So you have a bonsai, eh?

A simple guide to bonsai care

1) Water it. Water your bonsai when the soil has mostly dried out. There are various ways to test when to water your plant. A dry pot is significantly lighter then a wet pot. Lift the plant up. Or dig into the soil with your finger. If the soil is wet, the tree does not need water. Check the soil every day in the beginning, it is easy to learn your plants requirements.

2) Trim it. When you bought the tree, you liked its shape. If anything grows past that shape, cut 2/3 of that new growth out.

3) Feed it. If you are unfamiliar with feeding plants, there are good plant foods you can buy at any store with even the smallest plant section. If you are more ambitious, go to the plant store and browse their selection. Buy something with a picture of your kind of tree on it. Use either type of product at half the recommended strength.

4) Keep it in the right location. Some plants love the sun. Other plants will curl up and go brown in the sun, like vampires. What kind of tree do you have? And remember – more shade is better than more sun! Sun-loving plants can generally tolerate more shade than they are noted for. Shade-loving plants can not tolerate more sun than they are noted for.

5)Watch it. Your plant is alive. It will change all the time. But it kinda changes the same each year. Learn what your tree does at different times of the year. Then you will learn how to care for it more successfully.

6) Read a book about it. Learn more about bonsai. A bonsai will grow in beauty and value if kept healthy and properly trimmed.

*Only fig trees and olive trees and other tropical trees can be kept indoors over the winter. All other Bonsai trees need to be outside during the winter. These trees require the dormant period brought on by the cold weather.

(Notice I do not mention root pruning. I do not advise one do it for the first year.)

Want more? You can find a more in-depth guide to bonsai care here.