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Growing Bonsai From Seeds

Growing Bonsai From Seeds
This is a blog about tiny little seeds and how they grow into tiny little trees. This is a blog about small trees and how I want to grow them.
Articles: 1, 2


Repotting my Ficus
2008-06-21 11:57:00
I've been a bit slow posting this but I repotted my Ficus Retusa exactly a month ago now, on May 21. I understand that the pot is of equal importance to the tree in bonsai and I had been trying to do some reading on what style I should go for but I wasn't able to find anything that was much help to me. In the end my choice of pot was based purely on my own judgment from the limited selection available in the shop. I'm not completely satisfied with the result and I still think the new pot is too big. Ideally I should have gotten one that was somewhere between the old and new one in size.Here's the old and new pics: Old (May 5): New (May 21): I do however like the lighter colour. It hadn't occurred to me when I was buying it but it matches the wallpaper! It seems to give the tree a brighter appearance. I still have lots to learn about bonsai though. The tree is still basically the same shape as when I bought it and I really couldn't imagine creating it myself but I thin...
More About: Bonsai
Toronto Flowers
2008-05-27 13:33:00
The internet is an increasingly useful place to go shopping on. I became interested in bonsai simply by wandering off the street into a specialist bonsai shop. Since then my interest has grown. The wonderful thing about the internet is that since then I have been able to extend my interest in the art by reading lots of free information about it online. However, as well as information the internet is also a wonderful place to buy the things you are looking for. At first glance, it may seem a bit odd to be buying something as fragile as flowers online but after some investigation I think it?s a good option. An example of this that I found online is a web-site selling Toronto flowers.Speed is of huge importance for something as fragile as sending flowers and this site is able to provide same day delivery anywhere in North America and usually by next business day for overseas orders. Local delivery within the Toronto area can be rushed by courier for emergency orders. For people plann...
More About: Flowers , Bonsai
Time to Repot
2008-05-18 12:12:00
It's about time to repot my ficus retusa. Any suggestions for the style of the new pot?
More About: Time , Bonsai
Orange Seedling at Four Months
2008-03-30 19:25:00
It's been a while since I gave an update on the progress of my orange seedlings. Unfortunately first of all some bad news. My orange seedlings which were doing so well are all dead now except for one.I think it may have been due to my transplanting them. As the picture below shows the seedlings were doing so well that they were beginning to crowd each other in the pot. While transplanting them was almost certainly the right thing to do the mistake was in my choice of pot. I choose a shallow but wide tray, thinking that the space would help them. I now think that there simply wasn't enough depth in the soil for the roots to dig in. I carried out the transplant on February 11. The first sign of the seedlings failing came on February 27 when the first of the twins began to look droopy. For a while it appeared as if just one of the twin seedlings would die off leaving the other to survive. However on March 6 the second one began to droop as well and they are now both dead. The ...
More About: Orange , Bonsai , Months
Can Anyone Identify These Seeds?
2008-03-07 14:45:00
I bought this seed kit while on holiday in Barcelona last month. It was just for the novelty value and the hope that if they grew I would be able to say how I got them from a stall on Las Ramblas in Barcelona. Once I got home on February 21 I followed the instructions that were with the kit to soak them for 24 hours and then plant them. I didn?t check them again until February 29 and two seedlings were already over an inch tall. There was also a third seedling which was tiny compared to the other two and was barely breaking through the surface.Interestingly there are two types of seedling growing here. As you can see in the picture below the seedling on the left has only one initial leaf while the one on the right has two. The third, small seedling also has two. Since I spotted these seedlings on February 29 none of them seem to have grown anything. They certainly are strange seeds; that the first two should grow so quickly and differently to each other while the third should r...
