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Ten Purple Plants For Your Flower Garden

Purple is regarded by many as the color of money, love, penance, prosperity and relaxation. It is also known as the color of royalty. In olden times, no one aside from those with royal blood was allowed to wear such a hue. Due to the rarity of this color then, fabrics of such a shade were only used by the nobility.

Purple also symbolizes magic and spirituality, charm and mystery. Anyone who wears purple clothes exudes intellect, courage, dignity and elegance. Just imagine how regal your garden will look if you grow purple plants there…

Allow us to give you some simple tips about 10 purple plants for your flower garden that are not just long-lasting but also remarkably simple to grow.

Ten Purple Plants For Your Flower Garden

1) Allium Bulbs

allium

Source: The Garden GloveThe Garden Glove

This beautiful purple flower bulb has many different varieties to choose from. The tall purple globes or giant alliums are the most popular types. Some have a combination of white and pink along with the purple while the majority are all plain purple.

This purple genus is a perennial plant which means they live for more than 2 years. They belong to the group of garlic, onion, leeks and shallots. The name allium itself means garlic. These plants are extremely easy to grow.

2) Balloon Flower

balloon flower

Source: Pinterest

Scientifically known as Platycodon grandiflorus, balloon flowers are star-shaped, perennial purple flowers which come from balloon-like buds. Like alliums, balloon flowers also have many different species for you to choose between. There are also varieties in white, blue and pink, but mostly they are a rich purple. The most popular among them is the Hakone double blue. These plants also grow easily.

3) Catmint

Source: Gardening Know How

At first glance, you might mistake of catmint for lavender, especially from a distance. Catmint (Nepeta faassenii) is a perennial herb that is very resistant to dry weather as well as deer and rabbit attacks. Unfortunately, their sweet fragrance is very attractive for cats!

These plants, which produce purple-blue flowers and gray leaves, bloom from April until late May. Catmint flowers and leaves can also be made into a tea which can relieve colds or flu, pain, anxiety and stress.

4) Dwarf Iris

verbena

Iris reticulata or dwarf iris blooms in May and grows up to about 1 foot tall. They are also very straightforward to grow. There are lots of dwarf iris varieties too and they range from indigo to deep blue colors. Their flowers are bigger than the stems.

Like catmint, these beautiful flowers are fragrant and also deer and drought-resistant. They are not fit for human consumption.

5) Echium Fastuosm

echium

Source: Annie’s Annuals and Perennials

Among the echium varieties, echium fastuosm (Pride of Madeira) can be considered the best species due to its becoming appearance accentuated by vibrant purple coloring. These plants grow up to 6 feet tall and are ideal for landscaping.

They will make your garden look like a mini palace. They should be planted in dry soil and watered only when the soil is thoroughly parched. This genus is very tolerant of foggy, coastal conditions but might not survive temperatures below 15 degrees. They bloom from spring to summer and give off lovely purple spikes of flowers.

6) Lavender

lavender

Lavender is arguably the most famous purple plant. You hear and see its name everywhere.

This plant has a number of medicinal uses. Its aromatic fragrance and oil are converted into perfumes and scented essential oils for massages. It also provides therapeutic relief from respiratory ailments, stress, depression. It even acts as an insect repellant too. Lavender was also used for embalming mummies in ancient Egypt.

Lavender has long indigo to deep purple flower spikes. It can be grown almost anywhere and they grow easily and abundantly. Lavender loves the sun. Plant them a foot away from each other and water after they are totally dry.

7) Pasque Flower

Pasque Flower

Scientifically known as pulsatilla vulgaris, this wild flower blooms only during Easter. This is why it was named after the Paschal feast. It is also called the Easter flower.

These are perennial plants which rabbits absolutely hate. Pasque flower has a few varieties as well with some cultivars having either red or white shades.

These plants are one of the early spring bloomers. They are usually grown along edges and driveways. They often adorn rock gardens. Pasque flower should be planted under lots of sunlight and be watered regularly.

This flower, however, isn’t fit to be ingested as it is poisonous.

8) Purple Cacti

purple cacti

Source: Tanque Verde Construction and Outdoor Design

A cactus can live in arid areas without much water. They are capable of storing water inside their stems.

The purple cacti is a member of the opuntia class of cactus family and they have the same characteristics.

Apart from their lovely blooms and color, purple cacti are also succulent and safe to eat. Cactus plants have been gracing backyard gardens since time immemorial. Wouldn’t it be appealing to grow some attractive, colorful purple cacti in your own place? Give it a try!

9) Purple Orchid

purple orchid

The purple orchid is just one of the many varieties in the orchid family.

Orchids grow most effectively and healthily in tropical countries without much caring needed. In countries with harsher winter seasons, they will require special treatment with plenty of ventilation.

Purple orchids should be grown under a shade or behind a curtained window because direct heat will kill them. These plants can be placed inside near a window during winter to acquire enough air and indirect sunlight.

