How to grow bonsai trees step by step guide

This article deals with the step-by-step instructions to grow bonsai trees in your garden. Many people like to grow bonsai trees. The article explains all steps required to grow bonsai trees in a simple and lucid style. Starting from making preparations to grow bonsai trees, the article gives detailed steps for planting, watering, pruning, fertilizing, repotting, root trimming, cleaning; shaping and saving the bonsai trees from diseases and pests. The article will make a useful reading to plant lovers.

Bonsai trees in my terrace garden


When a visit a garden where we find some bonsai trees are grown, and we happen to be lovers of plants, a desire to grow bonsai trees in our own garden takes birth in us. Then we will try to know from gardeners how to grow bonsai plants. We also try to try read books on gardening. The people, who have access to internet, will search for the methods and ways to grow bonsai trees. For the benefit of such people, I give hereunder an easy step-by-step instruction to grow bonsai trees. The subject is covered comprehensively in an easy to understand manner. A very beautiful image of bonsai trees grown in my terrace garden are given to keep the interest of the readers alive. The language used is very simple and lucid so that even a nonprofessional can understand the procedure quite easily.

Step 1 – Making preparations to grow bonsai trees :

Your bonsai tree will need an open place with a sufficient light. Find a suitable place in your garden to grow bonsai tree keeping this fact in view. A warm and humid climate is good for bonsai growth. Buy open square or round earthen pots with low edges from the market. Make arrangements to get red soil for the pots. Also, get some cow dung manure. The waste of the hens or horses will also suffice. However, it should not be fresh and should be seasoned enough. Mix well both the sand and the manure in equal quantity. Fill the earthen pot these ingredients and keep it for some time. These ingredients should not be very dry and should have a little moisture in them. Get some round flat stones from the market. These should he kept handy to cover the roots of the bonsai tree once the baby plant is sown in the pot.

Step 2 – Planting the bonsai trees:

Visit the nearby plants nursery. Select the plant of your choice. Take the help of the nursery owners or workers to make your selection easy. There are many plants, which are suitable to be grown into bonsai trees. These can be mere decorative plants or fruit bearing plants. In some places, some plants like the banyan or peepal trees will be found naturally grown on the roadsides. The banyan trees and peepal trees you see in the form of bonsai trees in the image above were collected by from the roadside where they were growing in nature. You may find varieties of plants in your local nursery that can be grown into bonsai trees. Select the plants dependent on their suitability of growth in a particular climate. The nursery people will guide you in this respect. If you are fond of fruit trees then lemon, tangerine, apple, fig, peach, lime, sapota, guava, cherry etc. will be your natural choices. The citrus trees grow well in cold climates. Apples and cherries need long periods of cold temperature. Therefore, they grow well in places with winter climate. Once you get the plants, place them in the mixture of red sand and manure which you have kept ready in the pot prepared for the purpose. Cover well with stones, placing them at a distance from each other to let the air reach the soil. Water the plants moderately and regularly for the first few days in order so that the roots firmly catch up the soil.

Step 3 – Watering the bonsai trees:

Proper watering of your bonsai tree is very important. The bonsai trees have to be regularly watered at suitable intervals before they end up dead. Watering technique and quantity of water to be supplied to your bonsai tree will depend on the nature and needs of each individual tree. However, the general should be not to allow your bonsai tree get dried out. You should ensure that the soil near the roots should never be left dry. You can test this by thrusting a sharp stick or rod to see that the stick carries the wet soil with it. Water should not be allowed to get stagnated in the pot. For this purpose, make some drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. If the water is allowed to stand in the pot for a longer period of time, the roots will become rotten and the plant will die. The leaves of the bonsai trees should be sprayed with water quite often. Take care not to allow the puddles to be formed up in the pots. Proper watering is sure to give you a very nice healthy bonsai tree.

Sapota tree as bonsai

Step 4 – Pruning the bonsai trees:

Pruning of the bonsai trees is of the utmost importance to allow them to grow healthily. When we think of pruning, the general idea formed in our mind is of cutting the branches of the bonsai tree. However, it must be remembered that cutting is not ideal for several types of bonsai trees. Some evergreen plants need proper pinching rather than cutting. They can be pinched all around to give them beautiful and pleasing shapes. Pinching should be done by taking the taking the fresh growth or shoot between your thumb and forefinger and cut off. Pruning should be done in the growing season, especially in the spring season when the plant growth is more. Do not do pruning in the winter season and in the early stage of growth of the bonsai tree. Pruning helps to make your bonsai tree look attractive and beautiful. Prune all the dry and unnecessary growth of the twigs. You can take the help of a bonsai expert in the beginning. Later you can become the master in growing and taking care of bonsai trees and give tips to the others. Training to grow bonsai trees is also provided in some cities. If needed, you can attend these training classes, which will be of very short duration. Like pruning, weeding is also very important for proper growth of plants. Take care to do the weeding very carefully and gently. Use tweezers to pluck the unnecessary growth near the roots of the bonsai trees. Grass and other wild growth in your plants will eat away the nutrients needed for your bonsai trees. Therefore, these must be weeded out when seen growing among the bonsai trees.

