How To Look After a Bonsai Tree Indoors

Indoor BonsaiWhen caring for a bonsai tree indoors, it’s very important to first know what species of tree it is and what the needs are for that kind of plant.

The bonsai tree does not know it’s a bonsai. It only knows that it’s a tree. So if you have a Juniper bonsai, Its needs are the same as those of a juniper that’s not a bonsai. And if you have a Ficus bonsai, its needs will be the same as a ficus tree that’s not a bonsai.
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Brazilian Pepper Bonsai

Starting a Brazilian Pepper bonsai from scratch

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Brazilian Pepper Bonsai National Bonsai MuseumIn Florida the Brazilian Pepper Tree is an invasive species and is hated by all those Floridians who posses even a fundamental knowledge of gardening, landscaping or environmental conservation.

State, County and City governments cut them down with vigilance but the tree is nearly impossible to kill and new shoots will spring up from stumps in just a couple of weeks. I too hate the Brazilian Pepper and would enjoy seeing them all eradicated from the Florida Peninsula.

And with that attitude in mind, can you imagine my surprise as I stood in the National Arboretum recently in Washington D.C. admiring a beautiful bonsai only to read the sign and discover that it was a Brazilian Pepper?
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Cheryl Manning Bonsai Artist Interview

An interview with Bonsai Artist Cheryl Manning

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Cheryl Manning BonsaiWelcome to the bonsai garden podcast where the object is not to make the tree look like a bonsai but to make the bonsai look like a tree.

BGP: My interview today is with Cheryl Manning a bonsai expert for over 30 years. Her website, Better Bonsai dot com, says that she’s been an artist since childhood and an avid gardener since her teens. Cheryl discovered Murata Bonsai Nursery in 1981 and it was love at first sight. Art and gardening wrapped into one small package. She later became a student and close friend of John Naka the father of American Bonsai. Cheryl has conducted bonsai demonstrations, workshops and slide presentations in the United States, Canada and Australia. She has written more than 40 articles for many bonsai publications and currently pens a column, Trash to Treasure, for the Journal of the American Bonsai Society. Cheryl has also edited John Naka’s sketch book, a compilation of John’s bonsai sketches from around the world. So I’m really excited to have Cheryl Manning on today’s episode.
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An interview with Michael Hylton of the East Bay Bonsai Society

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East Bay Bonsai SocietyWelcome to the bonsai garden podcast, where the object is not to make the tree look like a bonsai, but to make the bonsai look like a tree.

Michael Hylton is the vice president of the East Bay Society, which was originally founded in 1961. It has become one of the most enduring bonsai organizations in the United States. They host many events including workshops, auctions and a very large annual bonsai show. Their club meetings dive into the definitive care and creation of award winning bonsai with topics such as watering, fertilizing, re-potting, styling, grafting and more. It was my pleasure to interview Michael Hylton on The Bonsai Garden Podcast.
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Preparing a Bonsai for Show

Part 29 of a series by Eugene Howell

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Bonsai at Malvern Garden show

If you’re considering entering one or more of your bonsai trees into a bonsai exhibit, show or other public display there are a few things you’ll need to do to get your tree ready for the show. Especially if you want your tree to be on the same professional level as all the others.

In bonsai, as all hobbyists know, small leaves are of special value. For this reason, if you enter a display or show with a tree on which you have not tried to miniaturize the leaves (if they need it), you are already far behind. So you need to begin this “getting ready for a show” by doing something about leaf size. Because new leaves do not just spring out after defoliation, the process of getting ready for a show should start about 12 weeks ahead of the show date. This allows plenty of time for the tree to produce a full canopy of new leaves before show time. For tropical trees, keep in mind that if the show is in mid winter, you shouldn’t defoliate. Tropical trees are very unhappy about having all their leaves plucked off during that time of year, so don’t do it. In this case you’re safer to show the tree as is.
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How to Clean and Maintain Bonsai Pots

Part 28 of a series by Eugene Howell

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Bonsai at the Temple de la littératureThe bonsai pot is not just for holding the soil in which the bonsai grows. The pot’s appearance is very important to the overall impression your bonsai gives to the viewer who’s admiring it. We covered pot selection in part 13

Today however, I want to talk about cleaning a bonsai pot. Granted, while your bonsai sits in your own backyard, it’s likely that you’ll be the only one looking at it and therefore dirty pots may not be something of much concern. However, when it comes time to display your bonsai trees, whether in a show, exhibit, or even a club meeting, it’s important to clean up the pot so that it adds to the impressiveness of the bonsai.
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Interview with John Callaway

John Callaway Bonsai ArtistWelcome to The Bonsai Garden Podcast where the object is not to make the tree look like a bonsai but to make the bonsai look like a tree.

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John Callaway is a past president of the Greater Louisville Bonsai Society and a current member of the Bonsai Society of Greater Cincinnati. He’s been practicing bonsai since 2002, and studied with Boon Manakitivipart and joined the Cincinnati Advanced Study Group mentored by Ted Matson.

Here is my phone call with John Callaway:
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Protecting Bonsai with a Microclimate

Part 27 of a series by Eugene Howell

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EXPOSICIÓ DE BONSAIS DE TARDOR CIUTAT DE VILANOVAWe’ve begun to have cold weather this winter in Florida. The temperature for three successive nights got low enough to do serious damage to any tropical bonsai which may have been left outdoors and unprotected.
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Bonsai Dormancy

Part 26 of a series by Eugene Howell

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bonsai in winterIn the previous article we began the discussion of bonsai dormancy. We covered the definition and the fact that not all species go dormant, and not even each plant within a particular species, goes dormant at the same time. We also learned of the interest scientists have in the subject of dormancy. We finished the first part by asking the question, “So what causes dormancy and when can it typically be expected to occur?” We will answer that question in today’s article.

The first part of the question is easier to answer than is the latter part. Typically, dormancy is caused by one or more of the following four events; shorter days, cooler temperatures, hotter temperatures or drought. Two of these sound like an oxymoron, but they are not. Not all plants respond to the same events in initiating dormancy. Some plants need shorter daylight hours and/or lower temperatures while others need hotter/drier conditions. In both cases the plant is protecting itself from adverse weather conditions that might otherwise injure it. In the first case the plant is protecting itself from the cold temperatures that frequent winter, and in the second case the plant is protecting itself from the desiccating conditions that occur in late summer and early fall in some parts of the world.
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Dormant Trees

Part 25 of a series by Eugene Howell

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Dormant treesYou’ve heard that the best time to do major branch pruning and root work on deciduous trees is during the winter when the trees are dormant. But what does it mean that the bonsai is dormant?

If you look in a horticulture dictionary you will see that dormancy is “a resting phase; a state of temporary cessation of growth and the slowing down of other activities in whole plants”. In this phase transpiration almost stops, production of food stops, and leaves turn color and eventually drop during fall. The only part of the tree that stays fairly active is the root system. During this period the roots take the opportunity to continue their development.
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