Cedrus brevifolia/libani from seed

mapleman77

Mame
Messages
202
Reaction score
6
Location
Near Baton Rouge, Louisiana
USDA Zone
8b
Hi everyone!
I ordered some Cedrus brevifolia and Cedrus libani seeds about a month ago. Went to Brent's article about germinating them, and I just wanted to post a series of photos of them first growing through their first year. Right now, none of the libanis have even started to put out a radicle, but around 10 of my brevifolias are. As soon as I see signs of life I plant them in 100% turface in a flat that's pretty shallow to encourage vigorous, but compact root systems. As the first 10 brevifolias start to germinate, I'll take some pictures, but right now they are growing their tap root. I plan to let them grow freely until the end of this year, wherein I'll separate them, trim their main root/other roots if needed, and pot them up into 4" pots. That sound good? I hope so.

I'll be posting some pictures of the seeds putting out a radicle, and then my earliest growers soon!
David
 

Bonsai Nut

Nuttier than your average Nut
Messages
8,985
Reaction score
16,184
Location
Charlotte area, North Carolina
USDA Zone
7B
Look forward to it! Make sure you keep track of the environment and the time that has elapsed. Could you also post a link to Brent's article so we all know exactly what process you followed?
 

mapleman77

Mame
Messages
202
Reaction score
6
Location
Near Baton Rouge, Louisiana
USDA Zone
8b
I first planted the C. brevifolia seeds April 5 (6 days ago). Already, they have really grown their seedling roots and I expect them to push cotyledons soon. I started stratifying them March 14, and Brent's Article on cedars (http://evergreengardenworks.com/cedars.htm) says to stratify them for a month. So that means that this coming tuesday (4/14) I'll plant the rest of the un-germinated seeds. Picture to come as soon as I find the picture on my computer!

David
 

mapleman77

Mame
Messages
202
Reaction score
6
Location
Near Baton Rouge, Louisiana
USDA Zone
8b
Okay all of you nuts, here we go! We have germination of the C. brevifolia seeds! 3 so far, and a few more soon. Here are two pictures; the first is of a seed just starting to shoot out a radicle, and the second a newly germinated seedling. Today is exactly a month from the day I put both species in the refrigerator, and Brent's instructions said one month, so I planted all of the still-dormant seeds today. The once-empty tray of Turface is now full. The ungerminated seeds should come up within a month. Pictures will continue to come in as this is sure to be an interesting process for me (and hopefully you [pl] too).

David

PS: The time between me first planting the C. brevifolia seeds and them germinating is 9 days--I planted the first 5 brevifolias April 5th. 3 of those are the 3 that are germinating.
 

Attachments

mapleman77

Mame
Messages
202
Reaction score
6
Location
Near Baton Rouge, Louisiana
USDA Zone
8b
Update--Day 16

The cedar seeds are continuing to grow. As a reminder, I planted the rest of the ungerminated seeds (both libani and brevifolia) the 14th, and since then I have had around 5 more brevifolia germinate. I also checked the libani seeds, as none of those had come up in the bag during stratification, while many of the brevifolias did. I was finally rewarded with about half of the libani seeds putting out radicles two days ago! They should be coming up soon.

As for the germinating brevifolias, the 2 that first came up are still looking good. I decided to transplant them out of the flat as soon as they are about to push off their seed coat (it was looking a little crowded) so I transferred each seedling to its own 4" pot. Each seedling is in 100% Turface (yes, I know that this is a controversial mix) but I have time to water them, and cedars like it a bit on the dry side. I have 7 brevifolia growing, and 5 more that I'll transplant in a couple of days.

This is a very fascinating process! Here are a couple of pictures of the brevifolias as they looked today and a few days ago.

David
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,733
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
Excellent species for bonsai but the slowest grower of them all. Atlas green is super fast compared to brevifolia. Expect about 1/8" per year depending on where you live. When the plant gets to about 1 inch in caliper it will slow down to a snails pace. It will take about 10 years to get to 1 inch.

Brevifolia in the nursery trade is almost always grafted on atlas or deodar stock to speed it up, and even then it is slow. On it's own roots it is weak.

Henderson nursery in Fresno had the best brevifolias in the state and possibly the nation. Even there the largest one I ever saw was about 2 inches across and that plant was about 25 years old. Brent will remember Henderson Nursery, we have talked about it before.

