One of the most popular bonsai trees on the market is the Juniper Bonsai tree, and it’s not hard to see why. This bonsai tree is incredibly beautiful and one of the easiest to take care of.
So, if you’re new to bonsai trees or want something you won’t have to worry about killing because you don’t have a green thumb, this bonsai tree won’t disappoint. But would it be a good fit for your indoor collection of plants?
Before you decide to start growing Juniper bonsai trees, it’s crucial to understand the general care practices required for this plant.
Although it’s a relatively easy plant to take care of, even for novice bonsai gardeners, the slightest mistake can kill the plant.
We’ve provided a comprehensive guide for taking care of the Juniper Bonsai tree. Let’s jump right in, shall we?
Can a Juniper Bonsai Survive Indoors?
It’s not advisable to keep a Juniper Bonsai indoors. If kept inside all year round, the plant will start looking weak and sickly and will eventually die. When the tree is about to die, you’ll notice the tree’s needles turning yellow and falling off.
However, some people grow this plant indoors in a container. If you provide the right conditions for growth, the plant may survive but with limited potential.
For instance, growing this tree in a container restricts its growth potential. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to grow your Juniper bonsai outdoors.
Juniper Bonsai Tree Care
The beauty of the Juniper Bonsai tree is the major reason most people like to add it to their garden. However, most people, especially beginner gardeners, love this tree due to its simple maintenance.
The plant can thrive even when neglected and doesn’t require too much pampering. Therefore, if you don’t have a green thumb, this is an excellent plant to practice your gardening skills with.
However, this doesn’t mean you should neglect your Juniper Bonsai. To ensure the plant reaches its maximum growth potential and thrives in your garden, you should follow the right care practices.
Here’s what you should know about taking care of a Juniper Bonsai tree.
How Often Do You Water A Juniper Bonsai?
As a general rule of thumb, you should only water your Juniper Bonsai when the soil is almost dry. Don’t allow the soil to be fully dry. There are several things you can do to determine if your Juniper Bonsai plant needs to be watered. These include:
Measure the Moisture in the Soil
Use a soil moisture meter to gauge the amount of water remaining in the soil. This tool eliminates guesswork from the process. If the water level is too high, postpone watering the plant. However, if it’s too little, water the plant to the appropriate level.
The scale ranges from 1 to 10 or dry to wet. To measure:
- Insert the probe at root ball level
- Take note of the moisture level
- Water the plant as necessary, usually at level “3” for Juniper Bonsai.
- Remove the probe
- Wipe the moisture meter and store it in a cool, dry place.
Feel the Soil
If you don’t have a moisture meter, you can also use your fingers to test how much moisture is in the soil. Dip your finger about one inch into the soil and feel. If there isn’t enough moisture, it’s time to water your plant. However, if the soil is muddy and wet, you should hold off on watering your plant.
Some gardening enthusiasts use chopsticks ( or any other untreated wood) to measure the moisture level in the soil. To do this:
- Insert the chopsticks at root ball level
- Leave the sticks in the soil for about 10 minutes
If the chopsticks appear darkened after 10 minutes, the plant has sufficient water. However, if the sticks come out dry, it means it’s time to water your Juniper Bonsai.
How Much Sunlight Does A Juniper Bonsai Tree Need?
Juniper Bonsai trees need to be exposed to direct sunlight for at least five hours every day. Also, ensure your Juniper Bonsai remains outdoors in the spring, summer, and fall seasons.
If you don’t have a garden, you can place these plants on the patio, balcony, or deck. They grow best when they’re exposed to morning sun and the afternoon shade.
How to Position Your Bonsai Tree
It’s also crucial to ensure your bonsai tree is in a favorable position to maximize its growth potential. As we’ve mentioned, Juniper bonsai trees are outdoor plants. However, apart from growing it outdoors, there are several things you should prioritize. These include:
- Lighting: Ensure the plant is in an area where it receives direct sunlight.
- Positioning: The plant shouldn’t be in an area where there’s direct heat or draft.
- Humidity: Bonsai plants need enough moisture in their soil to thrive. Therefore, apart from watering, ensure the area is humid.
Pruning and Shaping Your Bonsai
Pruning is also an essential practice you should maintain to keep your Juniper bonsai trees in tip-top condition. Pruning helps you maintain the tree’s compact shape. There are two types of pruning; maintenance and structural pruning.
Maintenance pruning strengthens your Juniper Bonsai tree. When you remove the young shoots and leaves, you expose the leaves underneath to air and sunlight, strengthening the tree and furthers its growth.
On the other hand, structural pruning is an advanced technique that should only be done when the tree is dormant.
The process involves removing the tree’s structural branches. You need to involve a professional in this to ensure the tree survives the pruning.
Choosing the Right Soil for Your Bonsai
Juniper bonsai trees require soil that has excellent drainage. The ideal soil should also be able to hold water.
You can improve soil drainage by adding large particles to your soil moisture, such as stones and volcanic rocks. To improve the water holding capacity of the soil, add clay.
It’s also crucial to fertilize your tree as needed. A good fertilizer for bonsai plants contains equal amounts of phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen.
Ensure you’ve watered the plant sufficiently because fertilizing while the soil is dry may harm the plant. Lastly, read through the fertilizer instructions to ensure you’re using the right amount.
Repotting Your Juniper Bonsai
As a general rule of thumb, you should repot your juniper bonsai every two to five years, depending on how fast it grows.
This process helps you maintain plant’s health by removing excess roots, which can cause the tree to starve or not receive enough nutrients.
Repotting guarantees that the plant will continue to thrive in a small container. This step is unnecessary if the tree is in a garden.
Why Is Your Bonsai Tree Drying Out might be an interesting article for you!
If you’ve been thinking of growing a Juniper bonsai and you don’t have a garden, growing the plant indoors may seem like the best second option.
However, it’s not advisable to grow this plant indoors. Juniper bonsai trees need to be exposed to all seasons all year round. Therefore, keeping them indoors will only kill the plant.
Consider growing the tree in a small container and placing it on your balcony or deck, making sure the area has sufficient exposure to direct sunlight. Don’t forget the other care practices listed in this article. Happy planting!