How To Care For Your Ligustrum Bonsai Tree
Ligustrum "Lucidum" Bonsai Care
About The Ligustrum Bonsai Tree
The Ligustrum is also referred to as a Glossy Privet or Chinese Privet.
In its natural form, this evergreen shrub can grow up to 30 feet tall and is used far and wide as a landscaping plant, and in traditional gardens.
Native to China and Eastern Asia, the Ligustrum is now grown ornamentally in the United States.
It has white puffy flowers during the late spring and early summer, and small blueish-black berries in the fall.
The berry of the Ligustrum has been used as a "yin" tonic in traditional Chinese medicine for a wide range of conditions, including premature aging, ringing in the ears, chronic toxicity and several other medicinal purposes.
Like most semi-tropical trees, a ligustrum bonsai should remain indoors when the low temperatures reach 45 degrees F.
Make sure your ligustrum tree gets at least 6-8 hours of quality sunlight while indoors, either through a grow light or a southern window. An eastern or western window sill would be sufficient, if it's giving 6+ hours of light.
In the summer, when the chance of dropping below 50 is gone, it can be placed outside for the season in high light.
Never let the soil completely dry out. Whenever the soil seems dry, thoroughly water your tree until the water runs clear from the bottom. In the growing season, this can be daily.
If you need help, a good moisture meter will guide you.
If you ever need to take your ligustrum bonsai tree inside, including into a garage for the winter, using a humidity tray is recommended. It will prevent the water from running on the floor, and can help keep the tree somewhat moist in the dry season.
Since your ligustrum bonsai is in a small pot, and not the ground, it needs nutrients. A slow release (pellet based) fertilizer is perfect for this, and can be added sparingly every 1-2 months during the growing season.
Pruning & Trimming
Trim back the new growth to the farthest safe point that looks good to you — but never remove all of the new growth.
A regular trim will help keep your ligustrum bonsai tree short, while helping the trunk grow thicker.
Repotting must be performed periodically on your bonsai, ligustrum included, when its root system has filled the pot. If you can clearly see the roots coming out of the bottom of the pot, it’s time to repot your bonsai.
Generally, this means every 2-3 years for a deciduous tree and every 4-5 years for an evergreen or tropical.
Repotting should be done in mid-summer, when the tree is at it’s least fragile state.
The ligustrum bonsai tree, along with all of its soil, should be removed from the pot. From there, you can trim away no more than 1/3rd of the root mass (1/4th is preferred.)
Then you can repot the tree in the same pot, or give it a newer / bigger pot to thrive in.
After repotting, your ligustrum bonsai should be thoroughly watered.
Diseases, Insects & Other Pests
Your ligustrum bonsai can be treated for pests like a normal ligustrum plant. Just remember, your tree is miniature and will need a much smaller and more gentile dose of treatment.
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