This is a continuation of the bonsai care guidance authored by Jim Smith and originally printed in Florida Bonsai Magazine in 1986. It has been updated by Jim and is reprinted with both his permission and that of Florida Bonsai Magazine. The care guidance is suitable for Zones 9b and 10a.
Bonsai in Brevard (Zone 9b and Zone 10a)
If we have an early Spring, Red Maples, Bald Cypress, Oaks and some other broad leaf trees may start to bud or bloom by the end of the month. Be prepared to protect these early risers from the severe cold fronts that pass through this area in January and February. Our winter bird population can be a problem. They love to remove the moss from your bonsai and dig in the soil. The best protection is to move the bonsai into a screen enclosure where birds can’t get to them. I have used many different scarecrows but none have worked.
January is usually one of our driest months. Deciduous plants do not need much water and should be checked carefully. Plants that you expect to bloom shortly should be kept on the slightly dry side.
Continue fertilizing to maintain the health of the tree. Plants that you want to bloom shortly should not be fertilized with high nitrogen as this might produce new growth instead of bloom.
Insects and Diseases
Because January is such a dry month, mites will continue to be one of our major pests, especially on Junipers. If the foliage on your Junipers does not green up after you fertilize, check for mites. Some mites are extremely hard to see because of their size and color and should be checked with a 5X (or stronger) magnifying glass. Control mites by spraying several times at five-day intervals with a Miticide.
Pinching is not so demanding at this time but should be continued where needed.
This month you can start potting your deciduous trees. They should be potted before the new leaves form. Tropical can be potted any time but most of my repotting is done in January and February.
Wire those trees that have lost their leaves but be prepared to remove them shortly after new growth starts.
Cuttings and Layers
Get ready to start propagation with cuttings and airlayers.
Bonsai Society of Brevard
For more detailed information contact our Brevard based Bonsai club.
The Bonsai Society of Brevard is one of the many clubs within the Bonsai Societies of Florida.