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What factors should you consider when choosing a bonsai pot?

The choice of pot is extremely significant when re-potting a bonsai. Literally translated the word ‘bon-sai’ means pot and tree, so the pot is as significant as the design of the tree which it holds. The tree and pot should be in harmony together and be extremely well balanced.
The first thing to ensure is that the bonsai pot is the correct size. Usually, if you are repotting a bonsai we would recommend making the new pot at a minimum of 5cm larger in length and width to allow the bonsai to grow, albeit slowly.

Secondly, please ensure that your bonsai pot has drainage holes in the bottom. The drainage holes prevent the bonsai soil from becoming water logged and thus reduce the chance of root rot.

Please consider the image below. The bonsai in pot A, B, C, and D is the same tree, but you can appreciate how different it looks in different shapes, colours and styles of pot. All four of these pots are the right size for the bonsai they are just aesthetically different. None of the pots is wrong but I am sure you have a personal preference as to which one suits the bonsai best. Some people like to choose colours which are reflected in the colour scheme of their kitchen or lounge. This is also perfectly reasonable providing the bonsai looks balanced and ‘at one’ with its pot.

This is the same bonsai tree photographed in four different pots so that you can appreciate how the pot affects the aesthetics of the overall bonsai.

If you are choosing a pot for an indoor bonsai you may wish to choose one with a ceramic drip tray. It is important for outdoor bonsai that the pot you choose is frost hardy. All the pots we sell are frost hardy but please remember if the frost goes on for a very long time the ice in the root ball makes the root ball swell and this may possibly crack the pot. For extended cold periods, we recommend protecting the bonsai (ie cover it or put if somewhere unheated) to also stop dehydration. A bonsai with a root ball that is frozen solid cannot take up water.

We did a social media campaign to identify which for the four pots above was the generally preferred choice and the result was POT D.
Holly, from Bonsai Direct, now shows you how to re-pot this specific Chinese Elm bonsai (which Lloyd named Angus) into POT D. View Holly’s blog on How do I re-pot and root prune my bonsai tree below.

How do I re-pot and root prune my bonsai tree?

Why are pots integral to bonsai?

Bonsai pots are integral to the aesthetic and health of the bonsai.

Not only this, but the word bonsai can be broken down into “Bon”, which is a dish or thin bowl (or a modified vessel which has been divided or cut down from a deeper form). And “Sai”, which is a tree or other growing plant which is planted. The Chinese characters for their older dwarf potted tree landscapes were adopted to name the Japanese art-form. Bonsai in Japanese is written as 盆栽

Leaving aside the historical origins and literal meanings, bonsai pots are important to both the aesthetic and health of the tree. There are practical reasons too; such as drainage holes and the natural porosity which prevents the root from rotting.

In keeping with a more traditional style, the pots tend to have a deep colour and be deeply glazed. Typically they are deep blue (to represent water) or deep green (to represent grass). Therefore, it’s all about reflecting the natural world.

Take a look at our great selection of pots and trays to enhance the appearance of your bonsai.

How do I repot my bonsai tree video DVD – 8 chapters

Lloyd Noall’s Bonsai Lessons Volume 2 – Potting Basics

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.

English Oak Bonsai Tree (Quercus robur)

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 bonsaiEnglish Oak (Quercus robot) Bonsai Tree  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 best
Lloyd

Help Me Choose My Bonsai

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.

Our Recommendations.

  • 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.

Bonsai Trouble Shooter

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.

Jade Tree Indoor Bonsai requires minimal watering

Perfect beginners indoor bonsai for sale
  • Perfect for beginners
  • Easy to care for
  • Minimal watering
  • Low maintenance
  • Fast growing
  • Perfect for children
Portulacaria afra/Crassula ovata

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.

Buy Jade Indoor Bonsai
Buy Jade Indoor Bonsai (Portulacaria afra) with free delivery to most areas.

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.

Potting Bonsai Trees – A Step-by-Step Guide

Potting bonsai guide

Bonsai Master Lloyd Noall has designed a fantastic range of bonsai 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 Step by step potting guide

Bonsai potting step 1
Remove the rootball from the pot by carefully working around the edge of the soil with the spatula.

Bonsai potting step 2
Using the chopstick gently remove the soil from around the trunk base to expose any root flare.

Bonsai Potting Guide Step 3
Loosen the roots around the edge of the rootball with the chopstick. Tease out about 1/4 of the rootball.

Bonsai Potting Guide Step 4 & 5
Step 4 – Cut back any loosened, straggly roots using the root shears to form a neat rootball.
Step 5a – Position the mesh over the drainage holes, securing it with clips made from bonsai wire.
Step 5b – Bend back the clips to secure the mesh in the pot.
Step 5c – Thread an anchor wire through the holes in the pot.
Step 5d- Sprinkle a thin layer of bonsai soil into the base of the pot.

