Cypress Bonsai

In the field of horticulture, growing a bonsai tree seems to be the best way to gain a rewarding experience from all the time and effort spent in caring for a lovely plant. The bonsai tree is known as one of the best plant to elevate the look as well as feel of a place, and in that sense, the Cypress bonsai tree is agreed by many to be the most suitable plant for beginners to try their hands at culturing something green. To be more precise, the bald Cypress bonsai is easier to grow as it requires less specific conditions. The trees are usually planted in groups within a single pot, forming a bonsai forest or grove as it matures.


Like most other bonsai trees, the Cypress has a variety of different species. Some of them are the tall and narrow Italian Cypress, as well as the deciduous Bald Cypress. Generally, this type of plant prefers soil that is hot and moist, like its native marsh sites in the southern parts of America, though this bonsai species can thrive on all kinds of soil. The Bald Cypress (also commonly called the swamp cypress) is a type of conifer with gray-brown to reddish brown bark. Its fissure is shallow and vertical, and its texture stringy. Its branches are usually arranged in a spiral motion on the stem, though it is twisted at the base, forming two horizontal ranks.

Belonging to the family of Cupressaceae that retains their leaves during the winter, certain variations like the Bald Cypress instead loses its leaves during that time. The male and female strobili fully mature within 12 months, and are produced through the buds that are usually formed in the late fall, though this species performs its pollination at the early days of winter. This type of bonsai is considered quite resilient, as you can grow your own tree by simply taking a graft from an existing tree.

The Cypress is not resistant towards dryness, and requires more water than the usual bonsai type. It does not tolerate dry soil, and this is especially true during the early stages of growth. Due to this, it is important that you choose a pot or container that is good at retaining water. The Bald Cypress, as well as other species of this family, should be kept outdoors under the sun.

Another species of cypress commonly used for bonsai plants is the Hinoki cypress, which also happens to be one of the smallest plants on the family.


As mentioned before, the Cypress bonsai is perfect for beginners to get the hang of the basic caring techniques for bonsai trees. The delicate barks of the Cypress will train your hands to be gentle and precise when pruning or training a bonsai tree. Cuts and tight wires can leave marks on the branches and would later discolor the bark. Without proper care, it would be all too easy to disfigure your bonsai tree.

  • Temperature

The Cypress plant requires a consistent climate, typically hot summers for the best growth. Though this bonsai tree would still grow in cooler areas, owners have recorded a much slower maturing process. This deciduous tree is healthiest when kept outdoors for all year long. During winter, it would be essential to insulate the root of the tree with adequate covering of leaves and needles, bearing in mind to protect the plant from wind as well as extremely cold temperature. Some people would resort to sheds or a cold frame to protect the tree during its dormancy period. It is important that you keep note of the tree’s need for the sun and provide it with enough moisture at the same time.

  • Watering

This native of wet and swampy soil makes the Cypress perfect for owners who enjoy taking their time watering their plants. If too much water can kill certain types of plant, the Cypress bonsai would instead be grateful. When watering your tree, start from the top, simulating the rain-falling experience. Fill the pot to its rim with water, especially during summer. During this time remember that you would have to water the tree twice a day. It would also be best to keep the pot submerged to the rims during the months of summer, as it would provide more freedom for the roots to travel.

  • Fertilizing

The feeding time of the Cypress bonsai is rather simple compared to that of other bonsai trees. During spring, fertilize it only once a week, and gradually reduce it to only once in two weeks during late spring and all the way through fall. In order to ensure that the tree goes dormant on time, stop feeding it fertilizer starting in the late fall until the early days of winter. This will help the tree to go dormant until the next coming spring.

Some owners prefer to use acidic fertilizer, either in liquid or the usual form. One of the recommended fertilizers for this choice of feed is Mir-Acid. Ideally, it is best to begin fertilizing once the tree has begin budding, which usually happens within four to six weeks from re-potting.

  • Pruning/Training

Before you can begin pruning your tree, it would be best to make sure that the trunk has developed well enough. This is important in order to avoid a straggly look in the end. This type of bonsai grows fast in warm climates and swampy soil. The goal is to let the trunk grow thick and developed before cutting back. Always remember that the Cypress plant grows fast, and must always be watched after wired. This is because as the trunk and branches grow, the wires would become tight and eventually damage the bark if not watched.

You can tie the branches down using raffia twine; either at the end of the branch in order to be pulled down, or tie the other end to the base of the trunk. If the branch that you wish to pull down is too thick, you can solve this by making a V-shaped incision at the underside of the limb, specifically at the point where it joins the trunk. The incision would close as the branch is pulled down, and luckily for you, the cut will heal in no time. The foliage can be shaped by pinching back new growth. Allow a branch to grow thick (if you want) by leaving it be for one season, and cut it back in the following spring. You would be glad to know that new growth will sprout at the spot of the most recent pruning.

The twigs of the Cypress sprout in sharp and acute angles, making it easy to develop a gnarled-looking branch. It would be best to prune during the summer, and shaping it later right before dormancy. Pluck the leaves that grow from the trunk, unless you want it to further grow into a branch. You can tell that the tree is matured when you can see its ‘knee’. This can be developed by going through three years without changing the pot or root pruning. The tree would create a root-bound situation, in which many of the roots will have bent nearly double. Carefully bring one of these doubled bends up to the surface before letting it protrude through the cover of moss to form a knee. This bonsai tree is usually styled into formal upright, informal upright twin-trunk as well as the group style, also known as the bonsai forest.

  • Potting

Changing the pot of a Cypress bonsai tree and pruning its roots should only be done in spring, in which time the tree would produce little green nubs on the branches as well as trunk. If you prefer to keep the tree in standing water, then root pruning should be done once a year, or at least once every two years. The best soil for this method is the compact mushroom compost, which is a heavy soil. If you do not keep it in water, a heavy soil is still the best option as the tree would rely on the soil to gain and retain as much moisture as possible. With the Cypress, you never have to worry about rotting the roots in water, as it is virtually impossible.

  • Propagation

The best way to propagate a Cypress bonsai, especially the Bald Cypress, is through air-layering. Do this during late spring. To do this, cut a small strip of bark from the chosen branch. Wrap the area that was cut with a small bag filled with moist sphagnum and peat. Keep it on and moist for six to twelve weeks. Once it has grown enough roots to live on its own, you can cut it just below the root ball. You now have a new bonsai tree. Keep the sphagnum and peat mixture around the roots when transferring to a new pot.

Overall, the Cypress bonsai is quite resilient and hearty. In fact, this tree is quite resistant to insect attacks. The only thing that you should look out for is a twig blight that is caused by a weak pathogen sometimes present in dead as well as dying plant tissue. This can inflict stress on the tree, followed by the fungus killing branch tips. To avoid this, simply prune dead tips and always remove dead or diseased branches from the tree. Depending on your choice of plant, proper care can result in large and tall trees with vigorous root growth. Care for it well, and good luck!