All of our plants come with our complimentary care guide, which we have developed during twenty years of firsthand experience and offer to assist our customers in the care of our products.
The guide consists of three separate catagories regarding the care of our plants. They are divided into categories according to Temperature, Watering Requirements, and Lighting Requirements. An example of the code is I/MM/PS, the care guide, corresponding to those letters explains what that code means. Please understand that this is intended only for plants supplied by Meehan’s Miniatures and is in no way intended to offer tips on care for other growers’ plants.
I - INDOOR
Our Indoor plants are Tropical or Subtropical plants that are not winter hardy. Therefore they need a house or greenhouse for winter growing. These plants may be moved outdoors in warmer weather as long as the change is not too severe, i.e., do not move a Bonsai from medium or lower light to full outdoor sun. Do not move them outdoors until the average low temperature is 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and bring them in before the temperature falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. An increase in indoor humidity will benefit the plant(s). (Some possible ways of boosting humidity include: humidity trays, misting. vaporizers, and more).
Our outdoor materials are winter hardy and actually require the cold winter dormancy to survive. Though these plants are hardy, they do need protection from sudden temperature changes, winds, and sun-scald. Some possible methods of protection are:
1. Plant Bonsai with or without container in the ground in an area protected from the harsh winter elements.
2. Plants may be wintered in an unheated garage with windows. Deciduous material can be kept in a windowless cold place after they have lost their leaves.
3. For small collections, single trees, and apartment dwellers, Bonsai and pot may be placed in a well-drained, insulated box. Make sure that both the bottom and sides of the container are well insulated. A deciduous tree needs proper protection of its trunk and branches. i.e., a protective layer of burlap.
4. A more involved method recommended for larger collections is housing plants in a white poly-ethelyne structure. If this method is employed take care to ventilate the structure when temperatures rise inside it.
These are a few of many possible wintering techniques. To protect Bonsai successfully, keep all conditions as constant as possible. Soil should be kept slightly damp, never wet and never bone dry.
CH — COOL HOUSE
This group of plants can be grown indoors or outdoors if conditions are suitable. They prefer outdoor conditions between spring and late fall.
If these plants are being kept indoors year-round, follow the indoor instructions and try to keep them in a cooler area of the house. When grown only in house conditions these plants will only thrive in the brightest natural light or under intense fluorescent light. The plant should be no more than 18 inches from the tube (check an indoor light gardening book for particulars). If they are kept outdoors during part of the year, follow the instructions for care of outdoor plants.
Watering a plant and especially a Bonsai is perhaps the most critical part of its care. It should be done early in the day so that the leaves dry before the temperature drops in the evening. Many factors need be taken into consideration when learning how to water. The species’ moisture preference, the soil mix, the time of year, and weather conditions, all affect a plant’s watering needs. For instance, a plant that enjoys dryer soil conditions may require water twice a day during hot, dry summer weather. The same plant may require water twice a week or less in the winter or during cool, cloudy weather. The same plant may actually need shelter from extended rainy periods so that the soil does not stay wet. Always water your tree thoroughly so that all portions of the roots are given equal moisture. The following definitions apply to moisture throughout the soil, not just the surface.
M - MOIST
With these plants soil needs to be consistently moist and should not dry out below the soil's surface. During winter dormancy plants reduce their intake of water. To keep the roots healthy and rot-free, they often require slight reductions in their watering needs.
MM -MODERATELY MOIST
Plants in this category generally prefer that the soil be kept damp, never wet.
These plants need a more porous soil so that they do not retain too much moisture. These are not desert plants, however. The soil should become almost completely dry between waterings.
These terms define minimum light requirements. Low light plants will grow better under moderate light levels. It is wise to remember that the sun is strongest between the hours of 11 am and 2 pm and, when possible, trees should not be exposed to direct sunlight between these times Trees grown indoors should never be placed on top of a television or other heat source nor should they be placed in the direct path of air or heat ducts. Outdoor trees, which are grown under higher light levels during summer heat waves, tend to dry more quicker than other materials.
Plants that need 4 to 6 hours of sun, or all day in light shade. These plants can grow in full sun throughout the day, but only an experienced Bonsai grower should attempt it.
Plants in this category benefit from 2 to 3 hours of direct, daily sun. They may burn if exposed to sun between 11 am and 3 pm. They will grow equally well in light to moderate shade all day.
No direct sunlight should reach these plants. They grow in moderate to heavily shaded areas, like the north side of a building or under the shade of a larger tree or porch.
These plants require a southern window or intense fluorescent light. During summer, plants receiving southern exposure should be partially protected, either by moving them away from windows, lightly shading windows during the hottest hours of the day, or moving them to east or west facing windows in June and through August. These plants can also be grown under intense fluorescent light (center tube 12 to 15 inches from tree top to bulb).
Place these plants in an east or west-facing window that receives some direct daily sunlight throughout the year. Place 3 to 5 feet from a southern window, or place a fluorescent tube 1to 3 feet from the tree’s tops. These plants should receive 10 or more hours of daily light.
These plants are suitable for a northern window or a shaded east or west facing window. If grown under fluorescent lights, place the plant within 8 feet of the tube to receive light at least 10 hours daily.
Meehan’s Miniatures does not recommend a specific brand of fertilizer. We do suggest using a fertilizer that contains trace elements. Trees are generally fed fertilizer during the growing season, not during dormant periods, and should not be fed during summer days when temperatures reach the mid-90s.
If using encapsulated, slow-release fertilizers follow the package directions. The amount of soluble fertilizer used on trees depends on how frequently you plan to fertilize. If fertilizing every other week, use 1/4 strength solution; if fertilizing weekly, use 1/8 strength solution.