More About: Bonsai , Seeds
Taking a cutting from a Serissa Foetida
2008-02-22 11:44:00
The little glimmer of hope that was the seedling growing from the base of my increasingly misnamed Tree of a Thousand Stars has faded away. It now seems that the tree has died back almost completely with the exception of a couple of branches towards the back and top of the tree, which continue to grow. Since this is the only part of the tree that is showing signs of life I decided to take a cutting from here and try to develop a new tree from it. I took my cutting on February 13 and dipped it in rooting hormone powder before planting it. This is my first time using rooting hormone but since I have so little serissa left to work with I thought I?d give it every help I could. I also enclosed the pot inside a clear plastic bag to create a greenhouse effect for the cutting. It is over a week since I took the cutting and the leaves remain in good health, so for now I can continue to be optimistic.
More About: Bonsai , Taking , Cutting
2008-02-14 20:23:00
Perhaps it's because Spring is beginning but over the last couple of weeks or so my three bonsai trees have all begun to produce seedlings. Although my serissa and ligustrum both continue to look either dead or dying they both have little seedlings growing from their base. Also another of my dragon fruit seeds which I planted at the end of November has begun to sprout. The other dragon fruit seedlings sprouted within a week of planting while this seed, which was planted at the same time, waited for two and a half months. Something that I am beginning to understand now more clearly is that you can never really tell when a seed will sprout. If the instructions say that it will sprout within two weeks, don't give up if nothing appears after 15 days! It could just as easily be two months before anything happens.The little seedling growing beside the serissa has similar leaves to the main tree and so is easy enough to identify. On the other hand what is growing from the soil beside...
More About: Bonsai
Ficus Retusa Cutting at Four Months
2008-01-31 15:43:00
Here's the surviving cutting from my ficus tree after four months. It'll still be a long time before I'll be able to try developing it into a bonsai but I'm glad to see that it still survives. I took the cutting on October 13. As an experiment I took two cuttings and planted one in soil and placed this one in a tumbler of water. I had read people who recommended both methods so I was keen to try them both out to see which worked best. The result of my experiment came out in favour of the water method. The cutting planted in soil died after two weeks while at about the same time the cutting in water began to show the first sign of roots. Within a month of placing the cutting in the tumbler the roots had developed to such an extent that I was able to transfer it to a pot.
More About: Bonsai , Months , Mont , Cutting
Bonsai Ligustrum
2008-01-26 18:55:00
My landlord brought the above tree round to my flat last night. He'd noticed the trees one time he was in and so he brought this around to me in the hope that I'd have more luck with it than he had. He bought the tree from Aldi or Lidel just before Christmas. He is a keen gardener but this was his first bonsai tree. As you can see he hasn't had very much luck with his first bonsai. The main problem was simply that it hadn't been watered properly. Seemingly his wife used to water it but the water ran out through the bottom of the pot and soaked the table it was being kept on. This led to it being underwatered.I've watered it now and time will tell if it will recover. When I got it last night the soil was rock-hard. The first thing I did was to dunk it in a bowl of water to give it a good soaking. The soil was very thirsty and it was a satisfying sound when I took the plant back out of the water and listened to the water being absorbed into the soil. Possibly the lack of water...
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MyTube: Growing Oranges from Pips
2008-01-26 15:06:00
I'm getting really fancy now and broadcasting my own video! Here's a look at my three orange tree seedlings that are growing from pips. Since my last update on my orange seedling at two months old, I have gotten two more seedlings. The first one broke through the soil on January 22 and the second one came through yesterday. The two shoots are very close to each other so it is possible that they are both from the same pip, as happened with my first seedling which has since died. Getting these seedlings coming through now, three months after the pips were planted, has been a complete surprise to me. When I read about growing oranges from pips I learned that germination usually occurs around two weeks. I knew that nature wasn't as punctual as that and that it could be 10 or 20 days either but I had thought it would be somewhere around 14 days. What this has taught me is that you can never be sure when seeds will germinate.
More About: Bonsai , Growing , Oranges
Setting up a Humidity Tray
2008-01-22 15:57:00
Before I set up a humidity tray for my bonsai I hadn't realised how quickly water could evaporate in my flat. The idea of the tray is to increase the moisture in the air around indoor bonsai which are used to growing in a warm, humid environment. A modern apartment may provide the heat that the tree requires but it is a dry heat which leaves the bonsai drying up because of lack of moisture. Daily misting helps but it is a temporary thing whereas the humidity tray is there to help raise the moisture levels in the air throughout the day. It's easy to set up a humidity tray. You just need a tray with raised edges and a water-tight bottom. Position your bonsai on the tray. Then get some pebbles or gravel and line the tray. Once you've this done you just add water and there you go! Pour water over the gravel just being careful not to overflow the tray.Also be careful that the bonsai are sufficiently raised so as to be above the water level. You want the water to evaporate off the p...
