electrictoothpicks
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That's fine, I wanted a not fully grown bonsai. I've narrowed it down to a pomegranate or a yew. Both are very nice, I'm not sure how hard they'll be to find though.

kdodds
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Pomegranate might not be so easy at nurseries or non-bonsai plant sellers. The site I mentioned, however, does carry Punica granatum "nana". What type of yew did you have in mind? Your garden variety temerate hedge-type plants should not be hard to find, but would do poorly indoors, but Japanese yews, Podocarpus spp. would work inside.

electrictoothpicks
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Well I was having a hard time finding yew and I liked the site you suggested so I've decided on the pomegranate. The pomegranate seems more geared towards my room anyways. Should I order a pot and tray from the site as well or do the bonsai come with them? I'm assuming not. What size should I buy? Do I want to get a bigger one now in order to let the tree really grow or do I want a smaller one to stunt its growth? I'm getting a book with the bonsai but I won't have it until after I buy everything, so I don't want to mess this up.

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electrictoothpicks,

I checked their website and I don't see a Pomegranate listed under 'finished bonsai' so I assume you purchased one of their starter plants. This means that it will on the small side and a period of growing out will be required.

Typically, bonsai are not placed in actual bonsai pots until a certain level of development is reached. Any nursery pot of sufficient size will be suitable for now. It may not even need re-potted this year. The first order of business will be to learn how to manage it and to try to get some good growth this year.

Norm

kdodds
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Agree with Norm. I use "training pots" mostly. But, this is strictly for aesthetic reasons. I have some trees in nursery pots as well. From my experience with this sell, most trees do not NEED to be repotted the first year you acquire them. Nonetheless, I have moved most into the above mentioned "training pots". On buying a more permanent pot: with bonsai, the pot is half of the finished picture. A bonsai in an ill matched pot will look poor, no matter what is done with it, in teh overall impression, anyway. So, get your tree, decide on what you want to do with it, how you want it to look, what its growth suggests it should look like, and then pick your pot from there.

electrictoothpicks
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So technically I could leave it in the pot I'm getting it in from the seller? And say I did want to go with a training pot, are the pots on the website acceptable for young bonsai? And when the site says 2" pot etc. is that a reflection of the size of the actual plant or is it just to choose what size pot you want? And yes, I will be purchasing a starter plant, Gnome.

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electrictoothpicks,
And when the site says 2" pot etc. is that a reflection of the size of the actual plant or is it just to choose what size pot you want?
That would be the size of the pot it is in now. So you can see that you would not need a large pot for the next step up.
And say I did want to go with a training pot, are the pots on the website acceptable for young bonsai?
A training pot is simply a pot that is large enough to allow for good growth without being so large as to allow a waterlogged condition.

Be aware that using a decorative pot is an aesthetic choice, not a practical one. If it seems like it has recently been potted up it would be best wait. In other words it is possible that the grower has recently re-potted it and a second move in a short time frame would not be wise. You could contact them if you wish, they will give you some idea of what is prudent right now.

If you do decide to pot it up you should first learn about bonsai soil/medium it is very different than conventional potting soil. Many newcomers are surprised to learn that 'soil' is actually a misnomer as there is almost never any actual soil in bonsai pots.
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3422

Norm

kdodds
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The pot inch size definitely refers to the size of the pot. However, the same plant species in a 4" pot is going to be larger, more full, and with a thicker "trunk" than one in a 2" pot. As far as to how tall or full the given tree is, well, they're all individuals. A tree in a 2" pot is gooing to be something on the order of 2 years old, give or take, depending on species. IOW, barely past the seedling stage, if at all. If you step up to a 3" or 4" pot size, you'll get something a little older, with a little more to work with. The larger sizes this vendor offers in the "more refined" state are basically pre-bonsai materials ready to begin training (usually with the ultimate goal of a shohin sized bonsai, around 8-12"). Anything smaller than this last mentioned size is probably best left in a nursery pot, but once the plant is multibarnched, with branchlets off of the main branches, moving to a "training pot" can be done. As Norm said, small plants in larger training pots on not really such a great idea.

electrictoothpicks
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I think I'll be sticking with maybe a 3" or 4" plant then. Maybe I'll consider the 'more refined' but I want to make sure I have a good grasp on all the practices of caring for a bonsai before I really have to start pruning. With the 3" and 4" ones about how long do you think it will take before I should start pruning it? And I want to get a pot for when I am ready to replant the bonsai, even if that is a long ways away. What size would you guys recommend for me for later on down the road?
I've also noticed that these do not come with humidity trays. I've heard the trays are important. Is this true? And should I get one for my new bonsai?

