Bonsai expert advice if needed <br/> Our experience - your advantage

Bonsai expert advice if needed
Our experience - your advantage

Own production of bonsai<br/>Direct import = small prices

Own production of bonsai
Direct import = small prices

Immediate Shipping to Europe<br/>Right to return and exchange

Immediate Shipping to Europe
Right to return and exchange

All major payment methods<br/>SSL-Encryption = Your Security

All major payment methods
SSL-Encryption = Your Security

Satsuki Azalea (Rhododendron indicum): Repot bonsai - Step by step guide

Bonsai root through - with healthy growth - the bonsai pot more or less quickly. Important, tiny cavities in the bonsai substrate are quickly filled. The bonsai soil is compressed. The air and water permeability of the bonsai soil decreases.

However, the bonsai plant urgently needs a well-permeable soil in the bonsai pot. Otherwise first the root growth and later the growth of the entire bonsai would suffer.

Young, fast-growing species (eg. Maple bonsai, Chinese elm bonsai) with strong root growth usually have to be repotted after 2-3 years. Older bonsai, especially conifers, can often spend much longer in their shells. They root through the substrate more slowly.

When repotting bonsai, in most cases a root cut is carried out to reduce the root mass and increase the fine branching.

In this article, we show the basic steps that have to be taken when repotting.

Remove fixation wire

If the bonsai has been properly and professionally potted, the wire for fixing the root ball must be removed before repotting of the bonsai can start. The best way to do this is to cut the fixing wire on the underside of the bonsai pot with Wire cutter.

Repotting Bonsai Satsuki Azalea (Rhododendron indicum) - Remove the fixation wire

Remove old bonsai soil with a root claw

A Root claw with 2 or 3 tines is usually used to remove the old bonsai soil. If the substrate is already very solid, a Root hook is more suitable.

Repotting Bonsai Satsuki Azalea Rhododendron indicum - Remove old bonsai soil with a root claw

Clean the roots of moss and soil residues

Bonsai that have stood in a bonsai pot for a long time often have moss at the trunk base. When repotting you can use the opportunity to remove it with a brush. At the same time, the root base is exposed to see if anything needs to be corrected.

Repotting Bonsai Satsuki Azalea Rhododendron indicum - Clean roots of moss and soil

Correct roots with root cutter or bonsai forceps

Stronger (no longer needed) roots are best removed with root cutter or bud forceps.

Repotting Bonsai Satsuki Azalea Rhododendron indicum - Correcting roots with a root cutter

Place the cover grille over the drainage holes and attach the rootball fastening wires

In order to prevent the bonsai soil from trickling out of the drainage holes, plastic grids are placed inside the pot.
Covering drainage hole

So that the bonsai can grow well, it is important that the root ball is fixed with Bonsai wire. Bonsai wire is passed through the wire holes (found in most bonsai bowls) in the way shown.

If there are no wire holes, the fixing wire can also be inserted through the drainage holes.

Repotting Bonsai Satsuki Azalea Rhododendron indicum - Attach root ball attachment wires

Fill in Kanuma bonsai soil

Before the root ball of the Satsuki Azalea can be aligned in the pot a little bit Bonsai soil should be filled in.

For Azalea Bonsai (rhododendron indicum, Satsuki azalea), bonsai substrate with a very low pH value should definitely be taken. Kanuma, a bonsai substrate especially for azaleas, has proven very successful. It is imported from Japan.

Peat substrates are also very sour. But they are (except perhaps in the cultivation phase) not suitable for finished azalea bonsai. The main disadvantage is that once dried, peat substrates are very difficult to remoisten. And ball dryness doesn't like an azalea bonsai to come through.

Bonsai Satsuki-Azalee Rhododendron indicum potting - Fill in Kanuma Bonsaisoil

Determine position and potting depth

Now we can start potting. Before we fix the root ball we determine the position and the potting depth. Here in our case, the azalea is not deep enough in the shell.

Bonsai Satsuki-Azalee Rhododendron indicum potting - Determine position and potting depth

Shorten the root ball of the bonsai

To get the azaleas bonsai deeper into the shell, some substrate or root ball can be removed. We have decided here to shorten the root ball.

The root ball is torn open with the Root claw on the underside and the exposed roots shortened with an old bonsai scissor.

Repotting Bonsai Satsuki Azalea Rhododendron indicum - Shorten root ball of bonsai

Align again and fix the root ball of the bonsai with wire

The azalea is realigned. Everything fits now. Hold the tree firmly and twist the fastening wire over the root ball. Cut off the overhanging ends with wire pliers.

Repotting Bonsai Satsuki Azalea Rhododendron indicum - Fix root ball of bonsai with wire

Incorporate bonsai substrate between the roots

It is important that the bonsai substrate is thoroughly worked in between the roots. A thin stick (eg. chopsticks) is well suited for this.

Repotting Bonsai Satsuki Azalea Rhododendron indicum - Incorporate bonsai substrate between the roots

Apply color matching cover layer

Kanuma is a perfect substrate for azalea bonsai. It has only one small disadvantage - the color. Kanuma is light brown-yellowish, slightly darker when wet.

If you don't like this colour you can cover Kanuma with a thin layer of other bonsai soil. Due to its dark grey colour, expanded shale is quite suitable for this purpose. Best mixed with a slightly finer substrate such as soil for indoor bonsai.

Repotting Bonsai Satsuki Azalea Rhododendron indicum - Apply color matching cover layer

Thoroughly water root balls after potting

Very important after repotting: Water thoroughly. The best way is to dive your bonsai.

Attention: Kanuma is dry very light. Without being covered by another bonsai substrate, it floats away when diving.

Repotting Bonsai Satsuki Azalea Rhododendron indicum - Thoroughly water root balls after potting

Ready-potted Satsuki Azalea

Repotting Bonsai Satsuki Azalea Rhododendron indicum - Ready-potted Satsuki Azalea