What fertiliser should I use for Bonsai?   

The art of cultivating bonsai in Australia can be a relaxing and rewarding experience for many people. However to be successful at it, you’ll need to have a certain degree of patience and a strong familiarity with your plants’ needs.

You can’t just go blindly into the activity and expect good results; it takes time to understand and cultivate a Bonsai into maturity. If you want to ensure that your bonsai trees are able to thrive, you need to know about several aspects involved in taking care of them.

These include proper fertilising techniques. We will guide you through some basics in the sections below. 

Q: Is fertiliser essential for Bonsai? 

A: For the most part, yes. This is because Bonsai trees are usually planted in small containers with not a lot of soil. This limited amount of soil will quickly run out of nutrients to sustain a plant’s growth. Thus, fertilising a Bonsai is all but necessary. 

Q: What kind of fertiliser do Bonsai trees need? 

A: Bonsai will thrive off the same type of fertilisers you use with most other plants. Many commercial fertilisers that are readily available will do just fine, and you can purchase them from many gardening supply shops and even hardware stores.

Typically, these fertilisers will feature the letters N, P, and K. These are the periodic symbols for nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. They will also be followed by numerical values that denote the proportion of these elements in the product’s mix

 To give you a better idea of what these mean, let’s talk about what each of these nutrients does for your bonsai: 

  • Nitrogen: is responsible for promoting healthy growth in the parts of the plant that are above the ground. These include the stems and leaves of the plant. 
  • Phosphorous: is responsible for the growth beneath the soil (i.e. the root system). It can also facilitate flowering in plants where this is a possibility. 
  • Potassium: enhances the overall growth of the entire plant. Your bonsai tree will need all of these nutrients, plus a few others that are present in the soil.

It is where you decide to boost different nutrients which is subjective to the species you are working with. 

Q: How do I know which NPK ratio my bonsai needs? 

A: Many experts will agree that a balanced mix of NPK levels will produce good results for bonsai plants. However, if you have a specific goal in mind or want to address a certain weakness in the plant, then you might opt for a specialised formulation that features a higher concentration of the nutrient you need.

For example if your bonsai is nearing the stage that it can flower and you’d like to encourage that, then you can use a fertiliser with higher P content.
If however, your plant is displaying dull leaves or a frail trunk, then you might want to opt for a fertiliser with higher N content.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to feed young plants with a higher P content to promote a strong root system and facilitate its growth. It all boils down to paying attention to what your plant needs, and then adjusting what you feed it. 

Q: How often should I use fertiliser? 

A: This will depend on the type of bonsai you’re growing and the current season. Different bonsai trees have different growing seasons, which means that it would be difficult to provide a one-size-fits-all fertilising schedule.

As a general rule of thumb however, plants that are in their growing season would need weekly feedings. For plants that are exiting this period, feeding should be reduced to once per month.Most importantly, remember to follow the instructions printed on the fertiliser’s label to know the specific amount you will need – as well as how to properly do it. 

 Fertilising your Bonsai is not as difficult as it might seem, and we believe that removing some of the technical confusion will help to make you more confident in caring for your Bonsai. Want to make bonsai growing even simpler?

We sell bonsai starter kits, fertilisers, tools, and accessories to help you get the job done right!