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March 10, 2021

How to Design a Bonsai Garden

Bonsai Gardens can add an alluring style to your home. Meet Chiako Yamamoto, a Japanese woman who has dedicated her life to taking care of her bonsai garden. She has done it so meticulously that she was featured on the BBC Earth Unplugged show. One could not help admire the fascinating bonsai landscape that she has manicured.

Although it is pretty hard to achieve such bonsai mastery, you could also learn how to design a bonsai garden that gives you peace and comfort. Let us look at common tree species that you could use to make a bonsai landscape for your home. If you would like to make a special planter box? Please read How to build a brick planter box.

Ficus Bonsai Tree

You can get your ficus bonsai trees from any nursery near you. It does well in high temperatures above 59 degrees Fahrenheit and should be exposed to full sunlight.  Dim lighting could increase pest infestation, such as spider mites that you do not want.

The tree should be watered generously and also pruned to reduce the leaf size. After every two weeks, you will need to fertilize it with liquid fertilizer or organic fertilizing pellets.

To maintain a good shape, you need to do thin wiring while still being cautious not to cut into the plant’s bark. The Ficus bonsai tolerates root pruning and rejuvenates nicely after a root prune.

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Landscaping tip

Landscaping with this plant is easy, since all you need to do is fuse branches, roots, or even trunks by applying some pressure to form a pleasing shape. You can then get unique rocks near the plant to accentuate the beauty of the garden.

Chinese Elm Bonsai

With its thick trunk, small leaves and branching shape, the Chinese elm bonsai, which is a native to East Asia, is a true friend to beginners who want to try their hands into bonsai gardening. It requires minimal care other than proper lighting, watering, fertilizing, repotting, and pruning common for all bonsai trees.

To keep insects and pests at bay, you need to spray the plant with dish soap and neem oil. You spray when you notice an abnormal leaf fall or stickiness to the foliage.

Landscaping tip

You can landscape your Chinese Elm bonsai in a Seki joju style, where you present the plant’s aerial roots as beautifully growing over jagged rocks and other obstacles. This is a true reflection of how trees can still grow despite the obstacles that come their way.

Cherry Blossom Bonsai

A symbol of friendship in Japan, the cherry blossom bonsai tree endears itself to bonsai enthusiasts for its alluring nature and beautiful pink and white flowers. The tree grows to 10-15 inches tall while doing well at a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.5.

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Unlike other bonsai trees, the cherry blossom will require less lighting since the delicate blooms and leaves would hurt from excess sunlight. The cherry blossom appreciates regularly watering but be sure that you do not overwater your plant.

Pruning your cherry blossom bonsai should be done in the summer, months after it has finished blooming. Repotting your plant can be done once every two years, just before the plant has started blooming. Once you have repotted the plant, shelter it in a shady place so that it can fully rejuvenate before exposing it to the normal light.

Landscaping tip

You can wire your cherry blossom so that it can assume a shakan bonsai landscape style where the trunk is 60 to 80 degrees relative to the ground. With this posture, the cherry blossom will appear as though it is bent by the wind blowing dominantly in one direction.

How to take care of your bonsai garden

It would help if you took proper care of your bonsai plants by regularly watering them, planting them in the right soil mix, and placing them in the optimal lighting that they require. Failure to do so will have your bonsai plants wilting and dying away.

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As part of your bonsai tree care, you also need to change your plant pots regularly so that they can continue growing. Repotting is essential since your tree roots might have occupied the entire container they are in. They will therefore need to be changed.

Changing the soil mix also ensures that your plants are not in a soil mix with a toxic buildup of salts and fertilizers.

Over to You

Other than adding aesthetic beauty to your interiors and patio, the bonsai tree in your garden is a store of memory. It has seen good and bad days. It is also a measure of how responsible you can be with nature because when you stop taking proper care of the bonsai tree, it dies.

If you are meticulous like the Japanese woman, your bonsai trees will outlive you and your children can inherit this fabulous treasure that you bestow unto them.


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