Bonsai trees are a pretty demanding hobby, requiring daily care for the majority of the year but what happens to your bonsai when you want to go on holiday? Unless you want to take your bonsai trees on holiday with you, you’re going to need some way to care for them in your absence. In this article we cover your basic options to get you out of this struggle!
If possible, taking a holiday in the winter months is going to be a lot safer due to the tree needing a lot less care than that of the summer season but realistically who wants to holiday in winter? For those who like their summer holidays, leaving your bonsai tree with a nursery or local bonsai community in return for a small payment or a few beers is the best option!
1. Using A Caring Service
The bonsai is a very nice community and people tend to look out for each other and help where they can. It’s worth exploring the route of leaving your bonsai tree collection with a nursery whilst you’re on holiday. Although not every nursery will do this, there are a fair few that will look after them for you for a small fee.
Although this solution might not be free, you have the peace of mind knowing that your prized bonsai are being watered by someone who hopefully knows what they’re doing. Before going on holiday, it’s worth going to all the local garden centers and nurseries around your local area to check if this is a service they can offer you.
2. Using The Help You Have
People tend to overlook the option of friends and family to look after their bonsai whilst they’re on holiday but it can be great solution to the problem. You’re going to have to trust them not to forget or overlook any of the trees in your collection. I would recommend walking them through the whole process a few days before you go away on holiday, so they know all the specifics from how much water to use to which trees need more watering than others.
As mentioned above, the art of bonsai tends to bring people together and have a really nice community feel to it. It’s worth, if you aren’t already, getting involved with local bonsai communities in your area to see if they can lend a hand. Having someone do a favor like this for you will probably lead to you having to do them the same courtesy at some point but as long as that doesn’t bother you, this is a great option. The added benefit of using the local bonsai community is that these skilled enthusiasts could possibly pick up on health problems with your bonsai that you might have overlooked such as diseases or the fact the tree needs repotting.
3. Automated Watering
This is another very possible option that is chosen my a lot of bonsai owners around the world. It’s relatively simple to set up a watering system on a timer, that will spray water around when turned on. Although it’s very simple to set up, it’s not the best option unless you have nothing else available to you. By putting all of your bonsai trees in a circle around the spraying system, they should get an even distribution of the water being provided by the sprinkler.
The only real issue with this being that not all trees will need the same amount of watering in the same time period, making it a lot less attentive than having each tree actually looked after. Although not the best solution, if you’re going away for a few days or a week, this solution is definitely still do-able, just make sure that your tree are also not placed in full sun as this combined with the lack of specific care can lead to the soil drying out pretty fast.
If you’re looking for a great sprinkler to automate your bonsai watering, this Hozelock AC Plus on Amazon
is the one to get yourself! It’s cheap, reliable and has been reviewed by multiple bonsai enthusiasts, claiming it’s the go to! At time of writing I have just ordered myself one, I’ll be doing a full review soon!
4. Planting The Pot
It’s worth saying that this method is the worst of the lot of them, you’re much better off exhausting the first 3 options before considering this one as a viable option. You can take your bonsai pot and plant it into the soil in your garden, ideally in the most shaded area you can find. Make a whole for the bonsai pot, deep enough so the top soil of the pot is level with the ground soil, this will vary in size depending on the size of your bonsai pot. Once in the ground, water the tree and the soil in the area near the pot.
One of the many issues with this idea is the fact slugs and other creatures are going to possibly destroy your bonsai tree. I recommend using slug pellets to try and stop the impact of the slugs. You will need to put up a poly structure around the bonsai to help retain water content as much as possible. If done correctly and in favorable conditions, you might get 2 weeks out of this method but again, it’s definitely not the safest idea for the bonsai. If you’re trying to do this in the summer months, you have to be even more careful as if the sun beats down and heats up the poly tent, the tree is going to dry out even faster.
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Bonsai trees require a lot of constant care and maintenance, a lack of that for a few weeks could be disastrous for the tree. When you go on holiday, picking the correct care for your bonsai collection is essential to the tree being healthy when you return home. Personally, I have always used the friends and family method since getting my dad clued up on the watering requirements of my bonsai trees. The best port of call is going to be leaving the bonsai with someone locally that knows about bonsai and can actually give your trees that little bit of extra care, usually a bonsai nursery or community, which shouldn’t cost too much.
If you cannot find someone to leave your prized bonsai trees with for a few weeks, it’s worth investing in a high quality automated sprinkler system like this Hozelock AC Plus on Amazon.
Although this might not be the best method, if you frequently have weekends away and short breaks, this automated system might be perfect for you!