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Bonsai Gardening Anyone?

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by Therian on June 08, 2005 07:00 PM
I had some limited experience with Bonsai Gardening about 2 years back. A friend bought me a
Bonsai Gardening kit for my b-day that had in it 5 little japanese maple seeds, a small little bot, the soil, and instructions on how to get it going. It did manage to sprout 1 little tree that I managed to keep alive for about 6 months, but in that whole 6 months, it only grew 4 little leaves.
I'm wondering if anyone else has had better experience with Bonsai Gardening, and has any suggestions on what might be a good tree species to start. I really wanted that little japanese maple to live... I'd maybe like to try a japanese maple again if I could find the kit again maybe on the internet. I've heard of Mimosa & Dogwood trees being used as Bonsai Gardening subjects. Has anyone had any experience with either of those and has lived to tell the tale? [Smile]
by tkhooper on June 08, 2005 07:12 PM
Mimosa are the ones that carry diseases and attract pests I think. So I wouldn't go there. I would love to do a bonsai tree but I know that I wouldn't have the heart to wire the roots and all the rest of the things you have to do.

In answer to your question I lean towards the pines but the red maple has been on my mind lately. What I learned recently about the pines is that they require all four seasons. They are REALLY really outdoor plants.

I think I will work with plants that have mutated into miniatures rather than trying to talk a big tree into getting small. Oh the other thing I learned recently was that the red maple is very slow growing so maybe that's all the larger yours should have been.
by Nako on June 08, 2005 08:01 PM
I have a japanese fujiian tea tree. It grows pretty well. But before that i had a tropical plant that only required one season. it was a variagated serissa. So ya either of those would probably be easy to grow ^.^ I donno about growing them from a seed though. I bought mine as a 5" tree. There's also japanese boxwood which is kinda pretty as well. But ya i've always wanted to grow a japanese maple [Smile] or just grow a bonsai from a seed!

good luck!

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Nako's Webshots!
by Fernie on June 08, 2005 09:37 PM
My daughter got me a outdoor bonsai, azaela. So far I just need to water it daily. The instructions that came with it told me to get a good book on bonsai gardening in order to trim the bush correctly and to learn how to repot it in approx 5 years. That is my total experience with bonsai so far.

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 - GO DAWGS!  -
by Therian on June 08, 2005 10:42 PM
I'm originally from the south where Mimosas at least in central Texas seem to be every where! I so miss smelling the blossoms in the summer. I have seen one.. just one mimosa here in rochester NY.. and it was actually huge! It had to be geepers.. almost 25 feet? Maybe not that high, but it was next to a 2 story house, and seemed to be right on up there. My point is I have some reason to believe they can survive here, so maybe I'll try getting one for the yard. I just thought if I could get a miniature mimosa blooming in the house, that would be incredible. However, I'd rather skip the pests and such.. so maybe I'm back to the maple again? [Smile]
I believe my problem with the first maple came when it dropped its leaves.. all precious 4 of them.. because that's what maples do come winter.
I had a hard problem watering what looked to me to be a dead twig. Maybe I could do better this time.
The little tiny maple leaves were so darn cute! They were about the size of a ladies pinky finger nail. Maybe I gave up too quickly on the little thing. [Frown]
by tkhooper on June 08, 2005 11:27 PM
I water twigs all the time. They keep suprising me. This forum is great for encouraging the beginner. I have saved all sorts of plants because of the encouragement and knowledge I have received.
by Cricket on June 09, 2005 03:16 AM
Therian, this site has great information on bonsai:

by Will Creed on June 09, 2005 04:31 AM
Here is a key fact about indoor bonsai. You must select a tropical or sub-tropical species if you plan to keep it indoors throughout the year.

Species that are native to temperate zones (most evergreens, for example) require cold temperatures in the winter to survive. Thus, they will fare poorly indoors.
by Therian on June 09, 2005 05:16 AM
Welp, I'm about 2 years too late to save that little twig. I'm sort of wishing now I had persisted and kept watering it. But this brings me to a question about that twig.. if something is dormant because it's winter to them.. do you really have to water it? I mean yeah some.. but not nearly as much?
by tkhooper on June 09, 2005 12:52 PM
I know for the succulents that I keep inside it goes down to very little water about once a month when they are dormant. The annuals like basil and coleus don't seem to have a dormant time that I've noticed. And I'm to new to gardening to know about the rest. But that is a seriously good question and I hope someone has the answer.
by Fernie on June 09, 2005 06:44 PM
My instructions said to water about once per month and keep the plant in a cool place.

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 - GO DAWGS!  -
by Sami on June 10, 2005 02:46 AM
I had a Japanese Maple Bonsai, once. It was just a twig when I got it (mail order). I was a terrible gardener, back then. I think it would have done much better if someone would have kept it watered, lol. The leaves were very, very cute! I have been looking for another Bonsai but haven't found anything that I like. I have a couple of mimosa seeds that I wanted to try to start, this year, but never got around to doing it. I found information, online, a while back about growing mimosas as Bonsai. Until then, I had never heard of doing that to a mimosa but I am going to try it sometime. I, too, love the smell of mimosa...reminds me of my childhood & being at my grandparents house. I've seen one in a nearby field & thought about asking the owners if I can dig it up.

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Talentless but connected.
by tkhooper on June 10, 2005 03:03 AM
Come to my place they are everywhere and strangling everything else out.
by msgvb on July 22, 2005 05:03 AM
seems like everyone's got a good mimosa story -- mine too reminds me of my childhood.

I've just recently been bitten by the bonsai bug. I've been reading voraciously over the past month or so, and my list of desired trees is growing inversely proportional to the level of my bank account [Smile]

mimosa is on that list.
fujian tea & serissa were just added this morning after viewing some online galleries. I've gotta get a greenhouse build for the winter.

there's some great information for bonsais online, but what I've learned so far is:
1. collect your trees and learn about the species.
2. don't be in a hurry to cut.
3. drainage. drainage. drainage. apparently most trees that have been bonsai'ed can't tolerate wet stick soil, so it needs to be kinda rocky/sandy/gritty to promote proper drainage.
4. fertilization requirements change with the seasons & a tree's particular growth cycle. apparently, most bonsai prefer balanced fertilization about every two weeks from spring to autumn with a 0-10-10 in the fall for hardening of new growth for winter survival.

I think someone already posted this link, but is great, as is Dallas Bonsai seems to be the easiest one-stop shop for supplies & soil -- neither of which seems readily availble to me here in virginia beach. that which is available seems a little pricey.

books on my list:
propagation of woody plants along with four bonsai books I've seen on the Dallas Bonsai site.

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msg ::novice houseplant taker-care-of-er:: - msgvb
by tkhooper on July 22, 2005 05:11 AM
mimosa all i can say is don't let it loose lol. I've got it everywhere and it will not die. As a bonsai it should be perfect. Lord knows you can't kill it. But I also understand it draws bugs and disease so I'd protect any other plants you have in the area as best you can.
by msgvb on July 26, 2005 05:15 AM
this has turned into a bit of an obsession it seems, consuming all my spare time reading up on this stuff over the past few weeks.

here are a couple of shots of my second attempt. I didn't do any root pruning with this one and my soil mix still isn't quite right. still a tad on the sticky side, but my girlfriend won't let me repot it. I've already done it three times to baby frankenstein here in my soil experimentation. I found a good supplier though, so from now on, all subsquent plantings & pottings will be with the proper materials (I thought sand would be good for drainage, but too much keeps the mixture wet.) typical bonsai potting mix is calcined clay, peat, & small bark -- very free flowing and well draining.



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msg ::novice houseplant taker-care-of-er:: - msgvb

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