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Caring for a bonsai

Iron WeaselIron Weasel Dillon!You son of a bitch!Registered User regular
edited April 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
For my thirtieth birthday, my siblings decided that it was high time I became responsible for a living thing. To that end, they got me a bonsai tree.

Let me say that I have always thought it would be kind of neat to have a bonsai; it's just one of those things I never got around to doing on my own. So I'm quite pleased with this gift. However, I don't know the first thing about caring for it. I have no illusions that my very first bonsai will live 75 years and become an heirloom of my family, but I would like it to last a little while so my siblings don't feel like they wasted their time and money.

So, if anyone has any useful tips (or links to good online resources) to share, I would be very grateful!

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  • JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Caaba Beankomy XobthroRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Isn't it just a tiny tree?

    Water it.

    Maybe add a small amount of plant fertilizer every once in a while. Follow the box instructions.

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  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    There's a hojillion websites and books on bonsai care. I'd just start by googling "bonsai care" and reading whichever link looks prettiest.

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  • MetroidZoidMetroidZoid Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Most bonsai / bonsai's? / whatever that I help customers with at work usually have one of two issues; too much fertilizer, or too much water. Watering really depends on the type of plant used, container size, plant size, etc. Fertilizing frequency is dependent on the fertilizer used. Best thing you can do is pick up a Bonsai book aimed at beginners to average hobbyists.

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  • UsagiUsagi Nah Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Actually, the first thing you need to figure out is what kind of bonsai it is. Is it tropical? Deciduous? Conifer? Because really the tropicals are the only ones you can keep indoors, both deciduous and conifer bonsai need to be kept outside except in the coldest part of the winter.

    Usagi on
  • RaekreuRaekreu Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    It depends heavily on what type of plant they picked. If it's an ornamental evergreen like a dwarf juniper then all you really have to do is make sure that you water it once a week. Fertilizer is usually not needed for any type of conifer, though you might have to move it to a larger pot somewhere down the line.

    Raekreu on
  • MetroidZoidMetroidZoid Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Also if it's an evergreen plant, it may look like it needs fertilizer, but may not. Usually when they start looking sickly yellow, especially in the veins, it's a lack of iron. A shot of chelated iron greens it up by the next day. And though it's usually a rule-ish for conifers when they're in landscaping or large pots, die back from the center outwards is probably too much water. Die back from the tips inward could be salt damage, lack of watering / irregular watering, improper sun levels, or just a pissed off plant.

    Those happen too. I just tossed a Dracaena that's been pissed at me for the last two years, hadn't grown more than an inch or so and I was tired of it's shit.

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