Repot bonsai - instructions in 7 steps

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Ficus ginseng as bonsai

In "normal plants" repotting is important so that the plant experiences the right supply in the root area. In bonsai, repotting is a crucial part of all the measures necessary to develop dwarfism, because repotting also requires rooting:

Why repotting is especially important in bonsai

Every plant in the pot must be repotted occasionally because its roots bump into the sides of the pot and begin to form unhealthy twists and because the soil in the pot no longer provides good growth conditions. However, normal plants can endure a fairly long time in their pot.
A bonsai is not a normal plant, but a plant that is artificially moved to growth that has nothing to do with its growth in nature. Most bonsai would become meter-high trees with thick trunks, if you were allowed to, and no, the bonsai are not special bonsai cultivars of plants, but the normal plants that you may already be in gardens in the maxi version have seen. Of course, the Bonsai Culture of a Bamboo will not necessarily pick a Dendrocalamus giganteus that grows 40 meters tall and grows four to five times each day as a bonsai measures, but one of the smaller species.
But still, bonsai grows much larger in nature than it should in bonsai culture. A meter high plant is to be "persuaded" to an artistic miniature growth, and this is only possible with many tricks that have developed the Penjing gardeners (as the bonsai gardeners called) over the centuries.

What is it about repotting the bonsai?

Such a short stature can z. B. can be achieved only if it is palpably intervened in the root area, by removing tap roots and by shaping the root itself. How the growth in the deliberately limited root space in the shell designed play an equally important role in the formation of the desired miniature Short stature like the permanent trimming of shoots and leaves.
In the context of this part of the growth limitation, repotting is a very important process. Inactive older root parts must be removed regularly so that the few small roots in the shell can develop full vigor. After the root incision, new fine roots of suction form around the stem, helping the bonsai to clear even the limited root space available to it. If the roots are able to grow well, more shoots and buds are formed at the top, the foliage becomes denser.
The root ball is prevented by regular repot at the same time, at some point to consolidate so far that the bonsai simply starves because he can no longer draw nutrients from the substrate. And when repotting it will provide fresh substrate, with a complete package of new nutrients.
When repotting gets the bonsai and a new shell, here the right size must be selected. The size of the shell has a great influence on the development of bonsai. If the new shell is too large, the bonsai can form many roots and can not be kept in the fence by the cut. As a rule, it has proved useful to choose a bowl that is a little smaller than would be aesthetically necessary. However, if the shell is too small, the bonsai needs a lot of water, soon shows signs of deficiency (nitrogen and iron) and stops growth more or less.

Ficus ginseng as bonsai

Of course, the new shell should also be aesthetically suited to the particular design of the bonsai, since it forms the framework of its appearance. Bonsai bowls are offered in many different colors, textures and shapes, so individual design within a certain tradition is not a problem.

The bonsai substrate

For repotting, you need a new substrate, a fully purchased or even mixed bonsai substrate mix. It should dry fast enough to keep the roots from unhealthy wet, but store enough water to feed the tree.
Ingredients for mixing a bonsai substrate
  • Akadama: Clay earth from Japan, which reliably neither clumps nor compacts and is therefore often used for bonsai
  • Chabasai: Natural zeolite made of volcanic ash, permeable to water but easy to store, long-lasting, lowers the PH value
  • Gartenerde: An insider tip for bonsai should be well loosened and quite seed-free soil from the molehill
  • Humus: The content in normal soil is sufficient
  • Kanumaerde: Japanese substrate with low pH for lime incompatible bonsai (azaleas, rhododendrons)
  • Kiryuerde: Form-stable Japanese vitamin clay with a high iron content, good for maple, pine, juniper (1/3 to 1/2 mixed in)
  • Perlite: Volcanic pore rock, for loosening compacted substrates and as a drainage layer
  • Sand: As mineral quartz sand with a grain size between 2 and 4 mm
  • Other loosening materials with a few nutrients: pumice, coconut fiber, lava, baked clay, pieces of bark, normal zeolite
With all of these substances you get mixtures that combine all the qualities of a good bonsai substrate: particles around 4 mm, no dust and no coarse organic material, absorbing water, storing and releasing, dimensionally stable, light and of unobtrusive appearance.
The following blends are suitable for most bonsai (some bonsais need very special substrate blends, but you probably know this when you grow such a bonsai):
  • 50% Akadama, 25% pumice and 25% humus
  • Substitute for humus: quality potting soil
  • Universal mixture 2: 1 part of soil, 1 part of coconut fiber or other suitable peat substitute, 1 part of sand
  • Rarely irrigated bonsai get a more water-storing mixture with a bit more humus
  • Bonsai cultured in humid climates are kept in a quick-drying mix with more akadama and gravel
  • Deciduous bonsai need more humus or soil
  • Coniferous bonsai can be kept in equal proportions in Kiryuerde and Akadamaerde
  • Young bonsais grow faster in light soils with more softening ingredients
  • Larger solitary bonsai (eg maple), which should not grow anymore, can be kept in 50 - 70% Kiryuerde and Akadamaerde
  • Mixture for room bonsai: 3 parts Akadama soil, 5 parts coconut fiber, 2 parts sand

Ficus ginseng as bonsai

Today bonsais are increasingly being kept in so-called "modern substrates", in pure lava, zeolite or pumice without any organic material, to prevent rooting and overgrowth. If your bonsai has been kept in such a substrate so far, of course, he gets it after repotting.