10) Verbena

verbena

Source: J Parker’s

These beautiful purple perennial plants need constant watering. They simply cannot withstand a dry environment.

They grow anywhere from 3 to 6 feet tall. They are very resistant to heat and drought but also need constant watering.

Verbenas require 8 to 10 hours of complete sunlight but they also appreciate cool afternoon shade.

Wrap Up

The color purple is always a very welcoming treat to the eyes. How about if this was the dominant shade that will greet you every day when you head out into your garden? All at once, you will feel relaxed and perfectly prepared to face the tensions of daily life.

We are hoping that this exploration of 10 purple plants for your flower garden article has given you some great ideas. If you have any suggestions or questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Happy planting!

Bonsai Tree Care

The art of bonsai continues to be a popular form of gardening all around the world.

Check out our bonsai tree series for a snapshot at several different types of bonsai.

Today, we’ll take a look at bonsai tree care so you can cut through the confusion and confidently take on what can be a very rewarding project.

bonsai

Watering

You’ve got to keep your bonsai properly watered. Dehydration can kill your tree so get this part right.

In general, make sure the soil never gets dry.

Check the soil daily to monitor things.

For a variety of reasons, watering early in the morning works best.

Bear an old Japanese saying in mind when it comes to watering your tree…

“With the bonsai, it rains twice.”

This means you should water until it runs from the holes in the pot. Hold fire for 15 minutes then repeat.

You can mist your leaves to help keep them breathing and free of dust.

Never water your bonsai with a hose that’s been laid in the sun. Let the water run through for a few minutes so it cools down.

If your bonsai has flowers, do not water them.

In summary, you should strike a delicate balance and give your bonsai just enough moisture for its needs without going over the top.

Feeding/Fertilizer

Feeding your bonsai on a regular basis is essential for healthy growth.

Bonsai fertilizer contains the following:

  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium

These elements will have numbers to indicate the proportion of each in the fertilizer. There will also be some inert filler.

With bonsai, you’ll want a balanced fertilizer.  Whereas for some plants and trees a 15-0-15 fertilizer works wonders, bonsai call for a 20-20-20 mix. This has even amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium with 40% filler.

Always water your bonsai thoroughly before applying your fertilizer. Never feed it when it’s dry.

Do not fertilize your bonsai if it’s in poor health. Rather than overcompensating with feed, wait it out until your tree improves before fertilizing.

Don’t keep using the same brand of fertilizer. They all contain slightly different nutrients so it’s worth mixing it up.

Always exercise a light touch. Over-reliance on fertilizer can be damaging for your tree.

Soil Mix

bonsai

 

Bonsai trees have different needs. It pays to be familiar with the type of soil preferred by your bonsai.

Some people swear by pre-mixed soil but this is an expensive approach. Mixing your soil at home is a far more economical solution.

It’s crucial that the soil has good aeration. The roots of your bonsai need to breathe easily and produce food.

The soil must also be able to drain effectively. Too much water not draining can lead to suffocated roots.

You also need to be sure that the soil can retain enough moisture so it’s a fine line to tread.

There are 2 principal types of bonsai soil:

  • Conifer mix
  • Tropical/Sub-tropical mix

As long as your soil has the attributes above, you can then tweak and fine-tune it to your requirements.

Location

bonsai

You owe it to yourself to choose the best environment for your bonsai to grow in.

They need to receive plenty of sunlight and air with a well-maintained temperature. It should be between 50 and 70 degrees at all times. Monitor this with a small thermometer.

If you are growing your bonsai indoors, place it in the brightest window as long as it’s not next to the fireplace.

Grow lights are a great solution if you can’t provide your bonsai with the natural light it demands.

As well as lighting, you’ll also need to think about proper air circulation. Poor quality air can lead to the photosynthesis process in the bonsai being messed with. Sufficient movement of the air can also help keep pests away. Good air circulation also helps transport essential moisture to the leaves and promotes the evaporation of surplus water.

Take action to crack the windows and door allowing some breeze through. Consider purchasing a fan if necessary.

Pots and Containers

bonsai tree care

When you are re-potting your bonsai, opt for a pot that’s slightly wider than your tree. Smaller pots force you to prune more frequently and you will need to re-pot more often. With larger pots, the soil might not dry out properly and in turn the roots can rot. Take your time and get the size right.

There are 2 main styles of bonsai pot:

  • Training pots
  • Display pots

Training Pots For Bonsai

While your tree is in the training phase, keep it in a special training pot made from mica, wood or plastic. You need adequate room for the roots to take and the trunk to settle. Large drainage holes ensure there’s no saturation of the roots leading to rotting.

Display Pots For Bonsai

Once you are up and running, you can re-pot to a ceramic display pot.

These pots are much easier on the eye and come with a variety of finishes. They are available in a wide range of colors and often feature striking designs.

Bonsai pot selection is all part of the fun so embrace it and make sure you get the best pot for the job.

