Nbur
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Thinking About buying a Bonsai !

Hey guys!

I am seriously thinking about buying a bonsai and have an idea or two of what i am looking for (as far as style(physical look)/actual look of the plant) but im not sure what exact species is good for my climate and what i am looking for as far as style.

Here is what i was hoping for...

~Something fairly small, perhaps the size of a hand? or a little bit bigger, but not too much.

~I think i want something with leaves that resembles an American Maple or even Elm Trees. ( I recently moved across the world to Australia and am a little home sick! it would be nice to think of home when i look at my bonsai)

~I know 90% of bonsai has to do with the over all feel of the plant and its surrounding, but would it be impossible (aesthetically) to have white gravel/sand near or around the base of my bonsai ? This is to say i have my bonsai as the centerpiece, withing a larger pot with white gravel/sand not actually touching the plant or soil itself.

~During the winter (in Melbourne australia) the coldest it gets at night is about 6-12c in the winter and in the summer it can get up to a staggering 35-40c+ at about mid-day.

~My bonsai will sit on my upper deck (2hn floor) south facing patio, i assume it will get alot of light, so id like something that can tolerate high amounts of intense light. (Australia is missing some of its O-zone layer and this makes sunlight more intense)

~ If possible i would like some red in the plant. Be it either the leaves at some point in the year, its blossoms, or what ever *shrug*

~I hope to achieve a small version of a Maple that grew in front of my house in the USA (style/wiring/molding). So basically something that will have a longer trunk/base and a loose ball of leaves on the top.

~Im not fussed if it isnt a tree, a shrub with the leaves/color im looking for would also be great.

Well that is what im looking for and im hoping you guys can give me some advice on a bonsai suitable for a first timer that hits some or most of the previously listed points.

thanks in advance!

Nbur

ynot
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Re: Thinking About buying a Bonsai !

Nbur,

It is good that you are seeking information before purchasing, This is an excellent order in which to do things :).

The simplest thing to do would be to get in contact with your [url=https://bonsainorthwest.com.au/]Local club[/url] as they would have first hand experience with species that are appropriate for your climate.

IE: Maples being deciduous may not get enough of a dormancy in your climate, The intense light may be an issue also w/o protection.

Elms are absolutely an option IMO [Provided your willing to give up 'the red'...lol]

I would absolutely contact them via the link provided or the phone# on the site. A quick Google shows quite a few bonsai resources that are fairly local to you.

Do take note that they have The Association of Australian Bonsai Clubs 20th annual bonsai convention in Melbourne on the 18-21 of next month.

Time to do some research and then visit there to see some amazing stuff. :D

I am not clear just what you are asking about the white sand...? Can you clarify that please?

Good luck and enjoy the show if you go 8).
ynot

Nbur
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well...

you know those japanse/chinese sand pits that have maybe one or two black rocks in them and a designs in the sand ? i would like to have my bonsai in one of those. Of coarse my bonsai would not be planted in the sand but in a small pot with in the sand. I am just wondering if there would be any unforseen consiquences of sand near a bonsai. Perhaps on the top of the soil with something easy to move to water it as needed?

im not sure it would look all that spectacular if there was soil showing in the white sand. But perhaps some larger more poriuse pebbles around the base? im not sure, ill give it more thought as i plan a everything out... but i need to know first if it will harm the plant or not.

What sub species of elm/maple would i look at if i only wanted to keep a hand size bonsai? Or can all bonsais be kept as small or large as the owner wants?

I will definately be going to the Melbourne Bonsai convention... although i am sure it will be possible to buy a bonsai from there, i am not sure it would be the best place? *shrug* i guess ill wait and see perhaps.

going to that link led me to another link where i can buy a bonsai from a nursery that only grows bonsais ! i would think that that would be the best place to get my bonsai, but its about an hour away from my house =( . Now all i need is the species and i can just about get started! thanks for the awsome link !

forgive the bad spelling my ABC checker isnt working !!! ; )

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Nbur,
you know those japanse/chinese sand pits that have maybe one or two black rocks in them and a designs in the sand ? I would like to have my bonsai in one of those. Of coarse my bonsai would not be planted in the sand but in a small pot with in the sand. I am just wondering if there would be any unforseen consiquences of sand near a bonsai. Perhaps on the top of the soil with something easy to move to water it as needed?
I see nothing intrinsically detrimental to this arrangement. In fact some growers keep their small bonsai (mame) submerged in sand or gravel in a larger pot. This helps to moderate the watering requirements and also helps to keep the temperature of the small pots down.

