Meet the Juniper bonsai
10 April 2016

Today I wanted to write a quick post about one of my favorite tree species for indoor growing - the juniper.

The graceful juniper

Juniper bonsai can be easily grown indoors. I have found this species to be perfect for the creation of a tree that looks aged. You can find plenty of photos on the web that serve as proof.

In the summertime, the juniper has small green or white flowers that are very fragrant. These may be position separately or in bunches. Small dark berries develop after flowering - these are the tree’s fruit.

This tree is an evergreen conifer shrub belonging to the cypress family (Cupressaceae). The Juniper’s stem branches a lot. However, some varieties form creeping trees as they grow.

There are few varieties that lend themselves to bonsai:

Juniperus Communis is a shrub that reaches a height of up to 10 feet, with a rather thick crown. There are a few decorative varieties of this plant that have blue, golden or blue-gray needles.

Juniperus Sabina grows well indoors because it is so undemanding. It’s a creeping shrub that has either golden or turquoise needles.

Here are some basics on growing the juniper as a bonsai:

Lighting

The juniper doesn’t like direct sunlight too much, so it needs to be shielded from that. However it needs a lot of diffuse light nonetheless.

Soil

The soil has to lightweight and not too saturated with organic material. You can combine peat (2 parts), ordinary flower soil (1 part) and sand (1 part) to get the perfect combination.

Fertilization

It is important that the plant gets enough feed when it is growing actively. Make sure you start feeding it after repotting.

Watering

Water the shrub 3 times a week in the summer. It consumes less water in winter - once every one or two weeks is good.

Temperature

During the summer, the temperature has to be moderate. Remember that the juniper is not a houseplant. It will appreciate being taken outdoors when it’s relatively warm outside. Make sure the bonsai does not freeze in the winter and keep the temperature around 10 degrees C.

Shaping

All cutting should take place between spring and autumn, when the tree has enough strength to cope with the changes. You can use simple wiring to aid the formation of the bonsai into a desirable shape. This is best done in the wintertime.

Problems

The biggest threat to your juniper bonsai are red spider mites. These need to be dealt with with pesticide immediately upon discovery.

If you follow the basic advice and don’t do anything outright stupid, the juniper is a great tree to have in your collection, even if you want to grow it indoors. It’s easy enough for newbies and offer enough options for the pros.

Things you need to do when growing bonsai In the art of bonsai you always need to progress from the simple to the complex. Start by growing some trees of medium size of the same latitude as where you live. Only once you have more experience, try to move on to more exotic species. Have a clear idea in mind of how you final tree should look. Prepare a photo or drawing of the final result of the bonsai formation. ... Read More