Help, please! Beginner in Memphis, TN looking for bonsai or pre-bonsai purchase recommendations

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Hi!

I live in Memphis, TN (8a hardiness zone) and am looking to purchase a bonsai or pre-bonsai to work on while I wait for my Delonix seedling to grow. I am completely new at this as I have never cultivated a bonsai before, so I am looking for recommmendations for a good beginner bonsai or pre-bonsai that would do well in an 8a hardiness zone and also fair well indoors. Considering the details above, what species would you recommend I look into?

Lastly, I live fairly close to Brussel’s Bonsai and am looking to purchase from there, if I see something there that fairs well in my climate and indoors. However, I have read several posts here stating that they have poor soil. Does this include new soil that is still packaged and ready for purchase or does this only include their potted soil? Thank you!
 

Cajunrider

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Go to Brussel's Bonsai. They will let you walk through their place. It's amazing. They are very helpful in selection of bonsai. Since you are local, you get to see and pick them right off their growing shelves. I wish I could do that often. I've only been there once.
 

coltranem

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Does Brussels offer classes? If so I'd start with a class. At the end you should have some beginner material and a little knowledge to help you get started.
 
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Go to Brussel's Bonsai. They will let you walk through their place. It's amazing. They are very helpful in selection of bonsai. Since you are local, you get to see and pick them right off their growing shelves. I wish I could do that often. I've only been there once.
Great suggestion! Just wanted to be sure that I could trust the judgement of the individuals at the nursery. I believe there are some nursery’s that I’ve seen members comment on as not being as knowledgeable about what it is their selling. So I decided to check in here first before heading there. But if you all think they’re all around knowledgeable, I’m definitely happy to have them guide me.
 
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Does Brussels offer classes? If so I'd start with a class. At the end you should have some beginner material and a little knowledge to help you get started.
Will check this out on their web and see! Another great suggestion! Thank you!
 
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Does anyone know anything about their packaged soil and/or the potted soil that comes with their bonsai? I’ve read on here that they have great pre-bonsai and bonsai, but a few people on this forum have mentioned that they received bad soil from them.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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................"Lastly, I live fairly close to Brussel’s Bonsai and am looking to purchase from there, if I see something there that fairs well in my climate and indoors. However, I have read several posts here stating that they have poor soil. Does this include new soil that is still packaged and ready for purchase or does this only include their potted soil? Thank you!" ..........
I've been to Brussel's many times. I love the place even though it is over a 400 mile trip for me.

About Brussel's bonsai mix. Forget what you read on the internet. Brussel's designed his potting media to work WITH the water supply he uses, I believe he is on the same water supply as in Memphis area. His mix is not THAT bad. Most of the complaints are because his mix requires a slightly different watering frequency than a number of other mixes, his holds water a bit longer. But since you are just getting started, learn to water trees in his mix, and buy more of it and use it for all your trees. Then everyone will more or less be on the same schedule.

I am watering over 100 trees. I use basically one potting mix, with variation primarily being particle size. Fine for small pots under 3 inches, medium for larger pots and coarse for very large pots and grow out boxes. The advantage of using the same mix for everything is you develop a very good feel for how much time it takes to go from wet to dry. Much easier than having a unique mix for each tree.

I lied, I'm using 3 different mixes, but I won't confuse you as to what and where. It is much better to learn to use one mix, to get a handle on the horticulture. Branch out later, after you have some success with the first.
 

MHBonsai

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Welcome!

Brussels is amazing. I make a trip yearly and every time it blows my mind the sheer scale of the place. There is nothing inherently bad about their soil. It doesn't drain as fast as my mix and when I get something from there, I'm just a little more aware of over watering prior to doing a first repot.

If you must do bonsai indoor, a ficus or jade is probably your best option. I'm sure others will chime in, but growing indoors is a frustrating and extremely difficult process. It can be done, but it is often not rewarding and pushes folks away from bonsai. Trees grow outside!

Cheers,
 
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I've been to Brussel's many times. I love the place even though it is over a 400 mile trip for me.

About Brussel's bonsai mix. Forget what you read on the internet. Brussel's designed his potting media to work WITH the water supply he uses, I believe he is on the same water supply as in Memphis area. His mix is not THAT bad. Most of the complaints are because his mix requires a slightly different watering frequency than a number of other mixes, his holds water a bit longer. But since you are just getting started, learn to water trees in his mix, and buy more of it and use it for all your trees. Then everyone will more or less be on the same schedule.

