The little tree that could

The other day I spent the evening with my mother cleaning up a large circular garden located in the front of her house. Our plan was to remove the dead foliage from the previous year. As you already know I’m a bonsai fiend and I notice every little twig and budding leaf now and it’s potential to turn into a bonsai. While weeding, I came across this little gem. It’s a red maple, a baby red maple that some how in a 1 in 100000 chance made it’s way to this garden we were weeding.

I placed it in some water to root it.

You can see it’s roots which have developed well. The roots will always be white when rooted in water because of the lack of nutrients. Sometimes planting them in nutrient rich soil will destroy the fragile roots.

These roots have been developing for about 3- 4 weeks and I figure with my limited knowledge of planting and gardening, are ready to be planted. Naturally after finding this little guy, I was then on the hunt for the perfect pot, which I found at Jysk yesterday while shopping with some friends of mine.

To plant the maple I used the following:

  • 25% Perlite
  • 25% Vermiculite
  • 50% Potting Soil

The point of using the Perlite and Vermiculite is so the soil will be well draining. From what I have read online, planting with 100% potting soil does not allow for adequate soil drainage and therefore will eventually lead to root rot. Basically, I’ll plant it in the well draining soil and in a years time we will revisit when we repot and take a look at how the roots have developed.

Although the roots are these gangly little vermicelli noodles, I’m hoping that they will take. I’ll let you know in a weeks time whether or not the tree dies. The key is to restrict growth early when the plant is young. Hopefully one day it will look like this.

Courtesy of

One day.

For right now, i’m happy with this.

So if you think you’ve got what it takes to grow a bonsai, don’t go to the store and buy one. Go for walk in the forest and find a little tree that is trying with all his might to grow!


8 thoughts on “The little tree that could

  1. For some odd reason when ever I need to find an analogy to something, I always seem to choose food. Coincidence or correlation?…you be the judge 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  2. A few thoughts on bonsai soil. For the most part.. bonsai soil should contain NO actual dirt/soil. Drainage is really important.
    With this in mind… try 1/3 bark bits, 1/3 fired clay (turface) and
    1/3 small lava or coarse river rock.
    Using dirt introduces too many variables (ie- insects, eggs, disease
    moulds) but it also plays with your chemistry. PH is pretty important for bonsai. Some trees like a slightly acidic media (so add a touch
    of peat moss) but most like a balanced soil. 🙂 Chris.

    • Haha hindsight is always 20/20 my friend, I planted this young sapling before I learnt anything about soil…It’s dead now. Most likely because I suffocated the fragile root system. Since then I’ve got some great soils that I plan to use this year including the three you have listed! I’m going to post an article very shortly about my observations of the physical properties of these types using some of our microscopes here at work. Thank you for the advice!! Keep it coming!! haha

  3. What ever happened to this little tree that could??? I saw no updates,and I would love to see a follow up on this..did it die???? Please….I need to know!

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