How often should I fertilize my bonsai and what should I use?

gwtamaraJanuary 1, 2013

> Probably the most important rule about fertilizing is to never feed a tree that is under stress. The causes of stress are many, ranging from over watering or under watering to newly pruned roots or disease.

> Once again, it is so very important to know what type of tree your bonsai is.

Different types have specific needs as to the type and frequency of fertilization.

> Many enthusiasts who have some experience think the safest method, with no fuss, is 4 month type of 14-14-14 time release fertilizer, such as Osmocote. This is incorporated right into the potting mix or sprinkled on the surface and worked down into the mix.

> Most broadleaf trees and tropicals can be fed with any general houseplant or garden fertilizer.

> Conifers, azaleas and certain others can benefit from a monthly application of an acidic fertilizer, such as MirAcid.

> Some growers include hormones such as Superthrive in their regimen to stimulate root production.

> Trees should only be fertilized when in periods of active growth. This is generally from midspring through early summer and from late summer to early fall.

> If your summers are extremely hot and your trees are outdoors, do not fertilize until temperatures have moderated and growth has resumed.

> Likewise, do not feed trees in winter when they are either dormant or growth has slowed down.

> Some growers prefer organic fertilizers over chemicals. This is an ongoing debate and much too lengthy to go into detail here.

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