The pinus aristata bonsai tree is a beautiful, tiny tree that you can keep inside your home. The bristles can give your home a fresh and clean scent, while the tree itself can help purify the air.
Given the incredible benefits of the pinus bonsai, it’s no wonder a lot of people want to grow them. However, before you do, there is a lot to learn.
In this article, you’ll learn what a pinus aristata bonsai is and how to care for it. In addition, you’ll learn about the best ways to get ahead of your bonsai and anticipate its needs as it goes from one stage of growth to the next.
Keep reading to learn how to reduce the risk of accidentally killing your bonsai and understand how to tend to it properly so it will live for as long as possible and in the best state it can.
What is a Pinus Aristata Bonsai?
There is some discourse about this type of tree in particular.
Some like to say that it’s not technically a bonsai since it’s a pine tree, but others say that any kind of tree could technically be a bonsai.
The pinus aristata is also known as the bristlecone or the Rocky Mountain pine. It’s notorious for its thick and wax-like bristles and signature piney smell.
When planted in the wild, a pinus aristata can grow anywhere from 8-20 feet high and anywhere from 10-15 feet wide.
Why Bonsai Matters
Bonsai is not a type of tree but rather a method of growing it. Almost any thick, woody-stemmed tree can technically be bonsaied. Pinus aristata is a popular choice for bonsai because it provides the rustic look of a standard pine tree without getting to be too big.
A controlled-grown bonsai, like a pinus aristata, doesn’t produce as much messy sap, so there is less mess in general.
Bonsai trees of any type have to be grown carefully and in a very specific way from the seed. Otherwise, they either grow wonky or, sometimes, not at all.
If you’re in the business of growing a pinus aristata bonsai from the seed, following these practices is critical to your tree’s outcome. The bonsai practice begins right from the seed and continues into the growth stage.
Starting from the Seed
The seed of any plant may seem unimportant in the grand scheme of things. You may be tempted to just toss it in the planter, water it, move on, and wait for it to sprout.
Unfortunately for lazy plant parents, that’s not the case. The seed needs to be nurtured, planted in optimal conditions, and given plenty of attention before it can even begin to grow.
Before starting anything, procure the seeds. You can buy more than one, but never plant more than one into the same pot. Ignoring this first step could result in you ending up with two seeds growing and stunting the growth of the other, thereby dooming your pinus aristata bonsai from the start.
The seed is the most important stage because everything stays basically the same from there. Establish a good routine and find what works for you and your bonsai now because care instructions really do not change throughout growth stages.
Soil is one of, if not the most important thing for your pinus aristata bonsai. A seed planted in soil that’s too acidic will not grow, and neither will a seed with improperly fertilized soil or soil that’s too basic.
Ideally, your soil’s pH should be neutral (between 6.5 and 7.5). The following components are typically used in a bonsai-friendly soil mixture to achieve this level of neutrality:
- Lava rocks
- Pumice stones
- Tiny pieces of gravel
- Composted potting soil
The soil needs somewhere to be, and the pot you use to plant your seed is almost as crucial to the overall health of a pinus aristata bonsai as the soil itself. That is because the pot is where the bonsai method begins: the idea is to have a pot big enough for a small tree to grow but not allow it to grow too big.
The reason bonsai trees stay so small is partially due to the way their pot constricts their roots and subsequently stunts their growth.
A bonsai pot should not be bigger than about 2/3 of the height of the tree. However, if a tree’s width is greater than its height, the pot should be 2/3 of the width of the tree. Because of that rule, you’ll likely have to repot your bonsai a few times as it grows.
Optimal Conditions for a Pinus Aristata Bonsai
The conditions a pinus aristata bonsai needs to live in are relatively consistent throughout its entire lifetime. Paying attention to the conditions they’re living in is important, especially in adulthood, because it can be easy to overlook once they look the way you want them to.
A healthy pinus aristata bonsai in optimal conditions can live for a very long time, like, decades and even centuries in some cases.
Watering a Bonsai
A pinus aristata bonsai don’t typically need to be watered daily. It needs to be watered whenever the top of the soil seems to be dry.
If it lives in a dry place like a desert, that could be daily, or it could be less frequent for a place that gets more rain. Since there is no set schedule, the attention of the plant handler is incredibly important.
When it comes time to water a bonsai, too much is never good. If a pot has improper drainage and the plant gets overwatered, the roots will begin to rot, and the tree will start to die.
If you notice wilting, flaking, or discoloration, check the pot’s drainage and make sure the roots and plant, in general, are damp, not wet.
The quality of the water matters a lot, too. Typically, if your tap water is safe for you to drink, it’s also safe to use to water your pinus aristata bonsai. However, if you know your water is heavily treated or if you have hard water, you can:
- Use purified water from jugs
- Buy a water filter and water from there
- Boil water, let it cool, and then water your bonsai
The environment your bonsai is in is also important to its growth. Pinus aristata bonsais prefer to be in full sun, so they’ll do best outdoors. If you live in a rainy area, be sure to check on your bonsai after a shower and correct any overwatering that may have happened.
Full sun is imperative when you plant the seed and during the germination stage of growth. Once it’s more established, you can bring it inside and set it near a sunny window.
Even so, taking it out on sunny days can give it the little pick-me-up it needs to stay happy and healthy.
Be mindful of air conditions, too. If you know you smoke in your living room, try not to have it there. If you live right next to a big source of pollution, limit outside time.
Poor air conditions can impact the growth of a pinus aristata bonsai right from the seed.
Are Bonsai Trees Worth It might be an interesting article for you!
If cared for correctly, pinus aristata bonsais can be pretty easy to grow from the seed. The most important thing to keep in mind is that a bonsai is a living being, just like you, and it needs love and attention to grow.
If you choose to grow a pinus aristata bonsai and you do it well, you could end up with a super pretty houseplant that could literally last you a lifetime.