Articles on Fertilization

Proper Fertilization Techniques For Bonsai

By Randy Clark, Charlotte, NC, USA

A proper program of fertilization is important for the cultivation of all types of plants, but is of particular importance when growing bonsai. There are two reasons for this. First, bonsai are grown in containers. This means there is very little space available from which the roots can obtain nutrients. Secondly, the soil mixtures traditionally used for proper bonsai cultivation are made up primarily of drainage materials (sand, rock, hadite, turface, etc.) and do not contain large amounts of organic materials that would hold onto nutrients or decompose and release nutrients into the soil.

"Chemical" Fertilisers

By Kev Bailey, Untied Kingdom

The inverted comma's are used as all fertilisers are chemicals really, even the organic ones!
Certain compositions of chemical fertilisers are recommended for various seasons, dependant upon their nitrogen, phosphate and potash (NPK) composition. The most important thing to remember is that for trees in small containers, like bonsai dishes, they should usually be used at half or even quarter strength, to prevent over-fertilising. Younger developing trees, in training boxes or larger pots, may be fed more regularly.

Organic Fertilisers

By Kev Bailey, United Kingdom

Advice differs widely on fertilising bonsai and can be confusing. This is partly due to the numbers of fertilisers now available to the bonsai grower and also because of the different planting mixtures used. Also, trees at different stages of development require specific feeding regimes to achieve the desired objectives. This is therefore a subject which is crucial to success and will pay great dividends to the grower that feeds correctly.