Frequently Asked Questions

What are the easiest species to keep indoors?

The species that adapt easier for indoors are species of tropical and subtropical origin. As a recommendation we could suggest the Serissa, which has the popular name of tree of a thousand stars for the great profusion of small white flowers; the Zelkova which is considered one of the easiest species to work with and whose small leaves always give us a excellent result as bonsai; the different varieties of Ficus with glossy leaves are guarantee of success in indoor growing and are more resistant for a beginner in the art of bonsai.

The Carmona is another species widely used as indoor bonsai and preferred by many for its small bright green leaves. We could suggest other species such as the Sageretia, the Murraya, and the Ligustrum and each with different and interesting characteristics, which give us a fairly wide variety for us to keep close as small representation of nature with all its charm.

7 key tips to keep bonsais indoors

1)What is the main key to success?

he main key to success for growing bonsai indoors is the choice of species of tropical or subtropical origin.

2) Location

The location is another key point, because the bonsai should be located near a brightly lit window with at least two hours of sunshine a day. It is important to place it within a reasonable distance, approximately 50 cm to avoid magnifying effect that often occurs when the bonsai is too close to the glass and exposed to the sun during the hottest hours of the day, which, as a result, would burn the leaves of our tree.

3) orderly growth

We rotate the bonsai every 15 days so that growth occurs uniformly in all directions and is not presented in a disorderly way, which is the characteristic of plants growing in one direction in search of light.

4) Watering

The watering is another key point for the proper development of our tree, as the water in correct doses is essential for a healthy bonsai and vigorous growth. There is no exact recipe for irrigation, since the amount of water and frequency of watering is influenced by a variety of factors such as the size of the bonsai, the species, the size of the pot, the soil, the place where it is, the time of year and the hours of sunshine it receives. As a general rule the most important thing to keep in mind is that it should watered thoroughly until the water comes out of the drainage holes of the pot; proceed to watering again only when the soil surface begins to dry. This guarantees that the roots receive water in its entirety and does not remain soaked. For watering it is important to use a watering can with fine holes because it is necessary to water gently without removing the substrate from the pot. Usually the first light watering is to wet the Surface of the soil, then, after a few minutes, the watering is done thoroughly. We must avoid the constant use of a plate or tray with water under the pot, because the roots in direct contact with the water for too long would rot. The need for irrigation can be noticed easily by touching the soil surface with your fingers, or just watching the colour change when the soil starts to dry.

5) Constant temperature

It is essential for the proper development of our bonsais indoors to maintain them away from any sources of heat and cold, such as air conditioning and heaters. It is important to remember that the best place is always a place characterized by good ventilation and good lighting.

6) Spraying

Indoor environments are often too dry, so the use of a spray bottle to spray the leaves of the trees is important not only to clean the dust, but also to provide the necessary moisture for a healthy development of our bonsais. Spraying does not replace irrigation.

7) Micro climate

Another way to improve the humidity is place the bonsai on a flat tray, bigger than the pot, filled with volcanic gravel and water at the bottom. The pot rests on gravel without touching the water to avoid the possibility of root rot. Thus the evaporation of water from the tray create a more humid microclimate that benefit the development of our bonsai.

Should we take our bonsai outside in spring?

If in spring we have the possibility of putting our trees on balcony, terrace or in the garden, it is an ideal choice, and may be carried out both during spring and summer. Remember. that in nature there are no plants or indoor trees, if not species that are better suited to this specific type of environment. Therefore, if we expose our trees in these warmer months to natural conditions, we will provide the ideal conditions to recover from a potential stress that may have been caused by staying inside for many months. The change from the inside to the outside should take place gradually, i.e. we will not put the tree straight away to the direct sunlight, because we run the risk of burning leaves. Another important point is that we should avoid exposing the bonsai during hours of intense summer sun. And above all we must check more frequently the needs for irrigation of the bonsai.

Red spider infestation in Olmo – Zelkova parvifolia

The red spider is a quite common pest in the elms when the appropriate conditions exist, such as environmental dryness and thermal variations due to air conditioning or heating (typical of the interiors of houses). The solution when the pest is installed is to spray every week for month or month and a half with Curabonsai (product of Mistral Bonsai). To avoid the repeat of the attack, a cured the bonsai should have its foliage and branches sprayed daily or its trunk should be watered abundantly. A large tray of wet gravel can also help and preventative spraying once a month collaborates so that the plague is not developed. It should be kept in mind that spider´s eggs live in a vegetative state for a year (until the conditions are right) and most insecticides are harmless to them. One last tip: remove all dead leaves and the ones showing yellow spots or discoloration (they are pockets of infection).

Using of distilled water for watering

While the distilled water will not harm the bonsai, it lacks a minimum of salts that are necessary. It is better to use rainwater or slow mineralization (the human consumption). Tap water usually contains varying amounts of chlorine and it is best to leave it for at least one night for the chlorine to evaporate. If it contains lime, it could damage acidophilic varieties by producing an increase in pH in the substrate.

Serissa indoor with situation of dry and very large leaves

If the leaves begin to turn black at the tip it can be caused by excess water, if the edges of the leaves turn brown as burnt, it is from chemical product (clean glass or aerosol air fresheners). Regarding large leaves, it is due to lack of light, safely tucked away from the window or it faces north or a patio light. It is likely a combination that often proves fatal: place dark and over-watering. Therefore, we insist on the importance of a very bright place indoors and water with copious amounts of water when the soil surface appears dry.

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