Bonsai kits

A forum dedicated to bonsai, the art of growing dwarfed, ornamentally shaped trees or shrubs in small shallow containers.

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Bonsai kits

Postby GoldenWattle » Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:03 pm

I was given a jacaranda bonsai kit a few Christmases ago now. :oops: Sadly, I haven't done anything with it. (sn) The kit contains seeds and some growing media, but I found the instructions hard to follow. In essence, it's gone into the too hard basket and it's been there for a few years now. :roll: Has anyone raised bonsai from seed using one of these kits? :-? Does anyone have any wisdom to pass down?

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Re: Bonsai kits

Postby Pam » Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:48 pm

I'd give jacaranda a miss for a start, because it has a tendency when cut to shoot straight upward. It's also never going to produce a decent-looking plant when kept in that size of pot.

I'd also give seeds a miss, unless it's a plant that you can't get any other way, and even then I'd raise them as 'regular' plants first. The reason for this is that you're never going to get a resonable trunk on any plant that is raised in that small a container.

By far the best way to achieve a reasonable-looking tree in a short time, especially for a beginner, is to look for an established plant in say, a 15cm pot that has the basic foundations of a good looking trunk already there. If you've any experience with air layering, you could also find a part of a larger tree that can be removed by layering.

Take a look through the how-to-guides posted by Taffy and others. They're very easy to understand and cover some material you're not likely to find in books.
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Re: Bonsai kits

Postby Waterlilly » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:56 am

A somewhat belated reply - we have been away.
Totally agree with Pam - Jacaranda is not a good specimen. Was given a Jacaranda bonsai some 15 years ago which was already close to thirty years years old and I have persevered with it but never achieved any flowering. Only that it belonged to a very old friend would have given it away - never ever looks like a good bonsai specimen.
If anyone has any ideas to encourage flowering - would love to hear - I do have a sentimental attachment to the wretched thing...
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Re: Bonsai kits

Postby Pam » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:18 am

Have you tried potash Waterlily?
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Re: Bonsai kits

Postby Waterlilly » Fri Oct 01, 2010 2:21 pm

No - will certainly give it a go......thanks Pam
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Re: Bonsai kits

Postby taffyman » Fri Oct 01, 2010 7:34 pm

How did I miss this topic?? :shock:

GW, Jacaranda - and others with similar compound leaves (ie: Poinciana etc) are very difficult to make into even half decent Bonsai. The reason is because the leaves aren't on the end of a branch as such - the 'branch' is the stalk of the leaf. In winter, all you end up with is a bare stick (everything falls off).

I have seen photos of Jacaranda as Bonsai, but they are usually very large and in large pots. Even then, there is minimal foliage on them. Just a few leaves 'mimic' a full canopy.

Even so, those small pots that come with the 'kit' would be pretty useless for a Jacaranda. What Pam said is excellent advice.

I'm not sure where you're located GW, but there are far more suitable species that you could consider - like Trident Maple, Ficus species, Hawthorn - even some of the native Lilli-Pilli's are all excellent for someone that would like a small 'starter' tree.

Edit: Forgot to mention - It's quite possible those seeds you have GW are no longer viable. Who knows how long ago they were originally collected before the kit was purchased for you.
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Re: Bonsai kits

Postby GoldenWattle » Wed Oct 06, 2010 1:24 pm

taffyman wrote:Edit: Forgot to mention - It's quite possible those seeds you have GW are no longer viable. Who knows how long ago they were originally collected before the kit was purchased for you.


Thanks Taffyman - the kit was bought for me a few years ago now. At the time, my wife bought it for me, we were living in a unit and I didn't have the space I do now. I have a friend who is crazy about bonsai, but he just hasn't sold me on them. Last summer, I tried to convert a gum tree seedling into a bonsai, but it didn't survive. I have a River Red Gum in a very large pot (about 90cm) and I was considering getting my friend to help me turn it into a bonsai, but I'm not sure if I'll go through with it. I think of bonsai as requiring too much care...

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Re: Bonsai kits

Postby MinusZero » Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:33 pm

I have tried two kits, one Jacaranda and another which i can't remember the name of. The Jacaranda started ok and had many shoots, but they didnt last long before dying. The other kit never even sprouted. I would like to start a Bonsai again, but i wont be doing it from a kit.
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