Now you need to address a few things. The tree will need watering, probably every day in the summer. Either the sand tray will have to have drainage holes or you will have to remove the tree daily? If the former, then you will be wetting your sand pit and disturbing the patterns in the sand. If the latter then you will be disturbing it all anyway. So... I don't know how practical this is. Perhaps you could place a slab in the sand where the tree will sit so you could move it daily without disturbing everything else.
im not sure it would look all that spectacular if there was soil showing in the white sand. But perhaps some larger more poriuse pebbles around the base? im not sure, ill give it more thought as I plan a everything out... but I need to know first if it will harm the plant or not.
It is not unheard of to have a "top dressing" on top of the soil in a bonsai pot but this might make evaluating the moisture level of the soil difficult. I suggest that you leave it off until you get the hang of watering your tree. Please don't consider anything that is too fine as this will clog your free draining bonsai soil.
Or can all bonsais be kept as small or large as the owner wants?
No, not really some species are not really suited to very small bonsai.
What sub species of elm/maple would I look at if I only wanted to keep a hand size bonsai?
As Ynot has noted Japanese Maples may not be a good choice, check your local sources and see if they grow them is so you can try. My suggestion would be Chinese Elm, Ulmus parviflora. They have small leaves and are very tough plants.

Norm

ynot
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Nbur wrote:well...
you know those japanse/chinese sand pits that have maybe one or two black rocks in them and a designs in the sand ? I would like to have my bonsai in one of those.
Sure a Meditation Garden [Commonly associated with Zen and utilizing sand or gravel {size dependent of course} ].

Like these:

[img]https://www.serenityhealth.com/fountain/zen-again/za_elements_main_lg.jpg[/img][img]https://www.mysticgoddess.org/images/zengardenblk.jpg[/img]
Of coarse my bonsai would not be planted in the sand but in a small pot with in the sand. I am just wondering if there would be any unforseen consiquences of sand near a bonsai. Perhaps on the top of the soil with something easy to move to water it as needed?
Several problems immediately come to mind:

1. While sand is usually an entirely suitable component for bonsai potting medium it is of an extremely course nature and that is incongruous with the very fine small particle size usually used in the smaller versions of these gardens. Using the sand size proper for the garden within the bonsai container would potentially cause drainage problems for the tree. Yet, Properly sized sand for the tree will be inconsistent with the rest of the garden.

2. A bigger problem though is that the container for the bonsai is going to be considerably deeper than the garden as well as the fact that most indoor trees are going to require additional humidity that would be difficult to provide given the scenario your considering.
im not sure it would look all that spectacular if there was soil showing in the white sand. But perhaps some larger more poriuse pebbles around the base? im not sure, ill give it more thought as I plan a everything out... but I need to know first if it will harm the plant or not.
As I said above, The sand is not harmful but the particle size could be an issue.
What sub species of elm/maple would I look at if I only wanted to keep a hand size bonsai? Or can all bonsais be kept as small or large as the owner wants?
Species dependent, Also note that with smaller trees and naturally smaller pots there is less room for error wrt watering which is not nearly as straightforward as it would seem. You should understand though that a maple is strictly an outdoor tree [all the time]. The elm would be happier outside also but with dedicated care is adaptable to indoor culture.
I will definately be going to the Melbourne Bonsai convention... although I am sure it will be possible to buy a bonsai from there, I am not sure it would be the best place? *shrug* I guess ill wait and see perhaps.
Cool, You will see some amazing stuff. I am certain it is a great place to buy a tree. I am not certain it is the best investment for your first tree. This entire venture is risky IMO. You would be better served seeing if you can keep a tree alive for a while without any special locale restrictions before setting off on this course. I am not saying 'Don't do it'... I am saying you will have to further your understanding of bonsai considerably for this to be a success.
John Naka said famously: 'Dead trees are the tuition you pay to learn bonsai' Fatalities are common when starting out.
going to that link led me to another link where I can buy a bonsai from a nursery that only grows bonsais ! I would think that that would be the best place to get my bonsai, but its about an hour away from my house =( . Now all I need is the species and I can just about get started! thanks for the awsome link !
If it doesn't go against your aesthetic, Consider a cacti as it will appreciate the conditions you can give it and offer you the most opportunity for success. Just an idea.
forgive the bad spelling my ABC checker isnt working !!! ; )
No worries there, I see far worse on a nearly daily basis..

ynot

Nbur
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well i have been looking around a fair bit just to see style and possibilities of the plants out there and what they are capable of.

In the end Color is a secondary preferance. The main thing is that i want it small, and i think i need to get at it young (the plant i mean) because i need to train it to have no branches until 2/3 of the way up where i want as many as possible, in a loose sphere shape. Like what a five year old would draw if you told them to draw a tree kind of thing.

I've been told maples will grow where i live, but that ill need to protect it from the intense sun for a while. That would mean that i would need to aclimatize it, even in the winter.

If it is possible to keep a Chinese Elm, Ulmus parviflora in the loose shape im looking for it would pretty much server the same purpose.

i know you two are pretty much the experts around from what i have read! so i was wondering (if it isnt top secret or anything) what kinds things are in your mixed soil and what quantities?

Also i think i want a tree thats about 8"-11" in total highet, what would the recomended pot size be ? I need this to help me figure out my over all design.

and i will be keeping my bonsai outdoors at all times, so you don't need to worry about any indoor stuff.

This is what i am looking for in my bonsai. where the red line is is where i would like it to stop growing. Is there any way to stunt a trees growth once it is at your desired hight? or is it possible to prune back a tree that heavily ?

