Monthly Archives: April 2022

The Japanese tradition of bonsai does not include indoor bonsai, most of them have been grown outdoors for their entire life. Traditionally, bonsai are temperate climate trees grown outdoors in containers. Kept in the artificial environment of a home, these trees weaken and die.

In less traditional settings, including climates more severe than Japan’s, indoor bonsai may appear in the form of potted trees cultivated for the controlled indoor environment. Numbers of tropical and subtropical tree species will survive and grow slowly indoors with a special care in the small containers.

Both indoor and outdoor bonsai mostly grow in loose soil with a fast-draining mix of components. The art of creating bonsai is to produce small trees that mimic the shape of real-life trees. Basically, people torture the plant to be bonsai dwarf tree by controlling the supply of their nutrients, adjusting the branches, and clipping the leaves.

I am wondering if the origin of bonsai copied the growth of the dwarf trees on the dead woods or rocks in nature with very limited supply of nutrients. So, in combination with just enough supply of water and harsh weather, nature creates the long-life dwarf tree out of its comfort zone with an artistic and old performance as shown in the photo.

The oldest tree in the world is a species of Methuselah pine tree (Pinus longaeva) that can live for 5 thousand years even though it grows in the highlands, on very barren soil. The plant fasts until it rains, is sturdy, can withstand the wind, and there is always a dead and alive part on the tree.

Natural or organic fertilizers should be better to be used for the bonsai than artificial or chemical fertilizers. One of the alternatives is using black gold, worm castings or vermicompost to support the healthy bonsai. The advantages of the vermicompost are not because it contains high amounts of macronutrients (N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S) and micronutrients (Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn, Mo, B, Cl, Ni) like artificial or chemical fertilizers, but on its unique properties.

Worm castings contain available and slow-release nutrients, humic substances or humates as important components of organic matter, plant growth regulators, and beneficial soil microbes that can suppress the plant pathogens. In addition, worm castings diluted in the water or worm castings teas can be more efficient and effective to support the healthy growth of the old bonsai with strong rooting systems that can live for more than a thousand years.

Please contact if anyone needs fresh organic worm castings or vermicompost for boosting your bonsai and other exotic plants.

-Bintoro Gunadi