John Naka’s January Bonsai Tips courtesy of the John Yoshio Naka Family
Our monthly Bonsai tips are brought to you, by special arrangement, courtesy of the John Yoshio Naka Family.
The cold weather season will require just as much care as the growing season. A bonsai is not only a special plant, it is more like a pet, and a little time each day should be spent on its care. This is also a good time to study the structural lines and forms on any deciduous tree in nature.
- Watering – January, because of its cold weather and rainy days, the bonsai will not need to be watered daily, but make it a point to check every day. If in a tropical area, the bonsai should have overhead sprinkling every other day whether the bonsai is dry or not. In the cold climate area, the bonsai will, of course, have been put away for winter.
- Fertilizing – No fertilizing this month. This is a good month to apply any material that will help soften hard soil and neutralize any alkaline soil.
- Spraying – Deciduous trees should be sprayed with lime-sulphur dormant spray.
- Shaping – This is the best time to reshape any deciduous tree because it is bare. Do not do too drastic shaping because the branches my be too brittle. Check all plants to see that the wires are not too tight.
- Transplanting – No transplanting or soil changing should be done this month unless bare root stock is available for starting.
- Miscellaneous – Prepare soil mixture for future use. Move all deciduous trees into a shady place especially in a tropical or semi-tropical area. This will prevent them from sprouting during a warm winter. It will also help keep the trees in a dormant stage. It tress are in storage for the winter, keep temperature low enough so they will not sprout.
Say hello to the Ezo Spruce (Picea glenhii).
At a cool 80 years old, this specimen bonsai stands at a little over 49″ in height.
Tree was originally brought from Kunashiri Island which is located in the northernmost part of Japan. Placement on present rock formation took place in the mid 1920’s.
The spruce is a coniferous evergreen tree that can grow up to about 200 feet in its native environment.
Golden Gate Ficus
The Golden Gate is an attractive cultivar for bonsai, sporting small, shiny, dark green foliage. The trunk is thick, sturdy, and grayish, adorned with white stripe-like patterning that gives it the nickname Tiger Stripe or Tiger Bark Ficus. Like most of its species, this cultivar is a popular choice for bonsai due to its easy care and forgiving tolerance of new enthusiasts errors. Adding to its easy care, the golden gate ficus can be grown indoors and stays looking great all year!
We just finished adding new listings of these popular trees which can be found HERE.
Also, for a limited time, receive a free pair of pruning shears when you purchase a qualifying tree.
This beautiful specimen is a Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergii) and is twice as old and better looking than your grandparents.
At 150 years old, this beauty is comfortably sitting in a purplish brown, flat-rimmed hexagonal pot.
The severe twisting of the trunk shows the rigor of its original surroundings.
Way too beautiful not to share! =)
Want to know more about Japanese Black Pines? Check out our care guide here.
John Naka’s December Bonsai Tips courtesy of the John Yoshio Naka Family
Our monthly Bonsai tips are brought to you, by special arrangement, courtesy of the John Yoshio Naka Family. You can find the full year’s guide and a whole lot more in the book Bonsai Techniques I by John Naka.
All bonsai should be dormant by now. In colder areas they will have been put in cold frames, or other storage for the winter.
- Location – Guard against any and all of Nature’s changeable weather conditions.
- Watering – The same rule applies here as last month. Watch watering under frozen conditions. If soil is kept too wet the pot may crack.
- Trimming amd training – Can be done under caution.
- Fertilizing – None.
- Transplanting – Only bare-root nursery stock can be transplanted in a mixture of sand and very little soil. Do not pot any bare-root until spring.
- Grafting – December, January, and February are the best months for grafting conifers, for this is the coldest season and the trees are completely dormant. At this time there is no pitch to isolate scion from understock.
- Miscellaneous – It is a good time to collect native materials in the Southern states.
There are quite a few options when it comes to choosing your first indoor bonsai tree and as you start to examine them, you can easily get overwhelmed and unsure of what the BEST option might be for you and your current situation.
I’ve spoken to many people who initially put it off because they weren’t sure if living in a condo or an apartment with little or no porch / backyard would be okay. They were also concerned about being able to properly care for the tree if they were away from home for extended hours day after day.
If any of the above concerns sound familiar, and you’ve been hesitant to jump feet first into bonsai, Ficus offers the perfect balance of beauty and convenience. It is extremely easy to care for and forgiving of over and under watering.
Money Tree: These are commonly given as gifts because they are very hardy and can do fine just about anywhere there’s moderate sunlight and temperatures above 50° Fahrenheit.
Hawaiian Umbrella: With its extremely low maintenance and eye-catching appearance, it’s no mystery why this tree is popular among beginners and seasoned hobbyist. Whether it be in your home or at the office, this piece of nature will brighten any space it occupies.