Step 5 – Fertilizing the bonsai trees:

Another important aspect in taking care of your bonsai tree is fertilizing them properly. Remember that the plants need more nutrients in the growth season, which is usually the spring season. It is during this season that you need to add manure or chemical fertilizers to the soil in which you have grown your bonsai trees. Do not fertilize your plants when they are blooming. Different types of plants will need different types of fertilization. Biological natural manure is good for growth of any plants. The chemical fertilizers should be properly diluted when applied to the soil. Very strong chemical fertilizers can burn the roots and damage your bonsai plants.

Step 6 – Repotting the bonsai trees:

Change is the law of life. Every thing in this world needs a change for the better. So are the plants. They will grow well if they are changed their place after a period of time. Once the bonsai plants have grown in a particular plant for a number of years, it is advisable to repot them in new pots. An utmost care should be taken while repotting the plants. The trees should be gently lifted out of their previous locations to put them in the new pots. The soil sticking to the roots should be very carefully and gently separated from the roots. After replanting, the plants ought to be regularly watered as if they have been planted freshly for the first time. Remember the drainage holes in the new pots must be properly done.

Step 7 – Root trimming, cleanliness and shaping of bonsai trees:

Root trimming should be done when you are repotting the bonsai trees. When you take the plant out of the previous pot, you should separate the soil clinging to the roots very carefully. If the roots are very long, it is advisable to cut at least one-third of the roots before the trees are replaced to a new pot. It is the tendency of the plant to grow more and more in height as its roots grow. Therefore, to maintain your bonsai trees not to grow very tall and unshapely, the best method is to trim the roots of the bonsai trees after a gap of few years. The utmost care has to be taken in this operation since the route is the secret source of the strength of a tree. Too much cutting off the roots involves a danger of killing the trees. Roots draw water and nutrients from the soil to keep the plant healthy. You may think that the little bits of leaves and twigs that fall down near the roots of the trees will decompose and will give you natural manure. Your thinking is right. However, these may allow the fungi and moss to grow around the roots of the trees that are dangerous to the plant growth. Fungi may kill your plants and the moss will eat away the nutrients meant for your bonsai trees. Moss is easy to clean up. You can use a brush with hard bristles to remove it. Take care not to use very sharp-edged instruments around the trunk of your bonsai trees. After your bonsai tree has grown for a number of years, you can shape it according to your desire. Some people even wrap aluminum foils round the trunks of their bonsai tree. Some others wrap copper wires to keep their bonsai trees in shape. It is an individual liking. However, I do not prefer to keep my bonsai trees in bondage.

Step 8 – Controlling of diseases and pests around bonsai trees :

You should be always very watchful and look out if your bonsai trees have any symptoms of disease. The damage control has to be done immediately otherwise your bonsai trees will die. The worst enemy of bonsai trees is the type of fungus known at the 'powdery mildew'. You can easily find its presence as it will leave whitish powdery dusting on the leaves and trunks of your bonsai trees. Another type of the common disease of the bonsai trees is a kind of rust. This disease leaves brown and orange colour patches and blots on the leaves of the bonsai trees. This happens when too much of potassium is supplied to the bonsai trees. The measure to do away with this disease is to change the fertilizer you are using for your bonsai tree. Repotting and change of soil will also cure your bonsai plant of rust. Bonsai trees also get affected by disease known as chlorosis. The attack of this disease happens due to deficiency of iron. This usually happens to soil problem. So it is advised to change the soil for your bonsai tree to offset the effect of chlorosis. You can watch the yellowish colour of the leaves of your bonsai trees if affected by chlorosis. Then there are other types of the enemies of your bonsai trees in the form of ants, caterpillars, spider mites, aphids and some other insects and pests. You can treat these with proper insecticides and pesticides available locally from the shops, which deal with garden seeds, manure, fertilizers etc.

You may also read How to grow Ribbed gourd plants in my terrace garden

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Guest Author: bhupesh kumar07 Aug 2013

please suggest me a perfect soil mix in detail for bonsai trees.

Guest Author: Eshal21 Feb 2014

Hello Sir,
Its an wonderful article. Can you explain to me how to shape the tree with foil or wire, with a brief explanation?

Guest Author: ashish08 Dec 2014

Hello Sir,
please suggest me a perfect soil mix in detail for bonsai trees.and explain to me to shape the bonsai tree with foil or wire, explain with image and explanation

Guest Author: Anji16 Apr 2015

very informative . I control my powdery mildew and slugs with a pinch of asafoetida : hing in 10 lit of water and I spray the plant roots and then water them as usual after a few hours. Works wonders.

Guest Author: Jeevan Rana08 May 2015

I have large number of bonsai, but I am not happy with their growth and shape. Kindly advise.

Guest Author: Amit Abinash Jena29 Aug 2015

Can you suggest what type of Fertilizer we made by Banyan Bonsai tree? My tree is of 2 years old.

Guest Author: Raj30 Oct 2015

Is it possible to grow bonsai of mango tree?

Guest Author: Taranath Rege01 May 2016

Thanks for the informative article. Could you tell me the proper mixing of soil and whether akadam soil is necessary for bonsai. If this soil is not available what is the alternative.

Guest Author: Dr Rajkumar. V16 Oct 2016

Excellent article on growing bonsai for a beginner and an enthusiast. Thank you.

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