From the ground up…almost.

After careful deliberation a few months ago, I made the executive decision to become a Bonsai cultavist – a bonsologist if you will. One thing you absolutely must understand with me is that once I embark on something, it’s all or nothin’ baby! That being said, I hope that you know what you have gotten yourselves into .

At first, my envisions of growing bonsai’s from seed were enthusiastic. Turns out germinating from seed is a lot harder than I thought. Instead of buying a mini fridge, trays and ordering some random seeds from the roof tops of the Himalayas and waiting at least a year or so for them to grow, I decided to choose a less than expensive option and take some cuttings from a ficus tree I have at work.

This is Phil. Phil is a ficus benjamina or at least I think he is.

These are Phil’s kids. Babe, Chandler and I forget the last guys name. Feel free to rename him, after all he was adopted.

I know what your thinking and the answer is yes I do name my plants, otherwise what am I going to put in their obituary when they die because I killed them? John Doe? I don’t think so. Moving along.

There came a point when I was beginning to question whether or not my cuttings would grow so I ended up on the internet reading about growing cuttings, etc. Then some kind, retired man, four times my age who clearly has more time to commit to this than I do, posted a blog about seeds vs. cuttings vs. shrubs. I wish I could find it again but I think maybe the bonsai police caught wind that he was selling out the art of bonsai’s, telling people it is way easier to grow from shrub and they apprehended him… maybe.

Granted, growing from a seed is way more satisfying, I should probably wait until i’m a little more experienced for that.

Two days later and a whole $9.17 poorer I was on my way home from Home Depot with these two little gems.

A Boxwood Buxus, which Im told is one of the best to grow as a bonsai because of their small foliage. This was before I pruned it.
This is after my first pruning attempt. No bad eh?

And this Blue Star Juniper which after pruning, is looking more like a Christmas tree than I anticipated. If it doesn’t change I wont for a second be disappointed because I absolutely love Christmas.


Lastly, I took a trip down to the cities best garden centre, Khulmans where I picked up a Cotoneaster. The lady who helped me laughed when I asked where they were, you know, the way a person laughs when they have already determined your fate before you yourself even know it. Only after did I find out that I had pronounced it Coton-Easter and not Cot-tone-e-aster. These garden folk take things very seriously, don’t mess with them.

Its still a shrub because I dont have the heart to chop it. Im going to wait until it blooms and then take that risk. At least that way I can get my moneys worth if it dies.

Ironically enough I had the guts to laugh at Rose when she asked me if I wanted to purchase insurance for it. Seriously though her name was Rose.

Alas, after three months of growing my cuttings new leaves have appeared!! Do you have any idea what this means? It means that I have not killed them and that they are actually growing roots, or at least we can assume that they are. New growth is seen by the bright green leaves.

So there you have it, I’ve started what I believe to be a successful grow op and I can only hope that the police will not be casing my house like a jahova’s witness when the winter arrives and I have to grow them under a light for 8 months. I suppose that will be a story for another day.

Thanks for reading!



6 thoughts on “From the ground up…almost.

  1. Wow, you are off to a great start. Already trying propagation techniques as well as reduction techniques… good for you.
    Boxwood, Juniper and Cotone Aster are all great subjects.
    Warning… none of them especially like to be indoors. They crave
    the humidity of the great outdoors. Best types in the family for
    bonsai are kingsville box, procumens nana juniper, and
    tom thumb/tyme cottone aster. 🙂

    • The boxwood is quite nice, looks like it would be a bit difficult to wire though. The juniper I think I will make a cascade and the cotoneaster has some good nebari starting but the foliage size is a bit too big. Tom thumb is relatively easy to find in my area along with rockspray so I will try that 🙂

  2. Sounds like you have some great ideas to start some more projects.
    Are you using rooting hormone for your little ficus cuttings… not all
    cuttings require it but it always speeds the process along and some species demand it. For a couple of buck in a greenhouse store you can get enough for one hundred or more cuttings. I reccommend that you start with a #3 potency (makes life easier).

    • haha yeah unfortunately these guys were potted in the same medium as the sugar maple and they died. Ficus are quite finicky though for my climate. It’s much too dry and windy here.

  3. Me again..
    Rockspray is a great subject for bonsai.. nice small leaves, small
    flowers and small berries. Nicely balanced for “mame” bonsai.
    Go for it!
    If you can find Kingsville boxwood, grab it. This type has the tiniest
    leaves of all and a nice tight “Mayogi” or growth habit. Also, one of the only types of boxwood who is truly happy to live indoors. 🙂

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