Excellent and informative DVD about how to re-pot both indoor & outdoor bonsai trees, by Bonsai Master Lloyd Noall. Lloyd teaches the basic principles and techniques of bonsai root pruning and re-potting. In this DVD the re-potting of a Chinese Elm (indoor bonsai) and Japanese Red Maple (outdoor bonsai) are described in details. The entire DVD has been split into 8 easy to access chapters. We would love some feedback on our videos. You should be able to comment below.
Although I love all trees, the English Oak (Quercus robur) holds a special place in my heart. So much so, that we chose to call our only son ‘Oak’ – our two older children are girls. I should have expected that our son Oak would tower above the rest of the family at the age of 12 years.
It was a natural progression for me to specialise in Oak bonsai trees.
Our English Oak bonsai are fantastic representations of these majestic native trees. They form powerful trunks and main branches and make incredible bonsai. On most of our oak bonsai the leaf size is down to about 5cm (2″) and on some of the older ones they are about 2.5cm (1″) They are easy to care for and extremely hardy.
The leaves of the Oak trees are fresh and lush at the moment and form a fantastic canopy. Oak bonsai are outdoor bonsai trees. They are deciduous trees and require the dormant winter to rest. This year we have noticed that many of our Oak Bonsai Trees have come into leaf late; the Oak is always one of the latest trees to leaf but I think following a harsh winter they have leafed up even later.
Oak tree meaning or symbolism: With age the Oak displays a very powerful strong trunk, incredible exposed root flare with spreading design which is mirrored in the canopy. The bark is aged and craggy as one would expect to find in a very old woodland tree. The oak is an emblem of power, strength, ancient wisdom and survival and many nations, including England, have chosen the Oak as their national tree. In addition to representing qualities related to power and durability, the oak tree is considered a bearer of good luck, fertility, potency, healing and health.
A few tips are listed below about growing and caring for Oak Bonsai Trees.
The biggest enemy of outdoor bonsai is wind. Strong winds will quickly dehydrate any delicate buds and leaves so a sheltered position is preferable.
Although most bonsai will tolerate most weather conditions the ideal situation is a sheltered semi-shaded position. This helps prevent your bonsai from drying out too quickly.
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 the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. 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.
Oaks are deciduous bonsai should be pruned to shape rather than wired, as the wiring will damage the delicate bark. New shoots which have grown to about 2-3cm should be pruned using a sharp pair of bonsai scissors. Carefully prune back to the first pair of new leaves.
To keep your bonsai strong and healthy we recommend the use of a good bonsai fertiliser.
All the indoor bonsai varieties we grow have been carefully selected to ensure that you choose a beautiful bonsai which with grow well in the UK and be easy to care for.
Below you will see an overview of each varieties’ main attributes. Please click on the variety of interest for more details and bonsai trees for sale of that species.
If you want a very natural looking indoor bonsai, which is easy to care for, perfectly proportioned, not fussy about position, perfect for beginners and has a wonderful twiggy structure then we recommend the Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia). This is a fast growing bonsai so it fun to prune and ideal for learning pruning & styling techniques.
If you are looking for a very artistic bonsai with striking Oriental appearance, pretty white flowers and deep glossy leaves then the Oriental Tea Tree (Carmona microphylla) is ideal. This is a slow growing bonsai so it is easy to maintain and will not require frequent pruning. This bonsai likes a warm position so is ideal for those warm and cosy houses. They do not like cold draughts!
For rooms with lower light levels and for those who want a tree with beautiful deep green glossy leaves, lovely textured bark and a bonsai which exhibits power and grace choose the Ficus. This is a fabulous bonsai, the easiest to care for making it the perfect choice if you would like a larger beginners bonsai.
Our recommendation if you would like a fruiting bonsai or a bonsai with some variation in leaf colour is the Chinese Sweet Plum (Sageretia theezans). This very pretty tree has small purple coloured fruits as it matures and lovely red tones on the new foliage. Again this bonsai is ideal for beginners and not fussy about positioning.
Are you having problems with your bonsai?
If you think your bonsai is sick, compare its symptoms with the list of more common problems above.
Leaves are turning pale yellow and dropping off.
Leaves are mottled with yellow, brown and black spots.
Leaves are green, but crispy.
Leaves are pale green to yellow and new shoots are long and spindly.
Leaves are going black or brown, starting at the tips and slowly working down the leaf.
Mottling of the leaves… …normally means that you have a pest on your bonsai. Spray with a non-systemic insecticide that kills a broad spectrum of pests , especially Red Spider Mite. Make sure you spray under the foliage and around the trunk. Spray again after ten days and then repeat after a further ten days. Always follow the instructions.
