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Bonsai Palm Tree: Everything you need to know

Bonsai palm tree is an excellent pick if you are looking to create a mini beach vibe in your home. 

This article will tell you everything about the bonsai palm plant, bonsai ponytail palm, and bonsai sago palm tree.

Types of Bonsai Palm Tree

When someone says “bonsai palm tree,” they’re probably referring to a ponytail palm bonsai or a bonsai sago palm tree. Despite the fact that neither species is strictly a palm tree, they share a number of traits that contribute to their widespread popularity. Unlike actual palm tree bonsai, Ponytail palm tree and sago bonsai are simple to grow!

Buying an outdoor bonsai tree is a great way to add a unique and beautiful touch to your outdoor space. With a variety of species and sizes available, you can find an outdoor bonsai tree to suit any taste and space. However, it’s important to research the specific care requirements of your chosen tree to ensure it thrives in your outdoor environment. Shop around to find the perfect outdoor bonsai tree for you. 

1. Ponytail Palm Bonsai 

The bonsai ponytail palm, which is native to southern Mexico, is actually succulent. This tough plant, often known as a bottle palm or elephant’s foot, is ideal for beginner bonsai. Ponytail palm bonsai are recognized for their airy, cascading foliage and broad, bulbous trunks (which resemble palm tree leaves). These palm tree bonsai are low-maintenance plants that thrive inside and provide tropical flair to any setting.

2. Sago Bonsai Palm tree

The bonsai sago palm tree is another palm imposter, with a pineapple-like trunk and inflexible leaves that grow in a radial pattern. Because of its exceptional resilience, this ancient bonsai palm plant coexisted with the dinosaurs, weathering the Earth’s various changes and challenges. The sago palm, native to southern Japan, is a popular bonsai species that thrive in practically any environment.

Now we will cover caring guidelines for both ponytail palm bonsai and bonsai sago palm tree. We will begin with ponytail bonsai palm tree care.

Caring for a Ponytail Palm Bonsai

Ponytail palm bonsai is a hardy plant that is ideal for novices or those with limited time. Bonsai ponytail palm is a low-maintenance, slow-growing plant that looks equally at home in a sunny garden as it does in your kitchen window.

1) Light

Ponytail bonsai palm plant prefers bright, indirect light, although it doesn’t mind if it comes from the sun or an artificial source such as a grow lamp. On the other hand, your ponytail palm tree bonsai will go semi-dormant in the cooler months, and the plant should be kept out of direct sunlight.

2) Temperature

The bonsai ponytail palm tree enjoys warm temperatures. USDA hardiness zones 9-12 are ideal for outdoor cultivation. While ponytail palm tree bonsai can withstand temps as low as the 20s, you’ll want to bring it inside. It’s time to prepare your bonsai palm plant for dormancy at this point: keep it warmer than 50 degrees for winter.

3) Humidity

Like many other desert plants, Ponytail palm bonsai turned into houseplants that thrive in dry, indoor surroundings. They’re also less tolerant of humid outdoor heat for the same reason. Your bonsai ponytail palm tree should thrive outside if you live somewhere hot and dry (just be sure to introduce your palm tree bonsai slowly).

4) Watering

Ponytail palm bonsai, like cactus, store water in their robust trunks, so they don’t need to bathe as much as other plants. Your bonsai ponytail palm can endure up to 4 weeks without water if it is drought-tolerant (and forgetful). Check the soil moisture with your finger a few times a week rather than keeping to a plan. Give your plant water once the topsoil feels bone dry.

Note for bonsai palm care:

Overwatering is a common way for individuals to harm ponytail bonsai palm tree. You can avoid it by paying close attention to keeping the soil moist but not excessively saturated.

5) Fertilizer

During the growing season, ponytail palm bonsai are hungry! Use a moderate liquid fertilizer every time you water once new growth appears. Reduce your feedings to once every other month throughout the cold months. Be cautious: if you’ve recently repotted your bonsai ponytail palm, don’t water it for at least six weeks to avoid straining the roots.

