Monday, April 15, 2013

how to plant a bonsai tree

I love bonsai trees.  They're like Yoda: cute, short, old, green.... But you don't have to be a Star Wars nerd to like them.  (Still, go ahead and be a Star Wars nerd.)

I recently received a bonsai starter kit, and I thought I'd put the process of planting up here as a how-to post.  My kit came from Eve's Garden Gifts, if you want to get your own!

First, put down a layer of pebbles in the bottom of your planter.  I used a larger pebble to block the drainage hole in the middle, so the little pebbles wouldn't drop through.  You don't want the bonsai's roots to sit in water, so make your layer between a quarter- and a half-inch thick.

Next, take out your bonsai.  Mine is 2 years old--still a baby--and it came in a plastic seed starter cup.  I laid my hand across the top of the cup, with the bonsai poking through my fingers, and tipped the whole thing upside down.  The root block slid out easily in one piece.  With your fingers, gently pull apart the dirt and roots to loosen them up, but don't hurt the tree or mess around with the main center roots too much.  Spread out the dirt and roots in your planter and tamp them down.  Pick up all the dirt that fell apart when you were messing with the roots and put that in on top.  Make sure your tree is straight from all angles!  Press the soil down firmly.

Add some extra soil on top and press that down, too.  You want the level of soil to be just below the rim of the planter.

Fill a shallow container or the bathroom sink with about an inch of water and gently place your moss in it for a few minutes.  I took this time to clean up the work station and wipe off all the dirt!  Then take the moss, divide it gently into two pieces, and arrange it around the base of your tree.  Press it down to show it who's boss.

Finally, decorate the top of the planter with extra pebbles, seashells, or whatever you have on hand.  I mist my bonsai using a tiny spray bottle a couple times a week, depending on how much sunlight it's getting in my window.  You can also keep your tree outside in good weather to maximize its sun exposure.

I hope you enjoyed this little how-to!  What do you think of bonsai trees?