Feeding bonsai

Unlike other trees, a Bonsai Tree requires more specialised care and attention. While some people are under the impression that Bonsai is deprived of fertilisers to keep their small structure, this is not the case. Bonsai trees are kept small by being frequently pruned to prohibit their growth.




While trees naturally grown can spread their roots to find nutrients Bonsai trees are potted plants, which means they will consume all the nutrients from the soil if it is not regularly replenished; watering of the plants also causes a loss of nutrients from the soil. Feeding bonsai to keep it healthy and to grow with the right fertiliser can be easy with the right expertise.

Trees use hydrogen, oxygen and carbon, which are derived from the atmosphere and water in the soil, in order to flourish and grow. In addition to those compounds trees also need small amount of chemicals to produce protein, vitamins, enzymes and amino acids.

Naturally grown organic trees get a supply of these chemicals from the soil that is rich in humus. Soil used to grown Bonsai such as Seramis clay and Japanese clays are not rich in humus and cannot sufficiently supply these chemicals to the plants.

Most importantly, these soils lack in nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium that are essential for promoting plant growth. Nitrogen is needed for chlorophyll, which keeps plants green; phosphorus is involved in metabolic process; the transfer of energy and root development and potassium is needed for plants to flourish.




Feeding Bonsai Trees

Due to the fact that they are not grown naturally, Bonsai trees have to be fed with fertiliser to grow healthily. Normal fertilisers can be used when feeding a bonsai plant; it is unnecessary to purchase original Bonsai fertiliser. Generally, bonsai plants can grow healthily with normal fertilisers used to nourish garden plants as long as it contains the necessary amount of nutrients.

  1. When purchasing a fertiliser look at the NPK contained on the wrapping to determine if it contains a sufficient amount of phosphates, nitrogen and potash.
  2. The N value represents the nitrogen content, by weight in the fertiliser, the P represents the phosphorus element, and the K represents the potash element.

It is imperative that you look check for a balance in the composition of the elements within the fertiliser when fertilising bonsai (for example 20:20:20). The second option is to apply various kinds of suitable fertilisers to the plant to ensure that it gets a sufficient supply of all the major nutrients.

Fertilising and Feeding Bonsai Trees

Feeding bonsai is important to promote the optimum level of growth, when fertilising Bonsai follow the dosage instructions on the label carefully.

When feeding bonsai, mix the fertiliser with water then apply it to the complete soil surface of the plant until it is sufficiently covered and begins to escape from the side holes in the pots.

  • This should be done at least twice a week.

Fertilisers that are labelled with an NPK of 10:10:10 or 20:20:20 have the same NPK balance. When using these fertilisers you have to double the dosage to give the plant a sufficient amount of nutrients.




Fertilisers with low nitrogen content can be applied to the bonsai plant during periods when growth is slow. The high potassium and phosphorous content helps to build and strengthen the plant and can encourage bud production.