Re-potting – when, how, and why to re-pot bonsai

Bonsai is the word used by the Japanese to refer to growing miniature trees in containers or pots with techniques that follow the Japanese traditions. Cultivating a bonsai includes techniques for planting, watering, and re-potting the tree.

Re-potting is essential as it replaces the important nutrients in the soil and allows for the growth of new roots, which play an important role in the development of the bonsai. Mostly, trees are re-potted at the time they are most dormant in order to avoid too much stress. The best time would be in the late autumn or early spring, and every two or three years for younger trees, while less often for older specimens.

One can tell that a bonsai tree needs re-potting when water takes a long time to be absorbed by the soil, and when roots are crowding around the container’s side. To re-pot the plant, carefully lift it out of the current pot, avoiding damage to the roots. After this, spray the roots with some water, to ensure that they do not dry out before pruning. In pruning, use a very sharp cutter to cut the large and old brown roots as well as the thinner ones into a suitable shape that the new pot will accommodate. Then cover the drainage of the new pot with some wire mesh, thread some wires through the drainage hole for support, and add some gravel in the drainage. Carefully place the tree inside the pot and put in a sufficient amount of soil. Once this has been done, you can then add supplementary features or ornamentation if desired.