Today you will learn how to make a Bonsai for beginners. We will step you through how to prune and plant Bonsai plus how to care for it long term so that you can enjoy your creation for years to come.
Growing your own Bonsai tree can be a lot of fun. This ancient technique is very popular and you will love the stunning results. It’s truly a very rewarding hobby and very therapeutic too.
How To Make A Bonsai For Beginners – 8 Pro Tips
This excellent infographic from Small Garden Ideas suggests using hardy clay pots for your Bonsai Tree. It’s important to remember that your Bonsai will require 2 types of pruning.
The first type is structural. This involves using wiring and will support your Bonsai by holding it in place. This makes it easier to achieve the desired shape. The second type is maintenance pruning. This is ongoing and vital for your plant’s health.
Step 1 Choosing Your Bonsai Plant
Bonsai can be grown with a number of different plants and trees.
Many have made Bonsai out of bushy shrubs and tall trees. Flowering and fruit trees are also particularly popular.
There are however a number of important things to consider when selecting your tree. Our detailed guide will step you through the process.
Will Your Bonsai Be Indoors Or Out? It Makes A Difference!
The first big question to ask is will your Bonsai Tree be residing indoors or out?
Traditionally tropical plants are used to grow Bonsai. Be sure to take into consideration your local climate when selecting your plant.
If your plant requires lots of sunlight and warmer temperatures, you may need to bring it inside in the winter months.
You’ll also need to think about where it can reside in your home to get the most light and be free from drafts.
Do You Want Your Bonsai Tree To Be Fruit, Flower, or Leaves?
Over time, Gardeners have made their Bonsai Trees out of many types. Traditionally, Japanese Maple and Baobab Trees have topped the list.
Wisteria also makes an incredible Bonsai and is a fantastic choice.
In the end, it boils down to personal choice and also how much time you are willing to dedicate. Your Bonsai will require maintenance and this needs to be a consideration factor.
Step 2 Potting Your Bonsai Tree
If you’re starting your own bonsai and not buying a pregrown one from a nursery, you’ll need a good pot.
Ideally, it should be shallow and small. This ensures the tree’s roots don’t spread too far. You do not want your Bonsai Tree to get too big.
As mentioned earlier, a clay pot is an excellent choice. You’ll also need to use a good soil mixture made specifically for Bonsai. You can buy this or make your own.
If you choose a homemade version, you can use a mixture of potting soil with peat moss, pine bark, sand, and perlite. Mixing any of these with potting soil should give your Bonsai the proper drainage that it requires to stay healthy and dry.
Step 3. Styling Your Bonsai Tree
via Bonsai Empire
As you can see from the infographic above from Bonsai Empire, there is no shortage of styles that you can choose from.
It’s important that the style is sympathetic to the plant that you have selected. Once you have settled on a preferred style, it’s time to get pruning and shaping.
Helpful Bonsai Styling Tips
Research is key when it comes to this stage. Google a few images or head over to Pinterest. The more inspiration, the better. Look at the plant from every angle and plan prior to pruning.
You want to encourage your plant to grow in a certain way. Don’t be impatient, it is unlikely that your plant will immediately look like the photos.
This is one of the many joys of Bonsai Gardening. It does take time to achieve the absolute best results so patience is key.
Take into account the way your plant grows and what branches you’ll need to remove to achieve your ideal shape.
Common Beginner Bonsai Mistakes You Need To Know
Of course, there are a number of traps for beginner Bonsai Gardeners, and here are some things to avoid.
A common mistake is to leave too much foliage on the tree. This will cause your bonsai to become more of a shrub than a miniature version of itself. Don’t be afraid to use your snips.
Initially, you will want to cut the top off your plant so that it restricts the height to which it grows.
Once this step is completed, you can start trimming branches. We have included a video at the bottom of our post that shows how to correctly style your Bonsai.
4. Wiring Your Bonsai Tree
If you’re not happy with how some of your branches are growing, you can use a technique called wiring. Many Bonsai gardeners say it aids in training branches to grow in a certain way.
For this technique, you will need quality gardening wire. You’ll need to be gentle and wrap tightly. This will force the branch to move every few weeks. Once your Bonsai has achieved the desired shape, you can remove the wiring.
5. Caring For Your Bonsai
Now that you’ve planted, potted, and styled your Bonsai, you need to ensure that proper ongoing care is given.
Each type of plant or tree will have its own needs. There are however some general guidelines that you will find helpful.
Basic Care Tips For Bonsai Gardeners
Watering: Wait until the soil is slightly dry to water your Bonsai and avoid overwatering.
Temperature: Be sure to keep your bonsai out of direct sunlight when the temperature is hot outdoors. Most Bonsai can’t tolerate too much cold or severe drafts. In the colder months of the year, they’ll need to be moved indoors or reside in a greenhouse.
Repotting: It is likely you will need to repot your Bonsai over a few years until it gets to the size you’d like. If the leaves look yellow, or the roots dried, the pot should be changed to a larger one.
Maintenance: Once your Bonsai has grown into your desired shape, you’ll need to prune it a little every year. Be careful to not remove any additional branches during this process.
Styling Your First Bonsai Video
via Peter Warren, Youtube.
Bonsai professional Peter Warren shows us how to style your first Bonsai Tree. He demonstrates how to dig for roots, prune, clean, and plant correctly.
We highly recommend that you view the video, this way you will get the best possible result. To see Peter in action, click Play above ^