[url=https://img410.imageshack.us/my.php?image=c1231hr5.jpg][img]https://img410.imageshack.us/img410/6614/c1231hr5.th.jpg[/img][/url]
Last edited by Nbur on Mon Apr 16, 2007 2:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

constantstaticx3
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What I think you are reffering to is a broom style tree, seen here https://ma.lugo.eresmas.net/bonsai_archivo/b12.jpg
https://www.shop.wsbonsai.com/images/bonsai/personal/km1001.jpg
Notice the second one is a japanese maple which is pretty small in size.

A chinese elm would also work in this style but when you do buy one, if you could possibly examine the tree to see if it has a strait trunk so you will have a good start with it, that would be good. I know buying online will be tough wrt this but some places let you ask what you want.

As for soil, it is a very deep subject and I could right forever on it but in short, to my knowledge maples like more moisture in there soil this would mean more organics to hold moisture in. You say you get a lot of rain where you live so maybe a bit less organics to even out the amount of moisture it will recieve to how much it really needs.

Chinese elms are not too particular. Just make sure the soil dries out a bit before the next watering. In your climate I might recommend a very gritty well draining soil.

I use roughly, I mean very roughly, 30% lava rock, to 40% tuface to 30% pine bark. This is in no way the only way to do it. This is just my prefference and also I might add my third attempt at mixing my own soil so I'm still experimenting.

You might want to look into buying a premade mix depending on the type of tree you get, although, I would thinks no matter what to get a very gritty very well draining mix wrt your location.

Just my take on things.

Tom

Nbur
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that second link is EXACTLY what i am looking for !

awsome... im really pumped up now l
:lol:

constantstaticx3
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that second link is EXACTLY what I am looking for !

awsome... im really pumped up now l
Laughing
If you search google you can find plenty of trees like that. Also, if you are willing to spend a little more money then you may expect, youmay be able to find the tree that you want already made for you. Search around a bit.

Tom

ynot
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Nbur wrote:that second link is EXACTLY what I am looking for !

awsome... im really pumped up now l
:lol:
Google image search [either maple- elm or a species of your choice] 'Broom style bonsai' you will find plenty.
I know you two are pretty much the experts around from what I have read! so I was wondering (if it isnt top secret or anything) what kinds things are in your mixed soil and what quantities?
BTW- There are no experts-There are only people who have made more mistakes than you.
My soil mix varies I use arcilite and pine bark [Inorganic and organic respectively] in ratios that vary. A the most I use up to 1/3 organic for some of my ficus. Some of my other trees are in 100% inorganic. All sieved to remove the fine particles.

Read these threads [And links] for more info on soil:
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3422
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3423
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3530
The main thing is that I want it small, and I think I need to get at it young (the plant I mean)
Nbur wrote:This is what I am looking for in my bonsai. where the red line is is where I would like it to stop growing. Is there any way to stunt a trees growth once it is at your desired hight? or is it possible to prune back a tree that heavily ?
Absolutely, But you need to understand [As I see Tom mentioned] that you will either need to purchase a fairly developed tree or resign yourself to the fact that your tree will develop more quickly in a larger pot for a number of years before it will be the way you want it. [A larger pot than you would prefer in all likely hood]

ynot

Nbur
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Does any one happen to know of an online Bonsai dealer that is based in Australia ?

I googled just about everything i can think of but most the online shops don't ship the plants, just the tools, soil, books etc.

I would say 90% of the shops are either American or UK based so that's a little bit of a hick up as well.

thanks for all the help also.

ynot
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Nbur wrote:Does any one happen to know of an online Bonsai dealer that is based in Australia ?

I googled just about everything I can think of but most the online shops don't ship the plants, just the tools, soil, books etc.

I would say 90% of the shops are either American or UK based so that's a little bit of a hick up as well.

thanks for all the help also.
Your welcome, {That 90% may apply to only what you find online btw..There's more than a few hidden bonsai places in the world you know. ;):D}

The only couple I know of are not near you [They are up north].

BUT...I promise you that plenty of people on [url=https://www.zeta.org.au/~djterry/bonclubs.htm]this list[/url]will know. 8)

ynot
Last edited by ynot on Tue Apr 17, 2007 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

constantstaticx3
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ynot, doesn't Ledanta have a nursery near there?

Tom

ynot
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constantstaticx3 wrote:ynot, doesn't Ledanta have a nursery near there?

Tom
'Near'... Well sort of :P;)

Yeah, I had considered that. Though Ledanta is in Canberra which is over 650 miles away from Melbourne and I am certain there are closer places to shop that may not involve paying for any shipping you know.
Taipan {May he rest :cry:} also has [had] a bonsai nursery but it is on the far Northern coast and that is much much farther away.

ynot

constantstaticx3
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'Near'... Well sort of RazzWink

Yeah, I had considered that. Though Ledanta is in Canberra which is over 650 miles away from Melbourne and I am certain there are closer places to shop that may not involve paying for any shipping you know.
Taipan {May he rest Crying or Very sad} also has [had] a bonsai nursery but it is on the far Northern coast and that is much much farther away.

ynot
Well I think I would go anyway, make a nice bonsai road trip out of it :D , but that is too long for nbur to go for now, unless he's up t it.

wow :cry: I didn't know that. I loved his work. R.I.P.

Tom

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