Magnoliayankee
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Ordering trees on line

Is there any advice you would give to ordering trees on line. I would like to order a bonsai that would be good for indoors. Is there any dealers that you all have done business with that you would reccomend. Your imput would be greatly appreciated :)

kdodds
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Don't expect to get a fully developed tree of any quality for less than a few hundred dollars. Otherwise, you're looking at stock. Don't buy stock trees already in bonsai pots. First, you're paying more for the pot than the tree. Second, the pots are generally low quality. Third, it's easier to develop a tree (pre-wiring) before it's potted. And last, you'll get MUCH more "bang for your buck" from a quality start than you will a "finished" tree. Check out Wigert's. Find a species you like, and give them a call. Fair warning, though, weather can kill your tree in shipping.

kdodds
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Just noticed that you're two states to the left. Shipping should be fine.

Magnoliayankee
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thanks for your help. I will take your advice. I am facinated by the bonsai trees and have a feeling this will become a lifetime obsession :-)

luigonz
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i would suggest not ordering online..
many pictures online are not of the trees which will arrive.
alamaba should have plenty of tropical tress at local nurseries.

for example you could geta faily large ficus for about 15 $$
where online they are running around 30 for a thinner trunk plus shipping.

what the internet does offer is rare species that my not be found at big box stores...such as fukien tea, narrow leaf ficus, etc.

as a beginner i would try to save on the wallet and experiment making your own trees out of better stock which is easier to find, so that if you fail, which every one has! I wond cost too much and yu can simply start anew!

kdodds
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Have to disagree luigonz. Most nurseries offer very few bonsai-suitable specimens. Finding one can take several trips of several hours each unless you're going to a bonsai specialty nursery. Wigert's OTOH offers 8" bulb pan trees that are very well developed, with much of the primary work already completed. You can hardly beat $25 for a tree of the caliber they offer. Shipping can be high if you're further from them. But I don't imagine FL to AL is all that expensive. For 3 trees, shipping would probably be around $25-35. That's 3 quality trees, most likely ready for pots, for $100, delivered. As a comparison, I've been shopping my local nurseries for Maples and the pricing is fairly ridiculous. Many want $300 for a JM thread leaf I can collect or grow in 3 years from seed. Needless to say, they don't move many trees, and they just keep increasing prices. I was interested in one Trident that was marked $50. The tag was embedded in the bark about 18" up. The trunk was about 1½" caliper. When I went to purchase it, they refused to sell it for less than $250, despite the very clearly marked price tag that OBVIOUSLY belonged to the tree. The colored ribbon, I was told, means it's a $300 tree that they would "let go" for $250. These are field growns, no maintanence trees too. Anyway, rant over, nurseries are not always the best place to look. Yes, you can find real gems every now and then, but these are rarities. And, if you go looking for them, you'll find yourself dejected more often than not.

TomM
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While I'm not big on internet buying in general - and like the "see and touch" method I will go with kdodds on this. I'm familiar with Eric Wigert's work and his trees. Yes you can get good quality, good variety, good pricing and good service with minimal risk.

Two thumbs up!

tomc
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To even a compulive reader with a spiral notebook and good shorthand skills, I'd reccomend a brick and mortar vendor over an online site for a new bonsai hobbyist.

Being the first person on your block with a dead bonsai isn't that fullfilling. Been there, done that. I suspect there is a bonsai club or someone to mentor you within your commuting area.

There are steen-hundred unasked questions, you'll never think of without some face time, and touch time where your new tree baby now lives.
Think like a tree
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kdodds
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True, all of the books in the world to not compare to *good* live advice from a well seasoned hobbyist. However, some of us do not have that luxury, or even if we do, do not have the desire to connect with a club or "mentor" on a person-to-person level.

I agree, being the first one on your block with a dead bonsai is no great thrill. BUT, with a little help and picking the right species, there's really no need for that to happen if some very basic advice is followed. Styling... now that's a different story. Styling advice, even the best, is bound to be rudimentary online. If you can work with that, wonderful. But, if you need your hand held through every snip, there's nothing for it but to find some face time.

luigonz
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well kdodds, i was simply warning of those who might buy a small stick in a pot on ebay or any of the other website which up price small trees simply because they are in bonsai pots. or even bonsai seeds!!

