Things to Consider When Choosing Your First Bonsai
Imperial bonsai trees come in three common varieties–Iroquois, Shasta, and Java. Each of these has its own distinctive personality and characteristic. The tree is an evergreen that is slow growing. It can live up to three decades, making it a good choice for beginners. It is easy to grow and is one of the easiest indoor plants to maintain.
Iroquois bonsais require annual maintenance because they are drought tolerant and do not need much water, if any, to survive. They do not do so well indoors, however, because their roots take up much of the amount of soil. So, the best way to get this type of tree bonsai started is by either pruning them frequently or supplementing their roots with regular watering. They do great outdoors, too, so the only drawback is the lack of moisture.
Shasta trees have a rounded trunk and are most easily maintained indoors. Their foliage should remain green throughout most of the year, but they are best protected from winter winds by covering them with birch bark chips. They are the perfect indoor tree for beginners because they have a large blooming flowerpot that doubles as a container. They come in many varieties, from the miniature Sunbrella to the full sized Marigold. All have big leaves and a lovely dark green foliage. This variety does well indoors because it is easy to keep the root system intact.
Java is another great indoor choice and does equally well outdoors and indoors. It does best in ceramic containers, although it does well in terracotta pots as well. They require repotting once a year, when the vigorous growing phase of the tree is over. The rich golden color of the leaves makes it an excellent choice for the bonsai enthusiast who likes to see how the foliage grows throughout the year.
Most people think that dwarf junipers are the easiest trees to care for, but they do need some special care. These trees prefer a moist soil with slow draining roots and should not be exposed to high moisture temperatures. They like moist soil, but are not really finicky about watering, although they do tend to do better if they are watered early in the morning. You can give them a regular watering when the soil surface feels dry, but do not drown them or you will find them trying to escape through the soil by root frisking.
Most bonsai are quite happy if you give them a regular watering, but some prefer to have a deeper watering. This is not a sign that your tree needs repotting, however. If you notice your bonsai becoming stressed by any of these kinds of conditions, you should try reducing the watering or move your bonsai indoors temporarily until things settle down. Many bonsai thrive on being indoors all the time, so this shouldn’t cause too much of a problem for your favorite indoor trees.
Another consideration for your first bonsai plant is, how large it will grow. If you are just starting out, you may want to choose a smaller tree or bush. Larger trees can take much more time and effort to nurture, and so it is wise to start out with a smaller tree. You should also consider what kind of foliage your new bonsai will have.
Some bonsais, such as the juniper, will have very straight and thin branches, while others, such as the maple, will have thick, lush growth. Some trees are often cultivated for their colorful foliage, while others are rarely bothered by insects. Knowing which characteristic fits your own trees is often the first thing that you need to take into consideration when you are choosing your first tree. Once you have chosen the appropriate style and characteristics, you can then go on to learn about the care requirements of your bonsai artistically.