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Bonsai Care Tips

The Martha Stewart Show, April 2007

As with any tree, keep in mind the amount of care and the kinds of conditions that you are able to give the plant. Do you have mild winters, or very cold winters? Are you going to be keeping the plant inside, and if so, do you have areas of sun, or is it a particularly shady environment? All of these will play a factor into which kinds of tree will do well. Also, pruning is important in keeping the form of the bonsai.

Some Bonsai Varieties

Japanese White Pine
- Hardy/outdoor pine
- These trees live high in rugged mountains in severe conditions
- Care: in summer, keep in full sun and fresh air; in winter, protect from temps below 9 degrees and cold winds
- Old needles should be pulled out in late summer
- Repot every two to five years in late spring

Serissa
- Tropical/indoor evergreen
- Native to southern China and southeast Asia
- Common name is "tree of a thousand stars"
- Evergreen with small leaves and white flowers
- Care: in summer, it requires a lot of watering
- Encourage blooms by nipping as soon as others appear spoiled
- Repot every two years

Fukien-Tea
- Tropical/indoor
- Plant of Chinese descent
- Contains many stout shoots that appear all over tree
- Care: thrives in hot, steamy kitchens and sunny sills
- Reshape stouts by trimming like topiary hedge
- Adore sunshine

Kingsville Boxwood
- Indoor and outdoor
- Originally used as hedges in ancient Rome
- Leaves and roots contain buxin, which was used to treat toothaches in the Middle Ages
- Care: during winter, keep in cool spot (about 37 to 50 degrees); during summer, place in sunny or partly shaded area
- Prune branches throughout the year

Chinese Elm
- Indoor and outdoor
- Perfect for new bonsai owners
- Can be grown indoors or outdoors and withstand sun and cold
- Has small leaves and produces new shoots very easily
- Care: if keeping outside, purchase with a corky bark
- Prune unwanted branches in early spring

Japanese Maple
- Outdoor/hardy maple
- Leaf color ranges
- Diverse shapes and sizes

Special Thanks
Special thanks to Jerome Rocherolle from Shanti Bithi Nursery (www.shantibithi.com) for providing our audience with "The Landscape Diaries: Garden of Obsession," as well as miniature tropical "mame" bonsai plants.