Re-Potting

It’s crucial to re-pot your bonsai. The roots grow and need increasingly more space. The soil also hardens so it’s a smart move to replace it.

Failure to re-pot your bonsai at the right time can cause it to wither and subsequently die.

When you’re re-potting, it’s a good chance to prune the roots and conduct some general reshaping.

If the roots of your tree are outgrowing the pot, it’s time to give it a new home. Another sign is water remaining on the surface of the soil. This shows that the soil has hardened and the water is not permeating properly.

Young evergreen conifers should be re-potted every 2 or 3 years. This can slide back to once every 5 years for adult trees. With young deciduous trees, re-pot annually. When they are adult, you can move them every 2 to 3 years.

Re-pot either in spring before the buds start growing or in early fall when they have matured. Carrying out your re-potting at these times will help with rapid root growth.

In the lead-up to re-potting, allow the soil to dry out somewhat. This helps lessen the chance of root damage.

  • Remove and replace some of the old soil. With conifers, replace half the soil for young trees and one-third if they are fully grown. Young deciduous trees need two-thirds of the old soil removed while you can take away half with older trees
  • Clean the old soil from the roots
  • Prune the roots next to stimulate growth. Prune the thinner roots first then the taproot
  • Cover the drainage hole and add wire
  • Put down a layer of coarse soil then some planting soil
  • Place your bonsai tree on top of the planting soil and fix in position with wire
  • Add planting soil until level
  • Flush your soil with water
  • For 2 or 3 weeks, keep your bonsai in a light but shaded area. Keep it clear of wind or direct sunlight
  • Do not let it dry out
  • Do not fertilize until the roots have taken

Tools and Bonsai Supplies

You don’t need much by the way of tools to enjoy the art of bonsai.

Bonsai Wire

Bonsai wire is available in an assortment of shapes and sizes.

Copper is extremely strong but can be unwieldy to use.

1-2mm wire is a sensible starting point. As you practice, wiring becomes easier.

Bonsai Wire Cutters

These cutters are expressly designed for cutting bonsai wire. Don’t be tempted to use regular wire cutters instead. With proper bonsai cutters, you can prevent any damage to the trunk or branches while still enjoying enough jaw pressure to cut evenly.

Consider a good pair of bonsai wire cutters as a sound investment.

Bonsai Shears

These large-handled shears are a fundamental tool for bonsai growing.

You can trim roots, branches, buds or leaves. These shears are very versatile. The blades are sharp and tailor-made for dealing with bonsai.

Japanese Saws

These saws are the size of a large knife with handles for precise movement.

They cut effectively but using relatively little force. Use these saws on branches but not on the roots of your tree.

Root Rake

This is superb for disentangling roots. You can use a root rake safely without worrying about damaging the rest of the true while rescuing the roots.

Pests and Diseases

Bonsai trees are liable to be attacked by a fairly wide number of pests and diseases.

  • Powdery Mildew: This often happens if you water your tree in the evening. If you notice any tiny white granules, remove them. Switch to watering in the morning
  • Thrips: These tiny pests feed on woody plants including the bonsai. Use traps or insecticide depending on what plants you have nearby
  • Spruce Spider Mite: These mites bite into bonsai trees and eat the sap. Although the mites are usually too small to be seen with the naked eye, check for any signs of yellowing on the needles. Spray with insecticidal soap to get rid of the infestation
  • Red Spider: This common pest also eats the foliage of your tree. Since they are resistant to insecticides, introduce predatory mites to kill them off
  • Root Aphids: These aphids attack bald cypress bonsai. Check the outer branches for any signs they are dying off. If these attacks are left untreated, the entire branch can die
  • Caterpillars: Several types of caterpillar feed on various bonsai trees. Remove by hand where possible
  • Snails: Snails can plague tropical bonsai. Use predators rather than chemical treatment. Try to remove them by hand if you catch them early enough

Wrap-Up

We hope you’ve enjoyed this glance at bonsai tree care.

If you have put off taking on a bonsai for fear of it being too complicated, hopefully now you’re ready to give it a try and armed with plenty of valuable information.

Please contact us any time with your queries or feedback. We love to hear from our readers.

Go and try a bonsai for size. They make a perfect conversation piece either indoors or in the garden. Keep coming back as we will continue our bonsai tree series over the coming months.

Now happy planting!

Japanese Maple Bonsai

Gardening takes on many different forms.

From raising strawberries or potatoes in your vegetable patch through to pretty flowers in the garden, you are spoiled for choice.

Bonsai trees are an interesting way to inject a bit of variety into your foliage.

We have recently examined the rosemary bonsai, juniper bonsai and Jack pine bonsai. Today, we’ll continue our look at these miniature trees with a glance at the Japanese maple bonsai.

First thing’s first, a few simple facts about this striking tree.

Some Japanese Maple Bonsai Basics

 

Japanese Maple Bonsai

Acer palmatum, the Japanese maple, is a deciduous tree native to Asia.

