Bonsai trees are very sensitive and, hence, they demand additional care as well as meticulousness while training, pruning and repotting compared to most other plants. As bonsai are forced to live in extremely controlled environment, they are especially vulnerable to various pests as well as diseases. However, preventive treatment is helpful in avoiding the pests and diseases, thereby ensuring that the plants remain healthy. At the same time, you need to keep a watchful eye on the bonsai trees to find if they have developed any infection. Detecting the infections at the initial stage and undertaking appropriate treatment helps to eradicate both pests as well as diseases. Moreover, the risks of developing infections or being invaded by pests are compensated to some extent owing to the fact that all bonsai are either shrubs or trees and, hence, they possess a vigorous nature.
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For majority of people, growing bonsai indoors should be a very difficult job at all. In fact, it is possible to grow almost all types of bonsai successfully indoors, provided you take care to provide them with adequate lighting as well as a warm environment.
While growing bonsai indoors, the most important aspect on which you should concentrate is to find the ideal location for the plants. Preferably, you need to position them in the particular area of your home that sustains the appropriate temperature necessary for the type of bonsai you are growing.
Precisely speaking, the location where you position your bonsai ought to fulfill three vital factors. First, the location should have easy access as well as space for managing your daily care for the plant. Second, the place ought to allow a viewpoint or approach so that the bonsai looks its best. Last, but not the least important, the location should also have the perfect weather conditions for the bonsai - not be accessible to direct sunlight, maintain the ideal temperature and humidity and also be well ventilated.
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You need to change the location of the bonsai whenever you notice a drooping branch, or the tree becoming fragile or discolored.
Having established the location of your bonsai, you need to acquire a growing lamp with a view to make sure that your bonsai receive sufficient lighting. It is important to note that though you may have placed the bonsai beside a window, the plant will still require additional lighting owing to the fact that windows never provide adequate sunlight. You should switch on the growing lamp during the day and it should be kept on for the duration that the particular type of bonsai you are growing requires direct sunlight. You should only turn off the growing lamp at night, with a view to ensure that the environment where you bonsai are placed is as similar to the atmosphere outside.
There are a number of bonsai types that need a dormancy period every winter. Therefore, you should place these types of bonsai in a cool place outdoors every winter and allow them to remain there till the next spring. The best place to locate these types of bonsai during the winter months is an unheated greenhouse. In case you do not own or have access to a greenhouse, you can place the bonsai in an unheated garage or a cool shade close to a window. This should be good enough for your bonsai to survive and remain well during the plant's dormancy period.
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At the same time, you should cut back the roots of your bonsai annually with a view to promote new root formation, as this will help the miniature tree to grow bigger as well as better. Use a suitable hook to clean the roots and always keep away from the roots that are beneath the soil surface. When you have cleaned the roots, stretch them out and cut them back by roughly one third of their original length.
Ideally, the process of repotting the plants should be undertaken once in two years. This is done to give your bonsai tree enough space to grow properly. It is advisable that you use the same pot all the times. Take out the plant from its pot, cut back its roots and restore all the soil into the pot.
In order to provide the necessary nutrients to the bonsai, you may make a mixture of some amount of fertilizer and some new soil or add moist moss to the soil surface. You should feed, water as well as prune your bonsai tree on a regular basis with a view to ensure their optimal health. If you provide your bonsai trees with proper care, they can survive healthily for several hundred years.
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Ensure that you always use bonsai soil. In fact, the nature of soil used by you may often determine your bonsai tree's health. You ought to know that the regular or standard soils, for instance top soil or potting soil, are usually heavier compared to bonsai soil. Bonsai soil is prepared with the intention of retaining moisture, allowing proper drainage of water and it also allows the roots to breathe freely.
You should be aware of the fact that bonsai trees especially have a propensity to invasion by various pests as well as developing several plant diseases. In fact, this problem aggravates owing to their limited environment, wherein they are grown. Since they are miniature in size, bonsai trees are affected more drastically by different pests, compared to any normal plant or full-sized trees found in the forests. Notwithstanding all these shortcomings, one cannot say that the techniques involved in growing bonsai trees are actually responsible for worsening the condition. It is possible to prevent most such invasions by pests and diseases by taking regular care of the plants. The most effective preventive measures include cleaning the bonsai with a view to keep away from producing conditions that are conducive for pests as well as diseases.
After you have pruned or pinched the plants, you should ensure that the soil around the bonsai tree trunk's base does not have any leaf or debris of other plants. If you do not remove the debris, it may decompose and eventually create conditions that may be favourable for fungal diseases or moss growth, which are responsible for triggering root rot. Eventually, this may result in the death of the bonsai tree.
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While moss definitely has an ornamental appearance, it is harmful for your bonsai. It has been found that moss forms an excellent shelter for various pests as well as their larvae. Now, it is up to the grower to make a decision whether he/ she prefer the decorative look of moss to the threat it poses to their bonsai tree.
In case you prefer the growth of moss on the surface of the soil, you should ensure that it is nowhere near the bonsai's trunk or branches. If at all you allow moss to grow, it should be at a distance from the plant. You can graze off all unwanted moss using a hard nylon toothbrush or a spatula. Whatever you decide, you should always thin down the moss regularly. Liverwort is closely related to moss. If you find it growing in your bonsai pot, you should immediately remove it from the surface of the soil and dump it in a garbage bin later. In case, you allow liverwort to fall on the ground, it will develop new roots and the spores will soon get to the base of the bonsai trees. However, there are certainly some exceptions. While removing liverwort from the trees, you should be careful not to damage or cut the bark or cut deep into the wood of the plant.
If you find any greenfly or larvae in the moss, you may apply insecticide to eliminate them. When there is grass around the bonsai tree's base, you may think that it looks very beautiful. However, you need to remember that, in addition to enhancing the risks of pest invasion and developing various diseases, grass may also absorb nutrients from the soil, thereby depriving your bonsai of their essential food. Hence, allowing grass to remain at the base of the plant is never a good idea. It is, therefore, advisable that you weed the base of the bonsai thoroughly from time to time and also ensure that the surface of the soil remains well aerated. Ideally, you should make use of a pair of tweezers to get rid of weeds. For all progressive bonsai growers, a pair of tweezers is very important equipment.
In addition to adopting the above-mentioned preventive measures, you should also constantly keep an eye on your bonsai tree and examine the condition of its leaves regularly, especially examining the underside of the leaves and the tree trunk closely. This is vital because it is possible that pests may sneak into the bonsai bark.