Cryptomeria japonica 'Black Dragon'

Redwood Ryan

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Hey everyone,

I picked up this Japanese Cedar from my local "bonsai" nursey for a mere $15. May sound like a lot, but at this place you can get small bags of "bonsai" soil for $10, so I'm fine with this purchase. It is about 2 feet tall and has a trunk of about half an inch or more. I will have to put this into a grow box or bigger pot, but I just thought I would share it with everyone and see what your opinions of it are. Here it is:






Ryan
 

mcpesq817

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I'd be careful about buying pre-packaged bonsai soil. Many times it is loaded with fines and doesn't drain well.
 

Redwood Ryan

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I thought about that too, but I've been using it for about a year and I haven't had any problems with it.
 

Redwood Ryan

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That is absolutely beautiful Al!

Any idea on their growth rate? Thanks!
 

Smoke

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Pretty slow to grow trunks, but foliage can pad up quite quickly.

Be careful around the base. To get the really beautiful trunks with flared base and good root buttresing, it must be developed fairly young. As you can see with this one, the roots can grow like a claw and make the tree look like it's on stilts. This same guy has a smaller one that is absolutely gorgeous.

I'll try and find a picture.
 
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Redwood Ryan

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Hmm interesting.

I guess I will have a tough time to grow out this ones trunk. Then again, I am only 17 :)
 

Redwood Ryan

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Alain, do you grow Crpytomeria? If so, what kind of soil mix do you use? I think I will keep this thing in potting soil, as that is what it is in now and I want to grow it out more.
 

Redwood Ryan

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Pretty slow to grow trunks, but foliage can pad up quite quickly.

Be careful around the base. To get the really beautiful trunks with flared base and good root buttresing, it must be developed fairly young. As you can see with this one, the roots can grow like a claw and make the tree look like it's on stilts. This same guy has a smaller one that is absolutely gorgeous.

I'll try and find a picture.

Al, how would I go about developing this base at a young age? Thanks!
 
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I have some cryptomerias unfortunately all of them at the growing trunk stage.

I started the one on the picture eight years ago as a one year old very small seedling collected during a winter hike near Koyasan. I grew it in a pot for 3 years, then 5 in the ground and then took it into a pot mid-may. It is well rooted now, I can shake the tree and the pot moves accordingly.
Cryptos need a lot of water so, I use the same kind of substrate that I would use for most deciduous at the same stage of evolution. Now it is in 20% neutralized peat moss 80% pomice.
 

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Redwood Ryan

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Wow what a great looking tree. Is that a regular Cryptomeria or a 'Black Dragon'? I don't quite have the room to grow the trunk out in the ground (too many other trees are being grown out in the space I have), so I will probably just pot this into a bigger pot. I hope this isn't too much of a slow grower.....
 
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It is a regular cryptomeria. BTW, cryptomerias are sometimes very easy to propagate as cuttings so it may be worth trying with your 'Black Dragon'.
 

Redwood Ryan

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Very interesting. I may have to give cuttings a shot. But unfortunately I won't be getting as much growth as yours got.
 

rockm

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"I think I will keep this thing in potting soil, as that is what it is in now and I want to grow it out more."

This could be a BIG mistake. Which local 'bonsai store" did you get it from? That source would probably determine if the soil it's in is made for long term container use, or simply as a holding tank for the plant before it's planted in the ground...
 

Redwood Ryan

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I got it from Merrifield. I believe they have some nurseries in Fairfax. It is in Miracle Gro soil now, so I figured it wouldn't harm it to keep it in that. I keep a good portion of my trees that need to be grown out in it.
 

mcpesq817

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I got it from Merrifield. I believe they have some nurseries in Fairfax. It is in Miracle Gro soil now, so I figured it wouldn't harm it to keep it in that. I keep a good portion of my trees that need to be grown out in it.
I saw the pre-packaged bonsai soil at Merrifield last year. If it's the same stuff, I'd be careful about using it. It had a lot of fines and way too much organic material.
 
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Redwood Ryan

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I need to buy some turface from somewhere.....
 

Kirk

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This is not my experience. I'd rather consider crytomerias as a kind of gymnosperm willow ;). No wonder why they have been so much used for reafforestation in Japan.
Standard Cryptomeria japonica does grow like gang busters, almost as fast as a Leyland cypress. Cryptomeria japonica 'Black Dragon' is a much smaller variety with a slower growth rate. The foliage is much more compact and a darker green in color.

Kirk
 

Redwood Ryan

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When you say slow, how slow do you mean?
 
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