If the leaves remain green… …but are dry and crispy, then your bonsai has dried out at some stage. This often results in the death of bonsai. To ascertain whether your tree is still alive, make a small cut at the base of the trunk in a couple of places. If there is green just under the bark then it is still alive, if it is brown, then sadly it is dead. If there are still signs of life, then keep it cool and moist until new shoots appear. Be patient as this may take a long time.
Long spindly shoots… …with pale leaves usually mean that the bonsai is growing in a position where there is not enough light. Move it in to a brighter position avoiding direct sunlight all day. Prune back spindly shoots to the first pair of leaves on that shoot.
An absolutely fantastic indoor bonsai variety which is incredibly easy to care for. This bonsai does not require regular watering, making it significantly easier to care for. Ideal for complete beginners and highly recommended for children. A wonderful bonsai with character and beautiful proportions.
The miniature Jade Tree (Portulacaria afra) is an indoor bonsai which has small round pad shaped leaves and a compact habit. A highly recommended bonsai for complete beginners or children who are starting out – a very forgiving tree! This bonsai requires minimal watering so is perfect for those who forget to water! A tree which originates from warmer climates, hence its adaption to require less water. If you have a particularly warm room this variety will thrive. Jade trees often feature strongly in feng shui designs and make the perfect gift symbolising luck and prosperity. This Jade Tree is very similar in appearance to Crassula ovata [the Friendship Tree, Lucky Plant or Money Tree bonsai]; they are frequently mistaken. The Jade Tree (P. afra) has smaller and rounder pads and more compact growth making it far more suitable to grow as a bonsai. It is also hardier and faster growing. This is a variety of bonsai which is far better to be barely damp. It does not require frequent watering like other varieties. It is not frost hardy but will grow very happily in your home or office. Another wonderful quality of this tree is that it is very easy to take cuttings from. Cuttings are best taken in spring or summer, then allowed to dry out for a day before potting into a very free draining or gritty compost. Keep the soil moist and in a few weeks you will have a little baby plantlet.
We believe this to be an exceptional bonsai that does not receive the credit that it deserves. An under-rated indoor bonsai variety in our opinion but one we highly recommend.
Tree meanings Bonsai in general symbolise peace, harmony, order of thoughts and balance. The Jade tree makes the perfect gift; symbolising luck and prosperity
Jade Indoor Bonsai Care Summary
Positioning & Temperature The Jade is an easy indoor bonsai species to care for. It likes a bright position, with good natural daylight, but as with all bonsai, should not be placed in a very hot position in mid-summer. It is not fussy about temperature, but it is not frost hardy so would not be suitable to grow as an outdoor bonsai during the winter months.
Watering This is very simple for the Jade bonsai. Regular watering is not essential. The soil damp be maintained just damp (i.e. water once a week).
Misting Misting the leaves of your Jade bonsai is not necessary.
Feeding Feeding bonsai trees is good practice. The bonsai rely on us to provide the nutrients and trace elements they need. A well balanced bonsai feed, such as Bonsai Direct Fertiliser, will maintain healthy and beautiful trees and promote growth, fruiting and flowering.
Pruning/Styling The Jade Bonsai is a relatively fast growing bonsai variety and is fun to prune and style. To maintain the lovely highly defined foliage pads and pretty canopy it is important not to let the shoots grow too long and straggly. By keeping the shoots trimmed, you will be encouraging back budding and new leaves to grow. Most new growth will appear during spring or summer. Allow a shoot to grow approx. 4cm and then prune back to the first two new leaves. Use a sharp pair of bonsai pruning scissors to do this. Within 4-6 weeks you can usually see signs of new shoots emerging further back down the branches, it is very rewarding.
Growing/Propagating your own Jade bonsai trees We are frequently asked for bonsai seed kits but the reality is that thee kits are rather a disappointed. They frequently don’t germinate and it is not the best way to propagate indoor bonsai trees. You are far better to purchase a bonsai, so you can enjoy growing it, and propagate new bonsai by taking cuttings. Another wonderful quality of this tree is that it is very easy to take cuttings from. Cuttings are best taken in spring or summer, then allowed to dry out for a day before potting into a very free draining or gritty compost. Keep the soil moist and in a few weeks you will have a little baby plantlet.
Re-potting your bonsai If a bonsai becomes pot bound the roots cannot grow. Consequently, the tree cannot grow. The younger the tree the quicker it is growing and the more frequently it will require root pruning or re-potting. As a general rule you are looking at approximately every 2-3 years, and older specimens every 4-5 years. If the pot that your bonsai is in is aesthetically large enough, you may simply be able to root prune your bonsai and it may not require a larger pot at all. Re-potting is best done when the bonsai is actively growing during the warmer summer months. If the bonsai requires a larger pot, simply lift the root ball out of the current pot, tease out approximately one quarter of the root ball with a chop stick to loosen the roots around the edge and position into its new, slightly larger, pot. Use good quality, free draining soil, such as Akadama, and work around the edge of the pot. Stand your re-potted bonsai in water, so that the water covers the whole pot, for approximately 5 mins and then allow to drain.
