New to bonsai

Larrytx

Seedling
Messages
9
Reaction score
9
Hello folks - I’m an old and bored retiree looking for something to occupy my time. The discussions on this group has peaked my interest and I want to try growing bonsai plants. I assume the Juniper and Chinese Elm are good starts. I got those ordered off eBay. What would be other plants for a beginner? Thanks in advance.
 

DonovanC

Chumono
Messages
524
Reaction score
594
Location
Ohio, U.S.
USDA Zone
6a
Hello folks - I’m an old and bored retiree looking for something to occupy my time. The discussions on this group has peaked my interest and I want to try growing bonsai plants. I assume the Juniper and Chinese Elm are good starts. I got those ordered off eBay. What would be other plants for a beginner? Thanks in advance.
Chinese junipers and Procumbens junipers can be found at most garden centers. They’re great to start with. Japanese Maples are good for starting out as well and are usually just as readily available as the junipers mentioned.
if you have the space to bring them indoors during the winter (depending on where you live), a ficus is a nice species to start with. Ficus microcarpa has many different varieties and is widely available.
Also if you add your location to your profile it will help others give more specific advice.
Welcome to the hobby!
 

Larrytx

Seedling
Messages
9
Reaction score
9
Chinese junipers and Procumbens junipers can be found at most garden centers. They’re great to start with. Japanese Maples are good for starting out as well and are usually just as readily available as the junipers mentioned.
if you have the space to bring them indoors during the winter (depending on where you live), a ficus is a nice species to start with. Ficus microcarpa has many different varieties and is widely available.
Also if you add your location to your profile it will help others give more specific advice.
Welcome to the hobby!
Sorry about that. I live in north-central Texas which is in zone 8B. Our weather changes on a dime. We only have two seasons, the super hot and super cold. Spring and autumn skips our area. I do have good south windows and the light can me manipulated to the need. Where can I get a good ficus microcarpa? One of the problems that I have is that one website says the little juniper can be grown indoors and another website will say junipers are restricted to outdoors. That’s one of the reasons I asked for membership to Bonsai Nut.
 

Wulfskaar

Shohin
Messages
414
Reaction score
577
Location
Southern California
USDA Zone
10a
Hi Larry. I'm a year or so in and I've read a lot about how forgiving Chinese Elm is. I have one growing from seed and it's doing great. Sounds like you are on the right track for starting out. Other trees you might consider would be trees that grow naturally in your area. You have to do less to keep them healthy.
 

Larrytx

Seedling
Messages
9
Reaction score
9
Thanks - We are loaded with cedars, Willow, and elm trees. I know some people go to unrestricted areas and dig their own. I live in an area that is getting really congested with new homes and there is no place to dig without trespassing. Thanks for your help.
 

DonovanC

Chumono
Messages
524
Reaction score
594
Location
Ohio, U.S.
USDA Zone
6a
Theoretically, Juniperus procumbens can be grown indoors. But as a rule of thumb, all junipers are outdoor trees. The same goes for Chinese elm. These two species are often marketed as indoor trees but are really not suitable for indoors. Really, all bonsai are outdoor bonsai, but we must of course protect certain species such as ficus species in cold months.
You can get a nice F. microcarpa from several online retailers: Eastern Leaf, Wigert’s Bonsai, etc.
You can also find them at big box stores: Lowe’s, Home Depot, even Walmart. But these places are hit or miss. Typically you can get a decent starter ficus for under or around $25.
 

Larrytx

Seedling
Messages
9
Reaction score
9
Thanks DonovanC: I‘ll first search local retailers, but I will get one.
 

Bonsai Nut

Nuttier than your average Nut
Messages
10,397
Reaction score
20,946
Location
Charlotte area, North Carolina
USDA Zone
8a
Welcome to the site!

If you look around your area you can see trees that naturally thrive there, and those are a good place to start for selecting trees that will thrive in your yard 12 months out of the year.

I don't live in Texas, but I have some cedar elms from the state, as well as a Texas ebony that I bring inside for about three months out of the year and put in a bright sunny window. It actually did better with that treatment than when I kept it outside in Southern Cal.
 

DonovanC

Chumono
Messages
524
Reaction score
594
Location
Ohio, U.S.
USDA Zone
6a
@Bonsai Nut makes a good point, native species are a great starting point as they’re the best suited to thrive in your area.
I have a ton of mulberry, American elm and other seedling in my yard every year. I have several of them that I’m working with. Plus they’re free!
 

Larrytx

Seedling
Messages
9
Reaction score
9
Welcome to the site!

If you look around your area you can see trees that naturally thrive there, and those are a good place to start for selecting trees that will thrive in your yard 12 months out of the year.

