Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2007 5:42 pm
Location: England

I just got a bonsai tree, need some help-(Privet)

Yesterday I got a Japanese privet the trunk is 3 and a bit inches high without the foilage on top and about 1.5 cm wide. Here are my questions:
1. how do you get the tree to grow in the way you want it to?
2. how old might my tree be from the description of height and width?
3. i live in england so for the winter it is indoors, ok?
4. do i need to feed it with special bonsai food?
and lastly
5. how long does it take to grow?

ps. im still working on a picture (how do you get one on?)


Senior Member
Posts: 273
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 12:21 pm
Location: Central Oklahoma

1)By wiring and/or clip & grow
2)Hard to say as many factors affect growth (ferts/sun-levels/soil it is in/etc guesstimates are about as accurate as can be had other than counting growth-rings ;)
3)Gotta check that one - usually deciduous things need dormancy, google it for better answer
4)No such thing as 'bonsai' food. Bonsai simply means "tree-in-a-pot". There are different ratio ferts that are used for each species, but usually 10-10-10 or such is adequate - do NOT fert just yet; we have some ?'s about history of tree, and better to not fert than to over-fert, OK? :)
5)Depends on what you mean 'grow'...kind of an open question. Growth *should* happen entire time that tree is not dormant, in essence, and 'growth' can occur under-soil with no evidence visually. it would be better to say tree is healthy rather than say its 'growing'. Not trying to split hairs on this, but it does appear that you need to review the 'basics' of trees-in-pots and not worry about 'expectations' for now, OK?

We will be happy to help you, for darn sure, (and welcome to Board!) but the most absolute important aspect at this time is patience, patience, patience. Nothing can be 'sped up' by any means, and genetics rule the species. It will only do so much no matter, and objective is to keep it healthy - not to get something 'like a picture' that you think looks great :) With *time* (and patience, of course, LOL), you *can* get a picture-perfect specimen, but sometimes takes decades to do so. Always begins with good habits and proper healthy methods, blah, blah...

Pics need to be 'hosted' at some place like imageshack or such - nothing uploaded directly to this site, fwiw. :( Been there/done that...if you go find a semi-recent thread on 'mimosa' ( I think), there's some other sites mentioned there which I used myself. Possibly if you look at 'details' of other pics losted (link details, per se) you can get a better idea.

For now - read the stickies at top of forum thread-listings, and also ->GREAT info there, and almost considered biblical-style writings ;) And that is only scratching surface of things-to-know ;) Forgtall you knew about potted plants as trees are not the same. At all....

(short on time, so my answers are succint - will answer w/ more detail a bit later today, I hope)

Newly Registered
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2007 5:42 pm
Location: England

I have had my tree now for just under a week and I think it is doing well! I hav noticed new leaves shooting. When will I need to prune it?
Thanks for your previous help by the way! :D

User avatar
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A


Hi, I see that you have not yet posted a picture of the tree. If you are still looking for information on that look here.
You will find not only tips on taking better pictures but a link to information on posting here.

When I first began bonsai all of the literature I found gave tips on pruning such as "allow shoots to extend 6 inches then pinch back to two sets" or words to that effect. This is all well and good for an established tree that is already ramified (repeatedly divided, twiggy branches) but is counterproductive for young material. Unless you are looking for a very small bonsai (mame) then a period of unrestricted growth is how small trees become decent bonsai.

Even "finished trees" don't always look their best. There is an ebb and flow to a living bonsai, especially one that is still under development. All of this is to say that pruning is not nearly the issue right now that you might imagine, especially considering the season. I grow some ordinary garden hedges (Privets) as bonsai and allow them to go dormant over the winter. What have you decided to do with yours?


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