I am watering over 100 trees. I use basically one potting mix, with variation primarily being particle size. Fine for small pots under 3 inches, medium for larger pots and coarse for very large pots and grow out boxes. The advantage of using the same mix for everything is you develop a very good feel for how much time it takes to go from wet to dry. Much easier than having a unique mix for each tree.

I lied, I'm using 3 different mixes, but I won't confuse you as to what and where. It is much better to learn to use one mix, to get a handle on the horticulture. Branch out later, after you have some success with the first.
This is excellent information!! Thank you so much, Leo!! You have been more than helpful; especially in explaining Brussel’s soil mix. I’m so vexcited to visit Brussel’s next week and go bonsai shopping!!

I will take your advice and stick to one soil mix for all for now, until I learn more and see some success!☺

P.S. I can’t imagine having the horticulture knowledge to be able to manage over 100 trees!! That’s awesome!! ?
 
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Welcome!

Brussels is amazing. I make a trip yearly and every time it blows my mind the sheer scale of the place. There is nothing inherently bad about their soil. It doesn't drain as fast as my mix and when I get something from there, I'm just a little more aware of over watering prior to doing a first repot.

If you must do bonsai indoor, a ficus or jade is probably your best option. I'm sure others will chime in, but growing indoors is a frustrating and extremely difficult process. It can be done, but it is often not rewarding and pushes folks away from bonsai. Trees grow outside!

Cheers,
Thank you for the warm welcome!! ☺

Very good information to know!! ? If it’s better for all to go outside once it warms up a bit, then that’s what I’m going to do. I don’t want to have them struggle on account of my wanting to keep them indoors. I will have to figure out an outdoor setup to protect them, as I don’t have a balcony, and I’ve seen a few raccoons in our backyard on our night cam. That’s my biggest and only concern with putting them outside once it warms up. Do you have any suggestions for how I could protect them outside? Also, do we generally have to worry about birds getting to them when their outside? I might be worrying over nothing, and if so, by all means please let me know, as gardening in every aspect is brand new for me. Thank you so much again for taking the time to help me out and explain it all! ☺
 

Carol 83

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do we generally have to worry about birds getting to them when their outside?
Birds never bother mine, nor do raccoons, opossums, skunks, etc. I do have some problems with squirrels, digging around in the pots. Mostly in the fall, when then they're trying to bury their acorns. I have had a few sprout in the pots, when I bought them in for the winter.
 
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Birds never bother mine, nor do raccoons, opossums, skunks, etc. I do have some problems with squirrels, digging around in the pots. Mostly in the fall, when then they're trying to bury their acorns. I have had a few sprout in the pots, when I bought them in for the winter.
Oh, okay, I see! Thank you, Carol! ☺This definitely relieves my concern with placing them outside once the weather permits!
 

rockm

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Thank you for the warm welcome!! ☺

Very good information to know!! ? If it’s better for all to go outside once it warms up a bit, then that’s what I’m going to do. I don’t want to have them struggle on account of my wanting to keep them indoors. I will have to figure out an outdoor setup to protect them, as I don’t have a balcony, and I’ve seen a few raccoons in our backyard on our night cam. That’s my biggest and only concern with putting them outside once it warms up. Do you have any suggestions for how I could protect them outside? Also, do we generally have to worry about birds getting to them when their outside? I might be worrying over nothing, and if so, by all means please let me know, as gardening in every aspect is brand new for me. Thank you so much again for taking the time to help me out and explain it all! ☺
Yes. all manner of wildlife can, but might not, take an interest in your trees outside. Birds and squirrels are the biggest nuisances for bonsai. Both like to root around in bonsai soil for worms, etc, or steal moss to make nests. Squirrels and chipmunks can also become a nuisance by chewing on bonsai. this can happen particularly in the spring in maples as the sugar-rich sap is rising. I always have squirrels nipping branches off my big landscape Japanese maple to get the sap. The big maple takes some of the heat off of the bonsai maples that are sited under its branches.

Not much you can do about squirrels. They are the curse of gardening--they're rats with better outfits...Short term deterrence can work for a few days to a few weeks. Those include hot sauce, pie tins tied to branches (light and noise), motion sensor enabled water sprinklers, plastic owls, all work for a while, until squirrels discover those solutions A) don't do much B) can be avoided. The most effective solution for squirrels is a shotgun, or a large predator, such as DOGs, (cats can't handle squirrels effectively a 20 lb terrier can), hawks can also occasionally take a few.
 

