which bonsai is best for a newbie?

sweetjemimaApril 24, 2009

I would like to have a bonsai but to be honest I do not know how to cultivate it. I once had a bonsai but unfortunately it dried out or something like that. I do not really know what I did wrong. Is there anything special to consider? How much water does a bonsai need? I would appreciate some useful tips.

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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Greetings!
Here's something to keep in mind at all times: most bonsai - most plants for that matter - do better outside.

If you want a great starter plant, you could try a nice Jade (Crassula ovata) - or one of the Jade variants, such as Gollum, Hobbit, Skinny Fingers, or one of the small-leaf varieties, like Crosby's Compact.

Jade plants respond well to pruning, so you'll be able to practice on a fairly forgiving plant. Root-pruning will allow you to keep your plant vigorous in a smaller container; and top-pruning will allow you to shape your Jade, as well as create the impression of smaller leaves (while the new growth is still small).

Jades will grow best in a gritty, fast-draining soil. Mixing your own potting medium will introduce you to the proper soils used for container culture, which will be valuable information that you can apply to many different species of bonsai. Many growers use a potting mix formula of 1:1:1 - two parts grit, one part organic (with the organic being small bark only, no dirt/potting soil at all!). For example, I use Perlite, Pumice/Gravel, and small Pine Bark.

Josh

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 11:27AM
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head_cutter

Yep, there are also some very high quality fakes on the market...all you have to do is dust them!!! *EFG*

Seriously (almost), most Ficus, best is the largeer obelate leaf variety are also like junk-yard dogs as far as tolerating poor care.

*God would I love to get my hands on a big old Jade Josh*

Bob

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 7:27PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Hey, Bob!
My dad took this pic at a local nursery, knowing how much I love Jade plants. A common Jade of this size would be spectacular; but a flowering 'Gollum' is really something special! No price-tag....

Josh

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 12:33AM
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head_cutter

Wow!!! that thing is beautiful.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 10:20PM
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rob_thompson(5)

It's hard to kill a Jade tree, even if you don't water it for weeks and don't prune nor feed nor repot it for years (ask my ex-wife).

Other good choices for beginners are Ficus and Hawaiian Umbrella Trees (which you can get/order from Home Depot on the cheap). They can tolerate lower light than most (eastern windows are OK, though they do better with a little more light). Don't let their temperature drop below 60 degrees F however and don't let their soil dry out (water several times each week).

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 12:41PM
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