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!

Trident Maple - Acer buergerianum

Trident Maple - Acer buergerianum

Trident Maple - Acer buergerianum

The Trident Maple - Acer buergerianum is a small to medium-sized deciduous tree reaching a height of 5–20 m with a trunk up to 50 cm diameter. The leaves are in opposite pairs, 2.5–8 cm long (excluding the 2–5 cm petiole) and 3.5–6.5 cm broad, hard, glossy dark green above, paler below, usually with three lobes; on mature trees the lobes forward-pointing and with smooth margins, on young trees with more spreading lobes and serrated margins. The flowers are produced in spring, yellow-green, in pendulous corymbs; they are small, with five greenish sepals and five yellow-white petals about 2 mm long, and eight stamens. The fruit is a samara with two winged seeds, each seed 4–7 mm diameter, with a 15 mm wing; the wings are forward-pointing and often overlapping each other.

Bonsai turntable

One of the most useful tools for bonsai is a moderately priced Bonsai turntable. These turntables can be priced as high as $1,500 buy you can buy a model that is around $20 that will server your needs for many years. Using a Bonsai turntable will allow you to quickly view your plant from various angles for styling, trimming, or wiring. It can also be used with an agled piece of wood to see different views priopr to placing the plant in a pot. I like to use a Bonsai turntable when I am trimming so I work evenly on each side as I proceed with the pruning.

Bonsai Branch Bender

This bender is very helpful as you become more advanced in bonsai. This tool is very adjustable and will easily handle tree trunks up to an inch. They are very low priced and can be left in place. I did a short demo video on this bender. Watch the Bonsai Branch Bender demo video.

Bonsai Knob Cutters

Bonsai Knob Cutters


Bonsai Tweezers

This is probably not the first bonsai tool I would buy, but it sure comes in handy. There is always something small, like a bud or a bug that needs to be grabbed. This type is good because there is a blade tool on the opposite end. This can be used to loosen the plant from the edge of a pot.

Bonsai Knife

A good sharp Bonsai Knife is one of the most important tools you can have. There are so many uses that I can't even list them all. You just need it there when it is needed.

Free - My First Japanese Maple Bonsai eBook

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