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jberry90
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Possible for Beginner to Make a Juniper Bonsai From Seed?

Hi, i have been intrested in bonsai for many years now but have never really looke into it too much.. I read a few articles but didn't find much info (Although i didn't look to hard as I have limited internet time atm..)
Was wondering if anyone had any tips or a good howto site that they know of..

I like junipers a lot and would also like to start as seeds, if this is possible for a beginer?

Thanks For Any Help!
Jberry
Last edited by jberry90 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 3:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
~jberry~

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kdodds
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Junipers, seeds, seedlings, or established trees no matter the age are, unfortunately, just about the worst place to start. Did you have plans for keeping the bonsai outdoors or indoors? This is a significant difference that would change recommendations of research materials. The most important thing, I think, is not to look on the internet as a starting point, but rather to purchase or borrow a good, beginner suitable, book or two or three. These will answer a LOT of questions you probably have a lot quicker and more easily than searching through internet sites.

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jberry90
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um would prefer to have an indoor but i can deal with an outdoor as well.
any suggestion as to what kind of tree to start with?

ill make a trip to barnes and nobels tomorrow as today is payday^.^

thanks,
jberry

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Gnome
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jberry90,

I agree with kdodds that seedlings are not the best way to go for a beginner. The first years with seedlings is really pretty boring and not really bonsai just horticulture. If you really want to grow seeds thats fine but do so in conjunction with other methods. Since you seem like the kind of person who wants to be involved in the process, not just purchase a tree, I suggest looking to your local nurseries.

It takes a good eye to locate the few gems amongst the material that is less desirable but you can find decent material if you have some idea what to look for. Here is a recent thread that has some tips. https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8811

You are past re-potting season for most species (there are a few exceptions) so in delaying a purchase while you do a little research won't make much of a difference in the grand scheme of things. By all means get some books. Here are some suggestions. https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8816

Traditionally, bonsai is practiced on temperate trees that stay outside year-round. There are trees suitable for indoor culture if you provide the correct conditions, but you should also know that even so called indoor bonsai will be much happier outside during warm weather. The most obvious choice for indoors is probably Ficus but there are others. Look here for some information regarding bonsai with tropical species. https://bonsaihunk.8m.com/cultural.html

As far as more traditional species are concerned you can't go wrong with a Chinese Elm or Zelkova. Other possibilities might be Boxwood, Japanese Maple or Juniper. I have not had any problems with my Juniper and have found it to be relatively trouble free but, as kdodds noted, do not even consider keeping one inside. On the other hand I have a devil of a time with Azaleas, I'm in the process of killing one right now. Every grower is different in their location and preferences, you will over time find what works for you.

Norm

Kenshin14435
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kdodds raises a good point here. I bought a juniper completely out of the blue. I had no idea what to do. I must have kept it indoors for a month and a half. As I found out later by becoming part of this forum, junipers can never be indoors. They can be indoors for a short periods of time. 1-2 maximum for display. They love partial shade, and being misted 1-2 times a day. Now if your looking for an indoor plant, you've got the wrong one. If you want us to, we can suggest some great indoor plants. If you want an outdoor plant, then we can also make some suggestions. The only problem there is, we need to know relatively where you live. As in what country and what state or province. Since bonsai are really sensitive it is crucial to know what kind of climate you live in and act accordingly to that climate. As for books. Don't go looking for books specifically for junipers because if I am correct your not sure on which of tree you want.
This will all come to you in time. Don't feel like making a rushed decision either. That is bad when it comes to bonsai.
Anyway, sometimes Barnes and noble aren't the best place for books on bonsai. I may be wrong. The borders I go to has almost nothing on bonsai.
Here are some good books that I have read.
Ortho's All About Bonsai-No Specific Author
Bonsai Survival Manual-by Colin Lewis
The Living Art of Bonsai- by Amy Liang

