The art of bonsai is hobby meant for those who actually enjoy nurturing a miniature tree. As simple as that may sound, there are many causes that could significantly jeopardize the outcome of a tree’s growth. Temperature, soil, pruning and positioning are some of the key fundamentals to the success of a bonsai tree. Even then, there are still many things to learn, so getting it right the first time may not be for everyone, especially if you go for the mystical Chinese Juniper bonsai.
One of the cypress families, its genus spans over 50 to 70 different variants. Its evergreen and coniferous nature makes bonsai its number one favorite purpose. Also known as the Juniperus chinensis, the Chinese Juniper has dark blue-greenish foliage, and can be in both needle and scale shape. Scale junipers have needle-like foliage while they are young, and grow the typical scale look a bit later. Though a bit particular, the Chinese Juniper is very resilient to over-watering and heavy pruning.
The needle Juniper of this Chinese variant requires a lot of sunlight, so the best way to ensure that is by placing it outside all throughout the year. In winter, protect the tree from temperatures below -10 degrees C. some owners have noted that the tree would turn its foliage color to a purplish brown , which is probably the tree’s self-defense mechanism from the frost. In that case, worry not for it will turn green again come spring. Though it can withstand over-watering, that does not mean it should be in that condition often. The root system of the Juniper does not appreciate soil wetness. Make sure that the soil has dried fully between watering.
It can grow well on organic fertilizer, either in ball form or pellet. Do this once a month during the growth period. This can be substituted with liquid fertilizer once a week. If you want your Chinese foemina Juniper to grow even healthier, higher nitrogen levels can be applied. Do this in spring. Apart from all this, another decisive factor is pruning. This is also a sure-kill method to acquire foliage pads. Long shoots that’ outgrow the silhouette can be cut right at the base. This must be done all throughout the growing season. Do not however, trim this tree like you would a hedge, as cutting the buds at the top will significantly weaken the tree.
If you got your Juniper at a nursery, then chances are the tree has already been wired at a young age. The branches are often dramatically twisted, which resemble their natural form in its native Japanese mountain setting. Owners have observed that these trees are durable and responds well to bending. You can use either raffia or tape for protection. Be careful of parts with deadwood though, as they tend to break apart easily. The deadwood can even be split off so it can create more flexible living parts.
It would also be a good idea to wire and fan out the foliage pads after every thinning session. This is to get light and air in, specifically the inner parts that are usually a little hidden. Note that dense pads can also cause pest infections and insect attacks. The tree needs to be changed into a new pot every two years. Older trees can have longer intervals. You can prune the roots too, but not too hard. Change its soil into a more draining mixture and let the tree rest under a partial shade to let the tree regain its strength.
Chinese Juniper bonsai can be a bit picky in certain requirements, but that does not mean that it is a difficult plant to grow. Do not be afraid of getting some things wrong every now and then, just make sure that it has enough light and air circulation for starters.