I don't live in Texas, but I have some cedar elms from the state, as well as a Texas ebony that I bring inside for about three months out of the year and put in a bright sunny window. It actually did better with that treatment than when I kept it outside in Southern Cal.
Thank you. I forgot about the cedar elms but we have our share of Cedars, Bald Cypress, various types of Oaks, Mimosa, Mesquite (one county to the west) magnolia, Pecan, etc. The Lowe’s, Home Depot and Callowa’s sale Japanese Maples. They can only take morning sun here and very little of that. Whew, that would be enough for a start. Thank you.
 

ShadyStump

Omono
Messages
1,096
Reaction score
1,528
Location
Southern Colorado, USA
USDA Zone
6a
This hobby will definitely do the trick if you get into it! Welcome
Right!? You can spend all day every day in the garden if you wanted, and never run out of things to do.
On the flip side, you can also take it easy and work it when you do have time. As long as your patient it's easy to share a schedule with nature..
 

Larrytx

Seedling
Messages
9
Reaction score
9
Well said and I do need something to keep me busy. Thank you!
 

QuantumSparky

Shohin
Messages
295
Reaction score
266
Location
Eastern Pennsylvania, USA
USDA Zone
6b
Maybe I'm an oddball lacking in certain skills of the hobby, but having started out recently I find Junipers very difficult to style. I'm not sure if it's the pruning requirements or the sprawling branch structure but I can never get a clear plan in my head. I just have trouble visualizing the steps I need to take when selecting branches and whatnot. I think deciduous trees are much more simple and easier to work with. Compared with all the junipers I've seen, it's also easier to get a good look at the trunk and branches without cutting back a ton of material
 

ShadyStump

Omono
Messages
1,096
Reaction score
1,528
Location
Southern Colorado, USA
USDA Zone
6a
Maybe I'm an oddball lacking in certain skills of the hobby, but having started out recently I find Junipers very difficult to style. I'm not sure if it's the pruning requirements or the sprawling branch structure but I can never get a clear plan in my head. I just have trouble visualizing the steps I need to take when selecting branches and whatnot. I think deciduous trees are much more simple and easier to work with. Compared with all the junipers I've seen, it's also easier to get a good look at the trunk and branches without cutting back a ton of material
Won't argue, but this is very much a forward thinking hobby. Get a scraggly conifer now, learn to care for it, and by the time it's ready for the big decisions, so are you.
 

Larrytx

Seedling
Messages
9
Reaction score
9
Plant Identification- Can you guys tell me what this plant is? I’ve had it as a house plant for several years. The man who I got it from said it’s a Parrot’s Beak and is actually a vine. I can‘t find such a Parrot’s Beak on the internet. It might be made into an indoor bonsai if someone knew what they are doing, which I do not.
 

Attachments

  • FF243345-393F-4BC4-97E6-55B9621B4619.jpeg
    FF243345-393F-4BC4-97E6-55B9621B4619.jpeg
    197.4 KB · Views: 16
  • F183C80F-5091-4A5A-B226-AD4FC7F12D4D.jpeg
    F183C80F-5091-4A5A-B226-AD4FC7F12D4D.jpeg
    193 KB · Views: 16
  • 90CA5FCF-EC0F-4DA9-91C2-D375A5001C31.jpeg
    90CA5FCF-EC0F-4DA9-91C2-D375A5001C31.jpeg
    191.7 KB · Views: 16

DonovanC

Chumono
Messages
524
Reaction score
594
Location
Ohio, U.S.
USDA Zone
6a
Gmelina philippensis
It looks like it’s well on it’s way to becoming a bonsai 👍
 

Gatorade

Sapling
Messages
34
Reaction score
16
Location
Texas
USDA Zone
8a
Hello. Im new to bonsai too and live in Foft Worth Tx. Was having trouble finding good material at a reasonable price when I first was getting into it. I would recommend wigerts Bonsai nursery in Florida. I have recently gotten 3 trees from them and they are beautiful and arrived healthy. I really compared prices too and i feel they are more then worth it. They really specialize in tropicals but have others as well including Texas cedar elm.
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
Messages
30,645
Reaction score
42,144
Location
Berwyn, Il
USDA Zone
6.2
Welcome to Crazy!
I wouldn't buy anything online.
Look in the yard!
Let nature be your guide!

Good long time you been around before posting.
Odd it took so long.
Damn I love this!

Sorce
 

Maiden69

Shohin
Messages
459
Reaction score
475
Location
Boerne, TX
USDA Zone
8b
Hi Larry, I live in Boerne, 8b as well. As starting Chinese Elm, Cedar Elm (plenty around us), and trident maple are a few very strong forgiving trees to start with. Junipers as well, but I find that they are not as easy as some people make them to be. BTW, that Red Cedar that a lot of people love to hate here in the hill country is a Juniper, so those thrive in our climate.

Plenty of better places to get material from other than ebay. Check out evergreengardenworks.com, internationalbonsai.com, kaedebonsai-en.com to mention a few. Also, a lot of members here sell as well, and I think also the 99cent FB auctions. I haven't done the FB one yet, so I don't know how much would be available to our area.
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom