If growing a bonsai is new hobby that you want to venture into and you do not have enough experience growing bonsais in the past, swamp cypress bonsai is the best option for you. These bonsai came from a species of cypress trees that are upright, monoecious and deciduous or semi-evergreen, located mostly in Southeastern American region up to Latin America. Also known as Bald Cypress, these coniferous trees love swampy and mushy places, thus the name, and can grow as high as 40 meters. When planted as a bonsai, it can look so gorgeous and can be a head turner for bonsai enthusiast.
Swamp cypress (Taxodium distichum) loves moisture rich soils near riverbanks and typically grows better on wet climates. It produces two types of shoots, namely the deciduous and the persistent. The first one is produced without buds while the latter has them. Its foliage is typically pale green in color. The species is classified as monoecious making it capable to bear both male and female cones on a single tree. With its unique beauty and distinct characteristics, swamp cypress bonsai holds the distinction of being the undisputed “King of American Bonsai”. Another peculiar characteristic of this specie is the fact that it is the first tree to shed off leaves during fall, hence the other name “bald cypress”, and the last one to bud during spring.
Taxodium Ascendens or the pond cypress is the closest relative of swamp cypress. It is also a deciduous and coniferous specie but with leaves and cones shorter than that of the swamp cypress. They also love wet soil and moist environment and can live for almost a thousand years. Most squirrels and birds feed on its seeds that drops during a particular season.
The growing method for both Swamp and Pond cypress are generally the same. These plants need full sun in order to grow healthy. Since these plants love wetlands, it is important to water them everyday during normal season. However, during winter, you may need to soak the soil in water for 30 minutes for the plant to receive the sufficient amount of water it needs. It is recommended that the soil must be added with fertilizers with equal parts of Phosphorus, Nitrogen and Potassium.
Repotting of pond and swamp cypress bonsai must be done during spring when the weather is perfect for this procedure. To optimize the growth of these plants, repotting must be done periodically every two years.
Pruning and wiring Cypress bonsais must be done bearing in mind that these varieties look best when they are grown vertically up. Wiring must be done with extreme caution as these plants can grow quickly and wires can hurt the plant. A great alternative to wiring is to tie down the branches to train them to grow into your desired form.
Propagation of swamp and pond cypress can be done through soft or hard cuttings and air layering. For a higher success rate of growing your propagated bonsai, it is recommended to do the propagation during spring.