The leaves on this beautiful tree turn magnificent shades of red, orange and gold during the fall. If you want a wonderful injection of color into your garden, think seriously about one of these maples.

These bonsai require very little by the way of care and maintenance. They make a great starting point for anyone interested in the art of bonsai but concerned about the difficulty level.

You can keep your Japanese maple indoors if you have an apartment in need of livening up.

With over 300 types of Japanese maple tree, you really are spoiled for choice.

How To Choose a Japanese Maple Bonsai

There are a few simple things to take into account when looking for a Japanese maple bonsai…

  • Climate: When you are choosing a bonsai, you should opt for one that can tolerate 2 zones colder than the one you live in. It pays to be cautious. The Japanese maple works best in USDA zones 5 and 6
  • Position: Think about where you will be planting your tree. Will there be plenty of direct sunlight? How about shade? The ideal set-up for these bonsai is a burst of sun in the morning followed by a shaded afternoon. They do not respond well to full days in the sun
  • Size: These Japanese maple come in a wide array of shapes and sizes. If you are committed to pruning perhaps twice a year, keeping these bonsai down to size is not a hassle. If you prefer a less hands-on maintenance routine, go for one that will grow to the space provided
  • Coloring: One of the key attractions of the Japanese maple is the way in which the leaves are colored. If you live in a hotter climate with lots of direct sun, the green leaved Japanese maple would be the best fit. Those with red or variegated leaves will  be far less tolerant of prolonged heat and uninterrupted sunlight

Caring For Your Japanese Maple Bonsai

 

Caring For Your Japanese Maple Bonsai

Where To Put Your Japanese Maple Bonsai

Japanese maple prefers to be positioned in plenty of sun and air.

Be careful, though. These trees are intolerant to direct sunlight during the hotter summer months.

The occasional touch of frost won’t be a disaster but protect your tree when the temperatures start to dip below -10 degrees.

Fertilizing

Solid organic fertilizer works best with the Japanese maple. This is slow-release and contains all the valuable nutrients your bonsai needs. If you want to encourage more vigorous growth, introduce a liquid fertilizer alongside.

You should feed your tree every couple of weeks through spring and summer. When fall comes around, switch to a liquid fertilizer. Cut the feed entirely in winter. Your bonsai will be dormant.

You should steer clear of fertilizer that’s too rich in nitrogen. This causes the leaves to grow excessively.

Watering

The Japanese maple cries out for soil which is nice and moist.

Over the course of the growing season, you’ll want to water pretty much daily. It’s not a disaster if you skip a day but you should stick to a regular schedule as much as possible.

During the hottest months, you might need to water your tree several times a day. This is particularly true if your soil drains well and your bonsai is in peak health.

When the tree goes dormant over winter, water just often enough to keep the soil sufficiently damp.

Potting Medium and Repotting

Japanese akadama clay is the best bet when it comes to growing medium. You can mix in some lava rock or pumice if you like. You want a mixture that will drain effectively.

With younger trees, you should re-pot them each year. Drop this to once every 3 years once your tree hits the age of 10.

Re-pot in spring just before the buds start opening.

Pruning

pruning bonsai

Source: Garden Walk Garden Talk

Root growth is strong with the Japanese maple so you should keep on top of pruning roots. Consider this ongoing maintenance.

You can also trim the twigs and shoots around the year.

Pruning leaves during the period of active growth will help to reduce their size. Pruning like this will also enhance the colors when fall comes around.

The main branches should be pruned in winter. Attack strong branches in the fall.

It’s a smart idea to use cut-paste after pruning. This tree can be prone to fungal diseases entering through any cuts.

Wiring

The best time to wire your tree, if necessary, is during the summer when all the leaves are in place.

Restrict any wiring to a maximum of 6 months.

Raffia is a neat way to safeguard the bark.

Pests and Diseases

Although the Japanese maple is quite a resilient tree, aphids can become a menace. Use a regular insecticide to kill them off.

Verticillium wilt can be catastrophic for these bonsai. If you see black spots on fresh cuts, your tree is probably infected by this nasty fungal disease. Destroy your tree and sterilize all your bonsai tools. The wilt can easily spread through contaminated tools.

Wrap-Up

We hope you have found this glimpse at the Japanese maple bonsai to be interesting and informative.

Get in touch any time if you have any feedback or any questions at all. We’re more than happy to help you and love hearing from our readers.

We’ll continue our journey into the world of bonsai with a look at how to care for your bonsai.

Come back next week for some handy hints!

Juniper Bonsai Tree

The art of bonsai continues to grow in popularity.

Check out our previous article on the rosemary bonsai for some background information on the history of the intriguing art of growing miniature trees.

Some Juniper Bonsai Basics

Scientifically known as Juniperus chinensis, the juniper bonsai is a member of the Cypress family.

These coniferous trees vary greatly in terms of growth. They range from pretty low-slung shrubs through to 15-foot trees.

The hardness of the deep red wood makes it ideal for cabinet making.

