outdoor bonsai banner

Outdoor Bonsai

Because outdoor bonsai grow faster than those grown indoors, the results of reshaping, wiring and pruning are evident much sooner. The most important technique to Bonsai is pruning which is what keeps it miniaturised and in shape. The goal is to create a bonsai that looks natural. The spring and summer are the seasons when significant pruning may be required but this will depend on the type of tree. After flowering remove the dead flowers and developing seed pods, especially with species such as Azalea and Gardenia etc.

Outdoor bonsai should be placed in a sheltered position, free from strong winds.  A bamboo or reed screen is ideal. Some species such as Japanese maples require protection from spring frosts which can damage the developing new growth. Wooden stands are best to raise the trees off the ground to avoid damage from animals etc.

Outdoor bonsai should be placed in a sheltered position with some shading during the day.

Your bonsai needs regular daily watering in dry weather. In very hot spells, the frequency may need to be increased to two or three times a day. The best time to water is in the evening; rainwater is best although tap water can be used. A fine rose on the hose or watering can is best to ensure the soil is completely soaked especially in periods of high temperatures. Morning watering is also beneficial, but avoid getting the foliage wet if a hot day is forecasted. Alternatively, you can completely immerse the pot in water so the water level is above the soil. Wait until all the air bubbles have stopped rising, then place the pot on a drip tray.

Outdoors in the winter, your tree should receive enough water from rain. If the tree is kept in a greenhouse it may require water every two to three weeks. Evergreens such as pines and junipers need water if they are still growing in late winter or early spring.

Occasionally it is beneficial to spray the tree with soft water, or with Bonsai Myst which provides nutrients at the same time.

During the growing season feed every one or two weeks with a specialist liquid bonsai fertiliser such as Bonsai Focus.

For bonsai azaleas or other acid-loving plants, it is preferable to Camellia Focus.

It is important to regularly trim your bonsai to keep its shape or style. This is called the ‘clip and grow’ method. When a new shoot has elongated and has between six and eight new leaves, it should be trimmed back to two to four leaves. This may be every two months or so depending on the vigour of the tree. With regular pinching back the tree will fill out better. A pair of pruning scissors such as Growth Technology’s Bonsai Pruning Scissors are very suitable.

Alternatively, you can use the wiring method. You can use anodized aluminium or copper wire which has been annealed. The wire comes in various sizes from 0.5 to 6.00 mm in diameter. The wire is wrapped around the trunk or branch then bent into the shape your styling requires.

Repotting Outdoor deciduous bonsai are best repotted every two years or so, in the spring as the buds just emerge from dormancy. Evergreen trees are best repotted a little later from the end of March through to the end of April depending on the weather.

As well as Bonsai Focus Repotting Mix Peat Free, you will need some horticultural grit, a pair of pruning scissors and a container of the appropriate size to accommodate two years’ growth.

Put on a pair of gloves and rework the mix – so it regains its texture – adding about 10% of BetterGrow Horticultural Grit or similar.

Carefully ease the plant from the old container. Loosen the root ball and remove all the soil that you easily can with a chopstick or a root hook. Wash off the remaining soil. Add SuperDrive to the water to encourage vigorous rooting. Cutaway any dead roots and trim off about thirty percent of the roots, especially the thick ones.

Cover the drainage holes in the new container with mesh and hold it in place using anodised aluminium bonsai wire. Add a layer of moist mix to the bottom of the new container. Tie the wires around major roots or base of the trunk, to secure the bonsai into the pot. Hold the bonsai in place and work mix well in between the roots using a chopstick or similar tool, until the tree feels firm in the container. Add mix until it fills the container, leaving no air pockets.

Water well from the top until there is runoff and keep in the shade for three weeks to allow new roots to grow.

Start feeding with Bonsai Focus four weeks after repotting – it will encourage healthy, bushy growth and prevent leaf yellowing.

For a video on how to repot indoor or outdoor bonsai as well as many types of orchids please click here.

Fallen leaves

This could be due to a number of reasons such as a shock to the tree caused by being very dry or very cold. If any of these have occurred, adjust the environment.

Depending on the species it could be a natural occurrence. When the leaves have fallen off the tree, it is not dead, but just going into temporary dormancy, so be extra careful with watering.

Fungal diseases

Bonsai trees can be subject to fungal problems just like trees in nature. As soon as you notice problems use an appropriate fungicide and follow the instructions on the label. SB Plant Invigorator is highly recommended for mildew and it is widely used preventatively.

White ‘threads’ on the leaves

White fluffy insects in the plant crevices

These are most likely mealybugs. Remove with a cotton bud dipped in methylated spirit and wipe the leaves clean regularly to prevent an infestation. Additionally, spray with SB Plant Invigorator as per the instructions on the label. After the first signs spray at least twice a week for two weeks to kill off any remaining insects.

Leaves curling

This normally indicates either aphids, coddling moth grub or even a spider’s nest. Check inside the leaves and spray with SB Plant Invigorator.

Water does not drain through the pot

This is usually because the growing substrate has degraded and it indicates the need for repotting.

Roots are coming out the drainage holes or the tree is lifting out of the pot

This indicates the need to repot the bonsai and trim the main root.

Brown tips on leaf edges

This is likely to be caused either by the sun scorching the leaf tips or soil drying out. Move to a shady position and/or water regularly.

Long leggy growth

On outdoor bonsai, this can be due to very wet weather and over-fertilising. To keep growth ramifications tight, trim new growth back to two leaves as soon as the centre shoot has elongated.

For advice on indoor bonsai please click here for information on this subject.

Click here to download a leaflet - Making the Most of Your Bonsai.

Related Products

Perlite is an amazing medium for Pot Culture with superb capillarity and moisture retention. Available in 100 litres.
Ideal for bonsai. 60 mm titanium coated blades.
Medium-grade pebbles (8–16 mm) for terrariums, humidity trays, and repotting mixes, in a handy retail size. Available in 3 litres and 10 litres.
Uniform, lime-free and washed. Available in 3 litres.
Accurate readings. No batteries needed. No more overwatering or dry plants – check the soil moisture, and water when needed. Ideal for houseplants.
Coarse-grade perlite for improved soil drainage, aeration, and root growth. Available in 3 litres and 8 litres.
Two versions – straight blades or curved blades. Ideal for orchids, bonsai and all houseplants. Titanium coated blades.
Medium horticultural grade vermiculite for better germination, moisture retention and healthy seedlings. Available in 3 litres and 10 litres.
Balanced nutrition for all Bonsai plants. Enriched with humic and fulvic acids, as well as seaweed, to maintain peak fertility in the soil For use in very small amounts of soil as recommended Available...
Bonsai Focus Repotting Mix provides the best results for growing bonsai trees. It is open textured to promote healthy root growth It contains no added nutrients to ensure control of growth Free draining...
Bonsai Myst is the ideal way to care for and feed all bonsai trees. It is specifically formulated to suit both indoor and outdoor bonsai. It provides humidity and all essential nutrients...
Rooting Hormone Gel
An advanced multi-application nutrient solution: A media soak to give your cuttings a head start Seed soak for exceptional germination every time A first feed for young plants Available in 300...
Houseplant Focus Seed & Cuttings Mix is designed for best results with the widest range of seeds and cuttings. It is free draining to allow healthy root initiation and growth while minimising any...

Check Out Our Product Range Here

You can contact us by email at: enquiries@growthtechnology.com

Your login details have been used by another user or machine. Login details can only be used once at any one time so you have therefore automatically been logged out. Please contact your sites administrator if you believe this other user or machine has unauthorised access.