Note for bonsai palm care: Because this bonsai palm plant is salt-sensitive, be careful not to over-fertilize it.

6) Styling & Pruning

Ponytail palm bonsai requires very little pruning and no wiring because it is slow-growing and has no branches. You can prune your Bonsai ponytail palm at any time of year, but the optimal time is during the growing season, which runs from spring until early fall. 

  • Trim the leaves on top of the bonsai palm plant with clean, sharp bonsai shears
  • The foliage of the palm tree will grow downward and resemble a ponytail as a result of this. 
  • When it comes to general pruning, radially remove browning or broken leaves. 
  • Make sure you’re seated at eye level with the plant and take frequent breaks to double-check your work so you don’t lose too much. 
  • It promotes the plant to grow new foliage from its sides. If you remove all of the foliage from a bonsai at once, new leaves will grow back aggressively and swiftly on palm tree bonsai.

Note for bonsai palm tree care:

You can use pruning paint to cover cuts that have become discolored or ragged after trimming bonsai ponytail palm. Your ponytail palm bonsai will recover faster as a result of this.

7) Transplanting

You’ll need to find out how to transplant a ponytail palm bonsai if you feel your potted bonsai palm plant needs a bit more root room. Bonsai Ponytail palm grown in containers is quite straightforward to transplant to larger containers.

  • To begin, slide a flat device, such as a knife, around the interior of the container to remove the palm tree bonsai plant
  • Wash the roots of palm tree bonsai in running water once the plant is out of the pot to remove the soil.
  • Carefully examine the roots of the bonsai palm tree. 
  • Clip back any roots that are damaged or rotting. 
  • You should remove any insect-infested root portions as well. 
  • Trim back any large, older roots, then treat the remaining roots with a rooting hormone.
  • In a little larger container, repot the ponytail palm bonsai. 
  • Use a mixture of half potting soil and half perlite, vermiculite, shredded bark, and sand for the soil.

Note for bonsai palm tree care:

Knowing when to transfer your bonsai ponytail palm is crucial when it comes to transplanting. Early spring or summer are the optimum times to repot or transplant a ponytail palm bonsai. It allows the bonsai palm plant to grow new roots for several months before the winter chill comes in.

Pests and Diseases

Ponytail palm bonsai are susceptible to the same pests and illnesses that affect most houseplants.

Aphids

Aphids thrive where plants do. You can easily find these tiny sap-sucking insects almost anywhere.

While there are a variety of species that feed on houseplants, the green peach aphid is the most frequent.

It’s time for bonsai palm tree care if you observe yellow stippling on the leaves, wilting, or tiny pests crawling over the stems and leaves.

Note for bonsai palm tree care:

Spraying the leaves, stems, and trunk with a blast of water to knock the pests free is the simplest solution. You’ll probably need to spray this once a week for a few weeks on your ponytail palm bonsai.

Mealybugs

Mealybugs (Pseudococcidae) resemble waxy tiny cotton balls that cling to stems and foliage. They drain the juices out of your poor bonsai ponytail palm, turning the leaves yellow in the process.

If you notice these tiny insects on your bonsai palm plant, act quickly before they reproduce to the point where you have a full-fledged infestation.

Note for bonsai palm tree care:

  • Simply soak a cotton swab in isopropyl alcohol and wipe each insect for a minor infestation. It removes their protective coating, exposing them to the outdoors and causing them to perish.
  • You can also use insecticidal soap if this seems like too much labor.

Spider Mites

Spider mites, especially the red species (Tetranychus urticae), thrive in dry, warm environments as ponytail palm bonsai do.

Because these arachnids are so small, you might not detect them on bonsai ponytail palm. You can witness yellow stippling or tiny webbing.

Note for bonsai palm tree care:

These can be attacked in the same way that aphids are. Spray the bugs with a strong stream of water and, if required, use insecticidal soap.

