Bonsai Beginners – Caring For Your Blue Juniper

Published Date: November 29th, 2006
Category: Gardening

By: Lee Dobbins

If you are a beginning bonsai artist then you might want to select and Juniper for your first tree. This is a beautiful species of tree which tolerates a wide range of conditions and is a good species for the cascade or kengai style where the branches in the trunk grow out over the container and below the horizontal edge.

Junipers like to be kept in the full sun and they are rather forgiving when it comes to water although the soil shouldn’t be allowed to dry out and you should make sure there’s adequate drainage. they should be planted in the soil mixture that is 10% peak, 60% soil and 30% course sand.

Fertilizer your juniper once a month starting in the early spring and straight through the summer. Inorganic fertilizer will be more gentle and your plant but if you do go with a man-made chemical fertilizer you want to ensure that it has the proper amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus and potassium. The Juniper will probably do best with a 20-20-20 NPK mixture. Refrain from fertilizing when it is very hot and the first two weeks after you repot the plant.

Repotting should be done every two years until your juniper reaches 10 years of age and then you want to spread out to every three or four years. This is a good time to trim the roots but don’t go overboard with this as gradual trimming his best. You can also take this time to prune unwanted branches. Keep your Juniper out of the full sun for two weeks after repotting.

While wiring should be done in the late fall you will get quicker results if you do it during the act of growing season. However you probably want to wait into you have some experience under your belt as you need to be careful to avoid scarring. During the act of growing season you can remove new shoots by pinching them off gently with the thumb and forefinger. One doing this you want to be sure not to bend the tree or any of the branches.

Just like any other plant, the Juniper can have pests. The most common is red spider mites. symptoms of these mites includes yellowing foliage and if you see this look under the branches for tiny spots then hold a white sheet of paper underneath and they give the branch at tap. If the docs volunteer paper and are moving about then you know you’ve got red spider mites.

You can get rid of the red spider mites with a nicotine solution that can be prepared at home by soaking tobacco and water or you can buy commercial insecticide. After you have treated the Juniper for spider mites and let the solutions it for a day spray the foliage down with water each day during the growing season allowing it to dry in the sun.

With proper care, your juniper can live for years or even decades and can be enjoyed as a living work of art that you’ve lovingly sculpted, pruned and cared for.

About the Author:

Lee Dobbins writes for where you can learn more about the art of bonsai and the juniper bonsai plant as well as other types of bonsai plants.

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