Whilst I am just starting out with Bonsai, I’ve already found that learning and practising this living art-form is therapeutic, relaxing and rewarding. I’ve found that the advice from Bonsai Empire has been very helpful, not to mention inspirational.
The Thuja species (Thuja Occidentalis) is a great tree for a beginner like me to start with. The elongating nature of the leaves gradually turn into branches, and the Thuja’s proclivity for sprouting new branches and leaves make it very easy to work with. The species is very robust and quite forgiving so mistakes can be made, and you still have a living tree at the end of it.
One thing that can be a bit tricky is that the leaves and smaller branches can be quite delicate, so for a chap like me with massive Alsatian-like paws, it can be a bit fiddly to work with. That said, by taking one’s time and staying focussed on the task at hand, a beautiful bonsai can be created from a stock plant purchased at a nursery.
I bought my Thuja from locally sources stock at a local garden centre for less than £10.00. It required repotting pretty much straight away, but the roots and foliage were very strong so it gave me a great tree to start with.
At this stage, my Thuja is in a “pre-bonsai” state. I’ve cut it down to what I envisage will be it’s finishing height, and done some initial shaping of the branches. Now comes the need for care and patience to bring out the best in my new tree. I will be pinching tips to encourage back-budding and keeping the foliage uncluttered so that light reaches all the leaves. The one thing I see repeatedly about Thuja is that, if you kill a branch (through not enough light) there is not much chance of getting it to bud again.
If you’re interested in learning more about the art of Bonsai, I highly recommend visiting Bonsai Empires Website for expert advice, free videos and paid for courses.