I have a lovely crab apple sapling that is in a pot – I have gotten some of the wire to shape my fledgling Bonsai and put it on the crab apple. Should I now put the tree in the ground to let it grow thicker or is it OK to leave in a pot?
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Both is fine. Just depends on how fast you want to develop it. In the ground is faster. In any case, crabapple from seed takes crazy long time until first flowers. I do not think that part can be speeded up.
I think I would wait planting in the ground until the trunk has settled and the wire can be taken off. In ground it will quickly get wire scars.