electrictoothpicks
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Oh, and I was wondering about light for this bonsai. Should I get artificial light for it? Or do pomegranates not require quite as much lighting. And I'm realizing all I need to do for a humidity tray is get a tray at the garden section of a store and put rocks in it. Am I correct? And would that be good for my new bonsai? Do bonsai require anything special in terms of food? I've heard some people like to give their plants something like a nutrient supplement. Is that good for a new bonsai or not necessary?

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electrictoothpicks,
I want to make sure I have a good grasp on all the practices of caring for a bonsai before I really have to start pruning.
Good idea, there will probably be very little need to do much in the way of pruning early on. Pruning very young material is often counterproductive. Once you receive the plant evaluate it and begin to think about what size and style the tree will eventually take.
With the 3" and 4" ones about how long do you think it will take before I should start pruning it?
It depends upon the goal you set for the material on hand. if you want something with a one inch trunk it makes little sense to constantly prune and mess about with it. If you decide to aim for a much smaller image you can begin the training process earlier.
And I want to get a pot for when I am ready to replant the bonsai, even if that is a long ways away. What size would you guys recommend for me for later on down the road?
There really is no need to rush but something a few inches larger than it is in now will allow for some root growth. Don't go too large, perhaps 6 inches for a plant currently in a 4 inch pot. There are also plastic pots that are good for this purpose, they are shaped like proper bonsai pots but don't cost as much. You will go through a series of these over the years until the plant approaches your design goal. Then is the time to begin to think about the final plant/pot combination that is bonsai.
https://www.miamitropicalbonsai.com/plastics-pots.html
And I'm realizing all I need to do for a humidity tray is get a tray at the garden section of a store and put rocks in it. Am I correct?
Correct, it need not be anything fancy but the larger the better. More square inches equals more surface area from which water will evaporate.
Do bonsai require anything special in terms of food? I've heard some people like to give their plants something like a nutrient supplement. Is that good for a new bonsai or not necessary?
Bonsai do require regular fertilization just like any other potted plant, they do not require any bonsai specific product or any exotic brand. More important than what you use is that you do fertilize regularly during the growing season.
Oh, and I was wondering about light for this bonsai. Should I get artificial light for it? Or do pomegranates not require quite as much lighting.
Probably, unless you have a really good southern exposure some supplemental lighting will help keep it healthy and thriving. This site has information on growing indoors including lighting.
https://www.bonsaihunk.us/cultural.html

Here is a care sheet for Punica:
https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Punicia.html

Norm

electrictoothpicks
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Okay, thank you, these links have been very useful. I was just thinking ahead with the pot, I will probably not replant it for a while, as you guys have recommended.
I think this might actually satisfy my questions for now. If I have more though, I will be sure to post them. If not, I'll update you guys in about two weeks, with some pictures, when I receive my bonsai. I'm pretty stoked about this.

electrictoothpicks
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kdodds wrote:I use meehansminiatures.com for starter material. I try not to buy full-fledged "bonsai" online as even pictures can not fully represent what you'll get. IOW, expect the "good side", or best side, really, of any WYSIWYG trees to be shown. Flaws and faults can easily be missed in photos.
Okay, so I have another question related to this website. Have you found the bonsai you've purchased from this site to all have the appropriate soil? I've been going through old forum posts on bonsai soil and reading that some people have received bonsai that have nothing more than regular plant soil in them, which is apparently terrible. If this is the case, I want to be ready with some soil on the side to replace it with. If not, then I'm not going to worry about the soil.

kdodds
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No, they're not in bonsai soil. It's important to note that these are "starter plants", not bonsai. It makes sense, then, to encourage growth over "dwarfing" on these trees early on. The quicker they grow, the sooner they can a) enter training or b) be moved to larger pots. In my experience with them, the plants they send are, however, never "leggy" like you can get from some other growers. They use a traditional potting soil from all of the looks of things and everything I've received from them.

electrictoothpicks
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So I will not need to change the soil for my new plant? And if not, when should I consider changing it to bonsai soil? I'm guessing when I repot it in about a year.

kdodds
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You got it. :)

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