Bonsai translates literally from both the Chinese and Japanese to "little trees in pots". However, bonsai are not simply dwarf species of trees, but rather, a tree that has been trained, pruned, and sculpted by horticulturists into an ideal of refined natural beauty. Once it has attained its unique expression of form?which can take a number of years to achieve?it is given a suitable home in a classic, shallow bonsai pot.
Our bonsai trees are grown in a state-of-the-art greenhouse under precisely controlled conditions to achieve optimum vigor and health. Over time, bonsai grow more interesting, personal, and valuable. With proper care and a bit of attention, your bonsai will thrive for decades. Be sure to review the care instructions that are provided with each tree to learn about watering, pruning, and other tips, which will help to ensure years of pleasure and delight.
Bonsai Care Video
General Outdoor/Indoor Bonsai Care
Tips on Watering
Careful watering is key to maintaining healthy bonsai. Never allow your bonsai to completely dry out. Watering instructions may vary slightly depending on the tree or plant species. Please refer to the information tag attached to your bonsai for specific information. Over time you will be able to evaluate each particular bonsai's water requirements and create your own watering schedule to accommodate it. Note whether your bonsai is considered an indoor or outdoor tree and refer below to more specific watering tips for each type.
Best results are achieved by watering with a small watering can or hose attachment with a fine-spray nozzle so that water cascades are softer, avoiding blasts to bonsai and potting soil. To water, thoroughly soak the container's soil until water runs out of the bottom drainage holes. Periodic misting of the tree's foliage is also recommended.
Trimming and Pinching
Bonsai trees benefit from trimming to maintain their miniature size and beautiful form. Pinch and trim new growth back to the farthest safe point, being careful not to remove all new growth. For more in-depth tips about trimming (and training) techniques, an instructional book will provide the best, safest recommendations to keep your bonsai in tip-top shape.
It is recommended to wait at least one growing season before repotting your bonsai to ensure that it is well established. Bonsai will need to be repotted approximately every three years because as the root system grows, the tree becomes "pot bound". Repotting outdoor bonsai is best done before new growth appears, during late winter or early spring. Choose a potting soil specifically developed for bonsai, as this will avoid compaction and related drainage problems.
Once you remove the bonsai from its pot, gently turn it to its side, and brush away any excess soil from the roots. Using a sterilized shear or knife, trim the root mass by cutting the longer and downward growing roots. After this, the tree can be placed back in its original pot or into a new container. Prepare the same (or larger) container by placing a screen over the pot's drainage holes and wiring it in place. Place a thin layer of small gravel atop the screen for drainage purposes. Situate the bonsai into the container and secure it with wire crossed over the root-ball. Fill in the open areas of the container with fresh soil, and use a chopstick to work it around the root ball to eliminate air pockets. After repotting, be sure to thoroughly water your bonsai, and keep it out of direct sun and wind for two weeks for so it can acclimate.
Your bonsai does require supplemental nutrients for long-term health. General water-soluble and time-release fertilizers found in most garden centers will work well; use at half the recommended strength, as otherwise directed. For more mature bonsai specimens, slow-release organic fertilizers are best.
Insects & Diseases
Insects and diseases can attack any plant, including bonsai. Inspect your tree regularly for damage. Should problems appear, check with your local garden center for the appropriate treatment. Periodically spray or mist the trunk and foliage of your tree to keep your bonsai clean and dust-free.