Cost for pre-bonsai/shohin bonsai

drew33998

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Hello everyone, I was wondering since I don't speak to many other bonsai enthusiast often, looking back to when you began, how much would you have payed for pre-bonsai or shohin bonsai material? Would you have payed more for good quality material or a little less for material that you thought had potential for greatness?
 
I payed $65 for this hunk of a microcarpa:
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thanks redwood. trying to get a feel for the cost of things in the bonsai world for a beginner.
 
It depends on what you are comfortable paying in relation to your confidence/competence level with the material you want to work. Personally, I would buy the best material that I could afford because it gave me a real incentive to take my time and really take good care of it. Get to know as much as you can about the material you're interested in, buy some stock that you think has potential and really practice on it. Nothing is going to substitute for getting your hands into it and learning from mistakes that will happen, but your confidence will increase.
 
$$$ = time in bonsai. Buy the best-developed nebari and trunk your budget allows. Those are the parts that take the longest to develop (or fix if you buy wrong). Branches and ramification are quickly developed later.

Actual cost is like asking "how much is a car?" Maybe you'll get better answers to a question rephrased like, "what should I expect $xxx to get me in a pre-bonsai __________ species?"
 
This biggest factor is location. Plant material in the east seems to sell for a premium. Good plant material out west goes for half the price or less.

Stuff out here that routinly sells for 30.00 will sell for 80.00 to 100.00 out east.
 
If I had to do it all over again, I would much rather have payed more money for higher quality material. Most beginners start with lots of little trees, with very little potential, because they are cheaper. If you can keep a tree alive, start with high quality. Expect to spend anywhere from $50-$150 for shohin-chuhin size stock. There are lots of good resources out in Florida for tropical trees. Good luck!
 
The best option is a bonsai nursery. They sell trees that usually have been well tended with a decent root system. There are several reputable ones that sell online. I also use landscape nurseries. They tend to have larger, more mature material at a lower price $30-80). The problem of using older material in a nursery pot is that the roots and nebari tend to me a tangled mess which can take years to correct, so you have to be selective. However, it is one of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday morning, sorting through the material looking for trees with potential.
 
Get the best you can afford FROM REPUTABLE BONAI SELLERS. You can wind up spending some serious money on crap--especially if you're buying on places like E-bay.

Find a local club, you will have access to extremely good material for less than 1/3 what it might cost retail. Some club members might even GIVE you material to work on just to clear their benches (And because they're also good people). Over the years, I've been given stuff that would sell for hundreds. I've also passed it on to others.

And finally, don't believe people who say good plant material is more expensive in the east. That's not true. It's were you look for it and knowing the sources. Here in the east, expecting to get wonderful old Japanese black pine, aged shimpaku junipers, etc. is unrealistic. However, the oldest planting of Japanese maple, azaleas, boxwood and some other great bonsai species are East of the Mississipi. The East coast is home to the oldest and most sought after boxwood species for bonsai. You can find 100-year-old azaleas, as well as boxwood that are well over 200 years old. Many of those plants are growing in neglected areas. Those plants can sometimes be collected for free--less the time to get permission and elbow grease...
 
I agree with EVERYTHING rockm just said. Clubs are a fantastic start and you invariably meet some nice, generous bonsai people. I too have received some fantastic material for free from the older members, and I will most definitely continue that tradition in the future. Once you join a club, you gain tons of resources...
 
"Would you have payed more for good quality material or a little less for material that you thought had potential for greatness?"

Both sound like the same thing to me. If it has potential that's all that's needed to give it a try.
 
Hello everyone, I was wondering since I don't speak to many other bonsai enthusiast often, looking back to when you began, how much would you have payed for pre-bonsai or shohin bonsai material? Would you have payed more for good quality material or a little less for material that you thought had potential for greatness?

Remember that expensive doesn't necessarily mean good quality, and that potential for greatness doesn't always come with a huge price tag. I'm still fairly new to this, and I've only bought trees that I felt were a good value. Some were $20 and others were $200, but with each purchase I felt I got more than my money's worth.

Dave
 
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