By William Mills
Bonsai trees are a specialist subject which can quickly become a life time passion.
The term Bonsai finds it origins in Japanese culture dating back a millennium and more. It is given to any tree being grow in miniature and means growing something in a pot. One needs to be very skilled to cut back the roots and wire the branches so it resembles a mature tree in miniature.
Realistically it is more than enough to keep alive an existing one bought from a garden centre or florist.
The Camellia Bonsai pictured here is an ideal size for an indoor plant where space is at a premium. It proved a bit of a challenge to start with. I needed a moisture probe to check the soil is kept moist without being waterlogged. After a while it’s possible to gauge their watering needs by lifting them and guessing the weight.
Camellia Bonsai has beautiful flowers which appear over winter and shiny evergreen leaves. They also need the right temperature to flourish so investing in a Bonsai course or joining one of the various societies may be a good idea.
Last month I mentioned growing two citrus plants, with one under a CFL 250 watt lamp, and the other in a sunny upstairs west facing bay window. Alas, the clear winner was the one under timer controlled lighting with fruit setting and new leaves in an abundance. In contrast, the other, although basking in winter sunshine, has just managed two new shoots within the same time frame.
The spring is a good time to give a plant its annual drenching of chelated iron. The most common form is the Murphy’s Sequestrene Plant Tonic. This comes in convenient sachet form and is usually stocked by most garden centres.
It is well worth spending the time to research which fertilisers suit your plants best and applying them in the correct doses. Get it right and it will make a wonderful difference with good growth and an abundance of flowers. Although the majority are agricultural chemicals, organic ones do play a part and we shall discover these another time. The spring is here at last and it’s the time for getting our plants looking at their best.