Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2005 11:29 pm
Location: Australia

advice on fertilizer

hi guys
can someone please give me some advice on the best fertilizer to use on my bonsai and how often I should use it.
Thanks.... :?:

The Helpful Gardener
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

I was about to tell you that you shouldn't fertilize in winter and realized you aren't having winter are you? :roll:

We recommend organic fertilizers here (actually quite traditional, as the Japanese have used compressed cakes of rape seed for centuries). You can find rape seed where bonsai supplies are sold, but I find fish emulsion (for outdoor use; bit smelly for indoor use) and seaweed emulsion (suitable for all use) to be the best solution. Blood and bone meal can be mixed 60/40 to make a good solid feed; you could add a little waterr and compress these into cakes to dissolve on the surface, like the rape seed, but I recommend using it loose and watering it in. It won't last as long, but the potential for rotting or attracting rodents is eliminated...

Why organic? Especially in pot culture, the build-up of salts in the soil can be detrimental, even deadly. Almost all chemical nitrogen fertilizers are salt-based; the definition of organic IS carbon based. As the nitrogen based fertilizers are always water soluable, the increased watering that bonsai need will wash water soluables out of the soil very quickly while the slow breakdown of carbon based fertilizers will mean that nutrition will remain in the soil profile much longer. Plus it's almost impossible to burn plants with organic fertilizer, so you can feed more regularly with peace of mind. Every two weeks during high growth periods would not hurt, while monthly will do for the rest of the growing season. Stop fertilizing a month or two before cold weather starts to allow new growth time to harden off...


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