More About: Bonsai , Humidity , Tray
Orange seedling at two months
2008-01-19 21:37:00
My orange tree seedling, which I've been growing from a pip, is now two months old. It still seems in good health and has developed another pair of leaves and grown another centimetre since my post last month. It now stands at five centimetres (two inches). So far all continues to go well with it. Meanwhile, pips from a clementine mandarin orange, which I planted on January 9 have still to show any signs of growth. Clementines are almost seedless but one out of a bag that I bought from the supermarket was packed with pips so I soaked them in warm water for a while and planted them. I planted about ten of them but so far there's no shoots.
More About: Orange , Bonsai , Months , Mont
Is my Serissa Foetida dying?
2008-01-16 18:32:00
If anyone ever tells you that Serissa Foetida is a good indoor bonsai tree for a beginner just keep these pictures in mind! The first one is my six-year-old Serissa (Tree of a Thousand Stars) as it was when I bought it on November 3 last: Now this is how it looks today: I bear a slight grudge against the bonsai shop because I explained to the assistant that I was a beginner. I had bought a Ficus Retusa tree the previous month and it was doing fine so I felt it was safe to risk another one but I still wasn't confident enough to try taking care of anything that was really tricky. The assistant assured me that caring for a Serissa was 'the same' as for a Ficus. It turns out that this is not the case.It's been said that if you kill a Ficus, then you tried to kill it. I can vouch for the fact that they are tough and adaptable trees. Keep them away from cold draughts and give them a bit of light and water and they seem quite happy to adapt to living indoors. I've also taken a wa...
More About: Bonsai , Dying
Dragon Fruit Seedlings Growing
2007-12-09 22:01:00
Here are the first pictures of my dragon fruit seedlings. These seeds came from a dragon fruit which I bought in a supermarket. I was so taken by the appearance of the fruit that I immediately thought about growing one from seeds. The dragon fruit is an amazing looking fruit. It doesn't taste as spectacular as it looks but there's nothing wrong with it either. Please feel free to read my review about eating the dragon fruit. I followed the same procedure with the dragon fruit seeds as I did with the orange pips. I soaked them in warm water for a couple of hours and then I planted them in moist compost. I don't know if the soaking is necessary but it was the advice I read for the orange pips and it seemed to work for them. Other seeds from colder climates would need to be subjected to a period of cold called stratificiation before they would begin to germinate but I guessed the dragon fruit, coming from warmer climes wouldn't need this.The first signs of sprouting happened very...
More About: Fruit , Growing , Dragon , Drago
Orange seedlings update
2007-12-07 14:51:00
Just an update on the Orange tree seedlings that I'm growing from pips. The shoot that I first saw (A) on November 11 developed mould on one of its leaves. I removed the leaf and hoped that that would be enough. However the next day the mould was back and had passed onto the shoot that was growing beside it (B). In order to protect the one remaining shoot (C) that was growing I decided to cut my losses and removing the affected seedlings.When I removed the A and B shoots from the pot it gave me a chance to answer one question. The two shoots had appeared to have grown from the one pip and this was indeed the case. They were twins. It had been interesting to watch as Seedling C had grown faster than the first two. I don't know if this had weakened them or not but unfortunately they didn't make it anyway. It would have been interesting to see how they would have developed. Would it have grown into a single tree with two trunks? I don't know. Anyway my remaining Orange seedling...
