Conifer Bonsai Care

Tree position: Keep this bonsai outside in a sheltered position and protected from strong winds. It may be displayed inside for up to 3 days at a time. When placed outside, place the bonsai where it will receive full sun.

Watering: Ensure that the soil is always damp but not soaking wet. How often you water your bonsai will depend on the weather and how deep your bonsai pot is. Use your finger to check how damp the soil is before watering. If it feels a little dry, then go ahead and water thoroughly.  Wait a minute after watering, then water again.

Fertilising Regime:

  • Apply ‘Tui Super Sheep Pellets’ slow release fertiliser every other month from spring to mid-autumn. Use 4 or 5 pellets and push them well into the soil.
  • Liquid feed every month using a balanced fertiliser such as 'Nitrosol' or ‘McGregors Vege & Ornamental’ from mid-spring to early mid-autumn
  • Apply liquid seaweed tonic every other month for plant health. You can mix this in with your Nitrosol or VegeMax feed.


Always follow the directions on the fertiliser packet, and water the bonsai thoroughly before feeding to avoid root burn. Only feed during the growing season (spring-autumn). Do not fertilise if the tree is weak or diseased. Lastly, do not fertilise newly re-potted trees for at least a few weeks. 

Re-potting: Re-pot this tree every year or two during mid-spring. You can trim up to one-third of the roots before your bonsai goes back into the bonsai pot. Place the bonsai in a sheltered and slightly shaded spot for a week or two after re-potting. At this crucial stage, we want to shelter the bonsai from the hot sun, heavy rain, frost, snow, and wind. Lastly, be careful to not over-water your bonsai after re-potting. Re-pot using bonsai soil. To make this, mix 2 parts Tui Outdoor mix with 1 part Dalton’s coarse pumice. Sieve out fine particles (below 1-2 mm) to ensure good drainage.

Pests and diseases Inspect your bonsai weekly for any sign of pest or diseases. Pests can be handled with spray oil if required. Ensure that you’re not over watering to prevent root rot.

Trimming: Trim your bonsai to shape throughout the growing season (spring to autumn) by trimming extended growth back. When making a cut, use sharp scissors and aim to cut the stem and not the needles! This is important because if you trim conifer foliage like a hedge, the tips will brown. The overall tree shape you’re trying to achieve is a triangular silhouette where the top of the tree is highest. This shape makes the bonsai more aesthetically pleasing. Trim the fastest growing areas of the bonsai (normally the top of the tree) more often than slower growing areas of the bonsai (normally the bottom of the tree) to achieve balance. Trim only when your bonsai gets out of shape during the growing season. Don’t trim too frequently.

Pruning: This involves cutting larger branches and requires you to have a branch cutter (a sharp pair of secateurs will do). Prune in Spring or Autumn. Prune only once a year. Don't remove more than one-third of the tree's foliage in one session.

Wiring: Wiring allows you to move branches into a desired position. Wire branches at any time of the year, although branches set faster during the growing season. Small branches set in place after a very short period of time, larger branches take longer. Ensure that you’re using the right thickness of wire for each branch. A general rule of thumb is that you should apply wire that is roughly 1/3 the thickness of the branch you are planning to wire. Remember to check on the wire that is applied in summer as branches thicken quickly during this time and the wire may cut into the wood and leave marks.

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