Styling and repotting an old Juniper bonsai tree | Peter Chan

Restyling a big 80-Year-old Chinese Juniper bonsai tree by Peter Chan.

Bonsai growers often regard truer outdoor plants as ‘real’ bonsai. These are the trees and shrubs that will grow outside without special protection. Many bonsai enthusiasts grow only outdoor bonsai because they are much easier to care for and there is more scope for creativity. As outdoor bonsai grow faster than indoor bonsai, you will see the results of reshaping, wiring and pruning much sooner. Outdoor bonsai also offer more scope for practicing the hobby. Some enthusiasts make their own bonsai from garden or nursery plants from places such as herons.co.uk, and some collect raw materials from the wild. You can also propagate your own plant from seeds or cuttings or by layering (coming soon).

Outdoor bonsai can be taken indoors from time to time. In fact, in countries such as China and Japan, it is traditional to use bonsai to decorate the home, but the trees are kept indoors for only short periods at a time. After a day or two, they are returned to their outdoor positions.

The choice of outdoor bonsai is much wider than the indoor species. They tend to be more attractive in terms of shape and foliage than indoor bonsai, especially the deciduous and flowering varieties. Because they are easier to look after, outdoor bonsai live longer than indoor specimens. Indeed, some outdoor bonsai can live for more than 200 years!

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