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Beginners guide to growing a thriving bonsai tree


If you’ve ever attempted to grow a bonsai tree, then you know it’s no easy task. Passed down over centuries, the ancient Japanese art form is laden with complex techniques and demands a great deal of patience, time, energy and maybe even a mystical green thumb! However, growing these miniature trees isn’t all hard work. It’s also an incredibly rewarding experience that might even reveal the essence of life itself. 

We sat down with bonsai expert and owner of Bonsai Tree, Terry Erasmus, to unearth a few key tips and tricks every beginner bonsai grower should know before embarking on this challenging and insightful venture. So, get your pruners ready, find the perfect pot, and follow these 5 tips for a thriving bonsai tree.

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1. Make sure you’re up for the challenge

If you’re starting out, you need to familiarise yourself with bonsai and the commitment you’re getting yourself into. What that means is that if you go away on holiday for a few days, you cannot just leave your bonsai tree to look after itself. It is totally reliant on you for everything, so either you need to look after it or find someone else who knows what they are doing. 

2. Find your favourite species 

Go to a bonsai nursery, walk around and take a look at the trees to get a sense of what species you like because bonsai is not some magical dwarfed variety. While you do get dwarf species which we use for bonsai, if you plant a bonsai tree in the ground, it will grow into a normal tree. Look at what species are available to find out which species will be best to grow in your area. 

3. Learn from the experts 

Join a local club where you can learn from other growers who are more experienced. If there aren’t any clubs in your area, there are a number of great online resources available like YouTube that can teach you about bonsai and how to properly care for them. 

4. Care with commitment and caution 

Some people think that bonsai is about starving these plants to the brink of death and that’s how we keep them small. No, in fact, it’s the exact opposite. They are very well-watered, fertilised and looked after, and maybe sometimes too well looked after! So, you need to cater to the needs of your tree, which is why tip number 2 is so important as each tree has different needs. 

5. The more the merrier! 

Don’t just get one bonsai tree, get several. If you only have one tree it can be very difficult to remain committed and you might over-prune it and love it a bit too much. If you have several, it builds up momentum and you feel obliged to look after them and you will enjoy them much more. 

Ready to try your hand at bonsai growing? Bonsai Tree has all the tools to help you become an expert grower in no time. Visit Terry’s website for more info or check out his beginners guide to growing bonsai on our blog. 

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Posted by Stor-Age Self Storage - 03 December 2021 | SME