Disease

Ponytail palm bonsai don’t become sick very often, but it’s still a good idea to know what to look for and how to get your bonsai palm plant treated.

Bacterial Leaf Streak 

The fungus Xanthomonas vasicola causes a bacterial leaf streak on your palm tree bonsai. Long streaks of dry, brown lesions with yellow halos appear on the bonsai palm plant’s leaves when it’s present.

Note for bonsai palm tree care:

Fortunately, it’s a rare occurrence. However, there is no effective treatment for this disease. You can try clipping sick leaves away, but you’ll probably have to discard the bonsai ponytail palm tree and start over.

Rotting of the Stem and Roots

If your ponytail palm bonsai will go sick, this is the one to look out for. The main cause can be overwatering, which suffocates the roots and causes the roots and base to decay.

It’s often too late once you identify an issue, the trunk of the bonsai ponytail palm could already be rotting on the inside, and the roots could be a mushy mess.

If you touch the caudex and feel mushy, you should seek medical attention immediately.

Note for bonsai palm tree care:

  • Repot the bonsai palm plant in fresh soil after removing it from its container and trimming away any dead or mushy roots. 
  • You should reduce the amount of giving water in your bonsai palm tree by half.
  • With this palm tree bonsai, you should always be on the side of giving little water rather than too much.

Now, we will cover the caring instructions for the bonsai sago palm tree.

Caring for a Sago Palm Bonsai

1) Lighting

It can withstand a wide variety of lighting situations. The bonsai sago palm tree prefers full sun to thrive. You should give them at least 3 hours of sunlight per day. Leaves will stretch and become leggy if your bonsai sago palm tree isn’t getting enough sunlight. 

Note for sago palm bonsai care:

It is undesirable for a bonsai specimen where the plant should be kept small. As new leaves emerge, flip the bonsai palm plant every now and then to ensure even growth.

2) Temperature

The bonsai sago palm tree is incredibly resilient, surviving in temperatures ranging from 15 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Frost may damage the leaves, which may turn yellow or brown. If this happens, you’ll need to remove them to relieve stress on the plant and encourage new leaves in the spring. 

The bonsai sago palm tree may perish if temperatures drop below 15, but it may recover if the strong wood’s trunk and leaf crown are made. Your palm tree bonsai may be irreparably ruined if the trunk becomes soft. Return the Bonsai palm plant to its outside location in the spring, when nighttime temperatures are no longer below 50° F.

3) Watering

You will want to keep your bonsai sago palm tree well-drained and in soil that is rich in humus. However, this durable bonsai palm tree seems to grow in almost anything. Yet, you must be careful that your Sago palm tree bonsai is slightly above the soil line.

Sago palm tree bonsai prefer to be on the dry side rather than the wet side. Because the bonsai palm plant gives very little indication of when to water, you should treat your bonsai palm tree as a cactus and water it when almost dry. 

Note for sago palm bonsai care:

  • If your Bonsai palm plant is receiving morning or afternoon sun or experiencing warmer temperatures, you may need to water your bonsai sago palm tree weekly. 
  • If your palm tree bonsai is growing in low light or cooler temperatures, you may only need to water it every few weeks. Because this bonsai palm tree is so drought-tolerant, it is perfect for beginners or individuals who need to travel. 

4) Fertilizer

The bonsai sago palm tree does not require fertilization on a regular basis. You can feed once when new growth shows at the start of the growing season. Fertilize once more in the middle of summer and the fall as temperatures begin to drop. 

Note for sago palm bonsai care:

  • You should avoid fertilizer over the winter months and resume as needed in the spring. 
  • The sago palm tree bonsai, like watering, does best when it is somewhat under-fertilized rather than overfed.

5) Pruning

Because the bonsai sago palm tree grows slowly, little pruning is required. It does not require wire training to look excellent as a bonsai palm tree, and regular trimming should suffice to keep your Palm in good form. 

