One of the most over-looked components of caring for a bonsai tree is feeding. I never fertilized my first bonsai for months and god knows how it survived. In this article I’m going to show you exactly how to fertilize a bonsai tree properly for the best results!
Fertilizing a bonsai tree is one of the most important parts of keeping the tree alive and healthy. During the growing season, the small amount of soil in a bonsai pot doesn’t contain enough nutrients to support the trees growth. So we have to fertilize the bonsai tree. Let’s find out how…
Why You Need To Fertilize A Bonsai?
Fertilizing is a crucial part in bonsai trees staying healthy and sustaining growth. The reason these little trees need extra nutrients is purely based on the size of the pot it is living in. In nature, a tree will have roots drawing nutrients from a huge amount of soil and spanning across a lot of land.
In bonsai, the tree only has access to the nutrients in the soil contained in the tiny pot. Over time, the soil has less nutrient content and extra fertilizer will be needed to increase the value in the soil. Without this, your bonsai tree is going to lack vigor and growth is going to be very minimal.
What If You Never Fertilize A Bonsai Tree?
If you neglect giving your bonsai tree a feed, over time the tree is going to really struggle with growth. Over time, the nutrients contained in the soil are going to gradually be consumed by the roots, leaving no more nutrients. As like other plants and people in fact, a lack of nutrients is detrimental to health and can lead to the tree developing some complications.
When You Should Be Fertilizing Your Bonsai
The exact time to be fertilizer a bonsai tree really depends on the tree species but a broader answer, as explain by Bonsaiempire
, will be to feed the tree during the growing season, as this is when your bonsai will need the extra nourishment.
Depending on the species in question, if it is an indoor grown bonsai, sup-tropical or tropical, it can be fertilized all year round if you see fit. The actual frequency of fertilizing really depends on the age and size of the tree, as a tree ages and grows a lot slower it will of course require less feed than a young untrained tree.
If unsure, it may be worth purchasing a book that contains a care guide for a huge amount of different species, as this will break down the requirements for your bonsai tree. I recommend getting Bonsai Basics 101 on Amazon,
this is the book that taught me most of what I needed to know about caring for my bonsai trees.
Components Of Bonsai Fertilizer
Bonsai feeds are made mostly from 3 different components, which come in different ratios to form different fertilizers. These components are Potassium, Nitrogen and Phosphorus. When these 3 components are equal in the ratio, it is known as a balanced fertilizer.
The components each have their own benefit to the bonsai tree –
Potassium provides the whole tree with health benefits
Nitrogen is used to essentially give a whole growth boost to the tree, including foliage and roots
Phosphorous also promotes good growth strength in the roots mainly
These 3 together create a mix of feed that is perfect for keeping bonsai trees healthy. It’s worth saying that there a huge amount of other minerals that make up fertilizer, these are just the main components that need to be manipulated year round, depending on the season.
Which Fertilizer Should You Be Using For Your Bonsai Tree?
There are a lot of conflicting messages about what ratio of fertilizer you should be using on your bonsai. It has always been common practice to change the balance of a fertilizer all year round, for instance decreasing the level of nitrogen in the winter months.
It is now thought that the most effective way to fertilize a bonsai tree is to use a balanced feed (Like this one on Amazon
), all year round. The frequency of use should reduce during the end of the growing season, as most trees won’t need to be fed during the winter.
There are a huge amount of different bonsai feeds on the market and realistically there isn’t one that is better than the others. Ensure you’re using a feed that has the correct chemical balance and you shouldn’t have a problem!
How To Fertilize Your Bonsai Tree (Step By Step)
Photo By Bonsaiempire
The most common type of fertilizer I see people in this community using is liquid feed as it’s typically cheap and easy to use. In this simple step by step guide I explain exactly how you should feed your bonsai tree…
Step 1 – When your bonsai tree needs watering, pour your bonsai fertilizer into the watering can you are using for watering. Use the exact measurements and ratio that is suggested on the bottle, don’t eyeball it.
Step 2 – Water your bonsai tree as you normally would. The feed is going to replenish the soil during this process and allow the bonsai tree access to new nutrients.
It’s really that simple to give your bonsai tree the nutrients it needs to survive! The most important step is simply not forgetting to do these processes, the actual feeding itself is very simple.
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