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New to bonsai, and this forum... 9 months 4 weeks ago #63124

  • DavidBoren
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Hi.

Well, last month I went out and bought a tree on a whim. Didn't do any research regarding bonsai trees before I bought it, just kind of decided I wanted a tree... in a pot. So here I am, and here we are.

The tree I purchased is a little Elderberry (sambucus nigra)... came in one of those crappy plastic 1gal(?) tranaplant pots, had two canes, each with a couple pairs of leaves.

When I got it home, I flipped it over, used a screwdriver to get rid of the dirt and about half the roots, and stuffed it in a clay pot about half the size of the original. I also chopped the taller of the two canes down even with the shorter of the two (removing about 5").

Not knowing anything about proper root pruning or repotting techniques, I was not as gentle or careful as I probably should have been. The leaves all fell off shortly thereafter, to the point I thought I might have killed it. But I had done some reading, and Elderberry are hardy plants. Almost invasive-type hardy... it will be back.

So I just kept watering with bong water (I hope that's good for plants, because that's what it has been getting), rearranged my room to get it more sunlight, and it is alive! She sprouted two more canes from the base, and a number of strong leaf bud things are sprouting what I can only imagine will turn into branches.

This is the phase where I am supposed to leave it alone and let it grow for a year... but I am impatient. I grabbed some polyester ribbon from my daughters' craft drawer and tied the two original canes together. Eventually I will tape and wire the canes in an effort to fuse them into a singular trunk, but right now I alone don't have enough hands to bind them fusing tight (and I didn't have or feel like buying tip-ties or wire ties). I also started to weave the new growth between, under, and around the original canes... maybe the new canes will be more willing to start fusing as they twist and intertwine with the old growth?

Either way, everything I have read says that Elderberry is less than optimal for a bonsai tree, but I am going to give it a try. Right now, I have about 11 more months of shaping and downsizing before I repot it into its final bonsai pot/tray. Outside of using ribbon and chopsticks to guide the shape, all I can really do is keep it from apexing(?) by trimming the tallest growth back down.

Next year, assuming it survives that long, I will transplant it into a brass/copper cauldron, on a bed/tray of onyx. I will make sure there is proper drainage and that the inside of the cauldron is coated (to avoid metal poisoning my plant). Here it is:

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Last edit: Post by DavidBoren. Reason: Posting apparently got rid of my paragraphs...

New to bonsai, and this forum... 9 months 4 weeks ago #63132

  • m5eaygeoff
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I am not sure where to start with you. You have done just about as much wrong as is possible. Re potting and heavy pruning at this time of year is bad enough, but you seem bent on killing this poor plant. The elder is a hardy plant that will not survive inside, let alone the abuse it has had up to now. If you are very lucky it will survive but only if it is outside. I can't say much else. Why have you tied up the two branches? They will not fuse together so a waste of time. If and I say if it is still alive next year do not re pot again it has had enough stress for years.

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New to bonsai, and this forum... 9 months 3 weeks ago #63168

  • Tropfrog
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What is bong water?

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New to bonsai, and this forum... 9 months 3 weeks ago #63169

  • m5eaygeoff
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I wondered the same but decided not to ask!

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New to bonsai, and this forum... 9 months 3 weeks ago #63176

  • DavidBoren
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Bong water is the water in a bong. A bong is a type of smoking pipe that uses water to filter the smoke.

Thanks taking the time to reply.

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New to bonsai, and this forum... 9 months 3 weeks ago #63178

  • Tropfrog
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Hmm. One question that just popped up in my head: why?

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New to bonsai, and this forum... 9 months 3 weeks ago #63189

  • Ivan Mann
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Tropfrog wrote: Hmm. One question that just popped up in my head: why?


All of old timers who experienced the 60's are shaking our heads and laughing - kids today.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Clicio

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New to bonsai, and this forum... 9 months 3 weeks ago #63193

  • DavidBoren
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Well, the tree needs watered regularly, and the bong water really should be changed relatively frequently, so... I combined the two tasks in the name of efficiency.

Plus, it is a consistent amount of water, that seems to be adequate for this current tree/pot match-up.

It's easy to keep track of how much water it is getting, and my bong water is always fresh (yay!).

I also have convinced myself that bong water has to be better for the plant than just straight tap water. I have absolutely nothing to back this up, as research on the beneficial properties of bong water is rather lacking, but it has been working thusfar.

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New to bonsai, and this forum... 9 months 3 weeks ago #63194

  • Ivan Mann
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DavidBoren wrote: Well, the tree needs watered regularly, and the bong water really should be changed relatively frequently, so... I combined the two tasks in the name of efficiency.

Plus, it is a consistent amount of water, that seems to be adequate for this current tree/pot match-up.

It's easy to keep track of how much water it is getting, and my bong water is always fresh (yay!).

I also have convinced myself that bong water has to be better for the plant than just straight tap water. I have absolutely nothing to back this up, as research on the beneficial properties of bong water is rather lacking, but it has been working thusfar.


I would read up on chemicals in bong water and how they affect plants. There should be some research on the subject. I would not think it would be beneficial and would be surprised if it is. But, that is just an opinion with no facts to back it up.

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New to bonsai, and this forum... 9 months 3 weeks ago #63195

  • DavidBoren
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Just got home from a weekend away from her. My how she has grown!
Oct4:

Oct1:


Sept28:

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