  • You can prune your Sago bonsai palm tree during the year by removing any yellow or brown leaves. 
  • Remove specific parts of the leaf’s midrib or cut the leaf stalk near the palm tree bonsai’s trunk, retaining the remaining leaflets. 
  • Use Bonsai trimming shears and sit at eye level with your bonsai palm tree. 
  • It will help the wound to heal rapidly, and your cuts should be smooth or slightly concave. 
  • If the chopped surface is brown, you should paint it with pruning paint.

To keep your bonsai sago palm tree looking excellent, you should prune the leaves at least once a year. The oldest and lowest leaves ultimately develop brown tips or turn brown, which is the plant’s natural way of allocating energy to producing new leaves. 

Note for sago palm bonsai care:

  • Any leaf that has become yellow or brown should be removed from the bonsai palm plant as soon as possible. 
  • If new leaves seem yellow or deformed, you’ve probably been fertilizing too much or too little. Cut them off as soon as possible so that your Bonsai palm tree can begin producing new leaves.

6) Insects/ Pests

Insect pests are usually restricted to scale, which can form a white or gray crust or mealybug attacks. 

Note for sago palm bonsai care:

  • Use an insecticidal soap or a scale-specific solution. 
  • In all cases, proceed with caution and adhere to the container’s instructions. 
  • Always water your bonsai sago palm tree before applying a treatment or spraying it in the morning. The combination of heat, direct sunlight, and insecticide can otherwise scorch the foliage.

7) Repotting

In the spring or summer, you should repot bonsai sago palm tree. This palm tree bonsai prefers to be root bound, so repotted it into a container slightly larger than the root system, taking care not to enclose the roots in the soil completely. 

Note for sago palm bonsai care:

  • Repotting should begin with a light trimming of the roots, followed by the removal of an equal amount of lower leaves. 
  • After repotting, give the bonsai palm plant plenty of water, and don’t fertilize for 3-4 weeks.

8) Propagation

Seeds or the removal of “pups” or offshoots are used to propagate the bonsai sago palm tree. 

  1. Soak the seed of the tree in water for a few days, then peel away the red skin to reveal the white hard seed coat. 
  2. You can plant them right once or store them until March or April in a cool, dry spot. 
  3. Make sure to plant seed sideways in well-drained moist-but-not-soggy soil, leaving the top edge exposed. 
  4. The seed will germinate in about 5-9 months, but it may take more than three years to reach the size of a tiny bulb 1 “in circumference. 

Propagation through cuttings

To propagate through offshoots or cuttings, you’ll witness an abundant supply of new plants growing at the base or along the sides of adult bonsai sago palm tree, known as “pups.”

  1. Use a hand scoop for popping offshoots from the trunk side in early spring, late fall, or winter, or a sharp-shooter shovel to dig and gently crow-bar large ones from the plant’s base. 
  2. Remove all of the puppies’ leaves and roots. Now, you should place them aside to dry in the raw spot for a week or more. 
  3. Now, you must plant your gathered “pups” in well-drained soil or a sandy mix with half the ball or trunk below soil level.
  4. Ensure to water thoroughly and allow the soil to dry completely before watering again.

Note for sago palm bonsai care:

  • Keep the started plants in a shady or bright interior location for many months until the first leaves appear.
  • After that, provide a light dosage of fertilizer and water when almost dry but not entirely dry. 
  • Before repotting the bonsai sago palm tree into a larger container or planting it in your garden or landscape, give the new bonsai palm plant time to establish a strong root system. 
  • Please keep in mind that big pup removal on large Sago’s with many offshoots can be challenging.

Conclusion

The Bonsai palm tree has its own charm, and people adore it. Both ponytail palm bonsai and bonsai sago palm tree make a great attraction to any home or office.

Care for both the bonsai palm tree is easy and beginner-friendly. They won’t put you in much trouble. Tell us in the comments section which one did you liked the most?

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