More About: Update
My Bonsai Christmas Tree
2007-12-03 16:28:00
When it came to choosing a Christmas tree this year it was natural enough that I would try to make it coincide with my interest in bonsai. Since I live on my own in a small flat anyway there was never any chance that I was going to be getting a massive tree. I had even half-seriously thought about decorating my ficus retusa and making that my Christmas tree . In the end the solution to my problem came yesterday when I went for a ramble around some shopping centres in Sligo with Michelle. The town has changed tremendously since my time there many years ago and since we had a bit of time yesterday I wanted to have a look around some of the new developments there.Every time I go back to Sligo I'm amazed by all of the new roads and buildings. It's almost as if they were waiting for me to leave before they started to fix the place up. One of these new developments is Sligo Retail Park in Carraroe which is just next door to the Sligo Park Hotel. It really is an amazing development as ...
More About: Bonsai , Tree
Growing Dragon Fruit from Seeds
2007-11-23 20:39:00
As soon as I saw this in the supermarket I knew I wanted to grow one from seeds! It's the most unusual fruit I've ever seen. They're called Dragon Fruit , aka Pitaya. I haven't found too much information yet about how they work as bonsai but there is a picture of a bonsai pitaya on wikipedia. It's a long time yet before I'll have to worry about how they do as bonsai, but the good news is that they grow from seeds without too much fuss and they are also full of seeds. Score! Since my orange pips are doing well I'm going to try growing the dragon fruit from its seeds as well. I'll keep you posted!
More About: Bonsai , Growing , Seeds
Orange seedlings growing from pips
2007-11-22 18:44:00
Today was a case of 'the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh'. When I checked my seedlings this morning I was sorry to see that my Eucalyptus seedling had toppled over during the night. It hadn't shown any sign of growth for more than a week now so I suppose it was coming. It was still a surprise though because it looked as good as ever last night. The seedling survived for over a month which is the best success I've had with Eucalyptus seeds so far. While I was sorry to see the passing of the Eucalyptus, I was cheered up to see that another Orange seedling had sprouted from a pip. The speed with which orange seedlings shoot up is really quite amazing. I'm nearly certain I checked on them last night. If I didn't check on them before I went to bed last night I'm absolutely certain that I checked on them yesterday morning because that's the first thing I do every morning. At whatever stage I checked them yesterday there was no sign of any new sprouts Then this morning there it i...
More About: Bonsai , Growing
Orange Seedlings First Picture
2007-11-18 17:38:00
It's a little bit blurry but that?s my photography skills for you! Anyway here is the first picture of my Orange seedling which I grew from a pip: It really has shot up in the last week. It now stands at 17mm. I planted this pip on October 20. The pip came from an orange I bought in a shop. Actually I bought two oranges but the first one didn't have any pips so I had to go back to buy another. If you are trying this yourself, all I did was soak the pips in warm water for a couple of hours. I then planted them in a pot of ordinary compost and put this into my hotpress where I had the immersion water heater running at regular intervals to keep them as warm as possible.There were no signs of any growth for the first couple of weeks. After that I started to get out of the habit of checking them every day. I first discovered that I had a shoot on November 11 when I checked on the pips and found a seedling which was already standing at 5mm tall. The stem on the right was the f...
More About: Picture , Bonsai
Eucalyptus and Orange Seedlings update
2007-11-11 23:30:00
Just a brief update on how my seedlings are doing. My eucalyptus seedlings have been reduced to one. I had five at one stage. I first watered them on October 13. Within only four days the first one had broken through the soil. After a week I had four who were joined shortly after by a fifth. All did well at first.I removed them from the hotpress where I started them on October 26 and I put them in front of a fluorescent desk lamp in the warmest part of the flat where they got about 18 hours of light per day. The oldest of the seedlings died on October 30 to be followed in quick succession at intervals of about a day each by three more. This last one seems to be doing ok so far and continues to grow. On October 20 I decided to try planting orange pips which I did. To be honest I kind of forgot about them for a while. The last time I checked on them in the hotpress was a week ago and there was nothing noticeable at that stage. However when I checked on them today one of the pips had...
