"Upon finding that I work as a professional bonsai artist, many people will remark that they once had a bonsai, but it died and with some regret, they gave up".
Based on the Bonsai Basics section of the hugely successful Bonsai4me.com website and an e-book of the same name, 'Bonsai Basics: The Foundations of Bonsai', written and developed over the past 15 years is out now!
All copies are signed by the author.
is a genus of around 350 species of woody-based, aromatic, evergreen
perennials and shrubs found mainly on dry grassland throughout Europe and Asia. They produce minute, opposite
oval leaves. In summer they produce terminal heads of flowers.
For bonsai, Thymes are commonly seen as accent or accessory plants, particularly on Saikei (living landscapes). Commonly, Thymus will be found growing with a large number of very thin 'trunks' emanating from the rootbase; rarely it is possible to find specimens with a single trunk thick enough to warrant use as an individual bonsai specimen.
Almost all species are suitable for use as bonsai and potential should be determined by foliage and flower colour; leaf-size is rarely larger than 10mm.
Thymus species have a spreading habit and rarely reach heights greater than 10"-12".
POSITION Full sun, Thymes are fully hardy but need frost protection from temperatures below -5°C if planted in small pots.
WATERING As Thymes are by nature minute they are commonly planted in tiny pots for display purposes; small pots hold a small body of soil and therefore water and can be liable to dry out very quickly in hot weather. In very hot weather it is worth temporarily potting into a larger container and providing some shade.
However it should be noted that Thymes strongly dislike permanently wet soil and should never be overwatered.
FEEDING Every two weeks with a balanced fee through the growing season.
REPOTTING Annually at any time though Spring is preferable. Use a basic well-drained soil mix, Thymes prefer an alkaline soil (strongly disliking acid) and the addition of a little lime is beneficial to their health.
PRUNING Continually clip to shape. Prune hard after flowering.
PROPAGATION Sow seed outside in Spring. Divide in Spring. Take semi-ripe cuttings in mid- or late-summer or softwood cuttings in early summer.
PESTS AND DISEASES Adverse reaction to acidic chemicals/fertilisers
STYLING All forms in extra-small sizes.