Juniper berries are used for spices and also for gin.

The Benefits of The Juniper Bonsai Treejuniper bonsai

Source: Pinterest

Bonsai in general can be pretty tricky to grow. Fortunately, juniper bonsai are one of the easiest types to bring on successfully.

They are highly durable in the sunlight and extremely versatile. Unlike most other bonsai trees, the juniper bonsai can grow equally well indoors or outside. They favor outdoor conditions.

If you take them out in the garden, it’s best to just plant them in regular garden soil. If you use containers, you are likely to restrict growth.

One of the key advantages of the juniper bonsai is that it can cope with neglect. It’s not going to die off if you forget to water it. Indeed, over-watering can be fatal so go sparingly.

Your juniper bonsai will be dormant over water. You can go easy on the watering during these months but don’t forget to give it some sunlight. If you live somewhere with a particularly cold climate, you’d be advised to bring  your tree indoors over the winter months.

Caring For Your Juniper Bonsai

juniper bonsai tree

Source: Bonsai Empire

Where To Put Your Juniper Bonsai

Place your juniper bonsai anywhere it will get at least 4 hours of sunlight.

Opt for soil that is slightly dry if possible. Your tree will appreciate it.

Fertilizing

You should use a half-strength liquid fertilizer on a monthly basis in fall and spring. Look for a fertilizer that is particularly rich in nitrogen in spring. Use feed with lower nitrogen levels in the fall.

There is no need for any kind of feeding regime in the summer.

Your tree will be dormant over winter. All it needs is water and a little light.

If you re-pot your juniper bonsai, leave it a while before introducing fertilizer.

Watering

Many bonsai trees are thirsty. The juniper bonsai can tolerate being fairly dry in between watering. They actually prefer drier soil but don’t overdo it and keep them too dry.

It’s good practice to monitor the soil daily so you can add moisture when it’s called for.

Make absolutely certain that the water is able to drain. If not, the roots are prone to rotting.

Keep a spray bottle handy to mist the leaves. Spraying the leaves helps them to breathe. This is doubly important for any re-potted juniper bonsai. The roots will need to settle in. Misting keeps dehydration at bay without menacing the roots as they adjust.

How Do You Tell If Your Juniper Bonsai Needs Watering?

Simply stick a chopstick a couple of inches into the soil. Leave it for 10 minutes then remove it. If the chopstick is damp, you’re all good. A dry chopstick means it’s time for watering.

Potting Medium and Repotting

Growing juniper bonsai directly in the soil is by far your best bet. They will perform in containers but they are likely to be stunted and retarded.

If you choose to use pots, make sure you re-pot every other year. Follow the guidance above regarding watering and fertilizing as your tree gets used to its new home.

Once your tree hits 10 years old, you can dial back the re-potting. For these older trees, changing pots every 3 to 4 years is about right. It’s a smart idea to prune the roots each time you re-pot.

Humidity

All bonsai thrive on humidity. It forms an important part of their growth cycle. Indeed, if the environment becomes too moist, they will wither up and potentially die.

Take steps to ensure that humidity levels are sufficient for your tree’s needs. If you don’t, you could end up disappointed.

Sunlight

Although you can keep juniper bonsai indoors, they would rather be outside enjoying natural sunlight.

They can deal with direct sunlight but it’s advisable to position them somewhere tht benefits from afternoon shade.

If you do choose to keep your tree indoors, opt for somewhere light with plenty of air.

Pruning

If you need to do any pruning, take care of it during the spring or summer. Pinch any new shoots back as soon as they get an inch long.

Tail off with the pruning in September.

Wiring

bonsai

Source: Pinterest

You’ll have no problem at all wiring your juniper bonsai.

You should always use wire cutters and work with care to avoid damaging the tree.

What To Do With a Sick Juniper Bonsai

bonsai watering

Source: Dengarden

One problem with juniper bonsai is that can appear outwardly healthy when they are, in fact, struggling. Often, by the time you notice that something is amiss, it’s too late.

If your tree is looking a little brown and withered, there are a few things you can do to step in…

  • Scratch your fingernail on the trunk. If it’s green, there’s still some life left in your tree
  • Check the roots. They should be firm and white. Any sign of mushy or darkened roots suggests rotting
  • Trim away any potentially rotted sections of root
  • Make sure the soil is sandy enough and that it’s draining properly
  • Monitor the way you care for your bonsai. Avoid overwatering and use an appropriate fertilizer. Those fertilizers meant for evergreen trees are ideal
  • Prune any areas of dead foliage

Wrap-Up

We hope you have enjoyed this look at the striking juniper bonsai.

Please feel free to contact us any time if you have any questions. We are more than happy to help.

If you fancy getting started in the world of bonsai, the juniper bonsai makes a very wise starting point.

Give it a go!

Rosemary Bonsai Tree

The name given to the aromatic herb rosemary (Rosmarius in Latin) means “dew of the sea”.

