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Bonsai Tree Care

Gardening tips: The Helpful Gardener brings the pleasure of gardening to your home. You will find our Bonsai articles collected in one spot. Check back often because we are constantly adding new tips and articles.

Bonsai Gallery

Be sure to check out our new bonsai pics. We have two galleries of photos that were taken at the 2004 San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. The first Gallery and the second batch of Bonsai photos. Don't miss the 150 year old California Juniper.

Dormancy: Your Tree May Need a Vacation
Here 's how to accomodate those hard working plants

While I have covered plant dormancy briefly elsewhere on this site, we continue to get a lot of questions concerning the topic, so I will cover some more ground here. This is not a simple topic; it is of great concern to the scientific community, even more so now with global warming. In fact there is to be a world wide symposium in May on just this topic (in Holland I believe), so with that thought in mind, let’s start with a scientific explanation. read more

Bonsai Care - Watering
Watering - The most important part of Bonsai care

This is the crux of the art of bonsai. Most Bonsai Tree that die (I prefer the phrase “permanent dormancy”) are lost to dehydration, either from lack of watering or from being kept in a low humidity environment (indoors) too long. read more

Tips for a healthy tree

The soil you use affects rooting, feeding, watering and transpiration; it is where half your tree lives so this is our second biggest consideration in maintaining your bonsai. While the needs of individual species vary greatly a good rule of thumb is 30% grit, 70% humus for deciduous trees, and 70% grit, 30% humus for evergreen needled plants, but these are just general guidelines. read more

How to choose your Tree

The history of bonsai goes back countless ages, with the first evidence of small potted trees showing up in Egyptian tombs over 2000 years ago. Records show Indian herbalists keeping prized plants dwarfed in containers to increase their mobility 1500 years back. read more

Branch Pruning

We have covered root pruning in another article; branch pruning is the other side of this coin. There is an old bonsai saying “As with the bottom, so with the top.” A root pruning really needs a top pruning to balance the plant; less foliage up top is less foliage the roots need to support. But what to cut? There are three basic goals to top pruning. read more

Changing the shape of your tree

One of the great differences between pen tsai and bonsai tree is the latter’s use of wiring as a common technique for changing the shape of the tree (pen tsai relies heavily on the clip and grow method, supplemented by hanging weights). Wiring can do a great deal to change the shape of the plant, but it can also do a great deal of damage to the plant if done incorrectly. read more

Have a Bonsai question?

The Bonsai Forum
Have a question about your Bonsai? Ask it at our forum. We have the friendliest bonsai forum on the net. Give it a try!

Where to buy bonsai

Amazon sells bonsai. Many of them qualify for free shipping, too. They also carry some indoor bonsai. Browse Amazon


Bonsai Societies of Florida
Edited by Tom Zane, one of the top bonsai people in the United States. Here you will find solid information including the Intermediate Bonsai Syllabus written by Mr. Zane, which he has graciously made available free of charge for personal or club use.

Yahoo bonsai directory
This is a great place for bonsai heads to browse. Yahoo is one of the oldest web directories out there and it's a great place to start when browsing for bonsai tips.

Open Directory Project's bonsai category
The ODP is an all-volunteer web directory that concentrates on listing only the best websites available. Because the ODP is a human edited directory you will find that the quality of websites listed will be much higher than what you will find through an ordinary web search. No wonder Google uses the ODP data for their own bonsai directory!