How often should you water or mist a Juniper Bonsai?
There are multiple factors in determining when it’s appropriate to water or mist your bonsai:
- Where the tree is located
- The temperature of the environment
- Lighting conditions
- Quantity of soil in the bonsai pot
- Anything else nearby that can affect the humidity level
Bonsai trees need to be watered more often than most plants, due to them being kept in relatively small pots, and with a free-draining type of soil that allows water to pass through it more quickly.
You can check to see if the tree needs to be watered by placing your finger in the soil just beneath the surface. If the soil is damp, then it’s fine, but if it comes up dry then you should water your bonsai immediately.
You may also pick up the pot and feel the weight of it. If the pot is still heavy with moisture, then it doesn’t need to be watered yet. If the pot is light, and the soil is dry, then it’s time to water your bonsai.
If you’re uncomfortable with these methods or simply want to use technology to aid you, there are moisture meters that can be placed in the soil that look much like thermometers and will tell you when it’s time to water your bonsai.
Misting a bonsai tree helps take care of the foliage in the short term, and can be done frequently if you’ve placed the bonsai indoors. For lower maintenance, you can place the bonsai pot in a humidity tray and fill up the water again when it becomes empty.
When the water evaporates it creates a humid aura around the tree and tends to the foliage and keeps it supple. For maximum effect, place small pebbles between the pot and tray to keep the bonsai tree’s roots from resting in the humidity tray.
It’s possible to over-water a Juniperus procumbens and harm it, so use good judgement and be sure the soil is dry before watering.
How much sunlight does a Juniper Bonsai need?
The Juniper thrives best in outdoor conditions, with direct exposure to ultra-violet rays from sunlight. It can live indoors too, but will require more careful attention than an outdoor plant. Be sure your tree gets direct exposure to light, or is no more than 1 foot from the light source. Eastern, western and southern exposures will work best, so be sure to arrange your bonsai to receive light from windows facing these directions.
If you do have to place it in a northern exposure, then be sure to use grow lights for up to 16 hours a day, placed no higher than 2 inches from the top of the tree. Do not use incandescent lighting as it’s too hot and doesn’t provide the full spectrum of light necessary.
Should you use fertilizer on the Juniper Bonsai?
Yes, be sure to use a fertilizer that provides nitrogen, phosphoric acid, potash, and chelated iron. In general, a small amount should be fed to the soil in the spring, and a larger quantity in the fall to last the bonsai through the colder seasons.
First, water the bonsai as normal and then apply the fertilizer to the soil at half the recommended strength for normal plants.
It’s recommended to rotate fertilizer brands, since each brand will contain different varieties and amounts of trace minerals. You may also want to add a specialized vitamin supplement to the fertilizer mix to further help your bonsai tree thrive.
As a simpler option, you may also want to place slow releasing fertilizer granules on top of the soil, which will partially release nutrients as you water the plant as normal.
How to prevent disease and pests from harming the Juniper Bonsai
The most important aspects to keeping your bonsai healthy are the proper basics you’ve learned already, but here are some additional tips to keep your Juniper thriving:
- Be sure the area is well ventilated
- Keep the soil clear of debris, such as spent leaves or foliage
- Use an insecticidal soap spray on the foliage and limbs, which is human and animal safe
We hope you find this information helpful in caring for your Juniper Bonsai, and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us with them.
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