YEs, the big box stores can be pricey on their JM and such. AN NEVER buy anything label Bonsai. But i did find a mature juniper with a 2 in caliber in a 5 gal pot on sale for 10 bucks, sometimes these stores are just trying to get rid of trees before winter and have some crazy sales. But yes JM are never cheap there.

You may have convinced me to buy a few tress at Wigert's! Like you said Kdodds, it depends on shipping cost, from FL to MO its about 25 $ TO SHIP A TREE, but if you want those rare tropical trees its worth paying double. i would still rather pick my own specific tree out of their say '15 in stock'. Alas, i don't live in FL.

But I am advocating search for some local nurseries, where you might develop a relationship with a nurseryman. The big box stores have high turnover with their plants and never keep them for long , where as one might find a neglected tree or unsold tree which has be cut back for several years, lingering in some back corner of a lot.

I have had much luck with my local nursery where they give me deals on trees which might have fallen in a storm and cut in half, a tree one home owner would put in their lawn!

Also, these places can lend a beginner insight onto which trees can be grown successfully in that particular city.

Either way, i believe there are reputable online stores, but one must not neglect the small time local nurseries where interesting trees are waiting to be discovered. You never know.

kdodds
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That depends on the nursery. By me, most nurseries are aware of "bonsai people" and refuse to do deals on trees that they would never, ever be able to sell to anyone else. One particular nursery has a whole mess of fat trunked Ficus that are basically bald. Useless for someone's home, right? Yet they refuse to lower the price on these 5-6 footers under $179. They've been there two years at least, and only have 1" trunks.

Magnoliayankee
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thank you all for your response, I do have a few nurseries close by and ask lots of questions :-)

lucenda
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Now winter is -almost- here; I had the same 'problem' I want to buy some indoor bonsai; since all my plants are outside. The trees at our nursery where way too expensive for a beginner. So I just went to Eric's website -thanks for the link- and bought some pre-bonsai for indoor; like Ficus. I decided not to buy all those Christmas plants anymore; like the Holy; they will die anyway; or Wallmart plants. Hopefully; this will work out better.

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Gandalph
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luigonz wrote:You may have convinced me to buy a few tress at Wigert's! Like you said Kdodds, it depends on shipping cost, from FL to MO its about 25 $ TO SHIP A TREE, but if you want those rare tropical trees its worth paying double. i would still rather pick my own specific tree out of their say '15 in stock'. Alas, i don't live in FL.
I live in the Greater St. Louis area and can highly recommend Wigerts. Eric and Andrea have always been very helpful both before and after the sale.
If you describe to them exactly what you are looking for and your price range, they will send you photos of what they have available. I've ordered Buttonwoods, BRTs, and several varieties of Ficus from them and have NEVER been disappointed. If anything, I've been delighted

The trees you receive will be very well developed and need very little work for developing as bonsai.

luigonz
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yes,
as a result of this thread i have purchased a tree from Wigert's!!
ha
They have been very helpful!
Emailed me the same day of my purchase about the specifics of my order.

I definitely will be ordering another tree from them in the future.

TomM
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As good a recommendation as you can get. 8)

lucenda
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I just got my trees from Wigert. They are much better than I thought they would be. Compare to my local nursery; its a bargain. They called me for the shipping; they shipped the trees with a heatpack. Neat!

Funny: the raintree opened her leaves right before my eyes! Great service; great trees!

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Gandalph
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lucenda wrote:I just got my trees from Wigert. They are much better than I thought they would be. Compare to my local nursery; its a bargain. They called me for the shipping; they shipped the trees with a heatpack. Neat!

Funny: the raintree opened her leaves right before my eyes! Great service; great trees!
Yeah, as far as I'm concerned they set the standard for online bonsai nurseries 8)

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