Training and display pots vs growing out in large pots

Ray777

Mame
Messages
125
Reaction score
37
Location
Corona Del Mar, CA
I am fascinated by the idea of growing Imperial Bonsai, for the species long lived enough. I am wondering what’s the best approach to grow fastest while still optimizing desirable Bonsai traits?

I guess an obvious approach would be to grow out in large pots. (BTW while doing so, do you still prune foliage and branches, and even roots, for optimal traits?) And then when you reach the size and shape desired, you’d train and place in a display.

Though let’s say you grow a long lived tree into a small Bonsai, prepared for a training pot (and for training pot do you trim roots or prune tree first?) So at this point you place it in a display pot, exhibit and enjoy it, take pics etc… at this point, can you just as efficiently continue to grow as you would in a large pot? I am thinking that since in a training/display pot you will be using a fancier mix, that you can give it hydroponic-like frequent waterings with dilute fertilizer, and perhaps it can grow as well as a grow out pot?

Or is the best approach a hybrid. So you something like this… grow in a large pot, and then train for a display pot, grow it there for a bit, return it to a larger pot, continue the process, into a larger training pot, back into a larger grow out pot, etc., until you have an Imperial?

BTW so I’m kind of assuming that as you grow in a training pot, you are pruning for all the desirable traits. Again, you do the same, not just for trunk size and shape, in large grow out pots, at least for the upper tree?

Again, is this hybrid approach feasible to some degree, or should I add or subtract a method, or try something totally different?

So thank you all in advance! Apologies for the long message, and if I am way off lol
 

Bonsai Nut

Nuttier than your average Nut
Messages
10,884
Reaction score
22,327
Location
Charlotte area, North Carolina
USDA Zone
8a
Grow fastest - put in ground.
Grow fast - put in large flat growing container like a box or Anderson flat
Grow moderately - put in a over-sized bonsai pot, repot more frequently
Grow slowly - put in right-sized bonsai pot, repot only as needed

I think the question really comes down to "desirable bonsai traits". It really comes down to so many variables it is hard to list any guidelines. So much depends on species and stage of development. Many on this site do not have the luxury (or budget) to work with yamadori or refined trees that can be close to show quality in five years or less. So it isn't really a question of working with refined bonsai, but rather how to move pre-bonsai along most rapidly to the refinement stage.
 

Ray777

Mame
Messages
125
Reaction score
37
Location
Corona Del Mar, CA
I appreciate the clarification! How big does a tree, or other Bonsai plant, need to be before placing in the ground? And what about a box or Anderson flat, can the plant go in sooner? (I am not familiar with these, should I google “growing box” and Anderson flat?)

So once you reach the refinement stage, say for a plant grown in the ground, or in the grow box or Anderson flat, can you refine while keeping it in the same medium? Do you ever have to pull the plant and trim roots in the ground or in the box/flat? Thank you again! I’m getting a much better idea how to approach things.

Unfortunately I’ve only got ground soil in our front yard, where I am hesitant to plant. The second option seems good!
 

ShadyStump

Masterpiece
Messages
2,484
Reaction score
3,600
Location
Southern Colorado, USA
USDA Zone
6a
Use the search function here on BNut, and you'll find all the info you could possibly need on growing out trees. Google will just try to sell you stuff.

For something large scale, you'll want to keep it in a very large growing container from the get go. 5 foot tall 20 year old trees don't like to be moved, and tend to have roots running all over under the ground that would need cut. One of those three feet wide wading pools with holes punched in the bottom and sides might be economical.

The comment has been made here before that in totally inorganic soil we are essentially practicing hydroponics, so you're on the right track with your thinking there. It is high maintenance, though.

Like he said, so many factors come into play. Research the hell out of everything here, participate in discussions, and don't be afraid to be wrong, and you'll get an idea of how those factors interact very quickly. You can kill trees learning the basic horticulture in the mean time. By the time you have that out of the way, you'll know when you're ready for the next step, and what that next step will be.
 

Shibui

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
5,081
Reaction score
9,655
Location
Yackandandah, Australia
USDA Zone
9?
There are so many variables and many different approaches end up producing similar results that there is no one method.
While the larger root space gives quicker growth is generally true, that same quicker growth rate also tends to magnify any faults so fast grown trees do not always produce quality bonsai.
By far the best bonsai are produced slowly over many years while managing trunk taper, branch taper and ramification but this avenue is little used in the west because we mostly want a quick result rather than the best result.
You can make the choice.
Grow fast with little or no pruning which generally gives a thick trunk quick but no taper so a low chop is needed then more years to regrow the trunk and apex with taper and branches.
Grow fast with regular chops takes a few years longer but generally results in a trunk with taper and natural bends and the start of branches. Still needs a few more years to create good branches but I find this still gives a better final result in less time overall than the first method.
Grow in large pots, baskets or flats takes longer to get the same trunk thickness but usually more control over the shape gives better trunk with less scars and less years to heal large scars and correct problems than either of the above.
My trees tend to go through a sequence of: ground fast grow to develop a trunk, training pot to refine the remaining trunk and start branches and heal any cuts, smaller training pots to develop final ramification, display pot.

Trees can go in the ground when quite small provided they have some protection from weed competition, animals, etc. My maples generally go in the grow beds at 1 year old but I occasionally sow seed in the grow beds too. Slower growing species may need to be a couple of years old so they don't get lost and overwhelmed in the grow beds.
Pot growing is different. Roots need to be able to fill the pot. Tiny trees in great big pots sometimes have problems so generally go through a series of larger pots as the plant and roots get larger.
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
Messages
31,814
Reaction score
43,698
Location
Berwyn, Il
USDA Zone
6.2
At least we know now them sevens don't represent a gambling problem, but, the 7 other people you're going to need to carry these "imperial" trees around!

Unless you are beginning with material in the 10K range (odds are you can find 1 yourself, ONE, in your entire lifetime) you're almost certain to want to get rid of this behemoth by the time you get it near finished.

I reckon 9 times out of ten these will be multi-generational endeavors. Cuz the Emperor don't want no bullshit! Lol. But seriously.

Sorce
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom