How to Grow a Ginkgo Biloba Bonsai

Written by bonnie grant
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How to Grow a Ginkgo Biloba Bonsai
The Ginkgo biloba is adaptable enough to become a small bonsai tree or huge forest tree. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Ginkgo biloba is one of the oldest plants on earth. The trees can live for an extraordinary amount of time, with some still thriving at over 100 years. A full-sized tree may grow up to 115 feet tall in wild habitat but can easily be trained to a diminutive bonsai. The plant makes an attractive bonsai specimen with its characteristically lobed leaves that turn a rich golden yellow in fall. The plants are common bonsai and can be grown from starts. They make an excellent starter bonsai for novice growers. Ginkgo trees scar badly from pruning, so the biggest challenge is making careful cuts that minimise scarring.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Bonsai pruning kit
  • Shallow bonsai pot
  • Peat moss
  • Sand
  • Watering can
  • Liquid fertiliser

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  1. 1

    Remove your ginkgo from the pot in which you purchased it, and replant it. Check the roots carefully and prune out any damaged or rotten roots. Remove the lengthiest roots and leave the medium-sized healthy roots.

  2. 2

    Set the ginkgo tree upright in the shallow pot. Fill your bonsai pot with 2 parts of peat and 1 part of sand, pressing the medium in around the tree. Ginkgos require no wiring because they have tender bark. Allow your tree to grow in a natural form.

  3. 3

    Water the plant daily in spring and summer and do not allow the pot to dry out. Bonsai have such a small, shallow root system that they must be in moist soil. Diminish water by half in fall and half again in winter.

  4. 4

    Prune in spring to enhance the shape. On young trees, prune shoots to four or five nodes. On an old tree, only remove tips back one or two nodes. Cut the stems before the new growth forms so it can come and fill in to cover any scars. Tip off the top of the ginkgo every year to the previous growth node to keep the height in check.

  5. 5

    Feed Ginkgo biloba bonsai every two weeks in spring and summer. Use a liquid balanced fertiliser diluted to half according to the package directions. Do not fertilise the tree in fall or winter.

  6. 6

    Repot Ginkgo biloba bonsais every year when young in spring. Once the plant reaches ten years of age, repot it every two or three years. Use a well-drained soil and increase pot size every decade.

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