“Bonsai”, or “tree in a pot”, is not only a beautiful horticultural art, it is also a means to ground oneself in meditative relaxation and contemplation. Using many agricultural practices to grow a healthy and beautiful bonsai living sculpture is rewarding to the eyes and to the spirit.
Living Sculpture Bonsai is an important part of our nursery. Using many species including Adenium, Green Buttonwood, Dwarf Mahoe, Boxwood, Dwarf Hibiscus and various Ficus species, among others, our collection presents many marvelous plants from which to choose. Pre-bonsai, beginning bonsai, and bonsai with significant training are all available. We offer individual and group bonsai classes on a regular schedule and by appointment. Come join us and make some new friends!
Bonsai Care Guidelines
Keep your bonsai in a well-lighted location which receives morning or late afternoon sunshine. Midday sun should be avoided unless through some shade material. Most bonsai are not houseplants and should be grown outdoors. Bring them indoors to honor guests who visit or as a brief display. Protect them from high winds and temperature extremes. Tropical bonsai should be moved to a location which remains above 45 degrees F on those colder nights of the winter.
Watering is critical for these plants which are grown in shallow pots and minimal soil mass. Bonsai should never entirely dry out. If this occurs, substantial dieback or total death may occur. Whenever one waters any plant, it should be thoroughly to saturate the entire soil mass. The next watering, also thorough, should occur after enough drying has occurred to reopen air space in the soil mass to allow root gas exchange. Thorough watering releases nutrients into the soil water that is within the soil mass or in fertilizer which has been applied. One avoids a poisonous buildup of element salts by watering deeply and allowing drainage. However, this same process can leach all nutrients out of the pot, so fertilization which occurs as needed allows nutrients to always be present during the growing season of the bonsai.
Fertilization is mandatory in order to keep bonsai healthy. At Lucky Sumo we usually apply a top dressing of a slow release fertilizer, at half of the rates indicated on the package labels, to our plants, and during the growing season may apply liquid complete macro and micro element fertilizers by spray each month, depending on the frequency of heavy rainfall and normal irrigation. We tend to use lower nitrogen levels in order to minimize foliar growth and harden stems, especially in the latter half of the summer and fall. We stop fertilization in December to February here in South Florida. Northern, non-tropical growers may have an even longer period without fertilization, depending upon temperature and dormancy periods.
Be on the lookout for insect infestations. Fire ants are a good sign that you have sucking insects withing the root zone. Scale insects and aphids are easy to spot and to control with systemic insecticides, always following label instructions. It is often best to use half of what is recommended and observe the effect on the pest, and on the plant. Before applying any new pesticide which you have never tried on a particular plant, it is good practice to apply to a younger test plant of the same variety before using the mix on a prized plant.
Pruning is not only for the improvement of the look of the plant as a bonsai. Trimming branches and roots invigorates the tree. Don’t be afraid to trim stems and roots. You are making the tree more vigorous. However, use sharp tools as clean cuts aid in healing and diminishes transmission of disease.