Help! My Bonsai Tree Is Dying.

posted in: Bonsai | 0

One of the most common things I am told at the markets is “I tried growing a Bonsai tree once, but it died”.

There are two questions I always ask because they are the most common reasons for your tree failing to thrive.

#1. How often did you water it?
The main reason for killing a tree I think is lack of water. The roots of the tree are confined in a small pot and must not dry out completely or they will die and within a few days you will see the leaves turn brown and drop off. In a New Zealand summer this means you will probably have to water your tree every day, in the winter only occasionally. You need to check the soil and water when it is slightly dry.

#2. Where did you keep the tree?
More often than not the answer is “Inside on my coffee table, windowsill or in my office on top of my desk”, and there is your problem. Bonsai’s are trees in small pots and need to be treated as such. For a tree to thrive it needs to be placed in conditions that it likes with fresh air, seasonal changes, the correct amount of sunlight and humidity amongst other things and that usually means keep it outside. Although there is probably no such things as an Indoor or Outdoor Bonsai tree, there are the ideal conditions your variety of tree will grow in. A tree that is sold as an indoor Bonsai is probably a species that originated from the tropics and will do better kept inside, an example of this is the Ficus (fig) tree.

It is a good idea to research the best way to grow your type of tree in nature and try to replicate that when deciding where to place your Bonsai. You still need to take into account the fact that your tree is in a small pot and will need a little extra help such as protection from the mid day sun especially in summer and for some protection from heavy frosts in the winter. If you only have 1 or 2 trees, under the eaves of the house on the veranda is often a good place to start.

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