Rosemary leaves have an extremely sweet fragrance that adds an incredibly appetizing taste to any recipes.

rosemary

The tree of the rosemary is very hardy. It can withstand dry seasons without much watering. This tree can also survive even in colder temperatures if planted in a bonsai pot because it can easily be moved to other locations.

Its flowers ranged from pink and purple through to blue and white.

Rosemary is highly versatile. It can be used as garden decor (hedges) or landscape (topiary), makes for great medicinal herbs and can also adorn the house indoors.

Some Facts About the Bonsai Tree

bonsai

When most people hear the word bonsai, the first thing that comes into their mind are those dwarfed trees grown in a small pot.

Bonsai is a Japanese word that means planted in a container. It is the art of making a miniature from a fully-grown tree complete with landscape designs in a shallow, small vessel.

Most people think that bonsai literally means small or tiny. This is why they often refer to small things or people as bonsai. This reasoning is generally because of the mini version of a tree in a pot.

The best bonsai pots are made from ceramic or porcelain. Plastic and metal containers can also be used but they should be as rigid and strong as the ceramic and porcelain pots to work well. This is because the pots are not just going to be a plant holder but need to support a mini tree.

Bonsai as a type of gardening art originated in China centuries before it was mentioned in Chinese documents in 600 A.D. Ancient Taoists formulated the idea of imitating the dwarfed trees in the forest, by means of planting and growing miniature ones in a pot. They achieved this through constantly cutting and pruning them to their desired height and width.

Those Chinese artists called this art “Penzai”, which literally means tray plant. Penzai was introduced in Japan around the 11th century where it was later known by its present name bonsai. Five centuries after this, bonsai art found its way into the western world, through the Japanese traders, where it was welcomed and embraced with much enthusiasm in middle-class society and most especially by royalty.

How To Make a Rosemary Bonsai Tree

rosemary bonsai

Source: Pinterest

Rosemary is one of the preferred varieties to be planted as a bonsai tree.

Their stems’ natural slender growth and beautiful but very tiny flowers make rosemary popular among bonsai planters. Added to that is their fresh, sweet aroma that can add a feeling of calmness within the house.

Here are some simple steps to follow if you want to make a rosemary bonsai:

Important Note: A dwarf variety of rosemary tree is the best to use as a bonsai plant due to its natural small size.

  1. Pick a small rosemary plant that has a firm but upright stem and lots of branches to work with
  2. Think of a design you want to create before trimming away branches. You can try drawing your desired bonsai style. Cut off all small branches just above the roots
  3. Remove all dead roots, branches and leaves. Do this before placing the plant into the pot. Be extra careful not to break the rosemary from its stem
  4. Start putting the tree into the pot. It’s best to choose a large but shallow pot to allow the roots and foliage more room to grow
  5. Remember to always press the soil gently to prevent any air pockets from forming
  6. Circle the new sprouts with a soft wire to support the stem
  7. Water the plant now but be sure to wait for it to drain out of the holes before stopping. If air pockets form, add more soil, and water it again

Taking Care of a Rosemary Bonsai Tree

  1. Rosemary bonsai should always be partly dry before watering it again as it dies if constantly wet. Consequently, the plant should never be left too dry before rewatering
  2. Bonsai plants are generally intended for indoor displays but, just like other indoor plants, it also needs adequate natural light. Place it somewhere where the sun’s rays can penetrate it directly. Rosemary needs at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily and then to be left in a cool temperature of 5 to 7 degrees C
  3. Since rosemary grows fast, repotting to a larger container is necessary when the tree starts to outgrow its first pot. It needs more space to thrive and to achieve your desired size for your bonsai. Afterward, repotting is required every 2 years

Important Note: When repotting rosemary bonsai, the entire tree should be uprooted very carefully from its present pot. Pop in some new soil to promote healthier new growth and fertilize as soon as the bonsai tree has been replanted.

  1. Fully-grown rosemary bonsai should be nourished with a liquid spray fertilizer every 3 weeks except during the winter season when the tree should stop growing. However, freshly planted rosemary bonsai should be fertilized weekly to encourage growth until it’s repotted. Use a non-acidic fertilizer that also contains potassium and nitrogen
  2. Pruning should be conducted periodically to prevent the bonsai tree from growing bigger than you would like. Trim minimal parts of the roots and cut all leaves that will hinder your design
  3. Do not put wires on old trees as they will tend to break down

Wrap Up

We hope this article has been of great help in your quest to create your own Rosemary bonsai tree.

If you have questions or feedback, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are always very happy to help and we’ll get back to you promptly.

Happy planting!

Jack Pine Bonsai

Pinus banksiana or Jack pine is a species of pine tree named for Sir Joseph Banks. Banks was a British botanist who traveled with Captain Cook on his first main voyage in the late 1700s.

Jack pine has around 75 species which are all named for Banks.

It is known by many common names including Black pine, Black Jack pine, Hudson Bay pine and scrub pine.

