Juniper Bonsai Care Guide
Juniper Bonsai Care is often described as very simple. In my experience Juniper can be one of the harder varieties even for advanced practitioners. There are many varieties of Juniper such as Shimpaku Juniper, Nana Procumbus Juniper, Juniper Chinensis, Japanese Rock Juniper, and many other subspecies. Certain varieties are used to high altitude conditions and don’t do well with extremely high humidity. For example, the Japanese varieties grow in the mountains and do better in the dry mountain air. Regardless, all juniper require full sun and plenty of fresh air.
Juniper need full sunlight to thrive. These are not indoor bonsai trees. If you are looking for an indoor bonsai you would do much better
with a variety of Ficus. Proper Juniper Bonsai Care requires good drainage and high quality bonsai soil such as Akadama or Lava Rock. These soils allow for good O2 exchange, absorb water but still allow for good drainage. This prevents the #1 killer of Juniper bonsai trees – Root Rot.
Juniper Bonsai Care – Pruning
When pruning Juniper Bonsai it is best to finger prune unless removing a whole branch. It is important to look for the weak shoots prune at the right time. Here in florida where we have a year long growing season I prune in late spring and early fall. Very important not to over prune junipers as this will cause the tree to lose energy that is receives through photosynthesis. Taking back the weak shoots will properly encourage new growth. If branches are thick use concave cutters as not to leave a unsightly cut.
Other Juniper Styling Techniques
Wiring is a key aspect when it comes to styling Juniper Bonsai trees. By wiring the primary, secondary and tertiary branches we create movement and can improve the ascetics of the bonsai considerably. . As an evergreen it is common for parts of the tree to die off leaving one or more living veins. This dead material is used to produce amazing carvings, it’s not uncommon to see Juniper Bonsai Trees with intricate deadwood twisting around the trunk of the tree. Use lime sulphur when carving to seal the hardwood and prevent your deadwood from rotting away.
During growing season I apply four pockets of slow release bonsai fertilizer on each corner of the trees pot. These can be placed inside tea bags to prevent birds and critters from eating them. I also start of the growing season by mixing Natural Alaska Fish Fertilizer into the water when I water the trees for a nitrogen boost.
Don’t re pot on a callander. You want the pot to get filled up with strong healthy roots but don’t want to leave it pot bound for a prolonged period. However only repot Juniper Bonsai at the end of Winter or late summer. Time of year is key to successful repotting of Juniper Bonsai.