 

Bonsai Pottig Guide Step 6
Step 6a – Position the bonsai slightly off centre for best view.
Step 6b – Add bonsai soil using the soil scoop.
Step 6c – Work the soil into existing rootball using the chopstick.
Step 6d – Ensure no large air-pockets are left in the soil.
Step 6e – Take both ends of the anchor wire.
Step 6f – Twist the anchor wire tightly.
Step 6g – The anchor wire will secure the bonsai to the pot.
Step 6h – Remove excess ends of the wire using the wire cutters.

Bonsai Potting Guide Step 7
Step 7 – Water well ensuring the entire rootball is soaked.
Step 8 – Your beautiful bonsai will require regular pruning to maintain & develop beautiful foliage pads.
Bonsai Direct’s Fertiliser has been specially formulated and should be used weekly to help promote strength & vigour. Please do NOT feed your bonsai for 4 weeks after re-potting.
Growing bonsai is a journey which I hope you will enjoy for many, many years.

 

 

 

Wiring Bonsai Trees – A Step-by-Step Guide

Wiring bonsai tree guide

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!

How to wire a bonsai tree guide
Bonsai Wiring Guide Step 1
Study your bonsai and identify any branches that need to be re-styled.
Wiring bonsai trees- step 2
Plan your wiring & select the correct wire size and length. Thicker branches will need a thicker wire.
Bonsai Wiring guide - step 3
Carefully anchor the center of the wire around the trunk so that the ends can be continued along the branches.
Bonsai Wiring Guide - Step 4
Position the wire along the branch, taking care to place the wire & not tighten. Then trim off the wire ends with the wire cutters.
Bonsai Wiring Guide - Step 5
Holding a branch securely with your fingers, bend the wired branch gently into the desired position.
Bonsai Wiring Guide - Step 6
Enhance the character of a branch by adding gentle bends.
Wiring a bonsai - an overview
Re-positioned branches create more space around the trunk, giving the bonsai a more classic appearance.
The shape of the newly wired branches will soon begin to set (approx. 4-6 weeks).
Please check your wiring
on a weekly basis. If it begins to look tight please remove it.
Once the wire has been removed, please re-wire using new wire (you only need to do this if the branch has not set in the desired position).

Indoor Fig Bonsai – Ficus retusa

Fig (Ficus retusa) beginners indoor bonsai tree
  • Perfect for beginners
  • Very easy to care for
  • Develops character aerial roots
  • Suitable for darker rooms
  • Deep green glossy leaves
  • Resistant to most pests/diseases
Example of Ficus retusa beginners bonsai

The fig (Ficus retusa) has dark green glossy leaves and is unusual in that it will tolerate lower light levels. The fig makes a fantastic indoor bonsai and should be protected from the frost.
It buds back very quickly after pruning and has an immense amount of character in the truck and aerial root system. A very powerful bonsai, fun and easy to care for. It is also less susceptible to pest attack. Protect from cold (min 10oC). Fabulous bonsai for beginners and ideal for the home or office.
Bonsai in general symbolise peace, harmony, order of thoughts and balance.
The Fig symbolises fertility and love.
The Bible indicates that the Fig tree has spiritual meaning.
The tree that signifies health both spiritually and physically.
A tree with energy.

Buy fig indoor bonsai trees
Buy Fig Indoor Bonsai (Ficus retusa) with free delivery to most areas.

Spotty Leaves On Your Bonsai Tree

Spotty bonsai tree leaves

Black Spot Spotty leaves on a bonsai

Black spot is a fungal disease which affects the leaves.
On a bonsai this usually shows as small dark coloured spots on the leaves.
It is easy to treat but you will need to spray the foliage with a fungicide (available from garden centres).
It is important to repeat spray according to the instructions on the bottle.
If your bonsai does have black spot you will probably notice spots on all the leaves (new and old). If the spots are only on the old leaves please read on!

Old Leaves

Old leaves (ie not the new growing tips) frequently show small spots. These leaves will drop and new ones will replace them. This is just a sign of aging. If there are no spots on newer/younger foliage them I would suspect that this is the cause.

Red Spider Mite

Red Spider Mite is a very tiny pest, which is just visible with the naked eye but can go un-notiiced. It is the symptoms which normally become apparant in the first instance. Red Spider thrives in warm, dry conditions so rarely affects outdoor bonsai.
Bonsai affected by red spider mite tend to display a pale mottling on the leaves. If you look closely fine silk-like webbing and hanging leaves can also be seen.
Eventually a bonsai with red spider mite will start dropping leaves.
To treat for red spider mite we recommend that you spray twice weekly with plant invigorator. Spray to run off so that the leaves, branches, trunk and under the leaves are dripping. Repeat twice a week for 4 weeks and then return to using weekly.

