Bonsai tree fertilizer. Which types to use?

Welcome to Part 2 of our guide on bonsai tree fertilizer!

Part 2 will teach you about fertilizers and will hopefully give you the knowledge you need to succeed!

If you haven't yet read Part 1, read it now!

If you have then.........onwards!

Many standard soil mixes from nurseries will already contain fertilizers, but it is always best in bonsai to use a bonsai soil mix without fertilizer. It is best to control it for specific seasons and to avoid overfeeding.

There are usually 2 growth spurts per year for bonsai trees. One in Spring and in the middle of Summer. The best way to use bonsai tree fertilizer is during these two periods. You should never fertilize during Winter, as this promotes growth when growth should not occur, exposing it to cold and frost.

If you have a specific tree in mind, check out our tree guide and have a look at your tree. We have information on feeding for each tree!

So....... what types of fertilizer are there?

Lets have a look........

Solid and Liquid Fertilizers

• Solid bonsai tree fertilizer can be bought as granules, pellets or powder

• Liquid is sold as a concentrate to be diluted, in tubs

• Both types will have a content chart with ratings of Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium (NPK) and will look like this: 7-6-8

• Fertilizers high in N (Nitrogen) are rated 8 or higher

• High N fertilizers should be used only in Spring. always check to see if your tree can handle a high N feed

• Late-summer fertilizer have a low N content and a higher P and K rating and will look like this: 4-8-8

• As a rule, high N = leaf growth and colour, low N, high P & K = root and bud growth for the next year

So......... the question is asked......... Which one?

There is no right answer for this, only guidance as to best-fit!

Most professional bonsai artists prefer solid fertilizers, usually in granular of pellet form. Using a solid bonsai tree fertilizer gives you better control than liquid. You can see it and can control the uptake.

Liquid fertilizer is harder to control and can be quite tricky when mixing and diluting, but it is more convenient and is absorbed quicker. However, you have to add it more often.

Quick Tip! - Do not add fertilizer to outdoor bonsai in the rain. The fertilizer will leech out and your tree will not get the nutrients it needs!

Quick Tip No. 2! - If you have an outdoor bonsai, use a fertilizer basket to cover your tree's soil. This will allow pellets to dissolve and leak out when it rains, or is watered and will prevent birds from stealing them!

So, as you can see, the choice is yours, but, if you ask us, we would always suggest using solid fertilizer for ease of control!

Now we've established the two forms of fertilizer, which types exist?

There are 2 types, Organic or Inorganic.

Organic and Inorganic

• Organic bonsai tree fertilizer contains organic matter such as fish meal or animal manure. A popular one with Japanese artists is rapeseed fertilizer

• Inorganic fertilizer is chemically constructed but performs the same task. The main difference is the rate of release (nutrients), which is slower and more efficient in organic fertilizer

• Both will achieve great results, the difference is only identifiable by specialists and veterans!

Really, the difference between fertilizers is quite small. Yes, you could spend hours constructing the perfect chemical compund that will be perfect for your tree. Yes it would probably impress your bonsai brethren, but in our opinion, its probably a waste of time. The time spent wondering should be put into tree care, including pruning, shaping and basic care!

Ultimately, we suggest using Osmocote. You can achieve great results from Osmocote and we have never heard of any problems with it. The popular school of thought is that a fertilizer with a 20-20-20 rating is fine for all Bonsai, but during Spring only!

for general instructions on amounts to feed, you will have a guide on the back of your container. Follow it!!!

Instead of driving around looking, why not buy online? Below is a list of food and soil products perfect for your bonsai!

Leave Bonsai tree fertilizer and head back to Bonsai Care 2!