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Bonsai on my birthday! (Juniper)

Posted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 4:15 am
by symphony
Hi, I'm 16 and I love gardening/plants in general. I've always wanted a bonsai, and today (my birthday) my sister picked one up for me from someone selling them on the side of a road. After doing some research, I've determined that it must be some sort of juniper. I've read a bit about general maintenance, but does anyone have a certain website/book to recommend? Thanks!
Also, I would love to shape this lil' guy into the cascade style, does any one have any suggestions as to how I could start? Thanks again!

---And I have a feeling the pot is too large, where would I be able to get a smaller and better quality one? Thanks.
(Also, sorry if this is technically in the wrong section of the forum, when I first posted this message I had no idea what sort of bonsai I had...but hopefully I can still get some tips!)
Here are a couple pictures.


Posted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:43 am
by WatchMeShove
The first thing to do is try and figure out what type of juniper you have. It could be a procumbens nana, japanese juniper, chinese juniper, or any number of them, I could never really tell the difference. If you want to make your bonsai cascade the best thing to do would be to plant it in a large pot while wiring the tree to "cascade" over the pot. If you keep it in the same pot it will grow very slowly if at all. Also, if you have a dwarf juniper, which most likely you do, your juniper will grow very slowly and may take years to cascade over even with proper wiring. You could try going to the local nursery and buying a nursery juniper like a chinensis or a shimpaku and then pruning and wiring it. You have a number of options, I hope this helps.

Posted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 4:32 pm
by symphony
Okay, I've looked some more, and it definitely looks like a procumbens nana/green mound juniper. Is there any way to tell whether it's a dwarf or not? I would still like to be able to do something with this tree since it was a gift, and I'd hate telling my sister that what she got me "wasn't good enough." Thanks again!


Posted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 5:44 pm
by WatchMeShove
Ok, there is actually a difference between green mound and nana. Juniper procumbens nana is typically called a dwarf juniper, while green mound isn't. This may be due to the fact that the nana is very slow growing and may take years to reach mound size. Some say that the procumbens nana and procumens green mound are the same plant, which I believe they might be. However, garden nurseries sell nursery stock, one which is labeled "Juniper Procumbens 'Nana'" and the other labeled "Juniper Procumbens 'Green Mound'" While some argue that procumbens nana and green mound are the same thing, here are the garden centers with two junipers sold next to each other which have different names. This may be due to the fact that they are propagated seperately under different cultivars, take so long to reach a difference in size, or maybe they actually are a slightly genetically different plant. I am in no way an expert on junipers so hopefully we can find someone who can elaborate on this issue further. If I were you, you probably wouldn't want to put the plant in a larger pot to try to increase growth rate because this might upset your sister. You should just keep it in the bonsai pot and water it and prune top growth and roots a little every year or every other year, and enjoy it for what it is. If you want to shape a plant go buy a new one for yourself and experiment with wiring and pruning while keeping it in a larger pot for trunk and nebari development. This way you can do what you want while keeping your sister happy. It is OK to own two bonsais, I have about 200 plants myself. Also, juniper is an outdoor plant so don't keep it inside all the time, you may kill it.

Posted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:12 pm
by SHS
I always thought that Juniper Procumbens Nana and "green mound" were the same plant. I will learn from experts if they know better.

From what I see of your Juniper is that it seems to be trained toward an upright style. The tendancy of Juniper Pro Nana is to grow as a low gound cover.

IMHO I think I would keep this bonsai as an informal upright style and form to that style. If you want a cascading style you can visit nurseries and find these as naturally occuring cascade style.

Now, my opinon is based upon the nana and green mound being them same type of plant.

However, this is yours to enjoy and opinions are.....well they are just opinions.

BTW, I like your tree.

Posted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:22 pm
by Bonsai Nutcase
I agree, informal upright seems to be this trees path. I also think once you've done some pruning and wiring (it will need time to recover) it should be repotted into a smaller pot. Have you looked for a bonsai society in your area? There is nothing like hands on practice and most have mentor programs.
Since this tree has sentimental value I would consider getting a landscape plant from the garden center to use as practice. I have found some awesome plants with good size trunks for as little as $10! This way if it gets ruined your not out a ton of money and your sister won't be mad either!
Good luck!


Posted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:46 am
by razorrayk
first thing to look at is the roots and see what kind of style the tree can be made into ! In this case it will never be a good cascade bonsai but an informal upright , windswept or slanting style is the usual way to go with it . Check out these links and read as much info as you can they should help a lot !

your tree isn't a blue star juniper but the maintenence and care is basically the same for all juniper trees feeding ,watering , pinching , wiring ect .