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How to grow and care for succulents as bonsais

4 min read

How to grow and care for succulents as bonsais

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If you are someone who just can't get enough succulents but doesn't have much space to get a new one, then try growing them as a bonsai!


Growing succulents as bonsais is a great way to keep them small, making this method very ideal for someone who is living in a small apartment. Plus, this helps you effectively showcase every unique feature they have that will surely add an aesthetic look in your garden.



Why Succulents are Ideal for Bonsai?


There are several reasons why succulents are great for bonsai. They are native to arid regions with tropical and semitropical climates. They are also capable of withstanding harsh conditions like growing in rocky soil, inconsistency in water supply, unstable temperature, exposure to full sun.


What makes succulents even more perfect for bonsai is their fleshy leaves, swollen stems, and thick bases (that allow them to store excess water for use during drought). And due to their thrilling colors, range of textures, and leaf shapes, bonsai lovers find them very appealing.

How to grow and care for succulents as bonsais
Succulents are ideal for bonsai

Furthermore, succulents are known to be pretty easy when it comes to caring for them, so maintaining your succulent bonsai despite your busy schedule should not be a problem at all.



How to make a Bonsai looking Succulent?


1. Choose the right Succulent

The perfect succulent in this project are the ones that are healthy, well-established, and features smaller spaces between leaves and branches, like Crassula Ovata Obliqua (or Jade Plant), Sedum like Sedum Green Jelly Beans, Aeoniums, and Graptoverias such as Ghost Plants.



2. Pruning

Pruning your bonsai succulents is also one of the essential steps in keeping them in the right form. You can do this by simply removing some of the leaves using either a tweezer or a sharp small blade, or even just your fingers. Also, it is highly recommended to encourage them to form a Y-shaped branching and small, proportionate spaces between the stems and leaves of the plant to achieve that traditional bonsai look.


3. Wiring

The process in this step consists of wrapping a stiff wire (strings and clamps can be used as well) around parts of your succulents, then carefully bending the wires, as well as the plant into your desired position. Make sure to prioritize shaping the main trunk of your succulent before proceeding onto the other branches.

How to grow and care for succulents as bonsais
Wiring will shape the succulent into desired position
Photo credit: atelierbonecasmimi

Also, avoid stressing your succulent too much by doing this step in stages to give it some time to adjust to its new form.



Caring for Bonsai Succulents


  • Watering
  • Your watering routine also plays a big part in maintaining the succulents' small and in the right form, and at the same time, keep them healthy.


    This one is not that difficult at all. You just have to make sure to use a well-draining soil mix (specially made for cacti and succulents) and to water only when it's completely dry out.



  • Sunlight Exposure
  • Aside from watering, you also need to make sure that your bonsai succulent will get enough sunlight. Remember, a succulent that doesn't get enough sunlight can become etiolated, or stretched out. In other words, it will grow in height, instead of producing more foliage, to supplement its sunlight needs.

    How to grow and care for succulents as bonsais
    Make sure that your bonsai succulent will get enough sunlight.
    Photo credit: @Oskerino on Reddit

    So, if you want to keep them small, you can start by placing the plant in a spot where it can get at least 4 hours of indirect bright sunlight, then adjust accordingly depending on how your plant reacts after a few days to a week.


  • Repotting
  • Naturally, your succulent bonsai plant will grow larger and will look unbalanced with its pot after some time. When that happens, better transfer the plant into a different shallow container/pot. This will allow you to stay small and maintain that balanced look while providing fresher and more nutritious soil.


  • Trimming Roots
  • Since bonsai succulents are usually grown in shallow containers, root trimming isn't really necessary. Plus, trimming the roots may restrict the ability of the plant to absorb water and nutrients it needs so it would probably be best to leave the roots undisrupted.

    How to grow and care for succulents as bonsais
    Since bonsai succulents are usually grown in shallow containers, root trimming isn't really necessary
    Photo credit: worldofsucculents

    However, if you must trim the roots for some aesthetic reason, like the roots have grown too big or long and need to cut away some to keep them small, make sure to remove the plant from the soil, then wait for the wounds to completely dry before replanting.



  • Presentation
  • If you want to improve the overall appearance of your bonsai succulent, consider decorating its base by covering the soil with some moss, rocks, sand, or small pebbles.

     

     

    SEE MORE ABOUT HOW TO MAKE JELLYFISH SUCCULENTS

    HOW TO MAKE JELLYFISH SUCCULENTS

     

    For Types of Succulents Careguide. Read more information here.

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