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If you really want to learn, how to do bonsai, the internet will teach you a lot. But it will never beat the teachings and instructions of hands on work. The best place to learn, is by joining a club.
Webpage Midway Bonsai Society Midrand
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Most commercial Fertilizers contain all three in various proportions, and at a variety of concentrations. If you look at the contents listed on fertilizer packs you will see the initials :
N (NITROGEN) P (PHOSPHORUS) K (POTASSIUM) followed by three numbers.
These numbers represent the ratio between the three nutrients, and the relative strength of the fertilizer.
The higher the number the stronger the concentration of the nutrient.
In most cases two numbers in brackets follow these numbers 2:3:2 (22), this number represent the percentage of active ingredients of the fertilizer, the balance is made up of non nutritional fillers.
2 parts Nitrogen
3 parts Phosphorus
2 parts Potassium
22% active ingredients (220g/kg - Active ingredient)
7 Total Parts(2+3+2)/220g = 31,4g/kg (Mass of one part) ie.
63g/kg Nitrogen   = (31.4 x2)
94g/kg Phosphorus = (31.4 x3)
63g/kg Potassium  = (31.4 x2)

Total 220g/kg active Ingredients

NPK 3:1:5 (15)
50g/kg Nitrogen
17g/kg Phosphorus
83g/kq Potassium.
150g/kg active Ingredients
Your Bonsai should be fed during the growing season. Evergreens can be feed throughout the year. We prefer organic pellets. Everytime you water the watering process leeches the nutrition from the pellet. So you are continuously feeding. If using liquid fertilizer, and are not sure, dilute the dosage by 50% of the recommended dosage and then double your feeding routine. Because in bonsai, we are dealing with shallow soil conditions, liquid fertilier may leech out very quickly. Chemical and liquid fertilizers can lead to burning the trees. Chemical fertilisers given an almost instant reaction. When using organic fertilizers, follow the manufacturers recommendations. Organic fertilisers release chemical elements more slowly and will not burn your plants.
Water is not the sole nutrient needed by plants. All living plants needs three essential nutritional-elements in order to thrive:  NITROGEN, PHOSPHORUS and POTASSIUM. (NPK).
Choose fertilisers with balanced NPK values, where all the numbers are close together or the same. This is usually found in hydroponics.
Functions of these elements

Nitrogen (N): Nitrogen plays a key role in many metabolic reactions. Because nitrogen is contained in the chlorophyll molecule (green substance in plants). A deficiency of nitrogen will result in a yellowing condition of the plant.
Nitrogen builds the structure of your tree.

Phosphorus (P): Phosphorus has been described as ever-present in the plant, being involved in nearly all-metabolic processes. It plays a vital role in the life cycle of plants and is important for reproductive growth, promoting early maturity and fruit quality, as well as seed formation.

Potassium (K): Potassium plays an important role in the water relations in the plant. Adequate potassium causes cell walls to be thicker and provides more tissue stability, which normally improves resistance to lodging, pests and diseases. Fruits and vegetables grown with adequate potassium seem to have a longer shelf life in the grocery store.
Colourless, tasteless, odourless, gaseous element, that constitutes 78% of the atmosphere by volume.
5% of organic matter in soil is present as nitrogen. This is broken down by micro-organisms and the nitrogen can the be used by the plant. Plants take up nitrogen through their roots. Some plants such as Alder and Acacia can meet their need for nitrogen from the air, with the help of so called root nodule bacteria.
Nitrogen joins carbon, hydrogen and oxygen as a main constituent of the animal body, other than the skeleton.
Nitrogen is responsible for shoot development and foliage production, in short, for growth. Too little nitrogen will result in a plant that will not thrive, with small and possibly distorted yellow leaves and a “washed out” appearance. With no nitrogen at all, an established plant could be dead within a year, by contrast too much nitrogen will result in rapid growth with large leaves, plump shoots that are full of water and
consequently very easy to snap.
A solid non-metallic element of the nitrogen family is existing in at least two forms:
yellow poisonous, inflammable, and luminous.
red less poisonous and inflammable.
Phosphorus occurs naturally mainly in organic compounds such as protein and bones. The release in soils depends on decomposition of these organic compounds.
Essential for the development and proper functioning of roots.
Also encourages the fattening of woody trunks and branches, and helps to establish appropriate conditions for the production of foliage and flower buds, and to make nucleic acids. It also enhances the plant's resistance to stress and diseases. Weak growth with pale green leaves, and a low resistance to illness and frost could be the result of a lack of phosphorus. Phosphorus is taken up through the roots and its
availability depends largely on the pH value of the soil. Minerals present in clay, which also absorbs phosphorus can reduce its availability to the plant.
A silver-white soft, light, low-melting metallic element, abundant in nature especially combined in minerals.
Potassium is a highly reactive element that forms part of many mineral compounds but does not occur in pure form in nature and is not found in organic compounds. It controls most metabolic procedures in plants and plays an important role because of its osmotic effect. A catalyst and prime requirement, in chlorophyll construction. A governor for taking free nutrients from the air -carbon, hydrogen, oxygen. Needed so plants can make starches, sugars, proteins, vitamins, enzymes or cellulose.
Promotes normal growth and muscle function, also a cell regulating element regulating osmotic pressure in cellular tissue and fluids. Potassium is the main agent for the development of fruit and flowers. By increasing the amounts of potassium in fruit bearing and flowering bonsai, which fruit or flower poorly, will increase their performance the next spring. Potassium also helps hardening of late growth in preparation for winter. In non-fruit bearing or flowering trees, insufficient potassium results in winter die back. A few hands full of hard wood ash are an excellent source of cheap potassium.


We are a Bonsai Nursery, based in Midrand, Gauteng, South Africa. We import pots, tools and accessories directly, enabling us to give the lowest prices. We grow and style our own trees, species suitable to the High Veld environmental conditions. We supply and consult to bonsai clubs and growers, corporates, nurseries, weddings, promotional gift companies and individuals.
Mikibu Bonsai