by B. Hacker
A juniper bonsai tree is the perfect introduction to bonsai gardening. Juniper trees are easy to grow and versatile. Covered in beautiful, evergreen leaves, juniper trees also flower in the spring, producing stunning, creamy white flower clusters.
Why a Juniper Bonsai?
Besides its beauty, a juniper tree is easy to grow. It can be grown either indoors or outdoors, though it prefers to be outdoors in a container. This makes the juniper tree the perfect plant for a sunny or partially sunny patio. Junipers are not picky plants and do not require special soil. They are easily trained into interesting shapes. Juniper trees actually prefer to be mildly neglected and will thrive in this state more than if they were over-watered or over-fed.
How to Get Started
Buy a plant from a reputable dealer. When a juniper bonsai is transplanted, it is in shock for a period of four to six weeks because its roots have been disturbed. Ask the dealer when the plant was transplanted and only buy a plant that has been in its pot for about three months. Likewise, a change in environment is difficult for a juniper bonsai. So, buying a well-established plant will help it to overcome the change in environment.
Winter Care for a Juniper Tree
The juniper bonsai will go into dormancy during the winter months. Depending on your climate, you may prefer to move your juniper tree indoors for the winter months to protect it from heavy snow. A juniper tree prefers to be in an unheated room, such as an enclosed back porch or a garage that gets daily natural light. If your juniper bonsai is an indoor plant, it still needs to go into dormancy in the winter months and should still be placed in a cool room. Continue to water if the soil feels dry, but do not over water.
While less than five or six years old, a juniper bonsai should be repotted every two years. Once the plant has aged, it needs to be repotted every three to five years. The best time to repot a juniper bonsai is in the spring or fall. Water thoroughly and keep the plant in a shady location for a month or two after repotting to allow for new root growth.
Complications of Juniper Bonsai Care
Not allowing the juniper bonsai to go into dormancy in the winter months will eventually result in an unhealthy plant. It is crucial that the plants are moved to a cool location during this period, whether they are indoor or outdoor plants. Placing the juniper tree in a room, such as a basement, that gets no natural light will kill the plant. Juniper bonsai trees need some light during the dormancy period.
All gardeners know better than other gardeners — Chinese Proverb