Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bonsai Saturday

I have been sadly neglecting my bonsai plants. The outdoor plants are doing well, as we've had a lot of rain recently. But the indoor plants need to be watered everyday and I've not been doing that. My wife got me a new juniper bonsai for my birthday this week so I'm taking this as an opportunity to get these indoor plants in shape. First, a photo of me with my new baby. Never in a million years could I make a bonsai plant that looks as nice as this.In addition to not watering them enough, I've got aphids in my indoor plants. I'm not sure how that happened. I have had them outside on occasion so I guess one of them got infested. Aphids are nasty pests. They are so small you can barely see them, and they excrete this sticky stuff that gets on everything. Below is my willow ficus which appears in the banner photo above. Every leaf it still has is sticky. After this photo, I cut off the rest of the leaves, cleaned up the pot (the sticky stuff is at least water soluble) and sprayed it for bugs.
Next is my umbrella tree bonsai. This was was a Christmas gift from my wife in 2004 and is what started me on my bonsai hobby. It's now over 5 years old (who knows when it was actually planted?) and overdue to be re-potted. I'm going to spare you what it looked like before this photo but it didn't look good. So in addition to re-potting it I've decided to trim it back and start over. Here it is in the pot ready for soil.
It was severely root-bound, which is probably another reason it didn't look too good. In addition to trimming off all the branches, I also took several inches of roots off. I really like the above ground root structure so I got a little creative with the stone placement.
One idea of bonsai is to make the plant look like it's a miniature tree growing in nature. So I've tried to make it look like the roots are growing over rocks. I'll be pretty happy with the look if it gets new leaves. As long as I water it every day and fertilize it once in awhile it should look pretty good in about a year.

1 comment:

California Bonsai Studio said...

Here's a solution for those aphids that works well for me. Take a little bit of ordinary dish soap and mix it with water in a spray bottle and spray the entire surface area of the tree. The aphids are basically made of sap and the soap dries them out and kills them. The advantage here over pesticides is that the soap won't hurt your bonsai at all. Plus it leaves a nice lemon fresh smell!