How To Care For Japanese Juniper Bonsai?
Correct pot size, well-drained soil, bright light, and regular watering goes a long way!
Have you faced a situation where you started with a bonsai, or any plant for that matter, without knowing how to take care of it. We are sure that you must have regretted the decision of jumping right into it without proper knowledge.
So, today, let us tackle this issue for a popular variety of bonsai which is the Japanese juniper. We will walk you through how to care for Japanese juniper bonsai efficiently so that it thrives in your garden.
Whether you plant them indoors or outdoors, these trees need regular sunlight. Since bright light isn’t available indoors, it is best to plant these bonsais outdoors.
You must know that this plant prefers moist, well-drained soil regularly fed with fertilizers for strong growth. When it comes to watering, always remember to make sure the soil is dry before re-watering. Likewise, several other factors are necessary for its healthy growth like easily shaping & pruning.
Here we have compiled everything you need to know about how to take care of a Japanese juniper bonsai tree and keep it alive!
Japanese Juniper Bonsai Overview
|Scientific Name||Juniperus Chinensis|
|Hardiness Zone||4 – 9 USDA|
|Soil||Well-draining and slightly dry soil|
|Water||Regular and deep watering when soil turns dry|
|Fertilizer||Nitrogen-rich fertilizer during the growing months. Gradually switch to a low-nitrogen fertilizer in the fall.|
How To Care For A Japanese Juniper Bonsai Tree?
Japanese juniper bonsai are beautiful ornamental trees with a compact size. This leaves no doubt why these trees are highly preferred to be kept in most households. But the important thing is how you care for them so that they grow trouble-free.
As with most juniper bonsais, the Japanese variety also needs moist soil, bright sunlight, and a well-drained container to flourish without stress. Besides this, you must meet its watering requirements and add the required nitrogen rich fertilizers in spring to low nitrogen fertilizer in fall. Pruning and wiring the plants are highly recommended to shape these majestic trees.
Let us address each of these factors in detail.
1. Choosing the Right Location As Per Sunlight – Can a Japanese Juniper Bonsai Grow Indoors?
Japanese juniper bonsai like to grow in places with bright sunlight. That said, they cannot thrive very well when kept indoors. So, it would be perfect, if you plant it outside throughout the year where it receives enough sunlight. Protect the tree during winters when the temperature is less than 15 degrees Fahrenheit. For this period you can occasionally bring it indoors.
2. Bonsai Container Shape, Size, Material
According to many seasoned gardeners, ceramic and porcelain pots are the best to contain Japanese juniper bonsai plants. These containers can absorb any excess water in the soil and immediately drain it.
The pot size should be identical to the height of the tree’s trunk that shows above the root surface. If you select rectangular or oval pots it will be two-thirds the tree’s height while a square or round pot will be one-third the tree’s height.
3. What Soil Type Do Japanese Juniper Bonsai Prefer?
These plants show the best growth when planted in a bonsai soil mix. Bonsai soil is typically a combination of pumice, akadama, fine gravel, and organic potting compost.
Japanese bonsai love well-drained and moist soil. It allows water and air to penetrate the roots steadily. It is commercially available in several plant shops, garden centers, and online at affordable rates.
4. How Often Should I Water My Japanese Juniper Bonsai?
Don’t forget that when it comes to learning how to care for Japanese juniper bonsai, watering is like the most important aspect. You can water your plant twice daily in the morning and evening during summer with little quantities of water.
Just prefer not to water in the middle of the day because, at that time, the plant receives the most sunlight, which can burn the leaves. During the winter season, it is sufficient to water your plant 1 to 2 times a week.
Even misting the Japanese juniper bonsai tree will do wonders because air humidity benefits tree growth. This is particularly helpful for re-potted indoor bonsai plants.
If you forget to water it, it won’t feel neglected. It will get more harm if you frequently shower it with excess water. Make sure the soil is a little bit dry in between two watering sessions.
5. Do Japanese Juniper Bonsai Like Fertilizers?
You must not forget to feed them with a good bonsai fertilizer for good growth. Feeding it monthly in the growing season of spring nitrogen-rich fertilizers is recommended. Gradually reduce the frequency of fertilizer use and the nitrogen content of the fertilizer over the fall. While in winter, junipers are in a state of dormancy so they do not need fertilizing.
6. Is Pruning Necessary for Japanese Juniper Bonsai?
If you’re struggling with your bonsai plant, maybe you should see how well is the pruning regime. Make sure to prune it from spring to the end of summer. During this period the plants are in their growing period, so it’s the best time to trim off any new shoots to the base. It helps maintain the lovely short foliage of your plant intact.
You don’t necessarily need to trim down the tree’s entire canopy. Just cut the needles to keep its foliage thin. Just avoid pruning juniper bonsai aggressively as these plants cannot grow again from bare parts.
The most appealing thing about Juniper Japanese Bonsai is their acquiescent property. The tree is commonly twisted into various beautiful shapes and resembles with that Japanese trees growing in the mountains.
The young juniper plants are highly flexible and can be creatively bent into any shape. The only exception to this quality is the deadwood bonsai. Just be careful while wiring it because it can easily break.
When shaping a Japanese juniper bonsai, always wrap its branches in raffia string to prevent scaring..
These great-looking dwarf trees do not need to be transplanted frequently. But, if you need to move it to a larger pot, do it in the early spring.
There are a few things that you must know for safely re-potting these plants. Make sure you don’t prune any heavy roots during the process because it can shock your plant.
When it comes to selecting a vessel for your plant, choose a ceramic pot or something similar to what the plant was originally in. Thirdly, do not remove the entire soil in which the plant was growing. Take some amount of it to the new pot as well.
9. Protecting from Pests and Diseases
When you don’t know how to care for Japanese juniper bonsai to protect it from diseases, it can become fatal. One of the most common issues is that the Japanese Juniper often gets attacked by the spruce spider mite. This insect can often suck on the plant sap and leads to needs browning and dropping.
Aside from this, you might notice a significant infestation caused by smaller mites. It usually gets unnoticed, but you can look for the damage in the form of fine webbing done by these insects.
Additionally, these plants are highly prone to catching fungal diseases such as rusting and blighting. Again, you can notice it by dropping and browning needles and branches on this plant. Most of these issues can be easily dealt with proper care.
So, how to care for a Japanese juniper bonsai tree to control pests and related diseases? Generally, it is advised to regularly shower your Japanese juniper plant with a strong gush of water. This is a very effective way of controlling pests.
Another great way is to apply insecticides to get rid of massive infestations. You can also apply fungicides whenever necessary to protect your plants from infestation.
You can easily plant a Japanese juniper bonsai with the practical tips mentioned above. Just take care to place your plant in an ideal location, the correct type of soil, and meet its watering needs. Don’t forget to mist the plant frequently to facilitate its healthy growth for a prolonged period.
Also, remember to feed it with the right type of fertilizers at the right time. Prune and wire the plant when they grow large and old to sustain its beautiful shape. When you know how to take care of a Japanese juniper bonsai tree’s needs, it’ll stay healthy and gorgeous for a very long time.