Akadama is a high quality Japanese bonsai soil made from dried loam. It is granular, so is free flowing and easy and clean to work with. The small balls also encourage the growth of lovely fibrous feeder roots, which is what we want when growing bonsai trees.
Bonsai tips Please avoid using air freshener near your bonsai, they are not overly keen! Jade bonsai trees respond well to the use of a Plant Invigorator to help keep the free from pests and help promote new growth. We use this weekly as a preventive measure.
Bonsai Master Lloyd Noall has designed a fantastic range ofbonsai tree pruning, wiring & potting kits which are perfect for beginners who want hands on experience growing bonsai trees. They include Step-by-Step guides and online tutorials and are designed for you to learn how to grow a bonsai tree. These kits include a Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia) bonsai tree chosen for their fantastic ability to re-grow quickly and make beautiful and artistic bonsai, ideal for beginners. These kits include the accessories required to prune, wire and re-pot beautiful bonsai.
Below you can watch Lloyd’s Bonsai Potting Tutorial and see his step-by-step guide.
Learn from the master!
Bonsai Master Lloyd Noall has designed a fantastic range of bonsai tree pruning & wiring kits which are perfect for beginners who want hands on experience growing bonsai trees. They include Step-by-Step guides and online tutorials and are designed for you to learn how to grow a bonsai tree. These kits include a Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia) bonsai tree chosen for their fantastic ability to re-grow quickly and make beautiful and artistic bonsai, ideal for beginners. These kits include the accessories required to prune and wire and grow healthy trees.
Below you can watch Lloyd’s Bonsai Wiring Tutorial and see his step-by-step guide.
Learn from the master!
The Chinese Blush Tree (Loropetalum Chinensis Rubrum) is a member of the Witch-Hazel family and displays the most fabulous bright pink spidery flowers and lush purple foliage. This indoor bonsai has the most striking and colourful and is ideal for beginners and fun as a starter bonsai tree.
The Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia) makes a truly beautiful bonsai. The leaves are small, bright to deep green and are slightly serrated. The tree has excellent twig structure and has great character throughout, making it the perfect representation of a woodland tree. In our opinion the Chinese Elm is the most perfectly proportioned, easy to care for and adaptable tree and makes a superb bonsai. Can be grown as an indoor or outdoor bonsai. A must for anyone and absolutely perfect for beginners. This is a fabulous bonsai to learn pruning, styling & potting techniques because it is fast growing and back buds quickly forming lovely dense foliage pads.
Tree meanings Bonsai in general symbolise peace, harmony, order of thoughts and balance. Known as ‘The tree of harmony’, the Elm symbolises inner strength, intuition and wisdom. A beautiful bonsai which signifies love, balance, calm and a peaceful energy.
Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia) Bonsai Tree Care Summary
Positioning The Chinese Elm is an easy bonsai to care for. It is not overly fussy about positioning but prefers a position with good natural daylight but out of direct sunlight, especially during the hottest summer months. We recommend a position away from radiators if possible. A window sill would be great but avoid south facing window-sills in mid summer.
Temperature As an indoor bonsai the Chinese Elm is not fussy about temperature. If you are growing your bonsai outside, please place in a sheltered position in the garden. Outside this bonsai is semi-evergreen so you should expect the leaves to drop. For very cold nights (below freezing) we would recommend that you bring the bonsai into a shed, glasshouse or cool room.
Watering Watering is an important part of growing bonsai trees, an indoor bonsai is dependent upon us to check it regularly to ensure it does not dry out. Please check the soil daily whilst you are learning. To touch the soil surface, if the soil is wet or damp then your bonsai does not require water. When the soil is barely damp to the touch please soak the soil. Please view our video for help.
Misting All indoor bonsai trees benefit from having their foliage misted with water. This is in addition to watering the soil. Misting helps to maintain the humidity around the tree, this is more important during winter months when the central heating is on, as this tends to dry out the air.
Feeding If you are growing your bonsai indoors, please feed weekly with a liquid bonsai fertiliser. Please avoid using houseplant fertiliser as it can be too strong and scorch the roots. Bonsai Direct fertiliser is ideal for all varieties of bonsai has contains all the nutrients and trace elements your tree requires.
Pruning/Styling An indoor Chinese Elm will grow all year (only a little more slowly during winter months). It is a fun bonsai to prune and ideal for beginners. We usually recommend allowing 2 new pairs of leaves to form before pruning back to the first pair. Pruning encourages new leaves to form and helps maintain a highly defined shape. New leaves have a fresh lime green colour. You can prune at any time of year. If you would like to add shape to existing branches you could try wiring your bonsai. This is a technique used to add more character to your tree.
