This post is for those who say they have tried to keep a bonsai alive but failed. Your disappointment was most likely caused from a bonsai purchased in a Mall or Walmart. Those in the circles of bonsai have a different name for these ‘Bonsai.’ We call them ‘Mallsai’ and ‘Wallsai.’
The Cause of Death of a Bonsai
I’ll let you in on a little known secret. Most of these ‘Mallsai’s were dead when you bought them. Please consider this for a moment; if you are a family that still puts up a ‘real’ tree each year at Christmas time, you either go to a merchant that sells pre-cut trees or go to a tree farm and cut your own. You do this most time several days or even weeks before Christmas. Now it sits on display in your home, with its feet cut off and for all practical purposes it is DEAD. The needles of the conifers don’t look dead for several weeks and with just a little water they can look ‘alive’ for even months. The same thing happened when you brought home that bonsai from ‘Mallsai’ or ‘Walsai.’ These are small junipers that were placed into pots on an assembly line where they quickly covered the surface of the soil with small pebbles. This glued together rock on the surface is to seal in the moisture and prevent evaporation. From the assembly they are quickly shipped to a warehouse that may keep them on shelves without light and water for month before hitting shelves at the Mall or Wall stores.
To make a longer story short, these small conifers cannot survive without water and light for that long. That’s why it is safe to assume that 80% of these trees were dead when you bought them. If they were not dead they were so far going that no amount of expert care could save them.
Now you know that you were not responsible for the death of that beautiful little bonsai that you brought home and tried so hard to keep alive.
I am hoping that this post will revive the interest you once had in this ancient art of bonsai and that gives you the courage needed to try again.
My last word of advice is to not purchase any more bonsai from mallsai or wallsai.