Part 2 of our How to Grow Bonsai Tree Guide! More tips!

In Part 1 of our How to Grow Bonsai Tree guide, we looked at growing trees from cuttings or seed. In this section we will look at growing Bonsai that have been taken from the wild (legally of course!!!!)

Often you may see a specimen that is perfect for display as Bonsai. We believe that nature produces the best specimens and often you can bring home an already established 'ready-to-go' tree that already looks magnificent……


Our how to grow Bonsai tree guide makes this process simpler……

Sometimes mother nature is capable of producing the finest Bonsai you will see.

Trees with restricted root growth from rocky terrain, salt wind, or have been grazed on and trimmed back by animals for years make for fine Bonsai.

High altitude conditions such as snow, drought, gales and the fight for survival can provide the world with near perfect Bonsai.

It is a shame to remove a beautiful Bonsai tree from its natural environment, but, as realists, we understand that others do not share the same principles, and will extract trees from their natural environment.

We do however believe that trees should be taken from their natural environment if they are threatened in some way, possibly from development etc.

If you absolutely MUST take a Bonsai from the wild, please continue reading our How to Grow Bonsai Tree Guide and find out how……

1. Best time for extraction is early spring, or before new buds appear.

2. Come to the tree prepared; have everything you need with you – write a checklist and double check it!

3. Dig a trench around the tree. Depth of the trench will depend on the size of the tree and its root system. Aim for at least 2 foot deep.

4. Undercut the root ball.

5. Collect as much fibrous root as possible.

6. Protect the root ball by wrapping it in plastic and tying it together.

7. Prune the tree, removing approximately 1/3 of its excess leaves from the top down.

8. Much like taking a puppy from it’s mother and rubbing a blanket on her for scent, bring some of it’s native soil home with which to pot it in.

9. If the journey home is longer, spray the tree regularly to prevent water loss.

10. Pot the tree like a juvenile Bonsai and treat it as such, in a grow box or container with heat pads if necessary.

11. Anchor the tree.

12. Mist-water it daily for 2 months and protect from the elements (wind mainly).

13. Do not feed for 2 months.

14. If you fear the tree will not survive, employ the use of a soil-warming box (tree-revival). For instructions on this read on…….

**Ensure you have the right tools for the job! Check out our article on Bonsai tools.
Basically, the main elements for a successful Bonsai transplant is the assurance of minimal trauma, heat following a repot, protection from the elements and a bit of TLC!!!!!

Your freshly transplanted tree will survive if precautions are taken and it is placed in a nice shady spot, away from wind. If wind is simply unavoidable, a windbreak should be built. Also, avoid waterlogging at all costs.

Finally, the pot you use at the beginning will undoubtedly be bigger than a normal Bonsai pot. The tree will have developed a deep and complex root system that you would have wanted to rescue. As the plant develops and takes to it’s new home, you can begin downsizing it’s home slowly but surely.


Lets say you've rescued a tree from the wild and the tree’s root system is in some way damaged from a repot, or when taken from the wild. A differentiation in climate or sudden drop in temperature can result In the tree’s death.

Also, waterlogging, pests, disease, overfeeding and drought can result in the tree’s death, identifiable from observing poor leafing, leaf collapse, lack of new growth and splits in joints.

If the soil is infested or in a state of ill health, these problems will need to be rectified before you attempt to heal your tree. If the soil is healthy, a heat pad is vital to stimulate repair, and in severe cases a BOTTOM HEAT BOX.

A Bottom Heat Box is a wooden box, custom made to aid the survival and recovery of a sick Bonsai tree. Your custom heat box will have drainage holes similar to your pots, and handles for ease of lift, and will reside in a shady, sheltered part of your garden or greenhouse.

You must also observe seasonal growing techniques.

How to Grow Bonsai Tree Guide - DIY CUSTOM HEATING BOX


• Wood

• Hammer

• Nails

• Drill


• Soil warming cable

• Thermostat

• Hinges (if making a cover for the thermostat?

If you need any tips on how to care for your tree, leave our how to grow Bonsai tree guide and check out our Bonsai Care

guide before continuing.....

1. The size of the box will generally depend on the size of the tree. For an average Bonsai you would be looking at building the box approximately 300mm x 600mm, with an approximate depth of around 200mm.

2. Line the box with plastic sheeting.

3. Fill the box with 1/3 potting grit.

4. Cover the grit with a layer of compost.

5. Place the soil warming cable in a zig-zag pattern across the layer of compost.

6. Pour in soil, until the box is approx 2/3 full.

7. Drill a hole in the box above the end of the warming cable, approx. 3cm above it.

8. Wire the thermostat according to guidelines enclosed with it.

9. Carefully place your tree in the box. You can do this with the tree in, or out of its pot.

10. Fill to the top with grit, burying the tree’s roots.


If you place a tree in the heating box that has come from infested soil, the tree will still perish! If the tree is in fact infested with parasites or disease, immerse the root ball and trunk in insecticide or fungicide for an hour. Trim off dead or rotting roots and repot, or put straight into the heat box.

Leave Part 2 of our How to Grow Bonsai Tree Guide and head back to our 'How To' section