Conifer Care Guide

Tree position: Keep your 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 slightly damp but not drenched. How often you water your bonsai will depend on the weather, how deep your bonsai pot is. Keep an eye on your bonsai during hot days. Use your finger to check how damp the soil is before watering. If it feels a quite dry, then go ahead and water thoroughly. Wait a minute after watering, then water again. Be mindful not to over or under water your bonsai.

Fertilising Regime:

  • Liquid feed every two weeks using a balanced fertiliser such as 'Nitrosol' or ‘McGregors Vege & Ornamental’ from spring late-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 diseased. Lastly, do not fertilise newly re-potted trees for at least a few weeks. 

Re-potting: Re-pot your bonsai every 2-3 years 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 a fast draining soil mix. To make this, combine potting mix with pumice. 

Pests and Diseases: Inspect your bonsai closely every other week for any sign of pest or disease. ‘Yates Bug Oil’ is recommended for pests. ‘Yates Fungus Fighter’ is recommended for mildew, black spot, and some other diseases.

Trimming: Trim back growth every few weeks when your bonsai starts to get out of shape during the growing season (spring to autumn) 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 that you should aim to create is a triangular silhouette. When your bonsai grows too dense, you will need to thin out the foliage by removing excess stems. This will encourage light and air to enter the centre of the tree.

Pruning: This involves cutting larger branches and requires you to have a branch cutter (a sharp pair of secateurs will do). larger branches and requires you to have a branch cutter (a sharp pair of secateurs will do). Pruning will differ based on species, although wounds heal better in summer. 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.  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.

This guide may differ from the guide that you'll receive with your bonsai. This is due to some tree species having different care requirements.