Tulip poplar in a micro pot...

forestexplorerAugust 8, 2010

For christmas i received "The Mini Bonsai Kit". I never had time to grow it and so it sat in the box until now. I pulled it out yesterday to find a tiny pot (2.5 inches in diameter and 1 inch deep), 5 jackpine seeds, a pair of mini scissors, a book, and a peat pellet. I decided against using the jackpine seeds or peat pellet, and went on an expedition to find one of my favorite trees, the tulip poplar! My exploratory venture was succesfull and i found a natural "bonsai" seeedling with tiny leaves and a tiny root system growing in part shade. I filled the pot with potting soil and powdered manure watered well,and placed in dappeled sun. Any concerns or tips? Although the seedling is 1.75 inches that pot still seems a bit small... Could i bring it in this winter and extend the growing season? Am i thinking too far ahead and asking too many questions? Yes, yes i am.

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Oops - you would have been way better off (sorry!) to have left it in the ground where it would a) grow much faster, b) have the benefit of all outdoor things trees need, like natural light and humidity, gradually changing temperatures, nutrients, rain, etc.etc. and c) experience the cold dormancy it needs to survive winters. Plus, unfortunately, it really doesn't make a good bonsai - growth habits are counterproductive. For the future, potting soil makes a lousy mix for potted anything (including house plants!) as it's full of water hogging peat that interferes with good drainage and 02 use by plants when it (eventually) compacts. Bonsai can't be treated like house plants in any case on many levels, and there is a lot to learn about a lot before you either dig up trees randomly at the wrong times of year (such as now), or spend money on potted things in stores without really knowing how to keep them alive at home (and it doesn't take long before they succumb to bad management). Of course you're new, we all were and have killed many things along the way - you can't know what you don't know, including even what to ask about, so start reading basics like bonsai4me.com, more expert stuff on tropicals from bonsaihunk.us/cultural.html and more of the same on conifers and other trees that need to live outside 24/7/365 (evergreengardenworks.com).

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 5:37PM
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well then....okay....it seems as though i may have miscalculated a bit....Is there any hope of survival here or...should i,dare i say, discontinue this project? Really i doubt it would have made it to next year due to it's miniscule size this far along in the season,and bad environment, but i'm really just saying that to console myself, am i not?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 6:45PM
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Oh, don't fret, there are probably lots more where it came from and they are often considered 'weed' trees to begin with. You could try replanting it, of course, but then leave it alone and forget it. Just don't forget that all trees start out tiny and manage to make it most of the time, just like 'street' kittens, etc. - nature's been pretty good at managing all these years :-).

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 9:02PM
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And to be honest, I'm not so sure Poplar make good bonsai. The leaves are too big and do not reduce very well. I'm aure they can be used for larger than normal bonsai, however.


    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 9:44AM
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dare i ask how much larger?:)

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 8:04PM
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Well it really depends on how much the leaves reduce. They don't go reduce to too small, from what I've read and seen. Maybe you will get different results though. I still think you should give it a shot.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 11:27PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Liriodendron tulipifera is an amazing tree, in general!
I'm glad someone is working with it.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2010 at 1:14AM
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angilbas(BC 8/9)

I've seen bonsai Liriodendron. Of the two, one was vigorous and looked ready to grow like a tuliptree in a regular garden if planted out right. The other was stunted -- even so, its leaves were large for a bonsai.

Consider the 'Ardis' cultivar which naturally has small leaves and diminutive growth (for the species). Or try the east central Florida strain which is adapted to warmth and may have the best tolerance of root pruning.

Here is a link that might be useful: Liriodendron tulipifera at Wikipedia

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 9:00PM
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