May is the best of times!

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This month is a wonderful month in the world of Bonsai. We are into longer days and warmer temperatures which means your Bonsai are shaking off the winter doldrums and unfurling their beautiful leaves and for those that do flower their outstanding blossoms.

It’s extremely important to keep in mind three things that affect your Bonsai:

1. Water – As your Bonsai starts into active growth it will need more water and more nutrients (which means fertilizer, either inorganic or organic). It is feeding off whatever has been in the potting medium up to this time, but surely requires an injection of more fertilizer to keep up its health. And…to avert a disaster that some people experience…don’t let your Bonsai sit in water. It will drown. Of course, have drainage holes in the bottom of your pot with drainage mesh covering the holes so the soil won’t rush out of the pot along with the excess water. If you have a tray underneath your pot be sure to decant (pour off) this excess water. What happens in this drowning is that through capillary action all of the spaces between the soil particles are filled with water. Those spaces should be filled with air. Hence the plant dies from suffocation.

2. Light – The more growth that your Bonsai puts on the more light it requires to sustain this growth. Don’t minimize this all-important point. If you grow your Bonsai outside the east or south facing area is best for it. If you are growing your Bonsai inside you need to consider a plant light or have your Bonsai sitting in a east, south or west facing window with at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight.

3. Soil/Potting Medium – Be sure you have excellent drainage in your soil. It is extremely important to the health of your Bonsai. How to have excellent drainage? Use larger granular mixes. When Bonsai hobbyists purchase Akadama they are startled by the size of the particles. We are so used to the miniscule sized makeup of our soil out in the back yard that we are amazed that our Bonsai can survive in such a large grain matrix. It can survive and will flourish.

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Reproduced with permission from Dallas Bonsai.


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