Hello I’m interested in growing Japanese bonsai and I want to grow them from seed into seedling how do I do this and what kind of compost is good for this
Thank-you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners with your question about growing bonsai.
There is a long history of applying bonsai techniques to a wide variety of deciduous and coniferous trees, shrubs and woody plants. Basically, the idea with bonsai is to take a seed, seedling or very young plant of a normal-sized tree or shrub and manage its size and shape through container growth and careful pruning. The goal is to create a miniature version of the full-sized plant. Both indoor and outdoor plants can be used, depending on the proposed location for the plant.
The procedures for starting and maintaining bonsai are very species-related and you have not mentioned the particular species or variety you intend to grow. Some typical examples of deciduous trees and shrubs used are: azalea, hornbeam, beech, maple and birch. Popular coniferous choices are juniper, pine, cedar, and hemlock. Examples of indoor bonsai are fig, bougainvillea and pomegranate. While any of these plants could, in theory, be grown from seed, it is much easier to begin your project with a small, container grown nursery plant. Techniques for sprouting seeds will vary greatly depending on species and variety, but will be the same as for growing a regular plant. Once you have a well-rooted seedling or a small plant you will select a small (usually decorative) container and use regular, fast draining potting soil for your bonsai.
A good place to start your investigation into growing bonsai is the Toronto Master Garderners’ Gardening Guide, The Art of Bonsai.
You may also want to check out the website of the Toronto Bonsai Society.