Super Hero
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:10 am
Location: Oregon

Juniper question from a beginner.

Just bought my first bonsai (juniper) about a month ago. I was keeping it indoors until I read a few threads on this forum. Thanks to everyone who unwittingly saved my tree. I keep it outside now. My question is, the pot that it came in is very nice looking, but doesn't have any drain holes. I would think this is kinda important, but don't know. Any advice about this or any tips would be much appreciated. The guy I bought it from (side of the road stand) says that it is about 12 years old. If it has survived that long I don't want to be the one to kill it.

Jalopy19
Cool Member
Posts: 73
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 3:49 am
Location: Wichita, KS

You should post a photo! I say definitely take the tree out and drill some drainage holes. If it's pot bound enough and not wired in you can sometimes simply lift the tree out as a whole. I use a carbide hole boring bit for ceramics. At least one is essential.
USDA Zone 6b

derkap10
Cool Member
Posts: 88
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:15 am
Location: Mississippi

Hi,

Jalopy is right. You should post a photo. Also, drainage is VERY important. Right up there with air and light and water. Also consider where you bought it from. Roadside dealers are not usually considered as 'reputable vendors'. But that's okay. You may well have rescued this tree from horticultural genocide. My first suggestion is repot as soon as possible. Either take it out and drill some good size holes in the pot it came in or find a slightly larger, made-for-bonsai, pot. Or even put it into a good size nursery pot for a year or so. Considering where you acquired it from there's a very good chance that the soil that came with it is totally wrong for it. It's probably standard potting soil. Retains way too much moisture. Especially for a juniper which likes a somewhat drier soil (I think). For the soil you can find a commercial bonsai mix or, in a pinch, use a soil formulated for cactus and succulents. Ask around on this forum and you can probably find some much better soil suggestions than that (get 10 bonsai people together in a room and you can get a lively debate going about soil :lol: ) After repotting take it out of the sun for a week or so and let it rest and recover. Gradually start moving it back to a sunnier position. You probably won't have to worry about root pruning, especially if you move it into a larger pot. Should be okay. Hopefully others in this forum will give you some more advice and I certainly defer to the vastly greater knowledge and expertise that can be found here. Just giving what I hope are good suggestions. Especially considering that I've killed three junipers (well, I killed two and a raccoon dug up and dragged off the other lol). Hope this helps some. Rescue trees can make great bonsais!
Happy little trees!

Super Hero
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:10 am
Location: Oregon

Thanks for the help

Oh well, it's a bonsai forum so what's in a name. Anyway, thanks for the tips. I will just go ahead and replant in a new ceramic pot. I found a garden store that carries the same kind of pots it came in with the drainage holes.

I would like some help with the soil aspect though. Could someone break it down for me what I need? I have read that there is a bonsai mix that you can buy. Is this pretty common and would my local garden store have it? If I had to make it myself, how would I do that?

Anther question. How do you get moss to stay alive on top of the soil? I scrapped up a good chuck of moss from the yard and push it down on top of my tree. Within a week it was dried up and dead. I watered it everyday with a mister and keep it in just about the same place it grows outside. Any ideas? Does anybody keep a decorative gravel as a top layer?
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