Pendulous cultivars grow over 2 meters in the wild.

Dwarf and broom cultivars are ideal for making bonsai trees.

It’s a hardy tree so Jack pine bonsais work well even if you are just starting out.

jack bonsai

Source: Things About Trees

Anatomy of Jack Pine

Jack pine are native to the northern US and Canada.

This broad and upright tree grows anywhere from 3 feet to over 75 feet in the landscape. Some of the largest specimens will tower at 100 feet or more.

The Jack pine can cope well even with poor soil. They grow naturally on rocky, sandy hills so they are used to thriving where many other plants simply will not grow.

Growing wild, these trees will live for anything between 75 years and over 200 years.

When they are seedlings, Jack pines grow a taproot which is carried through as the tree ages. This taproot can reach depths of as much as 10 feet. The main part of the root system, though, is made up of lateral roots in the upper part of the soil.

Trunk and Stem

The bark of the Jack pine bonsai is fairly thick and develops noticeable cracks over time.

Branches tend to grow naturally with a somewhat rough and bedraggled appearance.

Foliage

The twisted pine needles come in pairs. These are known as fascicles. They normally measure 1 or 2 inches but they can be reduced still more using the best bonsai techniques.

Colors are anywhere in the range of yellow through to dark green.

Seeds, Flowers and Fruits

Jack pine are known as monoecious. This means that the male and female segments are on the same plant but different flowers.

Female cones are ovulate and usually occur on the first and second branches in the upper part of the tree crown. These cones are long shoots.

Male cones are called staminate and these are found on the tertiary branches rather lower down. The male cones are dwarf shoots.

Cones will mature towards the end of summer or into early fall.

How To Care For Jack Pine Bonsai Trees

We will have a look now at some key points to consider if you plan to grow a Jack pine bonsai at

jack pine bonsai

Source: Art of Bonsai

Soil

Make sure that you have soil that will drain very well. The Jack pine prefers soil that’s either neutral or a little acidic.

You can go for a mix with up to 50% sand.

Another option is a conifer mix:

  • 1 part pumice
  • 1 part lava rock
  • 1 part akadama
  • 1/2 cup charcoal
  • 1/2 cup decomposted granite

Watering

You should water plentifully but do not go over the top and allow it to bog down.

Between waterings, you should let the soil dry out almost completely.

While Jack pine are extremely resilient to a lack of water in the wild, when cultivating bonsais you need to keep a far closer eye on watering.

Light

Full sun will give you best results.

Your Jack pine will be very intolerant to shady conditions so give it what it wants most and ensure oodles of sun.

Fertilizer

When it comes to fertilizer, you should provide your Jack pine bonsai with a balanced feed throughout the year.

Tail off with the fertilizer towards the fall. Stop completely during the winter.

If you shoot for an acidic fertilizer, this will provide your tree with what it needs most.

Repotting

The growth of new roots with Jack pines can be pretty slow going.

When repotting, leave in some of the old soil. Mycorrhizal is a beneficial bacteria that the Jack pine needs and this can be found in the soil.

Repotting should be carried out anywhere from every other year to once every five years.

Be sure to use a light touch when repotting your tree and go easy on the roots.

Pruning Your Bonsai

jack pine pruning

With trees, anything that could weaken it is known as an insult. Some examples of insults include:

  • Repotting
  • Drastic reduction of foliage
  • Pruning
  • Wounding
  • Bud removal
  • Heavy wiring

With Jack pine, you should limit these insults to once a year only.

Don’t stagger your pruning over a period of months. Do it once properly then be patient and wait a year. This will be best for your bonsai.

When you see signs of vigorous growth, your Jack pine will be ready for another round of pruning.

Concave cuts should be avoided completely. This plays havoc with the sap in the area and can cause issues further up the tree trunk. Allow plenty of time for any cuts to heal.

Remove any needles from the underside or the top of the branches.

Get rid of any weak buds.

To Wire or Not To Wire?

Restrict your wiring to young and healthy specimens.

While young branches might set in a year, older branches could take considerably longer. As with all elements of growing bonsai trees, patience is essential every step of the way.

Styles

You have a wide choice of forms and styles with the Jack pine.

Upright and broom styles, however, don’t work well.

Due to their naturally wild nature, formal styling is also a no-no with this particular tree. Rather than fight against this, embrace it instead.

Pests and Diseases

Look out for aphids, weevils, rust and borers.

Sawfly and budworm can also be problematic.

Wrap-Up

We hope that you have enjoyed this glance at the Jack pine bonsai.

Forming these miniature trees is time-consuming but extremely rewarding. If you are looking for something different in your garden, consider giving bonsais a try.

If you have any questions at all then don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’ll get back to you as quickly as we can.

Happy growing!

How To Train Schefflera Bonsai

Gardening takes many forms.

Perhaps you have no outside space and want to grow something striking in your house instead. Maybe you have a large yard but also want some greenery around while you relax on the couch.

