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