Although used for centuries by bonsai artists, juniper bonsai were made popular with the general public through a movie.
They quickly became known as “The Karate Kid” bonsai. Today many people throughout the world have them as their first bonsai tree.
There are many many varieties available. It is most likely one will be appropriate for your climate. Even in places such as sub-tropical Florida, the shimpaku and procumbens nana are both popular, and easy conifers to grow.
It should be noted here, despite magazine and tv depictions, junipers are not considered good subjects for indoor bonsai.
The exquisite presentation above is a good example of juniper bonsai growing on a rock.
This newly created bonsai has temporary wire tie-downs to assist positioning of the branches. The jins (dead wood) were purposely created to give a natural appearance of age.
This is proof bonsai don’t have to be big to be beautiful. (Height under 12 inches.) Read more about very small bonsai.
Creating Your Own Juniper Bonsai
If you’ve decided to create your own bonsai, the easiest way to get started is by using a plant from your local nursery.
Experiment trimming the branches and foliage, but leave the roots alone until you get some advice about how much and the time of year in your climate.
You can learn on your own; however, hands-on lessons will more likely get you started in the right direction. Look for a bonsai club near you, and start a passionate journey with bonsai. They can often recommend a good local teacher.
This is an “after” picture of the nursery plant. It’s now in a training container (actually a cut down nursery pot.) Look closely to see the wire and notice the nicely shaped jins created by designer David Chauvin.
When the season is right, the roots will be pruned and it will go into a bonsai pot. See more information on Juniper Care page.
Tanuki – A Special Technique
The Japanese words ‘tanuki bonsai’ are used to describe what many refer to as phoenix graft and sometimes “phony bonsai.”
It’s not a style, but a unique technique for making trees look much older than they are!
Read more about it on tanuki bonsai page.
Where to Go From Here
Don’t miss the ongoing efforts of one artist to perfect a wonderful bonsai. It started with a nursery plant!
See another “Juniper Styling from the Beginning”
Don’t miss the important Juniper bonsai care page!