Juniper is one of the most popular bonsai species for a variety of reasons. The first advantage is that it is ideal for beginners. If you forget to water your juniper bonsai, it will survive for an extra day or two.
This also makes them ideal for people who travel frequently and may need to wait a few days between waterings.
This enables even those with the busiest schedules to own a bonsai that produces impressive bark beneath a lovely canopy.
Another reason they are popular is their natural proclivity to grow close to the ground. This species is frequently used as ground cover and prefers to stay close to the ground. Because they are always growing downward, they make excellent cascade bonsai specimens.
They also have a natural tendency to grow compactly, giving them the appearance of being well-established at a young age.
The final reason I’ll mention is that they can be used as indoor or outdoor bonsai. This doubles their popularity because they can be trained in either direction. They will be equally happy in either situation as long as you can provide enough sunlight and a dormant period. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about caring for your Juniper bonsai.
Juniper Bonsai Placement
Remember that your Juniper is not an indoor plant and should not be treated as such. They must be provided with the proper amount of light and humidity or they will perish. Juniper bonsai can be grown both indoors and outdoors, as long as they are forced into dormancy. If grown indoors, they must be kept cool and exposed to less light than usual. This allows them to rest, which is genetically necessary for the survival of this species.
This species requires a lot of sunlight to grow, whether it’s indoors or outdoors. It is best if your tree receives morning sunlight as soon as possible. This will “wake the tree up” at the earliest opportunity, allowing for more growing time every day. Juniper bonsai should also be protected from direct midday sunlight; excessive exposure will burn the needles and cause foliage loss.
When to Water a Juniper Bonsai
Juniper is very popular because it is more forgiving of a missed watering now and then. Having said that, it is still a bonsai with little soil to absorb water from. Every day, check the moisture level of your bonsai by inserting a finger or chopstick into the soil. Feel how heavy the pot is when wet and then again when dry, and you’ll be able to tell eventually. Due to the high amount of sunlight it receives, you should expect to water this species at least once every other day.
There are numerous methods for watering a bonsai available to you. The oldest trick in the book is to fill a water bottle with water and dump it on. This will suffice if that is all you are willing to do, but make sure you water the entire surface rather than just the center. If at all possible, immerse the entire pot in a tub of water for about a minute. Remove the pot and allow the excess water to drain. Bonsai trainers prefer this method because it ensures that all of the soil is adequately moist.
Juniper Bonsai Soil and Fertilization
Juniper species prefer soil that drains well and allows airflow to the roots. Use soil that contains a high percentage of arrogates, which allow water to flow quickly. If you water your Juniper bonsai and see water pooling on the surface, this indicates that the soil drainage is inadequate. Failure to do so will result in root rot, which, if not treated, will eventually kill the tree.
Fertilizing is frequently overlooked in bonsai training, especially by beginners. Bonsai are not grown by stunting growth, and if you do not fertilize your tree, it will sacrifice older foliage in order to grow new. During the growing season, fertilize this species every other week with a nitrogen-balanced fertilizer. Slow down to once a month feeding from fall to winter.
Training a Juniper Bonsai
It’s difficult to cover all of the techniques for training a bonsai in a care article, so you’ll need to do some additional research on this. I’ll go over some training techniques that are unique to this species, such as pinching back growth rather than cutting. You should pinch back new growth on a Juniper bonsai because cutting it back will cause the surrounding needles to die off. Simply pluck the needles you don’t want from the branch, leaving the ones you do want in place.
Juniper trees, in terms of branch growth, prefer to grow as close to the ground as possible. As a result, you’ll want to keep all downward-growing branches trimmed to keep it looking like a tree. Juniper is also well-known for its porous wood, which contours well into dead wood and rocks. As a result, they are frequently trained to root over rock formations.