Pine is one of the most popular species chosen for bonsai, i.e., the art of growing short, ornamental versions of otherwise large trees, in various parts of the world. It doesn't succumb to irregular watering and, more importantly, requires pruning only once or twice a year. Facts like these, make it an ideal choice for bonsai art, especially for beginners. Some of the most preferred species, include Japanese white pine bonsai, Mugo pine bonsai, Black pine bonsai, etc.
Pine Bonsai Care
The foremost thing to remember when growing a pine bonsai, is that it should be planted in a deep pot, unlike most of the other bonsai species. This ensures that the roots of the tree grow longer and give it proper support. It will do well with re-potting once in a while, as its roots become stronger with time. Ideally, a pine bonsai can be re-potted once every four years, however, we recommend re-potting every two years for its proper growth. Ideal time of the year to execute this will be spring.
Sunlight and Temperature
Sunlight is one of the most important requirements for the pine bonsai species, as it helps in keeping the needle-like leaves of the tree short. You will have to place your tree at such a place wherein it will get ample sunlight. These trees can easily sustain varying temperatures. Generally, they require a temperature ranging between 65 - 70°F, however, they can even survive temperatures as high as 80°F with ease.
Soil and Water
As far as watering is concerned, it is always better to keep the conditions a bit on the drier side. More importantly, the roots of some pine bonsai species, like the Japanese white pine bonsai tree, are more susceptible to rotting in moist conditions. You need to make sure that the soil used is well-drained, so that water retention is avoided. Ideal soil composition would be ¼ sphagnum, ¼ pine bark, and remaining grit. Inclusion of pine bark will also facilitate the growth of a particular variety of fungus, which provides required nutrition to the tree. Ideally, a significant break from watering will give it the time to dry, which, in turn, will help in keeping the needle-like leaves short.
Pruning is largely dependent on the growth pattern. The best time to prune pine bonsai is autumn or spring, i.e., the period in which the growth of the tree decreases considerably. This also help in avoiding sap loss, which can be harmful for the tree. One has to be careful with this task, as excessive pruning and lack of significant recovery time can hamper its growth.
One should also understand that the different species need different care. The white pine bonsai, for instance, should be planted in a deep pot, so that the roots can grow long and become strong enough to bear the weight of the entire tree. The same, however, may not be ideal for Scots pine bonsai care, which grows in a literati style, with branches sporting a balanced horizontal spread.