Bonsai Tree S.O.S.

“Hi, I just bought a bonsai, and I want to know how to take care of it. I have no idea what type it is. How should I water it? I’m going to put it underneath my televison where I can see it all the time…”

So begins (or words thereabouts) about 5-10 emails or phone calls I receive per week. I must admit my enthusiasm for such questions has diminished over time– perhaps cynicism has crept in, but I often wonder: What person would buy a living thing without at least a little prior knowledge on what that thing is and how to care for it?No matter, I will into the breach once more, dear friends, or else close up our walls with bonsai dead. Step One: Determine what species and variety of bonsai you have. Do this by going to the nursery from which you purchased it and asking them– but beware: Any nursery that does not tag their trees with clear ID and care instructions might not be worth returning to. Barring a return trip, contact your local bonsai club, society, or other reputable bonsai nursery. You can find many North American bonsai club listings on the American Bonsai Society’s website.