Bonsai Holiday Care
Bonsai For Beginners

Merry Christmas and happy New Year, I had every intention of getting this note out before Christmas, I also intended to take photos of all the methods for holiday care of your bonsai and of a pohutukawa bonsai that actually flowered this year. My daughter has taken the camera overseas and we have just finished loading the trailer to head for the beach, so if I don't get this out now it will seem even more irrelevant when we all get back.

Fortunately Adrian and Pam sent me this fantastic photo of a huge Maple in one of the Chinese pots , check out the dimensions of the pot and you will get some idea of the size of that trunk. They are still in the process of reshaping the new growth but what a great tree, Thanks for the photo.

For those of you that intend going on holiday this season or maybe next season now, here is a few ideas on keeping your precious trees alive while you are away.

Take it with you. I had one lady tell me recently that her husband had only the one bonsai but it was named “Bruce”. It had its own spot in the car and come away with them every year on their Christmas holiday. If you only have a few small trees this can be a good option. You are able to water appropriately and you are not worried about a system breaking or a friend forgetting while you are away. After all, a lot of you have invested considerable time and care on these trees, it would be a shame to lose them. I even found myself praying for rain on a camping trip one year just so I knew my trees would be watered if something at home had gone wrong. You don’t need that stress on your break.

Get a reliable person to look after your trees. Last year we had a local girl water my trees for me. If you are going to rely on a friend or family member to look after your trees, remember to impress upon them how important correct watering is and as with any of these systems make sure they are well tested before you go. Have them water while you are still home so they are sure about how much water your trees require and how long it actually takes.

If you have only a few trees and are going away for no longer than a week you can bury the pot in a large peat filled container or in a shady spot in the garden then water the surrounding soil well, this should keep your trees damp for about a week. Again this system should be tested, if you are using this method you can get your friend to re-water the surrounding soil this was you need only impose on them once or twice during you break.

Timed watering systems - These systems have become a lot more affordable and simple to set up. While it is difficult to give individual plants different watering requirements it will hold them over while you are not there. Don’t set this up the day before you go away, have it up and running for at least a week before hand. One failure while you are away may be the end of your collection.

Capillary wick – this system consists of a covered container (food containers are ideal, partially filled with water and above which the bonsai is placed.) Make two holes in the cover one of them will contain the cotton wick and one will allow for air or topping up of the water reservoir. One end of the wick is thoroughly immersed in the water and the other end enters the pot through the drainage hole. (Use multiple wicks if there is more than one drainage hole)

If all else fails find a good bonsai centre offering a bonsai baby sitting service. For a small sum of money they will care for your trees as they do their own.


One of my many new year’s resolutions is to work on my web site a bit more. In the near future I hope to add a few more sections and update and increase the pages already there. I intend to have a section on common pests and diseases, their symptoms and control.

There will be a small shop selling wire, tools and accessories and some plants. I will keep this very small and take photos of everything for sale, so what you see is what you get.

I am very aware that some online bonsai shops have sample photos of trees and when you receive your plant it is nothing like the photo. So all the pots and plants on the site will be the actual products on offer and they will be removed and replaced as they sell.

The New Zealand native section will be updated and increased. I have been experimenting with a few new plants and I hope to get more information and photos from friends with the same interest in New Zealand bonsai.

The photo demonstration section on the site seems to be quite popular so I will be increasing the amount of subjects in this section when my daughter who takes the photos gets back from Korea.

I will also do a recap of some of the past newsletters and demonstrations to show how the subject plants are going ; such as the air-layering, root over rock, rosemary, repotting etc.

If you have any requests or anything you would like to see changed or included on the site please let me know I would love to get some feedback from you.

Once again keep any eye on that watering and have a fantastic new year.