While you can purchase a bonsai tree already growing, you might wonder how to grow bonsai from seed yourself.
Bonsai are trees and plants that are grown in containers. The definition of bonsai is an ornamental tree or shrub grown in a pot so that it is artificially prevented from reaching its normal size.
The practice of growing bonsai can be dated as far back as 1309. All sorts of trees and shrubs can be bonsai. Some of the popular varieties are pines and maples and flowering trees like cherry and plum.
Growing a bonsai from seed can be a rewarding process. It is not a difficult thing to do, but it does take time and patience.
Bonsai are just regular trees that are kept small by potting and pruning techniques. When growing bonsai from seed, it is very advantageous to use a Waterproof Seedling Heat Mat.
Advantages Of Growing Bonsai From Seed
When you start from seed, you have the satisfaction of being involved in every stage and growth aspect of your bonsai tree.
It will be a great sense of accomplishment to know that the tree is entirely your creation. You will have experienced the entire cycle of growth with your plant.
When you grow from seed, you can begin shaping and pruning much earlier in the tree's life.
You can start to train your tree much earlier than if you purchased a tree and had to re-train one already established.
Also, seeds are less expensive than purchasing a more mature plant.
Disadvantages of Growing Bonsai From Seed
As you might imagine, growing a bonsai from seed is going to take patience.
Also, sprouts and seedlings are delicate. You will need to wait about three years before you can start the pruning and shaping of your tree.
You might want to create a tree with seeds and, in addition, purchase an already established tree. The established tree will give you practice with shaping and pruning while you wait for your seeds to grow.
Choosing Seeds For Growing Bonsai Trees
You can go to your local nursery and check out the various packets of seeds, but you will not find any that are labeled "bonsai."
As mentioned before, a bonsai refers to any plant grown in a small container to prevent it from reaching its normal size.
You can look at nurseries that carry various seeds like maple, wisteria, juniper, black cherry, and orange tree seeds to grow as bonsai. Try to choose a reputable supplier so that you are getting a quality seed.
You could also collect seeds yourself from plants in your area. If you collect seeds yourself, it is best to do so when the seeds are ripe, usually in late summer or early fall.
When it is your first time starting a bonsai tree from seed, it is best to choose a species that is native to your climate. That ensures that your seeds will have the right conditions to germinate and grow in.
Steps On How To Plant Bonsai Seeds
Your first objective will be to choose a planting container. You can start your seeds in a starter tray, but your seedlings will need to be moved to a pot or container once they have sprouted if you use a tray.
If you start with a small container, you will have to re-pot several times once your seedlings begin growing, as they will grow rapidly once they start.
Choose a pot that has adequate drainage to keep the roots from becoming soggy and rotting. Cover the bottom of your container with fine gravel or even sand to give your growing plant good drainage.
Whatever your start your seeds in, either a starter tray or container, use a potting compost or potting soil. Fill the container so that the soil is about ¾ to one inch below the rim.
Your seeds will need lots of nutrition once they start growing, ensuring that the soil or potting mix is nutrient-rich.
Pat the soil down lightly to settle it in the container, but don't tamp it down tightly as your seed's roots need to be able to spread out in the soil.
Use an implement, like a pencil, to make shallow holes in the soil to place the seeds. Give the seeds space, so don't plant them too closely together. By giving them room in between, the seeds will not become overcrowded once they germinate.
Once you have planted the seeds, put a thin layer of the soil over the top of the seeds. This layer should be about ½ to one inch thick, but no more than that. Take care not to plant the seeds too deep, or it could prevent them from germinating.
Once the seeds are planted, and the additional soil is placed on the top, the next step is to water the seeds. Do this step carefully so that you don't disturb the newly planted seeds.
You can use a spray bottle rather than pouring the water directly on the soil. Whichever way you choose to water, do so in a manner that will be the least disruptive to the soil and the seeds.
Place your container with the planted seeds in an area that is well ventilated. Indirect lighting is best at this point.
Placing your seeds on a Waterproof Seedling Heat Mat will also ensure that they have the proper soil temperature that they need to germinate.
Keep the soil damp, but it is essential that you do not over-water the seeds. During this period, it is crucial to keep the soil from drying out, but it is equally important not to let it get over-watered. You will need to take care to strike a balance between the two.
Once your seed starts to sprout, use a diluted solution of fertilizer. Again, take care not to over-fertilize as this will result in the new root systems becoming burned.
After the first year of growth, the seedlings can be separated and moved to their own pots.
It will be about three years before your tree is ready to be trained and shaped in the manner you prefer. This process takes time and patience, but it can be an enriching experience. You can create a plant that can be passed down through generations for your family to enjoy.