If you like gardening indoors then perhaps a bonsai tree would nestle nicely alongside your cacti and make a superb conversation piece.

The Japanese have grown trees restricted in containers for more than a thousand years and the intricate bonsai is always an impressive sight.schefflera bonsai

We’ll look today at how to train the Schefflera bonsai along with some general information about cultivating this tree indoors.

Double Dose of Schefflera

There are two related plants known as Schefflera:

  • Dwarf Schefflera (Schefflera arboricola)
  • Full-sized Schefflera (Brassaia actinophylla)

The larger tree favors tropical climates and can soar to thirty feet or more. With enormous leaves like an umbrella and clumps of bright red flowers, the Brassaia is highly attractive.

The dwarf version grows anywhere from 6 to 12 feet if left unfettered. It has smaller leaves and branches a bit more freely than its big brother.

Schefflera For Bonsai Trees

Schefflera

Schefflera trees have a compound leaf. This means that each stalk or petiole has more than a single leaflet. As a result, the leaf seems to be larger than it really is.

The fairly sizeable leaf on both types of Schefflera makes cultivating really tiny bonsai tough.

Unlike most trees, Schefflera don’t really have growth rings as such. They are not a particularly woody tree and the bark formed isn’t especially tough.

It’s quite hard to form serious bends with this tree even using wiring. You need to cut the branch to get any real movement.

One significant bonus of the Schefflera is that you can easily form aerial roots. Making a banyan tree form or any other form with drastically exposed roots is satisfying with these dramatic trees.

Many trees cope badly with dim light and low humidity but the Schefflera thrives in these conditions even though it hails from tropical climes.

With effort, both types of Schefflera can be turned into fairly small bonsai to stunning effect.

How To Cultivate Schefflera Indoors

Soil and Moisture

The two different species require different levels of moisture in the soil.

  • Dwarf Schefflera: Moist and never let it get bone dry
  • Schefflera: Water profusely then allow roots to dry almost completely

They also prefer different soil mixes…

  • Dwarf Schefflera: Half bark, half inorganic material
  • Schefflera: One-third organic material to two-thirds inorganic material

These are rough guides but you should always fine-tune your mix according to your individual tree, general growing conditions and micro-environment.

Light

Both Schefflera will tolerate extremely dim lighting. This means that the leaves will be quite large, reduced in number and shaping will be a tall order.

In order to see your tree truly flourish, try to give it as much light as possible. This will lead to smaller leaves and improved growth. It’s much easier to shape and form bonsais when the tree is in a period of active growth.

Humidity

With thick and waxy leaves, Schefflera deal well with lower humidity levels.

You can get by without the need for any kind of humidifier and this tree will survive in even the driest indoor environment.

Propagating Schefflera

Bringing these trees on from seed is straightforward. That said, they are so readily available at garden centers that few would bother.

Propagating from cuttings will be stress-free. Pop the cuttings into a container with some granular soil mix then cover with a plastic bag. After a month, they’ll have set root and you can remove them from the bag. Don’t make the soil too wet or the stem might rot and fail to root.

Fertilizing

A normal houseplant fertilizer diluted by half is ideal. Adding this weekly should give your bonsai all the nutrients it needs. You can cut back to monthly feeding over the winter or any times when the tree is not actively growing.

Water your tree thoroughly before fertilizing.

Pests

Schefflera are seldom menaced by insects which is welcoming news.

From time to time they may suffer from scale infestation. Treat this by spraying dormant oil weekly taking care to spray all surfaces of the tree.

How To Train Schefflera Bonsai

bonsai tree

Pots and Repotting

Repot your bonsai every two years. Make sure that the container is not too big. This way, you’ll showcase the tree’s canopy to full effect and prevent the soil from getting too soaked.

Take your time and separate all the old soil from the root ball. You can easily wreak havoc on the delicate roots if you undertake this too roughly.

Oval or round pots work best with Schefflera.

Wiring

The lack of woody trunk means Schefflera can be challenging to wire.

Try to get started when the branches are young. Apply the wire a little more loosely than you would with some other bonsai. Shoot for gentle bends and avoid extreme changes in direction.

Prune above the leaves for perfect results.

As with any large-leaved tree, you can wire individual leaves for added shaping. Do this when they are mature and full-size.

Hacking Back: Reduction

Often, people come across their Schefflera by taking away a bedraggled specimen from a friend’s house.

You can cut back tall examples with abandon and get rid of the leaves.

Take no prisoners when shortening the stem. If you don’t do the job properly, you risk needing to return to reduce your Schefflera later on. This will cost you time and result in needing to cut the stem back even further.

If you do take on a severe hacking back, wait a few months afterwards before repotting your Schefflera.

Wrap-Up

We hope you’ve found this glance at bonsai trees and how to train the Schefflera bonsai informative.

Why not try growing one to supplement your indoor garden?

Please get in touch if you have any queries or feedback. We are always delighted to hear from our readers. Also, feel free to share any of our articles on your social media.