Indoor bonsai tree care – A common mistake is to think that bonsai trees should be kept indoors. In reality, most of the bonsai must be placed on the outside, where they are exposed to the four seasons, as the trees in nature. Only tropical and subtropical plants are able to survive in the climate inside your home, where temperatures are high and stable throughout the year.
Well, then I need a tropical bonsai. Which one?
There are several trees that can be grown indoors, but by far the most common (and easiest to cure) is the Ficus bonsai. The Ficus is tolerant to low humidity and very strong, a good choice for beginners.
Other popular indoor bonsai tree include Crassula (jade), the Ligustrum (privet) , the Carmona (Fukien Tea) , the Schefflera arboricola (Hawaiian Umbrella) and Sage retia (Sweet Plum) .
Why cannot I keep bonsai suited to temperate (non-tropical) indoors?
The most important reason, as mentioned above, is that the trees that live in a temperate climate need a period of dormancy (in winter). During this period, the annual growth cycle ends, and the tree is getting ready for the next cycle will resume in the spring. A tree stops when the temperature and light intensity decreases gradually over several weeks, which would not happen if you held your trees at home.
How to care for indoor bonsai
Caring for an indoor bonsai tree is different than regular houseplants in pots. The main reason is that bonsai trees are planted in small pots and therefore have little reserves of nutrients and water. It ‘important to know that trees tropical living with lots of light and high humidity situations that are quite difficult to create at home.
The main problem for the maintenance of tropical bonsai is represented by the fact that the intensity of light inside is much lower than outside. Trees do not die immediately when the light intensity is too low, but growth will decline, up to weaken the plant. Therefore, make sure to place your bonsai in a bright place, preferably directly in front of a window facing south.
Even when you have a window facing south, it is likely that the intensity of the light is still too low. The artificial lighting can help, for example using fluorescent lamps or lighting diodes for approximately 10 hours a day.
Other problem with the care of a tropical bonsai tree is that need of a relatively high humidity. much higher than the internal condition of your home (especially when using heating or air conditioning). You can increase the humidity around your bonsai by placing it on a tray filled with water and spraying a couple of times a day. What helps is also to circulate the air from the outside, opening a window during the day.
Irrigation and fertilization
The most important rule is: never flush following a routine. Ignore the label attached to your bonsai which states that it is necessary to water every ‘x’ days. Instead, monitor your tree and soak it only when necessary. Please read the pages on ‘ irrigation and fertilization for more detailed information.
The tropical trees require relatively high temperatures throughout the year, similar to the standard temperature of your living room.
The sub-tropical bonsai can withstand temperatures slightly lower, and generally thrive when you have a winter season with temperatures well below that of a standard room.