Commercial Bonsai

What is a BONSAI?

A potted plant may only be called a "BONSAI" when the plant to container are to the correct proportions and has been correctly styled, then the whole evokes appreciation and beauty of nature with the "BONSAI" as the focal point.
It may vary in height from 3cm to 200cm, be from any adaptable tree or scrub and have originated naturally from a seed, cuttings, dug-up plant, etc.

Where to keep and display?

Filtered sunlight is preferable, under a tree, a patio or shadecloth. If indoors, it needs to be in a sunny north facing room(Southern hemisphere) with good ventilation. Never place in direct sunlight or on the ground, but on a table or a stand at eye level.
A BONSAI only looks as good as how it is displayed.
Note: Never keep in a room where you are not prepared to sit in the middle of winter.


Using a small watering can or jug, saturate the soil until the water drains out through the screened holes in the bottom of the container.
Dependant on the container size water daily in summer and every second to third day in winter. Spray the leaves with water to keep foliage in good condition and to discourage pests. Never let the soil dry or leave the container standing in water. Realise that more regular watering is necessary, the higher the ambient temperature is, the more exposure to sunlight, or the smaller the container.
Note: Never dunk your BONSAI in water. Only do so after re-potting.


Frequent watering leaches out the nutrients from the soil, thus it is very necessary to feed a Bonsai with fertilizer during the growing season when in full leaf generally (August to April Southern hemisphere).
Commercial fertilisers are POKON®, NITROSOL®, SEAGROW®, etc. Always use a Bonsai fertilizer containing trace elements and apply exactly as the manufacturer precribes.
Note: Never feed a sick or dry BONSAI.

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Pruning and styling?

Your BONSAI will grow out of proportion and lose its character if not regularly pruned. Styling is done in early spring to a specific style and to remove any unwanted growth. Pruning and leaf nipping is done all the time to maintain leaf size and to reduce their size which is so important to it's appearance. Leave one or two sets of developed leaves, nipping the growth tip off only. Landscaping the container (decorating) it in order to portray a natural environment for your BONSAI can be done using rocks, gravel, "Peace-in-the-home" or moss as a covering. The latter two are good indicators of sufficient water and UV sunlight absorption.


Repotting and root pruning are only necessary every two to four years (commercial Bonsai) and one to two years (professional/collectable Bonsai) after purchase. This is only done once the leaf buds, form early in the Spring into the same container, or a larger one according to growth. Using a scissors or a sharp knife remove about twenty five percent of the soil cutting out all the larger roots from the root ball. Fill the container with new BONSAI soil. Dunk in water until the air bubbles stop. Let drain, replace landscaping then place in a cool position, avoid direct sun for two weeks. Start regularly watering only after the soil has partialy dryed, so as to set your bonsai.
Note: Commercial BONSAI repot only if root bound, soil has become sterile, etc.
Always cover the soil with gravel as a mutch to retain soil moisture.

Pests and diseases?

These must be identified and treated using a suitable insecticide e.g. MALATHION®, FUNGINEX® as applicable etc. Apply strictly as directed on the container. Avoid using an aerosol insecticide.
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The above basic guidelines should be sufficient, but for more in-depth information buy a good Bonsai book and or join a Bonsai club.


  • The conditions and climate in South Africa are different to those stated in overseas books, therefore compensate accordingly.
  • A Bonsai is a "living entity", thus it's continuing well-being and growth is entirely in your hands from date of purchases.

Bonsai as an investment?

The older the Bonsai, together with the uniqueness of the plant species and artistic style, the greater its value.

For the ultimate gift: From the past, for the present, preserved for the future.
A Living Art Form, Your Green Heritage Investment and Unique Gift.

Assitance and availability?

The Sponsor "Jo-da Bonsai" provides re-potting, styling and an after care service at a nominal charge and recommends membership of a Bonsai Club/Society to gain experience. For the enthusiast who wishes to plant and style their own BONSAI a variety of plants in plastic bags are also available. Together with local and imported containers, tools also soil, fertiliser and all the necessary accessories for landscaping and plant maintenance. FREE ADVICE GIVEN!