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!
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.
All bonsai trees and pot plants are dependent upon us for nutrients and water. Feeding your bonsai will keep it strong and vigorous and help prevent attack from pest and disease. Please feed with a recognised bonsai fertiliser such as Bonsai Direct Liquid Bonsai Fertiliser , other general plant foods can be too strong for the bonsai and may scorch the roots. If using a liquid bonsai feed I would recommend feeding indoor bonsai once a week during the spring, summer and autumn. Reduce the feeding to approximately once a month in mid-winter when it is barely growing. It is particularly important to feed flowering bonsai. Bonsai, like the Serissa for example, are very hungry trees and rely on you for their nutrients. You will notice yellowing of the leaves if the bonsai is deficient in nutrients.
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.
What happens when I go on holiday?
If you are just going away for a short break (upto 5 days) please stand your bonsai in a tub or the kitchen sink in water, so that the water level is at least half way up the pot. Please ensure that it is in a cool position. The bonsai will be over-watered for a few days but this is perferable to drying out. Upon your return remove the bonsai from the water and then only water again when the soil is barely damp. Then return to your normal watering regime.
If you are going away for longer than 5 days then you need to find a friend or neighbour to take care of the bonsai for you. Please leave them with care instructions and you could even recommend that they watch our bonsai watering video above. It is normally a good idea for them to take it home with them – then they won’t forget to water it!
The Serissa foetida bonsai tree is a very pretty, delicate bonsai which has small elongated leaves which are smooth around the edges. The bark has great character and is a beautiful beige colour and is often flakey and textured giving the appearance of age. The added bonus being the beautiful star-shaped small white flowers experienced during mid-late summer. The Serissa is commonly known as ‘the tree of a thousand stars’. Please protect from frost. Ideal as an indoor bonsai.
Bonsai in general symbolise peace, harmony, order of thoughts and balance. The Serissa is a dainty tree which symbolises well being, luck and hope.
The Pepper Tree (Zanthoxylum pipertum) is an outstanding indoor bonsai and has a sweet aromatic peppery fragrance and bright green glossy foliage. Small clusters of tiny white flowers develop from January onwards. The bark is fissured and adds character & age to this very elegant & exciting bonsai. The Pepper Tree is easy to care for and makes an ideal bonsai for beginners. If you want something a little unusual then this would be my personal recommendation. I love it. Bonsai in general symbolise peace, harmony, order of thoughts and balance.
The Pepper Tree is an outstanding bonsai with a fresh, fruity fragrance which symbolises purification, healing and protection.