Month to Month Growing Tips

Typical for the Richmond area.

January Growing Tips
All hardy bonsai should be completely and stored in their winter quarters. Similar to December’s instructions, you should be watering and fertilizing tropical and sub-tropical bonsai during this period. Extra watering may be needed to offset the very low indoor humidity levels.
1. WATERING: Check plants daily to see if they need to be watered. Do not let the trees dry out. Never water frozen plants. Some people leave a dish of water nearby to check for freezing conditions.
2. Bonsai pots may crack if the soil is kept too wet.
3. FEEDING: None.
4. TRIMMING: No trimming or wiring this month.
5. LIGHT: Trees should be in cold frames or buried in leaves/mulch by now. Protect trees from strong winds and ice accumulations.

February Growing Tips
This month’s instructions are basically unchanged since December and January. However, be careful about abnormally warm days that may require watering.
1 WATERING: Check plants in your cold frame daily to see if they need to be watered. Do not let the trees dry out, and never water frozen plants.
2 FEEDING: None
3 TRIMMING: No trimming or wiring this month.
4. LIGHT: Trees should be in cold frames or buried in leaves/mulch. Protect trees from strong winds and ice accumulations

March Growing Tips
With the expected change to warmer, but maybe blustery weather, you need to keep your plants protected and check them more frequently for moisture.
1. WATERING: Check plants in your cold frame daily to see if they need to be watered. Do not let the trees dry out.
2. FEEDING: None
3. TRIMMING: Evergreens and deciduous trees can be thinned but not drastically pruned; do not trim flowering or fruit bearing trees. Evergreens can be wired now. It is too early for potting/repotting unless the plants/bonsai are maintained above 45o at all times.
4. LIGHT: Trees should remain in cold frames or be buried in leaves/mulch. Protect trees from strong winds.

April Growing tips
Trees should be out of winter storage and placed in a permanent location for growing and maintenance. Non-hardy trees should be kept indoors.
1. WATERING: Very critical to keep plants well watered, especially during new shoot season
2. FEEDING: Begin fertilization – most important during this growth season. Make sure that fertilizer is well diluted for new potted or pruned trees – at least half strength.
3. TRIMMING: It is very important to begin trimming, shaping, and drastic pruning (if desired). This is also the season to re-pot, but avoid potting needled evergreens after their needles are open but unhardened. You can wire established, mature trees, but avoid wiring tender, new growth.
4. LIGHT: Trees should be in their permanent outdoor places.

May Growing Tips
All trees can now be put outdoors.
1. WATERING: Keep plants well watered.
2. FEEDING: Fertilize routinely, but do not fertilize for one month after repotting.
3. TRIMMING: Trim, shape, drastic prune, and wire as needed. You can also repot hardy and tropical plants, but not needled evergreens. Make sure that wires are not cutting into growing limbs.
4. LIGHT: Tropical trees from indoors should be given half shade for the first week before full sun.

June Growing Tips
Plants should be in full foliage with new growth fully established.
1. WATERING: Depending on weather, plants may need more frequent watering.
2. FEEDING: Fertilize routinely – this is the month to feed rapidly growing plants. Fertilizing should not be done after defoliating, until first new leaves are open.
3. TRIMMING: Trim, shape, drastic prune, defoliate, and wire as needed. You can also repot hardy and tropical plants, but not needled evergreens. Check that wires are not cutting into growing limbs.
4. LIGHT: All trees are outdoor, but guarded against sunburn.

July Growing tips
1. WATERING: Check Bonsai every day– daily watering is generally common. When it is really hot, you may need to water several times per day. The amount of water will depend on the heat, the wind, the amount of foliage on the tree, the type of soil, and the depth of the pot. Water the trees thoroughly, making sure that the pot drains easily. Every tree does not require the same amount of water.
2. FEEDING: Continue with a well-balanced feeding. Stop feeding hardy plants by the end of August, except for evergreen needle, flowering, and fruit bearing trees,
3. TRIMMING: Growth is at its peak, which means that special attention must be given to trimming new growth. Trim where necessary to maintain the desired shape. Pinch and trim new growth on finished Bonsai to maintain the original design and profile.
4. LIGHT: Rotate trees at least once a week so that all sides receive the strongest light available. If the bonsai are exposed to excessive direct sunlight, consider relocating the pots to a more shaded area.

August Growing Tips
1. WATERING: Check every day to see if they need to be watered – daily watering is generally common. When it is really hot, you may need to water several times per day. The amount of water will depend on the heat, the wind, the amount of foliage on the tree, the type of soil, and the depth of the pot. Water the trees thoroughly, making sure that the pot drains easily. Every tree does not require the same amount of water.
2. FEEDING: Continue with a well-balanced feeding. Stop feeding hardy plants by the end of August, except for evergreen needle, flowering, and fruit bearing trees,
3. TRIMMING: Growth is at its peak, which means that special attention must be given to trimming new growth. Trim where necessary to maintain the desired shape. Pinch and trim new growth on finished bonsai to maintain the original design and profile.
4. LIGHT: Rotate trees at least once a week so that all sides receive the strongest light available. If the bonsai are exposed to excessive direct sunlight, consider relocating the pots to a more shaded area.

September Growing Tips
1. WATERING: Check Bonsai daily to see if they need to be watered. Vigorous growing plants require the same amount of water as in the summer. Water the trees thoroughly, taking into account the amount of water needed for each species.
2. FEEDING: Continue a well-balanced feeding for evergreen, flowering & fruit bearing, and tropical trees. Do not fertilize deciduous trees.
3. TRIMMING: Trim minimally where necessary to maintain the desired shape. Pines can be drastically pruned to encourage multiple buds, but other evergreen, deciduous and flowering/fruit bearing trees should not be severely reshaped or radically root pruned.
4. LIGHT: Rotate trees at least once a week so that all sides receive the strongest light available

October Growing Tips
1. WATERING: Check bonsai daily and water as required.
2. FEEDING: Discontinue fertilizing plants; growth at this time is not desired.
3. TRIMMING: Sources differ somewhat on trimming, but strong pruning should not be done. After the leaves have fallen from deciduous bonsai, some minor trimming can be done for shape. Dead needles can be cleaned off of conifers. Remove wiring from deciduous trees, since cutting wires will cause the branch to die over the winter months.
4. LIGHT: Keep deciduous trees in a cool, shady place to avoid re-sprouting on warm days. Prepare a winter location for the trees.
5. TRANSPLANTING: This is the last month that

November Growing Tips
All hardy bonsai should be completely dormant or nearly so (depending on weather) by now.
1. WATERING: Check plants daily to see if they need to be watered. Do not let the trees dry out. Never water frozen plants (some people leave a dish of water nearby to check for freezing). Bonsai pots may crack if the soil is kept too wet.
2. FEEDING: No fertilization this month. Some people put fungicides & insecticides on their plants before mulching for winter.
3. TRIMMING: No trimming or wiring this month.
4. LIGHT: Trees should be in cold frames or buried in leaves/mulch by now. Protect trees from strong winds and ice accumulations.

December Growing Tips
All hardy bonsai should be completely dormant or nearly so (depending on weather) by now.
1. WATERING: Check plants daily to see if they need to be watered. Do not let the trees dry out. Never water frozen plants (some people leave a dish of water nearby to check for freezing). Bonsai pots may crack if the soil is kept too wet.
2. FEEDING: No fertilization this month. Some people put fungicides & insecticides on their plants before mulching for winter.
3. TRIMMING: No trimming or wiring this month.
4. LIGHT: Trees should be in cold frames or buried in leaves/mulch by now. Protect trees from strong winds and ice accumulations.