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Silver Birch

Updated: Mar 26, 2020

Betula pendula

The lovely Silver Birch which is often planted as a garden or park tree is a slender and graceful deciduous tree with silvery white bark and double-toothed serrated, triangular leaves. Native to the northern temperate region it will grow to 20 meters or more and has a conical crown that is about 8 meters wide. It has excellent cold tolerance and will grow comfortably in Europe’s colder parts too.

Silver Birch, Betula pendula, Bonsai
Silver Birch, Betula pendula, Bonsai

Styles & Sizes: As bonsai, the make Medium to Large Bonsai and do best in the standard upright forms.

Position: Birches like a lot of light, so a full sun position is best for it, although some shade is advisable in the hottest areas or in midsummer

Watering: Requires a consistently moist soil; do not let it dry out, but also ensure that the pot does not water-log.

Feeding: Feed with a balanced organic feed, every two weeks if using a liquid feed, every other month if using a pelletised version or after the pellets have fully dissolved away. Feed the bonsai from early spring until the end of summer.

Repotting: Young birches grow roots rapidly and need to be repotted every year. Older trees can be re-potted as necessary, generally, if the growth in the current year is not as healthy as it can be it will benefit from a repotting in the following spring. Repot before bud burst, in a free-draining soil mix, use 2 parts Akadama to 1-part Pumice.

Pruning: Trim back shoots to leave 3 leaves on stem once the stem has fully extended. It is wise to make substantial pruning cuts late in the season, as birches “bleed” profusely when the sap begins to run.

Wiring: Wire in autumn and remove carefully in spring.

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