Bonsai Kid!

…Shaping the world!

A tree for starters May 8, 2007

Filed under: Back to basics — Newstudy @ 3:19 am

Although getting started growing bonsai can be a little intimidating at first, with the right information and a little trial and error, you will soon be a pro.   The art of bonsai actually got its start in China, although most people believe it originated in Japan.   Regardless, there is something magical about growing and training a bonsai tree. The key is to choose the right, bonsai starter tree so you have success.  
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In this article, we will give you several options to consider.   Each is distinct and beautiful. Again, the trick to being successful in growing your bonsai starter tree is to learn the proper care and then enjoy the process.   Growing bonsai takes dedication and patience but the result is well worth the investment. 
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The first bonsai starter tree we recommend is the Japanese Red Maple. You can choose a starter tree or seeds, although the seeds do take a little more time and effort.  In the spring and fall, the leaves on the tree are a vibrant red or orange.   Then in the summertime, the leaves will turn a deeper, duller hue of red but still beautiful. Although the leaves are remarkable, this type of bonsai starter tree is also known for something else.
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This type of tree makes an incredible informal upright. Additionally, the leaves can be reduced to one-inch or less, which is ideal for this style.
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The Japanese Red Maple is affordable and with the trunks remaining green or red for months on end and the branches green or red, the overall appearance is truly magnificent, making this a top choice.
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Another type of bonsai starter tree that is often overlooked is the semi-tropical Sea Grape.  Growing in the southern regions of Florida, this tree is a shoreline shrubby tree.  What makes the Sea Grape so unique is that while the leaves tend to be large, something you typically want to avoid when growing bonsai, they can be cut down to one or one and a half inches and still look beautiful. The interesting aspect of this is that once the leaves are cut, they heal themselves, which results in an unusual red edge. This particular bonsai starter tree is actually hardy and can be trained in a number of styles. Therefore, if you want something a little different from the normal bonsai starter tree, then consider the Sea Grape.

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The next bonsai starter tree is the Chinese Elm. Typically, when a person thinks of bonsai, this is the tree. The thing is that while the Chinese Elm can be grown indoors as a miniature tree, they are an outdoor type of tree. This bonsai starter tree has an amazing shape and appearance that will foliate. The leaves will reduce smaller each season that you have the tree and as you work with it to train it.   In addition, the caliper is about three quarters of an inch or less and the tree will grow to eight or ten inches. You want to grow this bonsai in partial sun and in the winter, it will need some dormancy. Keep in mind that many people have successfully grown the Chinese Elm in greenhouses with leaves and without dormancy.
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Finally, I recommend you consider both the Himalyan Cedar and Brazilian trees for your bonsai starter tree. The cedar is very adaptable and affordable. This tree will usually grow between five and six inches tall and makes an excellent bonsai. Then, the Brazilian tree is usually from a young seedling that has been clipped and grown. Typically, these trees grow upwards to 15 inches tall and have calipers up to three quarters of an inch. When you buy this type of bonsai starter tree, it should come with a bare root with a good amount of soil still attached. As with other
types of bonsai trees, both of these species can be trained in a number of styles.
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article by Erik. A. Olsen from the bonsai gardener website

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