Cajunrider

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Yes. all manner of wildlife can, but might not, take an interest in your trees outside. Birds and squirrels are the biggest nuisances for bonsai. Both like to root around in bonsai soil for worms, etc, or steal moss to make nests. Squirrels and chipmunks can also become a nuisance by chewing on bonsai. this can happen particularly in the spring in maples as the sugar-rich sap is rising. I always have squirrels nipping branches off my big landscape Japanese maple to get the sap. The big maple takes some of the heat off of the bonsai maples that are sited under its branches.

Not much you can do about squirrels. They are the curse of gardening--they're rats with better outfits...Short term deterrence can work for a few days to a few weeks. Those include hot sauce, pie tins tied to branches (light and noise), motion sensor enabled water sprinklers, plastic owls, all work for a while, until squirrels discover those solutions A) don't do much B) can be avoided. The most effective solution for squirrels is a shotgun, or a large predator, such as DOGs, (cats can't handle squirrels effectively a 20 lb terrier can), hawks can also occasionally take a few.
Don't forget the rabbits. They have taken more trees in my yard than anything else.
 

rockm

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Don't forget the rabbits. They have taken more trees in my yard than anything else.
Rabbits aren't a problem for me. I keep all my trees on benches and stands three feet off the ground for that very reason. Without that altitude, I would have a VERY big problem with them, though.
Chipmunks are the biggest problem. They do more damage to bonsai TREES than anything else. I've had one of the little B#$^%&! chew one of my Amur maples almost in half in an hour one spring. I still wait by the door with the bull terrier at the ready for THAT little creep to appear. I set the dog on him. Haven't had any luck yet as he has a bolt hole nearby. My money is now on the resident black snake to find him. Snakes are great. They eat a lot of your problems.;)
 

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Yes. all manner of wildlife can, but might not, take an interest in your trees outside. Birds and squirrels are the biggest nuisances for bonsai. Both like to root around in bonsai soil for worms, etc, or steal moss to make nests. Squirrels and chipmunks can also become a nuisance by chewing on bonsai. this can happen particularly in the spring in maples as the sugar-rich sap is rising. I always have squirrels nipping branches off my big landscape Japanese maple to get the sap. The big maple takes some of the heat off of the bonsai maples that are sited under its branches.

Not much you can do about squirrels. They are the curse of gardening--they're rats with better outfits...Short term deterrence can work for a few days to a few weeks. Those include hot sauce, pie tins tied to branches (light and noise), motion sensor enabled water sprinklers, plastic owls, all work for a while, until squirrels discover those solutions A) don't do much B) can be avoided. The most effective solution for squirrels is a shotgun, or a large predator, such as DOGs, (cats can't handle squirrels effectively a 20 lb terrier can), hawks can also occasionally take a few.
My neighbor's dogs are my number one weapon. Second is my Ruger 22 pistol. I picked them off as I see squirrels, snakes, rabbits, rats etc.. The rats are a little harder to see and hit but I get my share. I've been thinking about getting an air gun with a good scope.
 

rockm

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My neighbor's dogs are my number one weapon. Second is my Ruger 22 pistol. I picked them off as I see squirrels, snakes, rabbits, rats etc.. The rats are a little harder to see and hit but I get my share. I've been thinking about getting an air gun with a good scope.
If you leave the snakes alone, you could see a reduction in rats. I saw a big drop in the local chipmunk population when that big 5' 5" of a rat snake moved in.
 
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Yes. all manner of wildlife can, but might not, take an interest in your trees outside. Birds and squirrels are the biggest nuisances for bonsai. Both like to root around in bonsai soil for worms, etc, or steal moss to make nests. Squirrels and chipmunks can also become a nuisance by chewing on bonsai. this can happen particularly in the spring in maples as the sugar-rich sap is rising. I always have squirrels nipping branches off my big landscape Japanese maple to get the sap. The big maple takes some of the heat off of the bonsai maples that are sited under its branches.

Not much you can do about squirrels. They are the curse of gardening--they're rats with better outfits...Short term deterrence can work for a few days to a few weeks. Those include hot sauce, pie tins tied to branches (light and noise), motion sensor enabled water sprinklers, plastic owls, all work for a while, until squirrels discover those solutions A) don't do much B) can be avoided. The most effective solution for squirrels is a shotgun, or a large predator, such as DOGs, (cats can't handle squirrels effectively a 20 lb terrier can), hawks can also occasionally take a few.
Yikes, good to know! I’m going to look into purchasing something such as a mini greenhouse to protect them. Thanks for sharing your experience!! ?
 

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