I’ve always wanted to try my hand at bonsai trees, and i finally got around to going for it.  I know, i’m such a rebel…

I decided to start my own, as i’ve read that many store bought bonsai-to-go plants are forced too much, too soon to fit into the tiny bonsai pots.  They therefore don’t last very long, and, for the price, i don’t think it’s worth it.  Besides, taking the time to start your own allows you to learn more in the process.  I went to the local garden center and picked through their 1 gallon pots, looking for root bound, thick trunks with character, and large exposed roots (“nebari” in Japanese).  It’s pretty much the opposite of what you’re looking for when getting a shrub to transplant…

I found this dwarf boxwood, which had some real character, including a nice piece of deadwood in the center of the trunk, with new growth wrapping around it.  Only $15!

After spending some time staring at it from all angles, i finally decided on an primary viewing angle.  Lots of trimming, but not too much (less than  50% pruned away), and some wire later, this is what i came up with.  Eventually, i’ll let the top fill in with leaves, and hopefully shorter the crown so it appears more balanced.  For now, it’ll just hang out in its current pot, giving it plenty of time to recover and fill in.  I won’t start to prune the roots until a year or two from now, depending on how it’s growing.  It won’t be ready for a bonsai pot for 3-5 years: this allows the plant to put out smaller, bushier roots, which is the only way a plant can live happily in a tiny clay pot.


About Ryan

Urban gardening at it's best (sometimes it's worst)! Adventures and learnings from going 100% lawn free in a D.C. row house.
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2 Responses to Bonsai!

  1. zjukamu says:

    I also gave this a try a few days ago and i have to admit it’s hard not to fiddle with the tree.. I almost killed I tried another method today called trunk chop.. high risk high yeild. .maybe you would like to try it. read my post maybe you’ll enjoy it.

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