Repot bonsai - instructions in 7 steps

1. First, the new shell is prepared:
  • Already used bonsai pots are freed of limescale and dirt
  • Cover the drainage holes in the floor with bonsai cover grille, fasten with a wire loop
  • From the outside lead bonsai wires through the drain holes, with which the bonsai is later fixed in the shell
  • Now the bottom of the shell can be covered with a drainage layer of gravel, perlite or coarse Akadama soil
  • The drainage layer should be at least 1 cm thick and at most 3 cm thick, depending on the size of the shell
  • On the drainage layer is a centrally elevated layer of the prepared substrate mixture is placed on the same bonsai
2. When the shell is ready, the bonsai can be potted:
  • Carefully remove the bonsai from the old bowl
  • If he sits too tight, a potting tool can help, eg. As a sickle knife (see the same below Umtopfwerkzeuge)
  • The old earth must be partially removed, you can take a wooden chopstick or a special root hook to help
  • Until you see the roots well that need to be unraveled now
  • But if possible do not remove the whole earth, mycorrhizal fungi in your culture may otherwise suffer
3. Now it's the turn of the root:
  • All long roots are cut back so that the tree develops a finely branched, compact root system
  • Lazy and down-growing roots are removed first and definitely
  • Above all, the upper root system should be encouraged to develop well and vigorously
  • Then the lateral roots are cut back, and badly placed upper roots
  • Overall, about a quarter of the root mass should be taken away, target is a fine, but powerful root structure (Nebari)
  • Finally, the root collar z. B. exposed with chopsticks, all thicker roots should be visible on the surface
4. The bonsai "moves into its new shell":
  • Now the bonsai can be incorporated into the new shell, it is incorporated into the small substrate mound with slightly rotating movements
  • Until the root collar protrudes slightly over the rim of the bowl
  • Bonsai in oval or rectangular bowls are placed from the center in the center of a bowl half
5. Embed bonsai in soil:
  • The prepared substrate mixture is filled in dry
  • The substrate must be well incorporated between the roots
  • This works best again with the famous chopsticks
  • Carefully poke around in the root room until the substrate has crumbled into all gaps
  • It should reach just below the cup rim

Bonsai tree

6. Trim, align, fix:
  • Shorten the upper area to the same extent as the root, so that the balance between root and leaf masses is right again
  • Check from all sides, if the bonsai is correct
  • If it is well aligned, it can be cross-fixed with the previously inserted wires over the root ball
  • And continue to be fastened with wire, as far as it is necessary
7. Cast and fill up:
  • Depending on the substrate mixture is now thoroughly watered
  • Or place the whole bowl in a water bath where it is allowed to soak
  • In this case, the substrate can sit down again, cavities may arise
  • These cavities must be filled with substrate
  • Finally, the topcoat is applied, for. B. a thin layer of sieved, crumbly Akadama

The earth tool for bonsai

During the potting, you have to do all sorts of fine work, all are offered original Japanese bonsai tools:
  • Small bonsai earth blades in a set of 3
  • Bonsai earth sieves made of stainless steel, 30 cm or 37 cm
  • Bonsai root claws called 'Bon-Kumade' or 'Ne-Kagi'
  • Bonsai Root Knife (Professional)
  • Bonsai sickle saws
  • Bonsai Handbesen
  • Bonsai mesh panels or covering nets
Indispensable for some fine work are the wooden chopsticks, determined the cheapest purchase of these mostly two-digit Eurosummen costing tools. But those who endure a few not completely authentic Asian tools will also come quite far with his normal gardening tools and z. For example, just use a few kebab skewers instead of the chopsticks.

Repot bonsai - when and how often?

Both are to decide depending on the type and age of the bonsai:
For deciduous trees, repotting is best done in early spring, when the bonsai is just in hibernation. The repotting burdened significantly less if the tree has yet to provide fresh budding. In addition, the bonsai can balance the interventions at the root well, if he starts growing shortly thereafter. The period for repotting is here depending on the type between March and the end of April.
Conifers should be repotted between September and October, depending on the species.
Indoor bonsai are also best planted at the beginning of spring, but if necessary tropical bonsai can be replanted at other seasons, just not in the middle of the main growing season.
Young bonsai, which are still in the basic structure, are repotted every year. They often need a larger shell, because the earth volume must be adapted to the increasing plant mass. If the small bonsai makes a weak impression, you should wait until the second year to repot.

Bonsai tree

In adult bonsai, the frequency of potting depends on its rate of growth. Fast-growing bonsai is also fast in their pot too tight, they must be repotted at least every two years. Slower growing bonsai (and older, more mature bonsai, which are often no longer in such a hurry) need only be repotted every 3 to 4 years.
Really old bonsai may be able to "live" in their shell for quite a long time, decades old solitaires for five to six years or more. They are usually no longer "repotted", but potted after root care and renewal in the old shell again.
In any case, it should never be routinely repotted because so much time has passed. But the bonsai are checked every year in early spring, carefully taken out of the shell for root-viewing. If you only see earth, you have one more year left.
A bonsai needs to be repotted urgently if you notice the following:
  • The substrate is completely interspersed with roots and these begin to grow along the shell edge in a circle
  • You notice root rot
  • The bonsai has already shown deficiency symptoms and the root is very dense
The bonsai needs some after-repellent after-care, about four weeks no blazing sun, no wind, no fertilizer. If the bonsai drives out, it can be returned to its sunny place and fertilized. Possibly. is now also started with the moss layer on the earth's surface.
Repotting is an important care measure for bonsai, because only with repotting and root care can a bonsai be made to develop an expressive miniature growth at the right time.

Video Board: Bonsai Repotting - Bonsai Trees for Beginners Series #04.

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