Azalea bonsai repotting
Healthy Azalea bonsai root through bonsai pot more or less quickly. Important, tiny cavities in the bonsai substrate are quickly filled with roots. The bonsai soil is compressed. The air and water permeability of the bonsai soil decreases.
However, the bonsai trees 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. Now is the time to repot the bonsai.
Young, fast-growing species (eg. Maple bonsai, Chinese elm bonsai) with strong root growth usually have to be repotted after 2-3 years. Older Japanese 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 an Satsuki Azalea bonsai tree.
Remove fixation wire
If the bonsai has been properly and professionally potted a bonsai wire for fixing the root ball was used. This fixation wire must be removed before repotting of the azalea 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.
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.
Correct roots with root cutter or bonsai forceps
Stronger (no longer needed) roots are best removed with an bonsai cutter. The best way to do this is with a root cutter or bud forceps.
Use these bonsai tools only for work in the root area. Due to the fine stones in the bonsai substrate, these tools quickly become dull and should then no longer be used on the above-ground part of the tree.
Place the cover grille over the drainage holes and attach the rootball fastening wires
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.
Fill in Kanuma bonsai soil
Before the root ball of the Satsuki Azalea can be aligned in the pot a little bit Kanuma 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.
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 pot.
Shorten the root ball of the bonsai
To get the azaleas bonsai deeper into the pot, 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.
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.
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.
Apply color matching cover layer
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.
Thoroughly water root balls after potting
Very important after repotting: Water the bonsai 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.