Part of an article I wrote a couple years back;


Nursery versus Collected.

It seems all the rage to discuss the merits of collected material over nursery material or vice versa. Very recently a bonsai was posted at a bonsai discussion forum. For no apparent reason a mention was made that because this was nursery stock it might not be very well received. I have no clue why a statement like that even needs to be made. Bonsai always have, and always will speak for themselves. If it’s good it makes little difference where the material comes from. For the record, I use both and have for many years. Each has an advantage and I hope to share my opinions on each as well as introduce a little history into the discussion.

What is a plant nursery?
A nursery is a place a common gardener can go to find plants that would not ordinarily be available to the common gardener. Where did these plants come from? For the most part, they came from collecting. For the last 300 years, botanists and biologists have identified thousands of plant according to many classifications. Many of the plants are named for its founder be that collecting or hybridizing. The main instrument for propagating stock for a nursery is by seed or cutting. This is done from parent stock. The parent stock may be collected from some other part of the world, or it may be a plant that is identified and grown out as parent stock. Either way the original stock came from the wild, (collected). Each year dozens of orchids are found and named as well as tropicals and flowering plants from remote parts of the world. It is through nurseries and the convenience of them that we have a place to shop for plants.

Though I can’t speak for the rest of the world or even all the nurseries around our nation, I can speak for some here in California. The three oldest I know of are Roger Reynolds Nursery started in 1919, Pacific Nursery 1911, and Adache nursery the oldest in 1905. That’s a long time ago. It would be a real hoot to walk around in a nursery in 1905 and see just what they might carry. Nurseries are just not that old in the grand scheme of things. I am sure that most bonsai over a eighty years old are all collected, there was no nursery to buy them from!

What is the benefit of a nursery?

Nurseries carry many benefits that can help the bonsai artist. They carry many varieties of the same or like species. This is something that collecting in the wild could never do. For instance, we all know the pitfalls of trying to keep a collected manzanita alive as bonsai. A trip to the nursery will yield about 5 to 6 varieties of manzanita already suitable for pot culture. They are hardy and take to bonsai readily. The nursery will carry many suitable varieties of maple from which to choose. From this basic material we might strike our own cuttings and produce our own material more suitable for bonsai. The nursery is invaluable for this resource alone. Nurseries are collections of plants from all corners of the earth propagated in a small convenient package and available at a small price. Why? The plants have been around long enough that, the price has stabilized and it is inexpensive to propagate. New varieties found in the wild will command higher prices until it is propagated by enough growers to meet the demand.

A nursery is a place that bonsaist can walk into and find nearly all species of trees in one convenient location. Want a mugo or black pine, no problem, a maple, easy, how bout a juniper? Well we have 16 to choose from. Try that out on the mountain side!

Some History

In California, I have been fortunate enough to have known some great nurserymen that have not only done much for the nursery trade but also paved the way for some cool stuff for bonsai. For years, Henderson Experimental Gardens of Fresno was “the” place to find rare and unusual plants. The owner of the business, Bill Henderson, a direct descendant of Luther Burbank, started the business in and around 1925. Bill was keenly interested in camellia’s and his lifelong work with Summer Hibiscus. This plant, a clematis was named for Bill, C. armandii 'hendersoni rubra' the plant was named after Bill Henderson. A show winning Camellia japonica had its origin at Henderson Experimental Gardens also.


In the late fifties Don Kleim took over the nursery and began his work with maples and conifers, mostly dwarf pines. A dwarf gardenia was named for Don, KLEIM'S HARDY GARDENIA Gardenia jasminoides 'Kleim's Hardy'
For years I had a cedrus brevifolia grafted by Don himself. Don’s association with three other men would be instrumental in bringing America many of the maple varieties we now enjoy. His friends, Koto Matsubara, J.D. Vertress (the book of Maples) and Toichi Domoto would make many of the maples available thru nurseries in the state of Oregon and propagation in Fresno by Don. Koto Matsubara identified and sought out many varieties from the island of Hachijo and brought them to Don. Koto Matsubara would go on to design and landscape many of the premiere Japanese Gardens on the west coast.

