"Let your food be your medicine , and let your medicine be your food." Hippocrates
For the good growth of our bonsai we need (in order of importance): the right temperature (for most trees the optimum is between 15ºC and 25ºC), adequate lighting (between 43,200-108,000 lux for evergreen trees and between 27,000-81,000 lux for deciduous ones), adequate atmospheric humidity (between 40% -80% relative humidity of the air depending on temperature), a well-aerated substrate, and finally a good fertilizer. The fertilizer is important, but less than the other cultivation factors to which we have referred above:
That said, a good fertilizer is also essential. A well-structured fertilization plan should take into account the seasonal needs of bonsai, the duration of the effects of different types of fertilizer and include humic acids and amino acids as an effective strategy to maintain the health and growth of your bonsai. Here's a general guide to a balanced fertilization plan throughout the year:
- Spring (March-May):
Use of a balanced or nitrogen-rich fertilizer to stimulate the growth of shoots and leaves during the beginning of the growing season.
- Summer (June-August):
Reduction of fertilizer frequency, as growth activity often decreases due to heat and dry air.
Avoid fertilizer on extremely hot days to prevent overfeeding.
- Autumn (September-November):
Continue balanced or less nitrogen-rich fertilization to provide nutrients before winter.
- Winter (December-February):
Reduce fertilization significantly due to the seasonal inactivity of most bonsai species.
- Humic acids and amino acids:
Apply humic acids once or twice a year, as part of a long-term fertilization plan to improve substrate structure and nutrient absorption.
Apply amino acids once or twice a year to stimulate growth and promote plant health.
Fertilizers must be balanced and provide the essential macronutrients as well as the micronutrients that plants need for their growth. The approximate proportions of N-P-K in the residual dry matter after calcining a tree vary as follows: Nitrogen (N): 1%-5% Phosphorus (P): 0.1%-1% Potassium (K): 1%-5%
- Nitrogen (N): Nitrogen is essential for vegetative growth, the formation of green leaves and stems. Its excess negatively affects the bacteria and fungi of the substrate, causes excessive growth and less resistance to pests, less flowering and fruiting.
- Phosphorus (P): Phosphorus is crucial for the development of strong roots, flowers and fruits.
- Potassium (K): Potassium is important for stress resistance, water and nutrient regulation in the plant, and fruit formation.
Also, keep in mind that the fertilizers you use contain other essential micronutrients, such as iron, magnesium and zinc, which also play an important role in plant growth.
The right balance between these nutrients is critical. If one of them is missing, it can limit plant growth, even if the other nutrients are available in abundance. For example, an excess of nitrogen and a deficiency of phosphorus can result in excessive leaf growth but a lack of flowering and fruiting.
Stressed or sick bonsai should not be fertilized; it might worsen their condition and aggravate any health problems they may be experiencing. If you notice signs of illness, stress, yellowed, withered leaves, or any other problem, you should first address the underlying cause of the problem. This can include adjusting watering, providing the right amount of light and shade, treating diseases or pests if necessary, and making sure the bonsai is in an optimal environment. Focus on solving health problems first and when the bonsai is in better condition you can re-fertilize it properly to promote its healthy growth and development.
Solid chemical fertilizers of rapid release must be avoided in bonsai, since their duration is very short, they can burn the roots and poison the microorganisms of the soil; Yes, you can use these solid chemical fertilizers dissolved in irrigation water at a concentration of about three grams per litter. Nor are we in favour of solid organic fertilizers since they disfigure the bonsai, compact the substrate with its residues and, if they are not fermented, they smell bad and attract insects.
You can use (as a base fertilizer for the whole season) solid chemical fertilizers of slow release, with a duration between six and nine months, although we prefer liquid organo-chemical fertilizers, particularly if we apply them once a week along with irrigation. Bonsai fertilizers - Hatoen
It is important to note that specific nutrient needs can vary depending on bonsai species, growth stage, and other environmental conditions. Therefore, it is advisable to use balanced or specific fertilizers for bonsai. It is also essential not to overdo fertilization, since an excess of nutrients can cause damage to plants.
Take a close look at your plants and adjust your fertilization plan based on their response to maintain their health and aesthetics. In addition, always use high quality products and follow the manufacturer's recommendations for the application of all products.
If you have any questions about the cultivation and formation of your bonsai, contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org.