louveciennes
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Greetings. New bonsai owner - here to learn as much as I can

Hello everyone. Today I bought a bonsai tree at Whole Foods. I've always adored bonsai trees, but never owned one before. My younger sister had one when she was little, but it ended up dying since she didn't know entirely how to take care of it.

Since I bought my bonsai this afternoon I've been reading as much as possible about proper care for it. I originally wanted a plant for indoors. However, after some research I believe I have a Juniper bonsai, which means it needs to go outdoors as I found out. I live in a row home on the third floor in a dirty city, but I do have a decent sized deck where I've got some petunias growing in long boxes.

I've watered my bonsai, even the leaves, and put it out on the deck. My deck is west facing so in the evening hours it'll be sure to get a lot of direct sunlight. I can also leave it on the deck in winter for the dormancy period.

Some general advice I'd like to know is when should I repot it? Since it's from a general store there are stones that are glued down. I read a little about removing the stones and changing soils, but any advice as to when to do so would be greatly helpful. I can pick at the stones and loosen them or take them off entirely. The pot is black plastic. Not the best I know, but for now that is all I can afford to keep. I'll try looking around for a different pot soon though.

Also, when should I prune it? From looking at several photos I've noticed that Junipers can go either bushy or minimalist with the foliage and look amazing.

I took a couple photos to show, and please correct me if I'm wrong about the type.


[img]https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3026/2699034059_3941ab94cc_o.png[/img]


[img]https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3259/2699033511_ec73e38fb3_o.png[/img]

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louveciennes,

Hello and welcome to the forum. It sounds as if you are off to a pretty good start, continue your reading, there is much to learn. Start with the sticky threads located at the top of the forum.
However, after some research I believe I have a Juniper bonsai, which means it needs to go outdoors as I found out.
Correct on both counts.
I've watered my bonsai, even the leaves, and put it out on the deck. My deck is west facing so in the evening hours it'll be sure to get a lot of direct sunlight. I can also leave it on the deck in winter for the dormancy period.
Sounds good.
Some general advice I'd like to know is when should I repot it?
Next spring or early summer, the optimum time has passed this season.
Since it's from a general store there are stones that are glued down. I read a little about removing the stones and changing soils, but any advice as to when to do so would be greatly helpful. I can pick at the stones and loosen them or take them off entirely.
Do remove the stones though, they were a shipping aid and will only get in the way of proper watering now. You will probably need to add a little soil to make up the difference. Choose something similar to what is already there. Surely the soil is horrible and needs to be replaced with a gritty, free draining mix but having two types of soil in one pot can cause its own set of problems.
The pot is black plastic. Not the best I know, but for now that is all I can afford to keep. I'll try looking around for a different pot soon though.
A plastic pot is not a problem in fact bonsai are not usually placed in a proper pot until a certain level of refinement is reached. You can get a better one for next spring but it need not be expensive.
Also, when should I prune it?
It can be 'pinched' now. New growth is broken off at a spot that will lead to new, tighter growth. But before pinching is undertaken the first thing is to do any pruning of woody material. There is no point in pinching first and then realizing that you should simply have removed the entire shoot anyway.

Some might suggest that this tree be allowed to grow out for years before much in the way of styling is done, and this is certainly one option. I feel though that for a first tree it simply be enjoyed for what it is, consider it a learning vehicle.

Norm

louveciennes
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Location: Philadelphia, PA

Thank you for the input Norm.

I did take the rocks off the top of my bonsai. I was surprised at how much they glue on to them! I only have regular potting soil for basic plants, but I guess that's not too much different than what's in there already for now. Considering the soil is rather water retaining I'll definitely need to change that out since the plant is a conifer.

One thing that I noticed while prying off the stones was that there's a lot of yellowed leaves on my plant at the base of branches. I hadn't realized that when I first bought it, but looking underneath it I noticed it much more. The top part of the plant that is very bright green is still firm and seems quite healthy. At first I thought - oh great, I bought a dead plant already - but there are a few places where new growth is green on the branches. I'm hoping that perhaps the yellowed leaves are from either over/under watering and that I can get it regulated. At this point I'm not certain about how much to water now because if the yellow is from over watering, I don't want to drown the plant. I'm going to buy a spray bottle today so I can mist the top at least.

Any thoughts?

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louveciennes,
At this point I'm not certain about how much to water now because if the yellow is from over watering, I don't want to drown the plant. I'm going to buy a spray bottle today so I can mist the top at least...Any thoughts?
Proper watering is not so much about the amount, which should always be copious, but the frequency. Refer to the 'chopstick method' in the sticky I mentioned earlier. Junipers definitely dislike being constantly wet. You will need to be judicious in your watering habits until you can change the soil, at which time your watering habits will need to be adjusted.

Norm

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