 

 

Ligustrum sinense – A Beautiful Indoor Bonsai for Beginners

Ligustrum sinense indoor bonsai tree
  • Perfect for beginners
  • Fun to prune
  • Easy to care for
  • Low maintenance
  • Fast growing
  • Strong and vigorous
Ligustrum sinense beginners bonsai for sale

A most fabulous fast growing indoor bonsai which is fun to grow, easy to care for and ideal for practising wiring & styling techniques. This vigorous bonsai is ideal for beginners and displays a strong structure and highly defined shape. Soft bright green leaves for a pretty canopy.

Buy ligustrum indoor bonsai trees
Buy Ligustrum Indoor Bonsai (Ligustrum sinense) with free delivery to most areas.

The Ligustrum sinense is a fabulous indoor bonsai variety and a relative of the Olive tree (Oleaceae Family).
This is without doubt an all-time favourite beginners indoor bonsai and has so much to offer.
It is very fast growing, making it fun to prune and style.
It is very easy to care for and not fussy about where it should be positioned.
It has a strong and vigorous trunk and shoots, resulting in bonsai with a powerful and artistic structure.

The leaves of this beautiful indoor bonsai have great proportions with smooth edges and a wonderful fresh spring green in colour. This results in a very pretty and full canopy of leaves.
As the bonsai matures it also displays pretty white/creamy coloured flowers.
Grown as an indoor bonsai variety the Ligustrum is evergreen and keeps its leaves all year round. In our experience leaf drop is absolutely minimal.
As a fast growing bonsai species this bonsai is a hungry tree which likes to be frequently fed with bonsai food, but is very rewarding.
A great variety to practice bonsai skills such as pruning and wiring. It is easy to style and will produce a well structured and highly artistic bonsai. It will form beautiful informal upright or broom style bonsai trees.

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 ligustrum sinense symbolises peace and friendship.

Ligustrum Indoor Bonsai Care Summary

Positioning & Temperature
The Ligustrum 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
Watering is a lovely and essential part of bonsai tree care. It is a simple, yet vital part of growing bonsai and only takes a few seconds. We recommend whilst you are learning to check the soil daily. If the soil is wet or very damp, please do not water your bonsai. When the soil starts to firm and feels barely damp to the touch, water well by either standing the bonsai in water for a few minutes or by pouring water over the soil surface to re-wet the root ball evenly.

Misting
Misting the leaves of your Ligustrum bonsai is not essential, but does enhance the growth during winter months in particular. In the winter, when the central heating is on, the air can get very dry and misting will simply replace some of the lost humidity and encourage new foliage growth.

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 Ligustrum Bonsai is a relatively fast growing bonsai variety and is fun to prune and style. The new shoots are often flecked with russet tones which really does make it look very pretty. 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.
If you would like to try some re-styling you could try some wiring techniques. Generally, wiring is used to give a branch or slender trunk more character and shape.

Growing/Propagating your own Ligustrum 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
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!
Ligustrum 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 Tree Pests

Pests on a bonsai tree

Aphids…

Aphids (blackfly, greenfly and whitefly) are sap sucking insects which rarely cause a problem for bonsai. Aphids are very easy to identify and easy to treat, so are no cause for alarm. They are more commonly spotted in spring/early summer.
Usually the first sign of aphids is shiny sticky patches on the top surface of the leaves. This is caused by honeydew which is excreted by the insects and drops from the leaves above (see photo 1).
Sometimes black sooty mould grows on the honeydew (see photo 2).
White skin casts can sometimes be seen on the top of the leaves (they can look like a strange insects but are just empty aphid skins). (See photo 3).
It is usually possible to see the aphids, they tend to colonise on the shoot tips (see photo 4).

We recommend that you spray weekly with a Plant Invigorator to prevent pests such as aphids developing.

Should you find that your do have aphid on your bonsai, please do not worry, simply purchase an insecticide from your local garden centre and follow the instructions. If you do not want to spray you can simply pick the insects off the shoots (keep checking that more do not hatch).

Aphid on bonsai tree 1 Aphid on bonsai tree 2 Aphid on bonsai tree 3 Aphid on bonsai tree 4

Scarid Flies…

Scarid flies are not uncommon on seedlings and house plants. They are grey/brown flies which live in the soil surface and do no harm at all. Keeping the soil surface barely damp (and not wet) will discourage them. If you find them annoying simply spray with an insecticide. Occasionally you may spot a larvae, it is small, long white and slender. These flies are not something to be concerned about; they are rarely noticeable after a few days.

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