Growing/Propagating your own Chinese Elm bonsai trees We are frequently asked for bonsai seed kits but the reality is that thee kits are rather a disappointed. They frequently don’t germinate and it is not the best way to propagate indoor bonsai trees. You are far better to purchase a bonsai, so you can enjoy growing it, and propagate new bonsai by taking cuttings. These are best taken in spring. Allow new shoots to grow 8-10cm and then prune with clean pruning scissors. Pop these cuttings into some fresh multipurpose compost in a small pot. Water them and then keep misting to maintain humidity.
Re-potting your bonsai Young bonsai will require repotting more regularly that mature specimens. All plants become pot bound over time, and bonsai trees are no exception. We recommend re-potting or root pruning (if the pot is still aesthetically larger enough) usually every 2-3 years.
Bonsai tip We recommend a weekly spray with Plant Invigorator to prevent pests and diseases and to keep your bonsai healthy. This really stimulates the Chinese Elm. Please avoid using air freshener near your bonsai, they are not overly keen!
Lloyd Noall has been growing bonsai for over 25 years and is considered to be one of the top bonsai masters. Now, in this series of chapters, Lloyd shares his passion, knowledge and expertise with you. In Volume 1, Lloyd teaches the basic principles and techniques for those new to the art of bonsai, but also includes much additional information to inspire and inform anyone already embarked on the bonsai journey. The format of the chapters mirrors Lloyd’s careful and meticulous style of teaching.
Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia) – Indoor Bonsai Tree
In this video Lloyd Noall, from Bonsai Direct, shows us how to prune your indoor bonsai trees. Using Verity’s bonsai as an example, you will see how to regain the shape of a bonsai tree using simple pruning techniques. The Chinese Elm (Ulmus pavifolia) is a fantastic indoor bonsai tree, with immense character. Ideal bonsai for beginners – easy to grow, care for and style. Great fun to prune!
Chinese Sweet Plum (Sageretia Theezans) – Indoor Bonsai Tree
In this video, Lloyd Noall from Bonsai Direct, shows how to prune to shape a Chinese Sweet Plum Bonsai (Sageretia theezans) which has not been turned and only has foliage on one side.
European Larch (Larix) – Outdoor Bonsai Tree
In this video Lloyd Noall, from Bonsai Direct, shows us how to prune a European Larch – a fantastic deciduous outdoor bonsai tree with great character. Larch trees make beautiful bonsai. During winter the branches are bare revealing intricate branch and twig structures. When spring comes, small bright green needle shaped leaves appear around the buds, giving the appearance of small green flowers. After watering little globules of water are trapped in the centre of the leaves, which sparkle in the sunlight. The foliage darkens during summer and in autumn turns bright gold. The bark also has great character. The Larch is easy to shape using pruning and wiring techniques. We hope you enjoy this video.
Bonsai Master Lloyd Noall has designed a fantastic range of bonsai tree pruning kits which are perfect for beginners who want hands on experience growing bonsai trees. They include Step-by-Step guides and online tutorials and are designed for you to learn how to grow a bonsai tree. These kits include a Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia) bonsai tree chosen for their fantastic ability to re-grow quickly and make beautiful and artistic bonsai, ideal for beginners. These kits include the accessories required to prune and grow healthy trees. Below you can watch Lloyd’s Bonsai Pruning Tutorial and see his step-by-step guide. Learn from the master!
Take a good look at your bonsai and get to know it before you start.
You need to identify the main branch structure.
Prune long shoots back to the main branch system to form a neat foliage pad.
Remove crossing shoots which cover and clutter the main branches & trunk.
Once pruned the main branches should be well defined with an open structure.
The basic shape of your bonsai will now be clear and easy to see.
New foliage buds will begin to emerge. Space between the branches allows the tree’s shape to be appreciated. Foliage neatly displayed on each branch. Clear and open twig structure adds interest. Uninterrupted branches and trunk gives the bonsai strength.
We recommend that all indoor bonsai are placed on a drip tray or saucer (frequently called a humidity tray). Please ensure that the bonsai does not actually sit in water. The purpose of the drip tray is to stop water from damaging your furniture during watering and if a small amount of water is left in the tray, this will help to maintain the humidity around the bonsai. This is particularly important during winter months when the central heating is on and the air is dry.
The humdity around the bonsai can also be maintained by misting the foliage daily with a mister. This is in addition to watering the soil.
At Bonsai Direct we also spray once a week with a plant invigorator. A plant invigorator is highly recommended as a preventative measure against pest and disease and also to helps promote growth.