bec1073
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jul 14, 2013 1:43 pm

Juniper Bonsai Questions

Hi all! I hope to get some insight about some troublesome bonsais that we have had. My daughter has fallen in love with the ideas of bonsais. For Christmas last year, my parents got my daughter (almost 12 at the time) a juniper bonsai from Lowe's and gave it to her. She took exquisite care of it (that being watering it when the soil felt dry, not overwatering). Unfortunately, it dried up as if it had never gotten any water. We decided to try again, again with a Juniper, again from my parents. It seemed as if we were doing better with this one, spring came, we had some new growth, she trimmed a couple of small branches (she was very cautious about this, and really just snipped a couple of ends). Again, however, needles have turned brown, like a dry Christmas tree and it just looks dead now. It looks like it hasn't gotten any water, but I have seen and supervised her watering. It isn't sitting near any vents that would dry it out, and seems to get a fair amount of indirect sunlight.

So, with that background, she just received a Colorado Blue Spruce sapling from the Arbor Day Foundation. We were thinking that this might be a great opportunity for her to make it a bonsai. It is about 8 inches tall right now. So, I'm looking for some insight (if there is any) on what happened to our previous bonsais, and any advice on how to be successful with this one! The planting instructions say to plant it in a gallon pot for a year before transplanting outside (of course, this is if we were to make it just an outside tree), but I have also read that we should have it in the ground outside for the trunk to thicken.

Any advice is welcome!

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Juniper Bonsai Questions

Juniper despite what anyone might tell you, cannot be maintained indoors. It must have a winter cold dormancy and otherwise needs all the conditions of outdoors, sun, rain, wind, etc. The same is true of the blue spruce. If you want a tree that she can keep indoors, you need to look for a tropical evergreen like ficus which is adapted to growing where it is warm year round and grows as an under story tree in limited light. If you want her to have a temperate tree like juniper, spruce, maple, etc, it will have to live outside all the time, winter & summer or it will die, as you have already seen.
Last edited by rainbowgardener on Sun Jul 14, 2013 4:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

teamr03
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:15 am

Re: Juniper Bonsai Questions


tomc
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2665
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Re: Juniper Bonsai Questions

The virtue of juniper bonsai is its unchanging nature. The fragility of juniper bonsai is its unchanging nature.

The most common culprits for early demise of juniper are: (fixes in parenthesis)

Glued on gravel (remove)

Overwatering (learn how to use a chopstick for water needs)

Growing indoors (grow exclusively outdoors)

Temperate zone trees live where ambient humidity (and breeze) exist every day. If you cannot supply a trees needs in nature indoors, it will die. This includes frost and snow...
Think like a tree
© 2016 Invisable Inc.

bec1073
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jul 14, 2013 1:43 pm

Re: Juniper Bonsai Questions

Thank you so much for the information! So, we will keep this spruce tree outside and hope for the best. Can someone tell me what the chopstick method of watering is? For what it is worth, I live in the Chicago area, so definitely get hard frosts.

teamr03
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:15 am

Re: Juniper Bonsai Questions

im also a new in bonsai hobby but what i understand about the chopstick method is insert a wooden chopstick into the soil and leave it there for a minute, pull the chopstick out if it is dry it means you need to water the tree.

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Juniper Bonsai Questions

Type chopstick method in to the google custom search box above (it just searches THG). Generally I think you want to leave the chopstick in full time. Then it can give you a better reading on what is goinhehg on in your below surface so il. So you only water when the chopstick tells you the soil is dry at least an inch below the surface.
Last edited by rainbowgardener on Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

tomc
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2665
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Re: Juniper Bonsai Questions

bec1073 wrote:Thank you so much for the information! So, we will keep this spruce tree outside and hope for the best. Can someone tell me what the chopstick method of watering is? For what it is worth, I live in the Chicago area, so definitely get hard frosts.
When autumn nears ask about how to put your tree to bed for the winter. Columbus day will be soon enough.
Think like a tree
© 2016 Invisable Inc.

bec1073
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jul 14, 2013 1:43 pm

Re: Juniper Bonsai Questions

Thank you all! I have a stick in the soil now and we will keep a close eye on it!

Return to “BONSAI FORUM”