That's just a few titles. Click on the link below and it will bring you to another thread in the forum. It is specifically about books.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8816

Also, try looking for books on Amazon, their much cheaper there.
You can also go looking on different websites for information.
I have made a thread called "Bonsai Website Index". It is only a few down the line so go and click on it. There are a good amount of links.
Remember we may criticize you but it will CONSTRUCTFUL criticism.
Ane please, whatever you do, don't buy a "tree" thats been packaged ans shown in a box. They tend to be clippings of a juniper just shoved in a little pot and put in a box.
Good Luck!
~ Ken ~

Kenshin14435
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Norm, you and I must have been typing a response at the same time.
You won though. I made a link to the thread about books too. Without knowing you did.
Oh-Well...you win this race.(joking) :D
~ Ken ~

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Ken,

Yes that happens from time to time. 8)

Norm

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jberry90
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thanks for the tips! Im not sure as to what kind of tree that I want, i would like to have something for indoors as it would be easier, but I think I could handle one outside, as for location, I live in Cumming, Georgia, Usa, hardiness zone 7
Thanks again for all the help! Im really appreative, and I can take critisisim as I deal it out quite often, but I didn't tell you that ;)

Jberry

Kenshin14435
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If you want indoor bonsai then I have a list.
I got it from wikipedia so correct me if I'm wrong.(Norm)



The creation of bonsai is limited only by the imagination and talent of the gardener. Here is an incomplete list of the most popular species.

Ficus benjamina: the Weeping fig is a popular indoor tree that lends itself to the classical, upright form. It is one of the few tropicals that are accepted as "true" bonsai. The miniature cultivars like 'Too Little' are well suited for bonsai. It forms aerial roots and can be shaped as a banyan tree. Ficus are intolerant to branch down-pruning; one must start with a small tree and keep it small. They are sensitive to stress.
Ficus salicifolia : according to Jerry Meislik, "the most useful fig for bonsai is the willow leafed fig . The small leaf is in excellent scale for bonsai and the tree has good branch ramification, good basal rootage and excellent aerial root formation." [3]
Schefflera arboricola: the Hawaiian umbrella tree is a popular, hardy houseplant that is ideal for irregular, banyan or roots-on-rock forms [4]. Since it can sprout on old wood, an old specimen can be pruned back to a stockier shape with thick trunk and roots. It tolerates root exposure very well, is drought-resistant and requires a moderate amount of light. Under high humidity conditions, it produces aerial roots and can therefore be shaped as a banyan tree [5].
Crassula ovata: the jade plant is a very robust and drought-resistant house plant. The miniature cultivars like the baby jade plant (C. ovata arborescens) is considered the best plant for a first bonsai [6]. This plant will sprout on old wood. Thus, an old specimen can be pruned back to a stockier shape with thick trunk. It is kept dry in winter, placed outdoors in summer for full growth. Its roots are thin and cannot be exposed.
Portulacaria afra : the dwarf jade looks a lot like a baby jade plant and is used similarly.
Dracaena marginata: the dragon plant has an interesting palm-like shape. It can sprout on old wood. It does not tolerate root exposure.
Zygocactus: the holiday cactus does not have a real trunk but easily lends itself to a cascade-type bonsai shape. It tolerates shade, not drought.
Small succulents may be used as accent plants :

Rhipsalis (Hatiora) salicornioides


Ok there ya go. I might get one of these....just for the heck of it. 8)
~ Ken ~

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jberry90
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I did some google imageing and I like the Ficus salicifolia best and then the Portulacaria afra come in second.. I thin kill get a Ficus salicifolia

Now if I get the Ficus salicifolia is there a soil prefrence? or just bonsai potting soil? I'm a bit confused about the soil part.. The summer here is very harsh, we go into a BIG drought every year and break records..