Down the road from Henderson’s gardens another gentleman was doing his thing with Canna Lilies. Mr. Herb Kelly Jr.
http://www.plantdelights.com/Catalog/Current/Detail/04743.html

http://www.plantdelights.com/Catalog/Current/Detail/02806.html

Unlike Bill Henderson and Don Kleim, Herb Kelly practiced bonsai. He made it a point to bring in some of the most rare and sought after plants for bonsai. At his home nursery I visited in 1985 I saw some things back then that I had no idea just how valuable they were. At that time Herb was mainly growing three plants that grew well here and not obtainable much on the west coast. Herb was growing Twisted pomegranate, princess persimmon and Hokkaido elm. These persimmon were very small and were perfect Shohin size trees. Many of them were ready for pots just as they were in the nursery containers. (I kick myself now, thinking Shohin was for wimps back then, I wanted “BIG” trees).

The Hokkaido elms were something to behold. At the time of my visits in the early eighties The elms were around 5 inches across at the base and stood about four feet tall with magnificent branches. There were about twenty of them in a circular planter in the middle of his driveway. Any one of them could have gone into bonsai pots and been a masterpiece tree at that point. I have never seen larger or better since than those at Herb Kellies place. Those Hokkaido’s would go on in the bonsai world by the transfer of ownership to Mr. Don Herzog of “Miniature Plant Kingdom.” Pretty much a nation wide nursery at this point since the advent of LGB trains and garden railways in the early eighties and nineties. Don would use the elms for parent stock for his miniature plant business.

In 1981 I was the manager of Fresno Hobby and Crafts and one of many west coast distributors of LGB trains and garden railway supplies. At that time I had a color rack full of small plants from Miniature Plant Kingdom. This was my first introduction to working with shaping small plants to look like a larger tree for scale trains. This would stick with me and introduce me to bonsai two years later.

At this time Don Herzog wishes to retire. He has had many going out of business sales and advertised this in many magazines, but guess what? There is always a disclaimer that the Hokkaido’s are not part of the sale. They are just too darn valuable. I’ll bet they are ten inches across now 25 years later.


So what does this mean to me?

For the most part not much. Most people will not have much access to collecting anyway. Even if you do have the access there is still a margin for failure in collecting that can take the shine off the penny pretty fast. A 10 percent survival rate is not really worth the effort. Then there is the eye part. Seeing what you have to collect. I have seen many post pictures of plants they have collected in the wild and thought, “why did you collect that, you could have bought a much larger plant with a reasonable root ball and 100 percent survival rate in any nursery”. It makes no sense to collect plants that are available thru a retail nursery.

The only difference between a nursery plant and a collected plant is time. If time is valuable to you, and you have the access to good collected plant material, then you will be that much time ahead of the guy that buys the same plant at the nursery. It makes no sense to buy a nursery plant and take it home only to hack it to an inch of it’s life to simulate what Mother Nature has done in the last 300 years. If you have no access to collected material or it’s out of your monetary budget then you will have to appreciate them from the exhibit view. There is no substitute for the look of a 300 year old mugo pine from the mountains, sure you can peel and carve your way there, but it will still be a thinly trunked 15 year old mugo from Home Depot.

So the next time someone gives you the business about your nursery stock you can proudly say, “Hey, this may be from a nursery but I’m sure it’s grandaddy was on a mountain at one time!”.
 
Last edited:

mapleman77

Mame
Messages
202
Reaction score
6
Location
Near Baton Rouge, Louisiana
USDA Zone
8b
Thanks smoke for such an in-depth reply. I have time to grow these brevs. on for awhile (i'm pretty young) so I don't think time will be as much of a problem as much as keeping them alive for their first years. These seedling are so susceptible to a number of fungal diseases when they're germinating that it'll be a wonder if most of them make it. That's partly why I have them in all turface; it'll provide ample enough air to the roots and will dry out quickly, so they won't be overwatered very easily. I'll probably gradually switch them to a more water-retentive soil mixture as they get a few years on them.

Right now it's almost as much of a science experiment as anything for me! I pruned just the tip of the root of the first 2 to come up, and they wilted the day afterward. But now they look great! I transplanted 5 the day after I root pruned the first 2 so I didn't root prune those because I thought that I'd killed the other two. But they look absolutely healthy right now...I think that I'm going to root prune the rest.

