How to Grow Bonsai

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You can grow your own bonsai trees from seed and an easy way of doing this is by sowing your seeds in peat pots. Small peat pots are truly excellent for seed sowing.

Before sowing or potting up, soak the peat pots. The moist peat pots can then be filled with compost.

A disk of paper can be placed over the top of the pot of newly-sown seeds. The disk prevents the surface compost being dis­turbed during watering.

Sow the smallest seeds from a piece of folded paper or thin cardboard as they may stick to your hand. Then cover them with a dusting of soil.

A mini-propagator makes an excellent container for the pots of sown seeds or potted bonsai seedlings.

After sowing or potting your bonsai seeds, replace the plastic cover of the propagator.

When seedlings sown in propagating trays have developed, they must then be planted out. However, be aware that seedlings planted out in the garden must be protected from direct sun.

Before transplanting into a special bonsai container, use an ordinary pot after providing it with a drainage hole.

Professional bonsai growers offer a selection of potential bonsai which have already matured for those who choose not to produce their own.

Six Top Tips on Propagating Bonsai Plants

1.      If the seeds of the bonsai plants are large enough to handle, they can be spaced out individually. Smaller bonsai seeds should be sprinkled from their packets, taking care to spread them thinly and evenly.

2.      After sowing, the bonsai plant seeds should be lightly covered with a layer of sifted compost, and labelled with the name of the plant and the date.

3.      Place a sheet of glass over the container in which you have sown your plant seeds, together with a piece of paper. These coverings help to prevent loss of water from the compost.

4.      Hardwood cuttings can be prepared in the autumn from firm shoots of the current year’s growth. They should be trimmed to a length of about 1 in. by cutting just above a bud at the top and just below a bud at the base, and rooted in a cold frame or the garden.

5.      Half-ripe cuttings can be taken with a heel of more mature wood attached as this encourages rooting to take place.

6.      Many bonsai plants can be propagated from soft­wood cuttings.

Tips on How to Grow Bonsai Trees from Seed

These tips for growing bonsai trees and plants are simple, yet invaluable:

Unlike seeds collected from the wild, commercially sold seeds have a good chance of germinating. Spread the seeds over the moist sand covering the base of the container. After spreading the seeds over the sand, cover them with wet sand and . . . wait. Seeds may be ready to sow in the spring.

When the seeds have been stratified, the seeds are then scattered over the compost mixture. The depth of compost that covers the seeds depends on the size of the seeds. If the seeds are quite large, the surface soil should be firmed – a traditional trowel can be used to do this.

If the seeds (such as ginkgo) are protected by a shell, this should be cracked with pliers. After breaking the shell, remove the seed from its protective covering. Having been removed from their shells, the seeds can be sown, and as germination has thus been made easier, stratification is unnecessary. 

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