Bonsai Babies: How To Care For A Bonsai Tree

How To Care For A Bonsai

Bonsai For Modern Life

Last weekend I attended a Bonsai for Modern Life Seminar at Time and Style in Amsterdam. I've always loved the look of Bonsai trees but never imagined the work needed to care for one and the Japanese ways of placing a Bonsai in the home. I left feeling like buying a Bonsai was a little bit like adopting a 100 year old baby! I don't think I'm quite ready for the responsibility just yet. Just picking the right location seems difficult enough! This depends on the type of tree the Bonsai is, whether it is an indoor or outdoor species etc. Anyway here are some top Bonsai care tips for you if you are feeling like taking on the responsibility of caring for a Bonsai tree. Bonsai is a fascinating art-form that combines horticultural techniques and Asian aesthetics in a unique way. The art originates in the Chinese empire and was copied and adapted by the Japanese to what we know now as Bonsai trees. Literally translated "bon-sai" means "planted in a container".

Bonsai Tips

  • Water once to twice a day.
  • Fertiliser two times a year, especially important during growth season.
  • Try and put outside daily if possible, if not as often as you can manage.
  • Prune your Bonsai every 10 days during growth season.
  • Make sure you Bonsai is placed on a tray in order to collect water when watering.
  • Place your Bonsai in a light, well ventilated room.


Styles of Bonsai


Shari Bonsai style (Sharimiki) - trees with bald or bark-less areas

Raft Bonsai style (Ikadabuki) - lateral trunk with the branches becoming trees of their own

Growing in a rock Bonsai style (Ishisuki) - trees growing out of rocks

Growing on a rock Bonsai style (Seki-joju) - trees growing on a rock

Forest Bonsai style (Yose-ue) - several trees together

Multitrunk Bonsai style (Kabudachi) - one tree with multiple trunks

Double trunk style Bonsai (Sokan) - one tree with two trunks

Windswept Bonsai style (Fukinagashi) - leaning to the side

Literati Bonsai style (Bunjingi) - tall and slim tree

Semi cascade Bonsai style (Han-kengai) - where the tree grows over the side of the pot

Cascade Bonsai style (Kengai) - where the tree grows below the base of the pot

Slanting Bonsai style (Shakan) - slanted to one side

Informal upright Bonsai style (Moyogi) - Trees grows in an 'S' shape

Formal upright Bonsai style (Chokkan) - straight up

Broom style Bonsai (Hokidachi) - straight trunk with a spread of fine branches

Do you think you have what it takes to look after one of these lovely plants? Let me know how that goes and if you have any Bonsai tips, please leave them in the comments below.