The first bonsai tree I bought, I just chose it at random. I chose one that looked the best and was at a reasonable price. Today, I know that it was not worth the price I paid for it at all!
The information below should help you make a good decision when buying your first bonsai.
Where can I buy bonsai?
I advise you to buy your first bonsai performed at a merchant specializing in the cultivation of bonsai ( a Bonsai Nursery). You can be sure that the tree is properly maintained before you become the owner.
If you want to buy your bonsai in a florist shop or a large store, make sure the tree is healthy and has been well maintained.
How to choose a bonsai? – Pay attention to “fake goods”!
A tree planted in a pot is not necessarily a bonsai. If you buy a bonsai, make sure it meets, at least, some of the criteria of a quality bonsai listed below. Remember that the price of bonsai is related to the number of criteria satisfied!
Plus if it is near perfection, it will be more expensive. The idea is to pay your first bonsai about $30 including pot and tree. Remember that a bonsai requires several years of care. That is why the bonsai are so expensive the older they are.
Quality criterion of a bonsai
To qualify as a bonsai tree, it must comply with a certain form and style.
The tree must have good roots. The roots create an impression of stability. With the purchase, make sure the tree is well anchored in the pot. Trunk slightly moving from left to right. If it does not seem well grounded, choose another.
The trunk of the tree should be tapered. This means that the trunk must end in a point. It must have a minimum of surface scars.
They must be distributed all around the trunk. The largest being about 1 / 3 the height of the tree. The more we climb into the tree, most branches should reduce in size. Seen from the front, no branch should hide the body or main trunk in the first 2 / 3 of the height.
Generally, the lower branches bend down. Those in the middle are almost horizontal and even point upwards.
Quality of foliage
It should be dense and seem healthy. The foliage is generally a good indication of the health of the tree.
The older a bonsai is, the more its value. The oldest bonsai around 600 years. It is valued at approximately 1 / 2 million U.S.!
Choosing what kind?
You can choose from tropical species, hardy, and semi-hardy.
They require a temperature above 15 ° C throughout the year. As a result, they do not require a rest period during the winter. They are therefore easier to keep in the home in winter.
Some tropical species are Serissa, bougainvillea, Cherry, Hibiscus, Olivier, Orme China, Camelia Japan, Satsuki Azalea, Pyracantha, and Sageretia.
The hardy and semi-hardy
Unlike the tropical species, hardy species require a period of rest. For a tree to fall dormant, the temperature must be 10-12 ° C.
You must place these types of tree in a cold greenhouse or in a place where the temperature will be about 5 ° C during the winter months. If you keep a bonsai like this in a house in winter, it is almost sure that it will die, may be not the first winter, but definitely the second …
It is, therefore, essential for this type of species to have a rest period of 2-3 months.
A tree out of will come out of its rest period if you switch to a higher temperature at 10-12 ° C for 10-15 days.
Some example species
Buis (Box Tree), Cotoneaster, Japanese maple, juniper (Juniper), crabapple, false cypress, Japanese yew, Pin.
In conclusion …
If you live in an apartment, I advise you to choose a tropical variety. You can keep your bonsai indoors during the winter without any problem.
On the other hand, if you have a place where you can put your bonsai in the winter to rest then choose a hardy/ semi-hardy variety.
I know that some retailers offer to keep your bonsai in winter (a kind of child care !). I have no idea of the price for this type of service, but surely it’s worth the cost. Ask the retailer to explain the specific needs of bonsai you acquired such as the need for lighting, moisture, and fertilization.
You will have all the chances on your side your bonsai to succeed.