Garden Centre Plants.. Where to Start

A forum dedicated to bonsai, the art of growing dwarfed, ornamentally shaped trees or shrubs in small shallow containers.

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Garden Centre Plants.. Where to Start

Postby Karleigh » Sat Feb 14, 2009 8:27 pm

Hi Taffy & Bonsai friends,
I have had a little fig bonsai which was given to me as a gift some time ago and it is going strong. I really love it and rather than buying another established bonsai I thought I would like to learn how to grow my own little bonsais. I have spent quite a lot of time reading up on beginners guides for how to get started (eg, wiring, repotting techniques etc).. I recently purchased some great specimens from a nursery (azalea, juniper & mountain plum pine). They are reasonably well established plants with nice thick trunks - so I think they will make great little bonsais. Despite my reading I havn't come across any advice on whether it is best to transfer them from the large nursery pots straight into little bonsai pots & then cut them back & wire them in one hit.. or is it better to start shaping them first in their large pots and then transfer them into smaller bonsai pots down the track? I hope you can help :D
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Re: Garden Centre Plants.. Where to Start

Postby taffyman » Sat Feb 14, 2009 9:33 pm

Hi Karleigh, welcome to our little group.
Would it be possible to post some photos of your trees? It's much easier to offer advice if we can see what we're talking about. Also your approximate location is a great help as well because so many trees are climate specific in their requirements - what will work in one environment, won't in another. You can put your location in your profile.

With regards to your new trees, I'll leave them to Alpinebonsart and Imeonetwo for advice as they both know a lot more about them than I do and if you live in the southern areas they know more about your climatic conditions (they don't grow too well up here in the sub-tropics).

I've done both of what you suggested. It depends on the tree and what I have in mind for it. I've transferred from black plastics straight to Bonsai containers and cut and shaped, but I've also grown on in nursery pots or styrene boxes and shaped as they develop. For all your trees though (with possibly the fig being the exception) I wouldn't be repotting at the moment. We are way too far into the Summer to consider doing it now - especially if you live in the cooler areas (if we do still have cooler areas :shock: ). They wouldn't have time to adapt and send out new growth before Autumn and Winter come along.

For a bit of reading on the Mountain Plum Pine, have a look at the link below - it gives a lot of useful information on the tree. After reading that page, I'm jealous! I don't think it would appreciate our humidity here and it looks like a potentially magnificent species for Bonsai - especially the low growing species.
Have fun, life is way too short for anything else
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Re: Garden Centre Plants.. Where to Start

Postby alpinebonsart » Sun Feb 15, 2009 8:14 pm

Hi Karleigh ,welcome to G.E and to the wonderful art of Bonsai . I will keep it as simple as i can . Dont repot until winter , this is when you can place your trainer into a bonsai pot . However if you knock the plant out of the nursery pot and check the root ball to see if it is compacted as most potted plants are . If this is the case using a sharp knife slice down vertically 5-6 times to a depth of 15 mm around the outer root mass . This will relieve the pressure on the roots .

Pot up into a larger pot 50mm bigger in diameter and fill with good quality potting mix . Submerge the entire pot in a bucket of water until the bubbles subside , usually 5-10 minutes . As the rootball swells the cuts open up and new roots begin almost imediately because of the pressure released . I treat all nursery plants the same however i find them .Trimming of the Azalea can start as can the Juniper , try not to get to eager with the trimming side until you have a definate style .

Try a GOOGLE search , Bonsai ? juniper , Bonsai Azalea then click images and have a peek at the various styles and designs from all over the globe . Less is More in the case of Bonsai , the less you take off the more you have to work with . It is an art that is very hard to replicate as we all have individuality and my style is different to yours that is why we are individual artists . I'm left handed you may be right handed and it shows up in Bonsai .

The Mountain Plum Pine is not a plant i am familiar with , it may be the Tassie alternative to the Strawberry pine . However going on the info from taffyman it i quite hardy , likes a good trim and plenty of moisture . Yes some pics will help us help you . I have a blog you can access from my profile however caution should be your priority until you learn the basics , and remember to have fun its a wonderful hobby
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