Light For Bonsais
It is impossible for plants to survive in the absence of light. In fact, living in darkness would make all of us fall sick, as only light possesses the attribute to transform air, water as well as nutrition into growth and, thereby life. Therefore, when you are deciding on places for positioning your bonsai trees indoors, you should always bear in mind that nearly in all instances both the summers as well as winters are more or less of equal duration. At the same time, you should not forget that the intensity of light during the day time is more in the native habitat of the plants compared to that in the temperate zones. You ought to also bear in mind that in majority of homes, there are very few places where adequate daylight is available to the bonsai trees, especially during the winter.
Hence, a place close to the window would be the perfect location for growing bonsais indoors. This is primarily because when grown beside a window, bonsais do not suffer owing to obstruction of daylight by large trees, elevated walls or any roof overhand. Placing the bonsai trees even at a distance of 3 feet (1 meter) from the window will result in greatly reduced luminosity – however, we may not notice this always. In fact, this reduced light may possibly be extremely dark for a bonsai tree. If your bonsai is placed in such indoor location, you will soon find that the plant will become unkempt as well as tall. On the other hand, if you find that your bonsai tree is not receiving enough daylight on a particular side, it is advisable that you turn the plant around at least once every month.
Appropriate lighting is vital for ensuring that your bonsai trees remain green and healthy. In fact, the amount of light required by you bonsai tree will differ subject to the place when the plant is positioned as well as the species you are growing. There is no doubt that natural sunlight is the most excellent type of lighting that you can provide your bonsai trees. Natural sunlight not only helps the bonsai in photosynthesizing, but also ensures that the plant remains well nourished. However, when you are growing bonsai trees indoors, it is best to place them close to the brightest window where they can receive some natural sunlight. However, you need to protect the bonsai from intense heat from the lighting source. Therefore, it is advisable that you shield the plants from the scorching sun during the midday. It is true that nearly all bonsai trees require ample natural light, but they should also be protected from the intense heat generated by the lighting source.
When we talk of natural light, we refer to sunlight. However, your bonsai trees should not be exposed to direct sunlight, especially during the peak of summer. Exposing the bonsai trees to direct sunlight during midday may prove to be detrimental even for bonsai that have an appetite for maximum sunlight. Therefore, it is advisable that even if you are growing bonsai trees indoors, you need to protect them from being exposed to direct sunlight during the middle of the day, especially during the summer. This can be achieved by adjusting window blinds. Alternatively, you may also make use of a light-transmitting shade.
The amount of brightness is gauged using an instrument called luxometer – a very common and low-cost device, which is somewhat akin to the light meter used while taking photographs. In case you are providing your bonsai trees with artificial lights, you ought to bear in mind that the more light a bonsai require, the longer you need to put these artificial lights on. Ideally, you should keep these artificial lights on for anything between 12 hours to 16 hours. It is important to note that providing your bonsai trees with the accurate amount and duration of light, especially artificial lights, is vital for the health of these plants. In fact, you may have to turn these artificial lights on and off several times every day. You can accomplish this using a timer.
Bonsai growers in the temperate regions particularly find it difficult to provide adequate natural sunlight to the plants, especially during the winter, even if they have placed their plants on a windowsill. This is primarily because the days are just too short in temperate regions during the winter months. Therefore, you can compensate for the lack of sufficient sunlight by providing the bonsai trees with artificial light. Ideally, you should use the artificial light before sunrise and after sunset. For instance, you may require providing the bonsai trees with artificial light for about an hour during the period between March and October, for roughly two hours during the period between November and December, and for about three hours between January and February. However, the duration for which the plants require artificial light will vary subject to the place of your residence.
The common luminescent light bulbs can never be an effective substitute for daylight for your bonsai trees. The light generated by these bulbs can never replace the normal daylight. If you have been using such lights to compensate for daylight, you will find that your bonsai may suffer damages owing to too much heat generated by the normal incandescent light bulbs.
Hence, it is advisable that you always use artificial light that is more or less equivalent to sunlight as far as providing a wide band of light colors are concerned. Ideally, you should opt for fluorescent lights that possess daylight as well as warm light varieties. Using fluorescent lights offers an improved result compared to plant lights, which only come in violet range. Similar to the lights used to provide luminosity in fish tanks, fluorescent lights are basically excellent sources of simulated light. As a rule, you ought to suspend the artificial light roughly 10 inches to 32 inches (25 cm to 81 cm) above the bonsai tree, subject to the source of light you are using.
Plenty of sunlight
It is essential that you understand one aspect of growing bonsai before you actually start growing the dwarfed plants. You should recognize and remember that a bonsai tree is not any ordinary tree or a flower. In addition, you cannot classify a bonsai tree as any common container plant. Precisely speaking, bonsai is really a tree, but only a miniature tree. Similar to any other tree, bonsai requires plenty of natural sunlight to ensure its prosperity. In fact, all the leaves and branches of bonsai should receive an equal amount of natural sunlight.
You can achieve this by rotating the plants or changing their sides facing the source of light at regular intervals. If you forget to do this often, it is advisable that you use a stopwatch or an alarm to remind you. This can be compared to an alarm that reminds a cook or a baker when he/ she should remove the food from the oven.
When you place your bonsai tree under direct sunlight, ensure that no external objects have an effect on the amount of sunlight received by the plant. For instance, if you place the bonsai close to the window glass, it will magnify the sunlight, thereby providing too much sunlight to the plant. In addition to plenty of natural light, your bonsai also needs enough air. Therefore, ensure that the place where you keep the bonsai is well ventilated.
Substitute natural light with artificial light source if needed
There may be situations when you have to depend on artificial light sources for your bonsai trees. This is because the environment will not always provide sufficient natural sunlight for your plants. In fact, artificial lights are a wonderful substitute for natural sunlight. Fluorescent light is considered to be the best type of artificial light. When the conditions are not very favourable, such as during the winter months, you need to expose your bonsai trees to sunlight for at least 12 hours daily.
Giving bonsai tree excessive light
While most bonsai trees are hungry for light, exposure to too much light may also kill the plants. In fact, when a bonsai receives too much light, natural sunlight or artificial light, it starts giving up moisture, thereby becoming dehydrated. Initially, the leaves of the bonsai begin to change their color and become brownish. Bonsai of a number of species such as the Japanese maple bonsai are very vulnerable to dehydration. Therefore, it is advisable that you need to be careful and look for any indication of your bonsai becoming dehydrated. You can accomplish this by checking the plants constantly for any sign of them dropping leaves or the soil turning dry.
If you are planning to provide your bonsai with artificial light, you should ideally look for a light source that can be kept in control. At the same time, you should also have alternative light sources at your disposal so that you can use them when the situation demands.