In any case, your article was very informing and probably helped me realize what a long-term process this is going to be. I chose the libanis and the brevs. because of the needle length and color, but they also happen to be the slowest! LOL. oh well, I have time...and i'm NOT going to put them into pots when they're just little sticks; I plan to make some small, medium, and BIG bonsai out of these. No sticks in pots LOL.

I'll continue to update this thread as they grow, so keep watching everyone!

David
 

Attila Soos

Omono
Messages
1,804
Reaction score
33
Location
Los Angeles (Altadena), CA
USDA Zone
9
I'll continue to update this thread as they grow, so keep watching everyone!

David
An update every five year is good, so the next one should be in 2014.:)

I have three of these, growing in the ground for about 7 years now. I managed to double the trunk size from 0.5 inch to 1.1 inches. They actually elongate quite fast, but very slow in getting thick. I am planning another 5 years in the ground, and root prune them every 3 years.

So it is a very slow proces, but it's worth it, in my opinion. The small needle size and short internodes make them a spectacular bonsai subject. I imagine that a decent-sized bonsai of this kind is worth a small fortune, since it take so long to create them, and they are quite rare, compared to a black pine. I've never seen a decent-looking "brevifolia" bonsai in my life.

Another thing I like about them is that they seem to be very tough. During the last 7 years, I've killed quite a few Cedrus atlantica and libanii when digging them from the ground, but never lost a brevifolia by doing the exact same thing. So they lend themselves to bonsai culture much better than their close cousins.
 
Last edited:

mapleman77

Mame
Messages
202
Reaction score
6
Location
Near Baton Rouge, Louisiana
USDA Zone
8b
Thanks all for the unanimous agreement that it'll take a full lifetime to have a decent brevifolia bonsai! LOL

In any case, the plot thickens...today I checked on one of the seedlings, and wanted to see what the root system looked like. I don't have a picture but there was a short area where the diameter was less than the stem tissue right above it...it almost looked like it was lignifying, but it could quite possibly be rot! I don't know; the root system looked good right below it. Also the top growth looked extremely healthy and green above it. What to you all think? I am thinking (and fervently hoping) that it will make it. All of them look really good, but I fear that I might have overwatered them. I decided that I won't water them again until they start to wilt, then I'll water again. I hope that they don't die; they look so cute and cool LOL!

I have more libanis rooting, and a couple are starting to grow stems! They look funny with a seed coat on top of an inch long stem; I'll have to take another picture.

Regards,
David
 

mapleman77

Mame
Messages
202
Reaction score
6
Location
Near Baton Rouge, Louisiana
USDA Zone
8b
One-Month Update

Hi all,
It's been one month since I planted the first seeds, and I have many more now! As of today, I have 10 brevifolia (2 didn't make it) and 13 libani. The brevifolia, being slightly older, are starting to grow true needles, but the libanis are right behind them. The shrunken stem thing seems to be a natural thing, it's occuring on all of the seedlings, probably just lignification, so I'm not worrying about that anymore.

Took some pictures. First is of both flats together. Second is the brevifolia flat. Third is a closeup of a really good looking brev. Fourth is the libani flat.

Enjoy!
David
 

Attachments

mapleman77

Mame
Messages
202
Reaction score
6
Location
Near Baton Rouge, Louisiana
USDA Zone
8b
Hi everyone,
The cedars are continuing to look healthy. The brevifolias are growing the most vigorously (but still not fast) and the libanis are growing a little slower. Here's a picture of a brevifolia that looks really good.

David
 

Attachments

discusmike

Omono
Messages
1,369
Reaction score
454
Location
elkton,MD
USDA Zone
7a
Im going to give the ceder of cyprus a shot myself,ive had a larger size libani in my garden for a few summers now,i purchased it from Brent,since last spring it has really kicked in and started to grow well,i just cut it back in early spring,hopefully i'll get good growth rates this summer too,i just love this tree,even though its in the ground,its one of my favorites,cant wait to see it in a bonsai pot a few years down the road.Good luck with yours,looks like your off to a great start,i have my seeds in the fridge,i got a late start,they should be about ready,im unsure if i should plant them now,or wait till next spring.They really make great bonsai,you dont see many around,i guess its because they grow so slow.
 

mapleman77

Mame
Messages
202
Reaction score
6
Location
Near Baton Rouge, Louisiana
USDA Zone
8b
Hi Mike!