Thanks,
Jberry

Kenshin14435
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Sorry,
I'm abit uneasy about soil too. I would ask Norm or kdodds. I asked Norm the same question in a different thread(Advice on Japanese Red Maple) and he still hasn't relplied. Maybe he has taken a day off. Oh-Well
I hope he answers soon. (hint-hint Norm...........LOL)
Although, you could go to my thread called Bonsai Website Index. There is a link to Dallas Bonsai. Click that. They have some different item that could help with this dilema.
~ Ken ~

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jberry90,

I agree with your choice of Willow Leaf Ficus, I don't have one but they can make very nice bonsai. Short of freezing Portulacaria and Jades are almost indestructible and make good indoor plants since low humidity is not an issue for them. Two choices on that list seem odd to me, Dracaena and the Christmas Cactus don't really lend themselves to bonsai in my opinion.

The keys to bonsai soil are texture, drainage and aeration. There are numerous components that are in use by enthusiasts, take a look at the sticky thread on bonsai soils. If you only need a small amount and there is no urgency you can easily purchase some on-line. This may be easier than trying to decipher all of this right now. By the way Ficus are one of the plants that are re-potted during the summer. So assuming that your purchase has not been re-potted recently then you could do so this year.

Norm

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jberry90
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ok cool, now the big question, were should I get the tree from? The only place that I know of around me is lowes and homedepot, I don't think that there are any nursery's around my area, I think that there is a pike family nursery a little ways away... any suggestions, or would I be better off buying online?

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jberry90
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Something just dawned on me, I love Magnolia's would they be good for bonsai? or weeping willows? I forgot about them beoing my two favorite trees >.< lol

Kenshin14435
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Weeping willows are great trees. They look great! But the only problem is that I think they are outdoor trees. In fact I'm almost positive. As for the other tree you mentioned, I've heard it's name before but I'm not familiar with it.
~ Ken ~

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jberry90
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ok, I made some phone calls and no one has any willows left because of the drought, Lowes has no trees at all cause they marked them all down at the begining of the season.. And a Japanese maple costs 69.99 O.O Is the average for most trees? I haven't had a chance to go and shop around though.. Would I be better off buying from somewhere online instead?
Is there a way to get a cutting from another willow? It seems like i heard somewere that you can root cutting of willows?
(I Really have my heart set on willows now though regardless if they are outdoor or not

thanks again for all of yall's help!
jberry

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jberry90
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random thought, what if you made an apple bonsai tree? would you get like little mini apples?? or an orange tree? or any other fruit tree for that matter? (off subject i know... lol) i would assume not but figured i'd ask the experts...

constantstaticx3
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It is possible to do a magnolia I've seen it done before but the leaves are very large and I'm not sure they would reduce. Willows aren't the best choice but also can be done. The grow very fast and need to be re-potted twice a year or more because of how fast the roots grow. Cuttings root very easily in a bottle of watter and that could be the way to go.

I do think for you it may be best to order online and you can try here, https://www.meehansminiatures.com/shop/index.php?action=item&id=60&prevaction=category&previd=1&prevstart=0
I suggest you go with the more refined tree so you already have it started for you, its worth the money. You can even email her and ask for something specific.

I would suggest you try a Chinese elm for your first tree. They are very easy to grow and can be brought in for the winter or even left outside and will do just fine either way.

Yes an apple tree can be done but I think on a regular apple tree the apples will stay normal size, not sure though. If you get a crabapple, the apples will be proportionate to the tree.

Tom

gardenerman
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id love to do a weeping willows bonsai. i think that would look brilliant. I'm new to all this, so i'll keep you posted!
Landscaping shapes humanity

Kenshin14435
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Just a question but whats thescientific name for a weeping willow?
Thnx
~ Ken ~

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Ken,

I just addressed this in another post.
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8951

norm

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jberry90
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now I'm confused.. lol..
I think im gonna have to wait till next year to get a tree, Nobody has any because of the drought, and there are no saplings anywhere, and I cant order online cause of my parents.. >.>
~jberry~

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