Have you ever considered training a Bonsai from seed and putting your own style to a tree. It’s not that difficult and it is a great way of developing a collection at a lower cost and most importantly if you are starting out, you don’t experiment with expensive trees.
The only disadvantage is that you will have to wait about 3 years (dependent on species, growing rate etc) before you can start training your tree. The main reason for this is to give the seedling a chance to harden itself.
So what are the best tree’s to start with?
Well, almost any tree can be trained as a Bonsai. I once trained a Horse Chestnut and miniaturised its large leaves. The tree’s I would start with would be Maples, Fir’s or Chinese Elm, the Chinese Elm have naturally small leaves. So the balance between roots and leaf can be easier to achieve. If you live in an apartment try some indoor trees like the ‘Japanese Wax Privet’ , ‘Blue Jacaranda’ with it’s blue flowers and fern like leaves or the ‘Silk Tree’ with its feathery leaves and delicate flowers.
Over 10 weeks ago (Jan 2010) I placed ‘Blue Jacaranda’ (Indoor Bonsai) seeds in a pot of vermalite (well watered) and placed them in a warm location. If best use a propagation unit that can supply bottom heat. These seeds took approximately 6 weeks to sprout.
The next stage is to transplant the seedling into their new home, a pot with good free drainage soil. At this stage I would cut back the tap root to encourage more fiberous roots and begin the miniaturization process.
The best tool to use is a Bonsai trimming shears as this will give a nice clean cut. After this use a dibber to create a whole in the soil, then place your seedling in the holding the stem and backfill the soil. Then water well and don’t let the soil dry out. Your seedling will require good attention as it develops its new roots.
The images above show the tap root before and after trimming.
As the trees progress I will keep you up to date.