Bonsai establishment and maintainance by ravikumar JN
Bonsai is an art,
miniature the beauty of
natural tree forms.
The word bonsai is
comprised of two
words ‘Bon’ means a
tray or shallow
container and ‘Sai’
Means to grow
A dwarfed ornamental tree or
shrub grown in a tray or
The art of dwarfing trees by
careful root and stem pruning
coupled with root restriction.
Artificially dwarfed trees in
pots, sometimes of great age
Mamie – 2’’ to 6’’
Small – 6’’ to 12’’
Medium - 12’’ to 24’’
- 24’’ to 60’’
Common names for bonsai size classes
60–80 in (152–203 cm)
40–60 in (102–152 cm)
30–48 in (76–122 cm)
30–48 in (76–122 cm)
16–36 in (41–91 cm)
16–36 in (41–91 cm)
10–18 in (25–46 cm)
6–10 in (15–25 cm)
5–8 in (13–20 cm)
2–6 in (5–15 cm)
2–4 in (5–10 cm)
1–3 in (3–8 cm)
• Lot of knowledge , perseverance and experience
is required to select a right plant.
• Plants with smaller flowers and fruits are
selected as foliage automatically gets reduced to
about 1/4th .
• Plants bearing flowers on leafless branches are
• Plants selected must be able to grow in stress
conditions of small growing medium and low
Coarse, well drained medium which provide
basic needs like water,oxygen and nutrition.
Equal portion of soil ,leaf mould and crushed
bricks or sand is ideal medium.
Top layer must have sufficient humus.
Conifer plants require more dry soil and fruit
trees require soil with more humus.
• BONSAI SOIL is mixture of one part loam,
two parts sphagnum peat moss, two parts
• Bonsai soil is much more free draining than
potting soil and doesn't contain as much
fertilizer as normal potting soil.
• It is usually available at specialist bonsai
nurseries, and even some normal nurseries stock
Sludge or well rotten cow dung slurry.
Groundnut and cotton or neem cake one kg
each mixed in 5liters of water.
This is allowed to rotten or ferment for about a
month before diluting another five times.
A mug of this is given twice in a month.
A pinch of bone meal and single super
phosphate mixed is also very beneficial.
To develop in to good attractive shape .
Reduce growth by regular trimming and
pruning also restrict growth and maintain
proper balance between roots and shoots.
In one trimming not more than 1 portion of
roots or shoots are cut.
To prune correctly you must find out the
type of plant your bonsai is and research
when the best times are to prune old and
new season growth.
• One of the main forms of pruning for bonsai is
• This involves pinching back new growth which
does not come within the general shape of the
bonsai or is at the top of the bonsai - helping to
encourage bushy foliage and a more tree-like
• Leaf pruning (also known as defoliation) in bonsai
is used for several deciduous and tropical plants
such as ficus or maples to reduce leaf size.
• Pots: Square,round,oval, rectangular ,heart,hexagonal or
octagonal shape with one drainage hole at the bottom.
• Potting mixture :soil , sand and leaf mould
• Potting sticks
• Copper wire of 10 to 22 gauze
• Wire cutter
• Pruning knief and secateur
• Watering can and tub
Regular repotting of your bonsai to replace
important nutrients, 'stale soil' and allow for new
root growth is vital to your bonsai's health and
the trees should be repotted at a time when they are
most dormant - such as late autumn to early spring,
so that they are subjected to the least amount of
stress possible. Young or small bonsai require
repotting every two or three years, and older and
larger specimens less often.
To repot, carefully lift the tree out of its current pot
by tilting it to one side and trying to move it by the
base of the trunk.
• Try tapping the pot with the side of your hand to loosen
the rootball or poke a stick through the drainage holes and
'push' the rootball out.
• Next, using a chopstick, knitting needle, metal hook or
similar, remove any moss or accent plants and carefully
try to brush and untangle the roots. Start at the edge and
gradually work around. Try to 'comb' and 'tug' rather than
to 'pull' at the roots - for risk of damaging or tearing some
very important main roots.
• After this has been done - continue to shake and brush off
the soil until about one third to half of the original soil has
been removed from the edge and base of the rootball.
• It would now be a good idea to spray the roots with
water to ensure that they do not dry out and so that they
will not have too much soil on them when it comes time
to pruning the roots.
• Prune the roots, using very sharp cutters, Start by
cutting the thick, old brown roots that have come close to
the edge of the pot and are restricting the growth of the
young 'feeder roots‘
• Next, prune the thinner roots which hang below the
depth of the pot by trimming them all into a suitable
shape that the pot will accommodate
• This should be a shape that fits comfortably into the
pot with a 1-2 cm (1/2 to 3/4 in) space between the
• Clean the original pot thoroughly or select a new
pot that is more suited to the tree and cover the
drainage holes with simple wire mesh.
• As the plant will now be unstable in the new pot as
it has nothing to anchor it - we have to make some
anchors to prevent the tree from falling over from
winds or from being moved
• Now you can place your bonsai on the mound by
gently nestling it in and spreading its roots out
evenly throughout on top of the soil.
• Add more soil up to the base of the trunk - which
should be just below the base of the pot.
• As a general rule, you should consider the origins of
a plant and how it would grow naturally.
• For example you would keep a rainforest fig in partshade with dappled sunlight (possibly under shade
cloth) which mimics the environment that it would
naturally grow .
• Generally try to keep the bonsai out of a position of
direct sunlight, where they receive good air,
circulation, relative humidity.
• Place where they are easily accessible to you for
maintenance (i.e. watering, feeding and pruning).
Choose plants hardy suitable for local climate
Choose simple container with adequate drainage.
Position the plant correctly in the container.
Do potting and repotting at right time.
Eliminate air pockets during potting and repotting.
Trim or prune regularly to produce a fine network
Keep bonsai in open airy place.
Give balanced nutrition and use mild fertilizers or
slow release fertilizers.
Provide plenty of sunshine to all sides of bonsai.