More About: Orange , Update , Bonsai
Growing fig trees from cuttings
2007-11-11 21:24:00
Almost exactly a month ago, on October 13 I took two cuttings from my banyan tree to try to start off a couple of new trees. To test out which was the best method of doing it. I put one of the cuttings in a tumbler of water and I planted the other one in soil. While I have heard people saying that planting in soil is the best way all I can say is that it didn?t work for me this time. The cutting in soil lost all of its leaves after two weeks and then very obviously died (its shoots went black and mould started growing on it). When I took it from the soil before disposing of it I checked but it hadn?t managed to develop any roots at all.On the other hand, at about the same time the cutting in water, which was already beginning to show tiny signs of roots developing just burst forth. Within the last week, what were just tiny little hints have grown into three half-inch long roots with a forth one developing. There are still other little tiny possibilities there too. I will t...
More About: Trees , Bonsai , Growing , Rees , Cutting
Wiring a bonsai
2007-11-09 14:29:00
I made my first attempt at wiring a bonsai tree last Saturday. This is the way that people train bonsai trees to grow them into the wonderful treelike shapes that we see. When you buy a bonsai you will often see the wire marks on parts of the trunk and branches where the developer has left the wire on too long or too tight. As the tree grows and expands it starts to grow around the wire leaving a rusty looking line around the tree. This is the case with my seven-year-old ficus retusa which I bought last month. It does not look good to have these wire marks on trees but I am told it is pretty common to find them on store-bought trees which are usually grown in bulk. The marks will fade with time which I look forward to seeing.I?m hoping not to add to these wiring marks so when I did my wiring I first of all bought the thinnest wire I could get, 1mm aluminum wire. I got this from the Bonsai Shop in the Powerscourt Centre in Dublin which is where I usually go when I?m looking for s...
More About: Wiring
Tree of a Thousand Stars (Serissa Foetida)
2007-11-03 13:02:00
I bought my second bonsai tree today. It?s common name is the Tree of a Thousand Stars which is a very beautiful name inspired by the tiny and numerous white star-like flowers that it produces. It?s Latin name is Serissa Foetida which is a bit more worrying. This is where a classical education would come in handy! Foetida is the Latin word for stinking! It is known by other names as well such as Snow Rose, Chinese Snow Rose, White Rose and Serissa serissoides.Apparently the roots and bark of the tree give off a very unpleasant odour when they are wet. I have read assurances that this isn?t very noticeable in a bonsai tree except that you may want to hold your nose when you are repotting them! It is more noticeable when they are growing in their natural environment I bought this six-year-old tree as a spur of the moment type thing. I went into the bonsai shop to buy some wire for my Ficus and I saw the Serissa. The first thing that appealed to me was its shape. While I?m fond of the...
More About: Bonsai
Leaving Bonsai on their own
2007-10-30 18:55:00
I left my bonsai and all my cuttings and seedlings on their own over the bank holiday weekend. My main concern while I was away was that they would be too cold. Winter is getting close now and the temperatures are dropping around here, especially at night. I was advised to keep my banyan tree within a temperature range of 12 to 26 degrees Celsius when I got it. I went out on Friday before I went away and bought a small portable oil filled radiator and a couple of 24 hour timers. I set up the radiator and my desk top lamp on the timers to keep the trees supplied with heat and light while I was away. I also watered the fig on Friday to keep it going.This seems to have worked sufficiently well to keep everything alive while I was away. The room seemed pleasantly warm enough when I came back last night. The tiny radiator certainly hadn?t overheated the room but it had done it?s part to keep the temperature from dropping unbearably. There were a couple of yellow leaves when I came home ...
More About: Bonsai , Leaving
Getting rid of insects
2007-10-20 19:10:00
My banyan bonsai tree seems to be doing fine now. I found another yellow leaf today but that was the first one since Monday so I don?t think there?s anything to worry about. The advice I got from the various internet forums helped to put my mind at ease on the subject. I followed the advice given me about removing the moss. I took most of it away. There?s still a bit left. As I was removing the moss I became more concerned about the insect situation when I found a massive grub or larvae curled up at the base of the tree. It was about half to three quarters of an inch long and white. It was the most disgusting thing I?ve seen for ages.I have a fairly bad insect phobia and it took a lot of effort for me to scoop it onto a spoon and flush it down the toilet! To deal with the insects I first of all considered dunking the pot in an insecticide solution but before that I decided to try a less drastic remedy. I dunked it instead in a soapy water solution and left it soaking for about ten ...