Yeah, my cedars are looking good. Thanks. :D

I don't know why you just don't see that many cedars around. They are really such wonderful trees, easy to grow, and naturally short needled. what's a con, esp with brevifolia which has a strong root system? I think that you are right, people are just not patient enough with cedrus because they are a little slower than other species.

Can you post a picture of your libani? I'd like to see a picture of what my small seedlings MIGHT look like in a few years.

As for your seeds, I don't know if I'd wait till next year. Cedars only require a month of cold stratification and then they are ready to sprout. I had many of my brevifolia begin to sprout in the refrigerator! No, I would go ahead and plant them this year and hope that they grow enough and harden off enough to survive. Waiting until next year could deplete the seed's embryonic food and kill all of the seeds.
 

discusmike

Omono
Messages
1,369
Reaction score
454
Location
elkton,MD
USDA Zone
7a
I went ahead and planted the seeds yesterday,ill try to get a picture of the libani tomorrow for you,its still young the base is probalbly only 1-1/4" or a little more,but you can definently see where the tree is heading,its pushing needles everywhere,and loves my native soil.
 

mapleman77

Mame
Messages
202
Reaction score
6
Location
Near Baton Rouge, Louisiana
USDA Zone
8b
Hey Mike,

Sounds good. I'd love to see a picture of your libani; I think that cedars as a genus are greatly underused stock. With time they could be absolutely wonderful bonsai; but you just don't see that many around. :(

BTW,where did you get your brevifolia seeds? I got mine from FW Schumacher's (treeshrubseeds.com) and was very happy. I'll be making an order to them next january for some pines, cedars, and maples. I wish you the best of luck with them; main thing is DO NOT overwater them--I'd put them in a completely inorganic medium so that you can't overwater. When in doubt, read Brent's article on cedars (I think that I posted the URL in the 1st page of this thread). Good luck and have fun!
 

discusmike

Omono
Messages
1,369
Reaction score
454
Location
elkton,MD
USDA Zone
7a
Here is a bad pic of my libani that i promised you earlier in the week,ive been working till dark,so today was my first chance to take a photo,the base is under the soil,and it swells nicely,im hoping she really takes off this season and the next.It was so so thin just a couple of summers ago with no braching.
 

Attachments

mapleman77

Mame
Messages
202
Reaction score
6
Location
Near Baton Rouge, Louisiana
USDA Zone
8b
Hey Mike,
I love your libani! It looks very healthy and vigorous--just what I want my cedars to look like in a few years.

What are you planning to do with this tree? From the looks of it it has a nice rootswell and low branching. Are you planning to eventually cut off the higher part and use the lower branches as the trunk and final branches? As it ages in the ground, you should gradually expose the nebari to give them character--this looks like one beautiful tree to be! Good luck with it. BTW what size was it when you got it from Brent?

David
 

discusmike

Omono
Messages
1,369
Reaction score
454
Location
elkton,MD
USDA Zone
7a
I'm just going to let her grow for now,try to keep some branching in check and create more taper,i'll see how she looks in the begining of every growing season and go from there,i see what your talking about,there are a few possibilities for a new leader down much lower,i would just be happy if it would fatten up some for me this summer,the trunk was probalbly a half inch at the base when purchased.Thanks for the kind comments,i just love to look at this tree for some reason,if it makes it to a pot,it should be a real eye catcher.
 

mapleman77

Mame
Messages
202
Reaction score
6
Location
Near Baton Rouge, Louisiana
USDA Zone
8b
I hate to be a pessimist, but Brent and others have always said that C. libani and C. brevifolia are the two slowest species for bonsai! Of course, I think that they are the best, so I'm being hardheaded and growing both species from seed!

I agree that it'll be an eye-catcher. I think that a good cedar, in general, is always nice to look at because it will look so lifelike with the short needles and dense branching.

I think that you should start a thread of the progression of this plant. I really enjoy seeing a plant develop through the years. I'll certainly be doing this with my seedlings-to-be-bonsai (in half a century)! :D

David
 
Similar threads





Top Bottom