So, I received a bonsai about three hours ago as a present. Having a Bonsai has always been a dream of mine, but this was a bit of a surprise, and I don't really know what I'm doing.
^this is the Bonsai in question
I know the Bonsai is a Juniper, but I don't know its age. I'm assuming its pretty young.
I will go get a Bonsai care book sometime in the future (any suggestions?), and maybe take a class in Bonsai care, but in the mean time, I need some guidance to help care for my little tree. I've never really grown anything other than a few bean plants before, so I'm kind of paranoid that I'm going to kill my tree before I properly learn how to care for it.
First, a pretty basic question. I've been searching through a lot of different Bonsai care websites, and I've seen a lot of references to a "growing season" and a "dormant season". Seasonally, when exactly are these seasons? I live in California, so our winters aren't very cold, spring is warm and summer is very hot. Will this affect these seasons?
California also has low humidity, so I plan to mist my Bonsai once a day. But, in the long run, is it worth buying a humidity tray?
In the summer here, it is generally in the upper 90s to 100s. In these conditions, where should I keep my Bonsai?
Also, it is hard to see the in picture (which I took with my cellphone, hence the terrible quality), but a few of the branches are a dead, tan color near the trunk. I read on some website that yellowing branches could indicate mites, and I was wondering how I could be sure about this, and if it is mites, what to do about it. I don't really want to use insecticide, (I have a very curious cat) so if it is indeed mites, is there a less-toxic option?
Also, how should I water it? I know to check the soil everyday to see if it is dry, but should I submerge it in a container up to the trunk, or water it from the top? Is tap water sufficient (I have a water softener), or should I use water from a water filter?
I'm sure this forum gets a lot of questions like this, so thank you for taking the time to read this!
-Megatherium & her new Bonsai