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I am a 15year old boy and I always want to look for different intresting plants to grow. The latest one is bonsai trees. I would like to find out some information on growing them, and the tools and equipment I will need. Any sort of information will be valuble as the only thing i know about them is its a Chinese art in manipulating a trees growth.
For an introduction, have a look at James Alexander-Sinclair's blog on bonsai:
You'll need to choose a suitable tree to grow. Popular trees to bonsai include Japanese cedar, Japanese black pine, Scots pine, crab apples and the elm parviflora. I would recommend that you get hold of one that's easy to find, like a Scots pine or crab apple. To keep it small, you need to trim the roots and branches. I gather that this is usually done as little as annually. However, do always look for and treat pests, feed and keep your tree well-watered. Having small roots it will not cope well with drought. Although they look like house plants, bonsais grown from outdoor species are best kept in the outdoor conditions they usually thrive in.
I've had a look at the websites of the big garden centre chains and at what's available via the internet and found plenty of starting kits to buy. Have a look at these: http://bit.ly/wMjZ03 See if you can find a bonsai collection at your local botanical garden. You should be able to get some advice there too.
It's great to hear that you're so enthusiastic about growing plants. Good luck and please tell us how you're getting on. And any experts out there - I hope you'll give us your advice!
Thank you very much Emma.
You'll find lots of good books about growing and training bonsai trees in your local library, or they can order them for you. Most of them recommend fancy clippers, Japanese scissors, bamboo brushes, etc, but you don't need to spend a lot of money. Sharp secateurs for heavy pruning [which you'll not need a lot], strong nail scissors for pruning small twigs, and a pair of tweezers to lift out cut-off leaves and twigs wihout risking breaking anything are the main tools you'll need, until you get well on in the advanced stuff. You don't need to buy trained bonsais, either; the books will give you ideas for starting from ordinary plants. But don't try growing tiny trees - they're too frail. Trees about 1-2 foot high are much easier to deal with.
Thank u. I've bought a book and a pair of bonsai shears. I bought some japanese maple seeds but i am unsure if they will be that easy to grow. Do u know of any other trees that are good for beginers to grow?
I would recommend that you try to bonsai something that is evergreen, then you will have interest all year round.
From experience I would try something that is tolerant like a Chinese Elm, Podocarpus or a Maple. Outdoor trees are a bit easier to look after as they dont get affected by central heating/too dry indoor air as much but watch out for frosts! If you're just starting out then a more tolerant tree like these are usually better value for money and do put up with a bit more trail and error that some other varieties.
The main failure with bonsai is the watering - most like to be moist rather than soggy and drying out the soil inadvertantly can lead to a new tree been sought quite quickly.
When buying a tree make sure it looks healthy and its secure in its pot; if it is loose then there is a chance the roots could be damaged and this could affect the health of your tree.
I wouldnt go mad on buying tools as you wont need many to start with and its just an unnecessary expense. A decent pair of pruning scissors and a pair branch cutters will meet most needs.
Be warned - it can get addictive!!
Go on you tube and punch up Graham Potter, some great tutorials