More About: Insects , Bonsai , Sects
Growing oranges from pips
2007-10-20 19:07:00
I was reading a bit about growing orange trees from pips during the week so I decided to give that a try. I bought an orange yesterday and kept the pips. I soaked them in warm water for a couple of hours according to the instructions I read on the web and then planted them in wet compost and put the pot into my hotpress. If it works I should see some signs within a couple of weeks.
More About: Bonsai , Growing , Oranges
Eucalyptus seedlings update
2007-10-20 19:06:00
It?s been a week now since I first watered my Eucalyptus seeds. So far I have gotten four little seedlings breaking through the surface. The tallest one now stands at 12mm. Unfortunately I?m still not able to get a good enough picture of them on my camera phone so I?ll have to wait another while before I can show them off!This has been a wonderful success for me so far. After the disappointment of my last attempt to grow seeds in my hotpress I was reluctant to try again. So when I saw the first seedling break through after only four days I was delighted. When another popped up the day after, followed by two more yesterday it was joy unrestrained! The temperature is starting to drop noticeably here now as the winter is getting closer so I find myself having to run the heating more often than I would normally have done. I hope my fig and eucalyptus tree appreciate it!
More About: Update , Bonsai , Seed
Growing bonsai from seed
2007-10-19 00:35:00
Since I first became interested in growing bonsai trees from seeds I have encountered many negative reactions. First of all there is the Bonsai Expert who will tell you there is no such thing as ?bonsai seeds?. This is, of course true. The ?bonsai seed? kit that I first bought was in fact a ?tree seed? kit. The wonderful thing about bonsai trees is that if you were to put them back into their natural environment they would grow as normal trees, because that is what they are. So when you germinate a seed and it grows, then after a couple of years the tree sapling becomes big enough to give you the material to be able to work with and turn it into a bonsai.For example at the moment I have two very small Eucalyptus tree seedlings growing in my hotpress (another one popped up overnight ). If they continue to grow then in a year or two from now I may be able to convert them into Eucalyptus bonsai trees but if I were to plant them outdoors in a suitable climate they would grow into ful...
More About: Growing , Seed
Germinating Eucalyptus seeds
2007-10-17 21:17:00
I came home this evening and had a look at my pot of eucalyptus seeds in the hotpress. I got a pleasant surprise to see that one of them had already broken through the surface and was standing tall with the same red ?bud? as the last one. It only took four days! I wonder if this is a record. The last time it took two-and-a-half weeks. Funnily enough it?s in just about the exact same position as the last one too, which is near the edge of the pot. It?s early days yet, so hopefully a few more seeds will germinate too.The last time my seed sprouted I immediately took it out of the hotpress and put it on the window sill. That and the fertilizer were probably my two mistakes. When the seed germinates it needs light but it continues to need heat and my window sill in September wasn?t the best place to get that. What I?ve done this time is simply to leave the door of the hotpress ajar so that the light in the hallway is shining into it. This gives it light but keeps it warm too. I?ve also...
More About: Bonsai , Germ , Seed , Seeds , Mina
Possible reasons for yellow leaves
2007-10-16 21:36:00
I have been googling the causes of yellow leaves in ficus retusa now for three days. It?s safe to say that there are many possible reasons, and most of them are not terribly bad. Firstly, the not so bad reasons. If the tree is newly bought or if it has just been recently moved into a different room or even a different part of the room, it could be just reacting to its new environment. The figs leaves cannot turn to face the sun or whatever light source takes its place. If the new light source is at a different angle to what the tree is used to, it may need to shed lots of its leaves and grow new ones to face the light. Before it sheds the leaves, they shut down first and go yellow. Seemingly it?s a common enough reaction for a ficus tree to shed its leaves when it?s moved but they grow back.In my case it hasn?t been a huge amount of yellow leaves; just two yesterday and two the day before, so I may have just been panicking unduly. Even evergreen trees like the ficus shed old leaves...
More About: Bonsai , Yellow , Reasons , Leaves , Aves
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