You don’t have to be a certified bonsai master to know that bonsai trees need to be repotted. Plants in small pots will become root-bound, meaning they will not get the nutrients they need from the soil and their roots will begin to grow around the pot, causing the plant to die.
The process of repotting is needed in order to make space for new roots to grow, to allow for the pruning and shaping of these new roots, and also to replace old soil with fresh elements – so that the tree continues to grow strong and healthy.
The following article talks about how to determine if your bonsai needs repotting, and when to do it.
How to Repot Bonsai:
For those of you unfamiliar with repotting, it is the process of taking a bonsai that has outgrown its pot and putting it into a new one.
You can repot your bonsai tree. The benefits outweigh the risks.
Thing You Need to Repot A Bonsai:
The tools required for repotting are fairly simple:
- A root rake,
- wire cutters,
- A chopstick,
- Some mess, and wires.
- Akadama soil or other high-quality bonsai soil mix, and
- A new pot (depending on how big your Bonsai is).
The Right Pot for Your Bonsai:
Choose a pot that has sufficient space for additional soil to accommodate the future growth of your Bonsai. If you choose a pot that’s too small, the Bonsai will not be able to develop properly and may become stunted in growth.
Also, the pot should have drainage holes; this allows any excess water after watering to drain out of the bottom of the soil. The best size for most Bonsai trees ranges from 4 inches to 12 inches.
While repotting, it is not always mandatory to go for the bigger pots. If you do regular root pruning, and your bonsai is healthy you can use the same sized pot to repot your bonsai.
Just remember the bigger the pot the lesser you have to water your bonsai. So when the area is very dry and hot it is beneficial to have a larger-sized pot.
While choosing the shape of the pot remember it should relate to the style of the bonsai tree.
Straight trunk style trees like formal upright bonsai will balance better in a rectangular pot, and choosing oval, round or rectangular pots will work fine for informal styles.
Bonsai Soil Mixture:
Always use a good soil mix, and never use regular potting soil. It doesn’t have enough nutrients for your Bonsai tree and will make it die faster. There are premade mixtures you can buy or you can make your own.
Repotting Process [Step-by-Step]:
Repotting Bonsai is a delicate process. It is not just about putting your plant in a new pot. It is about making sure that the soil, air, and roots are in harmony to provide the best environment for your tree.
First, prepare the new pot where you want to repot your bonsai. cover the drainage hole with some wire mesh. and fix that with some wires so it doesn’t move.
Now pour bonsai potting mix into the pot and make it ready for placing the bonsai tree.
If your bonsai tree is anchored to the pot with wires like most bonsai trees, the first thing you have to do is to cut those wires with the wire cutter.
Now, use the root rake to carefully remove the plant from the pot.
Next, you have to remove the old soil from the bonsai roots. you can do that by using the chopsticks carefully. start from the sides and move gradually move towards the center without damaging the roots.
For a plant like pine bonsai, you should leave half of the soil with the plant as it contains some important fungi that help in plant growth.
Now, prune the bonsai roots that have grown a bit longer. Root pruning is an essential part of bonsai maintenance, don’t get scared by this. Here you can learn bonsai root pruning in detail.
Now put the bonsai into the new pot and cover the root properly with soil. use the chopstick to fill all air pockets around the roots.
Finally, add water thoroughly to complete the repotting process.
How Often Should I Repot My Bonsai?
When to repot your tree depends on the type of Bonsai tree you have, how often you water, fertilize and how much sunlight it gets.
An outdoor tree will need repotting more often than one that stays indoors most of the time.
Usually, most bonsai trees should be repotted every year or two.
Can You Repot Your Bonsai in The Summer?
Yes, you can. But before you run out and start digging up your bonsai, give it a little more thought.
Summer is not ideal for repotting because the tree is working as hard as it can to grow new roots. Roots are the lifeline of a tree. The larger the root system, the more water, and nutrients can be transported to where they are needed most — the leaves.
Instead of trying to tame your bonsai into submission, let it go at its own pace and then prune away the excess roots when the dormant season rolls around in winter. That way you will be helping your tree grow and not fighting against its natural instincts to survive.
What is the Best time to Repot Your Bonsai:
You want to repot your trees when they are still dormant in the winter so that their energy can be redirected into getting established in a new pot and not into new growth.
Benefits of Repotting Bonsai
Repotting your tree is a great way to give it a fresh start. Your tree will most likely grow back healthier, with new growth and a more attractive shape.
- It will reduce the risk of root rot.
- Repotting will encourage new growth and make the leaves healthier by providing good air circulation around the branches.
- It can help prevent powdery mildew, which loves damp, warm weather.
- Your tree will be less stressed overall by being repotted and you’ll have an opportunity to inspect its health by lifting and examining the soil in and around the roots — which is easier when they’re exposed.
- You’ll have a better idea of what you need to do to care for your tree during the rest of the year.
Why Do You Need to Repot Bonsai?
There are two main reasons why you should repot a bonsai tree.
The most important reason is root development: trees grow roots and if they can’t spread out they may become stunted and die. Overgrown root systems can also cause your pot to crack and chip. When you repot your bonsai tree you give the plants to spread more roots as well as remove the unnecessary ones.
Another reason is to control your soil quality. Old, decomposing materials can lead to poor drainage or poor aeration of the soil. Repotting gives you the chance to get rid of old materials and replace them with fresh ones.
Repotting is a great way to ensure your tree’s health and longevity in addition to keeping the bonsai healthy,
Repotting is a necessary part of maintaining the health and beauty of bonsai trees, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. It should just be done often enough to allow the tree to thrive.
Repotting may seem daunting but with the right tools and information, you can do it successfully.
I hope this post was helpful for you. We have many other posts on bonsai tree care and maintenance so do check those out.