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New to bonsai, looking for some advice to get started from a cutting 2 years 11 months ago #66420

  • Drizzt321
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So I'm brand new to bonsai, been wanting to get started with one for a while, and also figure it's best to start with one that'll be more forgiving. Was reading ficus species are generally fairly easy and forgiving, and rather than trying to find/buy/start from seedling, I have some VERY vigorous screen trees which I believe are some sort of ficus in my back patio. What better way to start! They branches need to be trimmed/trained back ever 4-6 weeks or so spring to fall (I live in Southern California, not far from the ocean), although winter time they don't really grow much at all.

So, can anyone point me in the direction of what I'll need to get started? I see the starter kits in the Store, but if I'm trying to propagate from my trees might be overdoing it. I don't see separate pieces individually in the Store, so where might be a good spot to get them? I suspect the Ficus Course and both of the Beginner courses would be where to start, at least in terms of information?

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New to bonsai, looking for some advice to get started from a cutting 2 years 11 months ago #66423

  • Tropfrog
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For collecting cuttings you need a pair of secateurs. But I would assume you allready have that.

For potting you need a simple plastic pot and some soil. Advisable but not certain needed in your area is to put it in a extra humid environment. A mini greenhouse, cold frame or as simple as a transparant plastic bag. Optional is rooting hormone. It will help to get bigger success rate, but really not needed if you have an abundance of cuttings to work with.

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New to bonsai, looking for some advice to get started from a cutting 2 years 11 months ago #66432

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Thanks! So first step is cutting and getting it to start rooting in good quality general potting soil then? And then once it's well established and started adding branches I can start thinking about moving on to potting it in a bonsai pot and starting to shape it?

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New to bonsai, looking for some advice to get started from a cutting 2 years 11 months ago #66433

  • lucR
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Moving to a bonsai pot is the last stage in the at least a decade long voyage from cutting to bonsai
Workflow: cutting rooted- into small pot with normal potting soil-let grow for a few years, repotting when needed- do rootwork when repotting - let grow until desired trunk thickness, doing trunk chops now and than- start building branches same way you did with the trunk ( length is thickness),then secundary , then tertiary branches- then, in 10 years you can start thinking about a bonsai pot. Meanwhile you can start applying wire when en where needed, dependingon the desired result/style

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New to bonsai, looking for some advice to get started from a cutting 2 years 11 months ago #66436

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Oh I think I see, a little bit.

Man, 10 years is a long time to invest. With a fast growing tree might that be less, somewhat?

Guess I'll just go ahead and get one of those intro/starting videos and start getting some info.

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New to bonsai, looking for some advice to get started from a cutting 2 years 11 months ago #66437

  • lucR
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10 years is nothing in the bonsai hobby. 15-20-30 years of working on a tree is normal. Btw, a tree is never finished, it will always continue to grow, so there will be work to do as long as the tree lives ( 100s of years)

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New to bonsai, looking for some advice to get started from a cutting 2 years 11 months ago #66441

  • leatherback
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For many species you can have a nice plant in much less time. But.. Better trees need often more time. I have a tree I am starting now. The trunk is decade old and has no branches..

On the other hand..
2015-2020

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New to bonsai, looking for some advice to get started from a cutting 2 years 11 months ago #66444

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10 years is nothing in the bonsai hobby. 15-20-30 years of working on a tree is normal. Btw, a tree is never finished, it will always continue to grow, so there will be work to do as long as the tree lives ( 100s of years)


Of course, just I'd like to start seeing something more like a bonsai you'd see/buy sooner, although I know they are never ending. Unless I screw up and kill it, which of course is the opposite goal. See some progress and accomplishment, rather than being years and years before it can start to be really shaped.

Although the way the trees grow back there, it might not be too long before the trunk would be pretty well formed and thickening.

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New to bonsai, looking for some advice to get started from a cutting 2 years 11 months ago #66448

  • lucR
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If you want something to work on, you might want to consider a pre-bonsai, or- and that’s what most of us do - go to your local garden centre/tree nursery and look for the corner where nobody goes to, where the old/gnarly/ disformed plants are stashed, ready to be thrown away. Can mostly get them for a good price, but do not mention bonsai, the money signs will show up in the eyes of the seller. Or , look where landscape construction is being done, hedges are being pulled out,... mostly you can get these trees for free. Plant them up, give them a year to recover and regain vigour and you are good to go.
Meanwhile, your cutting has the time to grow .

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New to bonsai, looking for some advice to get started from a cutting 2 years 11 months ago #66449

  • Tropfrog
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The time frame to get a good tree is highly different between a 10 cm design and a 1 meter design. Grow it until the trunk is approximattely 1/6 to 1/12 of the imagined final design. Then start working on the tree. The rule is not set in stone, but a good guideline. If your trunk is 1 cm thick you have material for creating 6-12 cm high tree. But remember bigger trees is easier to care for and work with.

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