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Over the years we’ve written many articles about different aspects of bonsai care. To make it easier to find the article you need we’ve grouped them into categories as shown below. You should also review Monthly Tasks – a check list of tasks you should do to care for your bonsai throughout the year.

Note: Because we are currently converting our website some articles linked to below will be to an archive of our previous website.

Getting Started

If you’ve recently started bonsai, or just need a reminder, here are a few basics you need to know.

About Your New Tree – an “owner’s manual” for starter bonsai that we sell at our Annual Shows

Introduction to Bonsai – the history and art of bonsai – it’s origins, tree species often used and styles. Presented at Filoli in 2012.

A Year in Your Bonsai’s Life – an overview of what happens to your bonsai and tasks you need to perform over the course of a year.

Watering Basics – all you need to know about watering your bonsai

Fertilizer Basics – an introduction to fertilizer for your bonsai

Bonsai Lifecycle – to improve our bonsai we need to understand the different stages a tree goes thru, from seedling to mature bonsai, and the different techniques that make sense at each stage.

Finding Bonsai Material at the Nursery – a checklist of things to look for at the nursery when you want to create a new bonsai

Pruning and Pinching – basic information about two techniques used to create and maintain fine branch structure

Repotting Basics – after a couple of years you may need to repot you bonsai. This article discusses how to know when it’s time, and how to repot

Soil Basics – because of the size of bonsai pots, potting soil isn’t appropriate. This article discusses how to create a bonsai mix for your trees

Summer Care – how to handle hot summer weather

Tool Basics – what you need to know about buying your first set of bonsai tools

Tree Style Basics – an introduction to the different ways of styling a bonsai


Species-specific Information

Information about species such as Pine, Maple, Elm, etc.

Azalea Basics

Black Pine Basics – the most popular article on our site

A Primer on Seasonal Pine Tree Bonsai Care – a presentation at our September 2020 club meeting

Boxwood Basics

Bougainvillea Basics

Elm Basics

Ficus Basics

Maple Pruning Basics – steps to follow when pruning maple and other deciduous trees

Moss Basics – an introduction to Moss

Procumbens Juniper – an introduction to this easy to grow juniper

Oak Basics

Redwood Basics

Subtropical Bonsai for Indoor Gardening – an introduction to bonsai that can be grown indoors

Unusual Bonsai – discusses a few plants not typically used for bonsai


Advanced Topics

Air-layering Basics – an introduction to air-layering, turning an old plant into smaller plants. 

Bonsai Care in the Time of Drought – some suggestions about how to care for bonsai during drought conditions

Bonsai Soil Science – A presentation diving deeper into making soil for bonsai

Pest and Fungus Control Basics – information about how to control pests and fungus that may attack bonsai

Pine-specific Pest Control – Information specific to pine tree pests

Displaying Shohin – A quick introduction of how to display Shohin (small bonsai)

Making a Heat Box – how to build a tool for increasing success with cutting and preventing damage to cold-sensitive plants

Mycorrhiza Basics – an introduction to how Mycorrhiza (fungus) suppliment a tree’s roots to provide water and nutrients to the tree.i

Nitrogen Cycle – a detailed look at how Nitrogen moves from plant to animal to atmosphere and back again. Not actually critical to understand in order to do bonsai, but still an interesting bit of biology.

Propagation of Woody Plants from Cuttings – summary of how to make new plants by taking from cuttings from existing plants

Selecting the Right Pot – an introduction to how tree style, size, color, etc. should be considered when chosing a pot

Show Tree Preparation – how to prepare a tree for a show

Bonsai Tree that Survived Atomic Bomb – the story of a 390-year old bonsai tree that survived the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan

Tips And Tricks – a treasure trove of useful bonsai tips

Tips and Tricks 2 – Tips and tricks from Michael Greenstein

Tool Sharpening Basics – How to keep your scissors and similar tool sharp

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