TOPIC: Bonsai watering can project:

Bonsai watering can project: 2 years 1 month ago #18496

So, you want to design a real bonsai watering can.

I posted two pictures, they should show a clear difference between bonsai watering cans and regular ones.

There are reasons why they are different, and to understand that, you'll need to understand what their purpose is.
The large Ikea trees in large, high pots are not considered bonsai. They are in large containers, watering them is not an issue.

Bonsai are small, but real trees. They require a specific soil mix to be able to properly water them. These soil mixes drain fast. On warm days, watering must often be done daily, or several times per day.

Bonsai are in small and shallow trays.
Bonsai come in various sizes, some are very small (And the office watering can certainly wouldn't be suitable for something like this):

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A bonsai watering can looks like this one:



You'll notice:
- It is smaller than a regular one (you don't want to carry around a 10 liter watering can, to water one 10 inch tree...)
- It has a long and narrow spout. This allows the owner to reach under the foliage and water the soil without disturbing the foliage/branches
- It has a fine nozzle. This is to prevent soil from being washed away by the water
- It has several nozzles, for different purposes

Do note that there are 'regular' watering cans that have similar features, like this one, that I think isn't specifically designed for bonsai, but would be quite suitable for most people:

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What you could improve... no idea, really. These watering cans have been designed by people that know bonsai, and that know the requirements. I'm sure they've well thought out the design. All I could think of was maybe make it a bit more ergonomic / balanced.

Actually, looking at the first picture I posted, and seeing how the guy holds the can, that may not be a bad idea :)

So having bonsai's outside, What kind of device do you use to water bonsais?


I use a garden hose (with adjustable nozzle) :)

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Bonsai watering can project: 2 years 1 month ago #18498

This is all very helpful!! Thank you so much.

I had no idea the difference between a watering can and a bonsai can.

Looks like might have to go back to square one and pick a different type of watering can.
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Bonsai watering can project: 2 years 1 month ago #18501

Thedesigner wrote: Looks like might have to go back to square one and pick a different type of watering can.


Not a bonsai can? In that case, thanks for wasting my time.
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Bonsai watering can project: 2 years 1 month ago #18506

I feel compelled to chime in because I have a B.S. in industrial design and knowing your subject matter on any design is key. If you had done more research through the internet, library, or local garden area, you wouldn't be on this forum until you have all the correct questions to get all the answers you need.
My advice is educate yourself on any and all watering situations for a Bonsai enthusiast. Then see where you can improve upon a potential problem.
Best of luck
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"open your eyes and ears, before you open your mouth", my grandfather

Bonsai watering can project: 2 years 1 month ago #18510

Thanks for your input and advice. I'm still learning all about design and research so I'm bound to make mistakes. I've already learned so much from everyones input.
I'll continue to research this all out and come back with the correct questions to ask.
Thanks again
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Bonsai watering can project: 2 years 1 month ago #18511

I'm an ID guy like simplysaid, so I've got to throw some cents in, too.

In addition to the really good info above, particularly knowledge of what bonsai is and isn't, you may sharpen your focus on the user as well. There are cans specifically designed for bonsai already, but many of them don't take into account the user, which is key to good product design. Even Auk mentioned a more user-friendly can would be good.

Bonsai lovers come in all ages and shapes. Elderly may have more difficulty with poor ergonomics, or even weight of water. Sharp corners may rub the side of the leg when carrying. Sloshing of water. Is the handle conducive for its purposes (carrying and pouring)?Good construction methods for manufacturing? Proper materials? A copper can is gorgeous and ages beautifully, but requires solder joints and metal fab - expensive!. Costs are key for many people like me; even Walter Pall (European bonsai master) has mentioned buying the cheapest due to shear volume. Durable, because it's used outside.

I like the suggestion about the mister; it'd require a pressurizing hand pump. Cool idea, though. Maybe a simple way to keep bugs and debris out, because they can clog the holes. The ones with detachable heads remedy that to some degree.

I personally use a hose with a fine attachment for watering, standard garden can for mixing fertilizer.

Good design isn't easy, & simple design isn't simple. That goes for bonsai watering cans & everything else. Best of luck, theDesigner!
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Bonsai watering can project: 2 years 1 month ago #18512

Auk wrote:

Samantha wrote: Watering a bonsai is really not much different than any other plant.


That's not the point. There certainly are watering cans designed for bonsai, and they are quite different from regular watering cans. If TheDesigner wants to design such a watering can, he sure is on the wrong track.


of course, anything i say AUK has to say its wrong, so a coffee cup can't work for a bonsai. What is it that this "AUK" guy has against me me what did I ever write that makes this guy think I'm such a ... never mind ...
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Bonsai watering can project: 2 years 1 month ago #18520

Samantha wrote: of course, anything i say AUK has to say its wrong


Well, yeah. Because usually, it is.

so a coffee cup can't work for a bonsai. ...


How exactly would you propose to water this tree with a mug?




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Bonsai watering can project: 2 years 1 month ago #18524

Aah... one of those days that, after posting something, I realise I am wrong and change my mind.
I'm wrong. A coffee cup actually might work.


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Bonsai watering can project: 2 years 1 month ago #18527

Samantha wrote:

Auk wrote:

Samantha wrote: Watering a bonsai is really not much different than any other plant.


That's not the point. There certainly are watering cans designed for bonsai, and they are quite different from regular watering cans. If TheDesigner wants to design such a watering can, he sure is on the wrong track.


of course, anything i say AUK has to say its wrong, so a coffee cup can't work for a bonsai. What is it that this "AUK" guy has against me me what did I ever write that makes this guy think I'm such a ... never mind ...


Considering this personal attack on Auk that Samantha has going, I am going to respond too; I did not feel it was right to do so before, as people were making an effort to provide input, and I do not like to disagree all the time, even though inaccuracies do occur. But thank you Samantha, you have convinced me to write out some thoughts on items where I am of another opion, and why..

Watering a bonsai is VERY different from watering other plants. Due to the open coarse substrate & the properties of the substrate, water will not distribute in the pot easily. This, combined with the very wide shallow container, compared to normal pot, special care must be given to water the whole surface of the pot. This is why a nozzle with a fine spray is used. Next to the obvious washing away of the top layer which is a big problem for bonsai, where the root-base is of importance, and the shallow roots are hardly protected.

So.. Watering with a coffee much is NOT recommended for true bonsai. Use something that produces a finer spray of drops.

Dunking a bonsai in a tub of water is NOT the way to water a bonsai. You will do a few things; You push water in from the bottom, which will reduce the movement of salts out of the pot. By watering from above, diluted salts will move deeper towards the bottom, to be flushed out, reducing salt buildup. Furthermore, you will create a solution of everything that sits in your pots, including diseases etc. Through repeating the dunking with multiple plants, you stimulate the spread of infections.

Bonsai kept in normal growing conditions will NOT need regular misting. They are just normal plants, living their normal lives. If watered properly, they will only need misting on rare overly hot or dry conditions. Some would argue that misting may cause a lot of scale to build up on leaves & needles which is detrimental to optimal growth.
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