Common Mistakes Beginner Bonsai Growers Make And How To Avoid Them

Growing your first bonsai is an exciting endeavor. Perhaps you were inspired by a gorgeous mature bonsai with flowing branches and beautifully shaped twists and turns, or maybe you are looking to take your green thumb beyond the garden bed. There are a number of reasons why someone might take up the art of bonsai, but it is important to do your research first so you don’t accidentally kill your plant. Below, we’re offering some common mistakes beginner bonsai growers make and how to avoid them. Keep reading to learn more! 

Overwatering or underwatering your bonsai.

Over- and under watering a bonsai can both lead to major distress for your plant, sometimes to an extent that the plant cannot bounce back. As a rule of thumb, never let the soil dry out completely. It is usually time to water a bonsai when the first half-inch of soil is dry. Then, add water until the liquid begins to come out of the drainage holes.

Not using the right soil.

Speaking of drainage holes, bonsai trees require a specific type of soil that has good drainage, good water retention, and good aeration. If any of these elements are missing, you might end up with a plant in distress. Here at Clark M Long Biogold Original, we offer some bonsai soil mixes that will help your bonsai thrive, including one personally developed by our founder and bonsai expert. (You can pick up Clark’s Mix here!)

Not giving your bonsai the right amount of sunlight.

Even though bonsai are small potted plants, a lot of them need full sunlight and thrive best outside. Be sure to take some time to learn about your species of bonsai and understand which environment it needs to be in. If you are keeping it outside, also be aware of your growing zone and be prepared to keep it safe during the winter. The last thing you want is for frost to overtake your beautiful bonsai!

Feeding your bonsai the wrong fertilizer.

Bonsai require specific nutrients and giving them the wrong fertilizer can, at best, prevent them from thriving and, at worst, kill them. To be safe, be sure you are giving your bonsai only the best bonsai-specific fertilizer to ensure your little plant is getting the nutrition it needs to grow.

Never repotting your plant.

Just like hermit crabs outgrow their shells, bonsai trees outgrow their pots. Check out our blog about repotting tips when it is time to transfer your bonsai to a different pot, and be sure to also take a look at our bonsai pots for sale.

Wiring too often or wiring incorrectly.

Wiring a bonsai is how bonsai growers keep their trees petite and give them beautiful shapes. However, wiring and changing the shape of your branches too frequently will cause a lot of trauma to the tree. Additionally, be sure to not wire your tree too tightly, as this can restrict the flow of nutrients through the branches. At the same time, you do not want to wire too loosely, or else the wires will be ineffective. We recommend getting in touch with a local bonsai club who can help you with wiring, or contact Clark M Long for personal advice.

Not having patience.

You can not shape and train a bonsai tree overnight. Taking a sapling and turning it into a mature bonsai tree takes time, patience, and a lot of trial and error. You will likely end up killing a bonsai or two while trying to find the techniques that work best for you. Be sure to reach out for help from local bonsai growers if you need it. Additionally, our founder, with over three decades of bonsai growing experience, is happy to offer consulting services and private workshops if you are serious about the art of growing bonsai.

Need Help Growing Your Bonsai?

At Clark M Long Biogold Original, we offer the tools you need to grow your bonsai and give it the best chance at life. From organic bonsai fertilizer to nutrient-rich soil that has everything a bonsai needs to thrive, we’ve got it all. Our founder also offers consulting and maintenance services for those who need help building their collection or assistance with repotting, pruning, or wiring bonsai. Shop our collection of bonsai products today, and feel free to reach out to us for inquiries about bonsai workshops and consulting.