Indoor Bonsai Trees

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Indoor bonsai trees are tiny, exotic, dwarf trees that are created utilizing certain wiring techniques on their trunks and branches to stunt their growth. They make wonderful interior decoration accents in your home.

Indoor bonsai trees can be purchased at your favorite garden shop for around $25 to $30. Indoor bonsai trees are usually dwarfed fig or pine trees. Bonsai trees are usually re-pruned and repotted every 2 to 3 years. Re-potting keeps them from becoming root bound in the pot. Re-potting also promotes the growth of new feeder roots which encourages the tree to absorb moisture more freely. During repotting you will also change the soil and add all new fresh soil. Stale soil can hinder the growth of the new feeder roots. A sign that a bonsai tree needs repotting is if water takes a long time to drain through the soil or if the roots are crowded around the sides of the pot.

To repot, carefully lift the tree out of its current pot by tilting it to one side and gently pulling it out by the base of its trunk, being careful not to pull too hard on the trunk. If you can't get the bonsai tree out by gently pulling on the trunk, then tap the pot with the side of your hand to separate the rootball from the sides of the pot. You can also insert a stick through the drainage holes of the pot and push the root ball out.

Once the tree is out of the pot, the roots must be attended to. Using a knitting needle or crochet hook remove moss or accent plants that are on the top of the root ball. Try to untangle the roots using delicate, gentle brushing motions. Start at the edge of the root ball and work your way around it. Gently comb out the roots instead of using a pulling motion on the bonsai tree roots. This is a delicate operation because you do not want to damage any main roots of the bonsai tree.

After brushing out the roots, continue to brush off the soil until about one half of the original soil has been brushed away from the edge and base of the root ball. Once the roots are cleaned spray the roots with water so they will not have much soil on them when you prune the roots. Use very sharp bonsai clippers to prune the roots.

Start by cutting the thick, old roots that have grown to the edge of the pot and are inhibiting the growth of the new 'feeder roots'. Remove about half of these - being careful not to remove many feeder roots during the cutting. Next, prune the thinner roots which hang down below the depth of the pot. Trim them to into a suitable shape that the pot will hold. They should be trimmed into a shape that fits easily into the pot with a one half inch space between the edges of the roots and the interior of the pot.

Wash the original pot thoroughly or use a new pot that is more suited to the size of the tree and cover the drainage holes with wire mesh or screen. Since the tree has been trimmed, it will be unstable in the new pot, since it has nothing to hold it in. You need to make some anchors to hold the tree stable.

As the plant will now be unstable in the new pot as it has nothing to anchor it - you need to make some anchors to prevent the tree from falling over. Thread some wire through the pot's drainage holes. Special bonsai pots also have special holes for anchoring. The wire should be pliable and firm but not too thick.

Add a thin layer of small gravel for drainage and then a layer of soil. Decide on a position in the pot for the bonsai tree and build up a small mound of soil that it will rest upon. Place the bonsai tree on the mound, with its trunk just below the upper edge of the pot, and gently nestle it in the soil. Spread its roots evenly on top of the soil.

Your bonsai tree will stay in this position for approximately 2 years. Take the wires you threaded and twist them over the main root ball until the tree is held firmly, but not tightly in place. You can remove these wires in 3 months or so once the bonsai tree is stable in its new pot.
Add more potting soil up to the base of the trunk. Tap the side of the pot with your hand to settle the soil and so there are no gaps in the soil around the roots. Use your knitting needle to place and arrange the roots into the soil. Once the soil has been installed, you can now add decorative features such as rocks, moss or gravel to enhance the potting's appearance.

Immediately after potting water the tree thoroughly. If the soil level settles, add more soil. Place the bonsai tree in a location will it will not be exposed to extremes in temperature. Do not place in full sun. Do not fertilize the bonsai tree yet. The roots should have recovered in a month and you can fertilize at that time. The potting soil will dry out quickly and you will need to water the plant thoroughly several times a week, and allow it to drain thoroughly.

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Author: Jan Hartman
Indoor bonsai trees are tiny, exotic, dwarf trees that are created utilizing certain wiring techniques on their trunks and branches to stunt their growth. They make wonderful interior decoration accents in your home. Please visit us at www.squidoo.com/Indoor-Bonsai-Trees.

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