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Thread: Can a bonsai tree be made from any kind of tree?

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    Composter losfreddy's Avatar
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    Can a bonsai tree be made from any kind of tree?

    just prun it and any tree can become a bonsai? is that the trick here? Thinking about getting my bonsai on
    Quit reading my mind!

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Generally any kind of tree. Some don't take well to it. I think that one of the critical parts of bonsai is that you regularly prune the roots in addition to the branches. So if you want to use a plant that isn't already miniature, you need to choose a kind that tolerates having its roots handled. There are lots of good books on bonsai out there - but also a lot of bad ones, I imagine. One of my favorite things to go looking for is old bonsai books at antique book stores. You could also seek out a bonsai vendor at your local farmer's market or the like. Bonsai is an artform that requires a great deal of dedication and patience, so I think most growers you come across will be pretty nice folks. All the ones I've ever met were super friendly and enthusiastic about sharing their experiences.
    I think I read that there were famous classical bonsai trees in Japan that were developed over the course of entire generations. Just imagine - passing down a project to your child/grandchild at retirement because the 40 years you put into it only got it started.
    Best luck with it. At the very least I suggest taking some time to read a little about the history of bonsai. Even if you don't learn anything useful from it, it's very interesting.
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
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    Can a bonsai tree be made from any kind of tree?
    In theory, maybe..
    Realistically..No.

    Some trees just have leaves that are far too large, and can not be reduced very much.
    For example, the Horse Chestnut has huge fan-shaped leaves, a foot across..I dont think I have ever seen a Horse chestnut bonsai!

    Magnolias..huge flowers and huge leaves..again, not so good for bonsai.

    Most Palm trees..not so good.

    You really want to use a native tree that has smallish leaves..
    Maples, Oaks, Beech, Pines, Larches, flowering trees (apples, pears, crabapples)
    and many more..
    Japanese Maples are probably the single most common tree for Bonsai.

    Many people have beautiful bonsai made from flowering trees such as apples..they have beautiful flowers in the spring..although the fruit cant be "reduced"! so normally the flowers are cut off when flowering is done, and they arent allowed to set fruit..although I did once see a cool photo of a small bonsai, about 1 foot tall, with one normal sized apple on it! that was unique..

    so realistically..no, you cant really use *any* tree..some just arent practical and cant be made to look good..

    Scot

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    do some reading on it all first, I have a feeling alot of our fellow TF'ers ( myself included ) have considered or started a bonsai project...

    they take an INCREDIBLY long amount of time to get started especially if your talking about bonsaiing your own tree from start to finish...

    lots and lots of reading is necessary I feel like for a good bonsai

    Good luck

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    I was shaping a Corymbia citriodora to be a large-size bonsai and it was about three years along, nearly ready to go in its first bonsai pot, but I did a sloppy job moving it indoors for winter and lost it. I would suggest a gum (Eucalypteae) if you want to train your own plant from start to finish - they're very fast growing and respond well to pruning. cmm is right, though... bonsai is tough and requires some stick-to-it. Not that you shouldn't try, but definitely plan on it being a side-project unless you have the patience of a saint.
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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    A friend of mine has a huge bonsai collection made up of many different species. He has maples, apples, plums, pears, elms, pines etc... Some of them are over 100 years old ! He's paid upwards of $20,000 for some of them. Now that's a hobby gone out of control if you ask me !

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny View Post
    He's paid upwards of $20,000 for some of them. Now that's a hobby gone out of control if you ask me !
    I paid $70 for one Sarracenia..same thing really!
    most hobbies have some element of insanity to them!

    Im considering paying $250 for a 50 year old lawn tractor..
    just because its cool..

    Scot

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    That's one thing , but 20 grand for a miniature tree is just crazy.

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