Fertilization of bonsai trees

The nutrition of plants is the essential premise of their healthy growth. Plants require nutrition for the transformation of substances. They (plants) produce substances needed for growth, and these substances are created via chemical processes and assimilation. Plants need some minerals for proper growth, and these minerals are accepted by roots from the soil.

The primary nutrients (macroelements)

nitrogen (N)
phosphorus (P)
potassium (K)
sulfur (S)
magnesium (Mg)
calcium (Ca)

Trace elements (microelements)

iron (Fe)
manganese (Mn)
zinc (Zn)
copper (Cu)
boron (B)
molybdenum (Mo)

As soon as the plant exhausts all nutrients from the substrate (which occurs about 3-4 weeks after replanting), it is necessary to start fertilization. It’s all because the plant has bounded amount of soil and it can’t get new minerals in another way than fertilization. This is why proper fertilization is essential aspect of successful growing of bonsai trees.

The fertilizers

You should use some multi-part fertilizers (NPK) with trace elements for any fertilization. There are many industrial fertilizers on the market which are also suitable for bonsai. It is recommended to buy those products which were designed for your bonsai exactly. Also, you can buy fertilizers for spruce trees, leafy trees, etc. It is because different trees require a different ratio of elements. For example, Blooming trees need more phosphorus during the bloom. In comparison, trees which are producing seeds and fruits need more nitrogen. Of course, there are all-purpose fertilizers for all kinds of plants, and you probably don’t do anything bad if you decide to use them as well.

The long-time effect fertilizers

If you have troubles meet the fertilization schedule with a liquid fertilizer, you can try slow melting fertilizers. Such products should be applied to the soil once per 3-4 months. Such fertilizers are in the solid state. Quantization is given by the amount of soil in the pot. This is why it is necessary to measure the weight of the substrate precisely, and only then you can choose quantization. The fertilizer should be distributed all over the substrate and slightly push it into the soil. This action results in balanced dissolution into the soil and in continuous fertilization of your bonsai.

The mineral fluid fertilizers

Mineral fertilizers in the liquid state are available for the plant immediately. This is the reason why they’re suitable in situations when you forgot about care, or when you weren’t able to care for your bonsai for a longer period, and your tree has not enough nutrients. The plant is capable of accepting this kind of fertilizer immediately and, of course, renew deficit of minerals. Liquid fertilizers can be bought in the form of the salt which is soluble in water, or in the form of a concentrate which is diluted later. Naturally, quantization is given in the case of your fertilizer which is probably different for every product. If for any reason, the quantization isn’t given, it is usually 0.2%. When you are buying mineral fluid fertilizers, it is necessary to check if they have balanced proportion of their substances, eventually a little higher concentration of nitrogen. Of course, check these aspects if only you are buying one fertilizer for all plants.

Plants must not be fertilized if it’s dry. Before the fertilization process, you should make the roots a little wet. And of course, it is better to fertilize periodically with lower concentration than once with high concentration.

The organic-mineral fertilizers

This kind of fertilizers secures you long-time activity (organic part) and fast activity (mineral part). Be careful because you can easily over-fertilize the bonsai. If you used higher quantization than it is recommended by the producer, you could damage your plant, and it can later die. The concentration is dependent on the amount of soil. Sift 2g of fertilizer on the substrate surface per 1 liter of soil every four weeks, and water it. If you don’t water your bonsai properly, the underbrush and moss can die.

The leaf fertilizers

Plants can accept nutriments through their leafs as well. Leafs fertilization acts immediately and directly. Plants are fertilized with a spray directly on leafs. The spray must not have a concentration higher than 0.1% (1ml or 1g per 1 liter of water).

The trace elements

Sometimes there could be problems with your bonsai when one or more trace elements are missing in the soil. In such case, it is necessary to determine the missing element and use the proper fertilizer (which contains such element(s), of course) to eliminate the absence.

When to fertilize

Replanted bonsai with fleeced roots shouldn’t be fertilized earlier than the roots grow throughout the pot. In general, this means approximately eight weeks. Every plant has different demands on the periodicity of fertilization. Here at a-bonsai.org’s bonsai guide, you can find particular bonsai species, and it’s fertilization demands. If you can’t find your plant there, simply write to us and we’ll gladly add your bonsai into our database.

This post was written by Anthony Bonsai, a Vancouver drywall contractor