Its Seedling Time!

New Plants & Seedling Growing Tips


Now is the time to order bare root seedlings for future bonsai. Several thousands of healthy seedlings have arrived. Today ten members of my Monday Senior Crew inspected, graded, bundled and packaged them for mail orders for shipping throughout the United States starting soon.

1Harvey Carapella grading European beech


Monday Senior Crew members: Rick Marriott, Bob Phromm, Paul Eschmann, Alan Adair


While we were working our cat Zeus was in a “bonding mode” and wanted attention. He often does this in the mornings, not in the evenings when you are watching TV looking for a fluffy pet to join you. That’s typical of most cats. The Trident maples and European beech are exceptional this season as well as a few exciting plants described below.



Zeus is usually a mild cat



Zeus wanted to play today



He is a real hunter



European Beech

The European beech, which I personally prefer to Japanese beech, arrived in different sizes which are perfect for forest style bonsai. Although many do have initial foliage a bit larger than the Japanese beech, when container grown the European beech leaves quickly reduce in size. Also the foliage of European beech is thicker than Japanese beech which usually have larger thinner foliage. European beech is quite winter hardy and easy to grow. The Japanese beech has a more exotic name and attracts bonsai hobbyists quickly. Growing European beech for a season to establish fibrous roots, is a good idea before creating a forest bonsai. However this year’s seedling selection of European beech can easily be created into a forest this spring because of the excellent trunk sizes.


Alan Adair grading European beech seedlings


Great root systems!


Several European beech forests created from seedlings


Newly created European beech forest


European beech 1993


European beech 2012


The trick to developing small foliage on European beech is to remove the center of the opening shoots as soon as they can be seen. Since plants are generally more vigorous in the upper branches, shoots developing in that region are pinched first, as they open. The lower and inner branches open a bit later and must be pinched at a later time. It generally takes more than a week to pinch a developed beech bonsai. Sometimes it is necessary to check the bonsai more than once a day because shoots continue to develop all day long.



Pinch the center of the opening shoot



After pinching center of the opening shoot



Trident Maple

This season the Trident maple seedlings are superb, and PERFECT for root grafting because they are thin and flexible. There are several different sizes and each bundle has several if a forest bonsai is to be trained. Of course they can also be trained for specimen bonsai as well. Since they are flexible gentle as well as extreme curves can be created with these Trident maples. In autumn the foliage generally becomes yellow, orange or red, which depends on the weather and care provided. Seedlings planted in the ground will grow quickly and form thick trunks fast. But, if you want a bonsai with bends, ground growing from the beginning is not recommended. I suggest small seedlings, of most all deciduous species, are first potted in training containers for one or two years. This is the time to create interesting forms in the trunk with wire. Be certain to also create trunk movement from front to back in addition to side by side. By the end of a growing season the young Trident maples will have taken the new shapes and are ready for thickening in the ground. If you wire young seedlings in the ground they will quickly scar because of their fast growth. If you want a developed bonsai with gentle curves, initially exaggerate the curves. As the tree thickens, gentle bends will quickly develop into straight trunks.


Harvey Caravelle grading Trident maples


Trident maple seedlings



Sekka Hinoki Cypress

Quite popular in Japan, the Sekka hinoki cypress are rare in the United States. The dark green small foliage quickly develops into a tight “ball” which needs thinning. After thinning the small foliage the larger branches can be easily wired and shaped into stunning small or shohin bonsai. About a third or a bit more of the foliage can be safely removed when thinning out the plant. Cutting grown to eliminate grafting scars, the Sekka hinoki cypress will quickly become more popular in bonsai collections because of it’s beauty and tight growth habit.


Developed Sekka hinoki cypress bonsai


Before shaping and after shaping Sekka hinoki cypress



Amethyst Falls Wisteria

Both Chinese and Japanese species primarily grown for bonsai in the United States.

They are magnificent in spring with the long hanging fragrant blossoms. They also have the habit of invasive growing and often do not flower regularly. There is a selection of the American native wisteria named Amethyst falls, which is now becoming a prized garden plant because of the compact growth, small flowers without becoming invasive. Young plants grown in the ground or large training pots will quickly grow and can be easily wired into beautiful forms. Unlike the Chinese and Japanese wisterias, the Amethyst falls wisteria often blossoms again during the summer. The flower racemes are not long and Diane likes them before they open and look like clusters of grapes and last a long time. Young plants as well as established specimens blossom profulsely in late spring, and often again during the summer. The growth habit of Amethyst falls wisteria will slow down considerably when container grown and trained for bonsai. Our plants are propagated by cuttings to eliminate ugly graft unions.


Amethyst Falls wisteria bonsai




There are over a dozen excellent plants for bonsai in our new Spring 2016 Seedling & Pre-Bonsai catalog. This season several of the plants are available in larger pre-bonsai size which have been container grown for a season with trunks shaped with wire. Now is the time to place your order for early, mid or late spring delivery. Catalogs can be downloaded from our web site at:

Or you can easily order on line at:

Many thanks for my friends to help preparing the seedlings today. Next week the Monday Senior Crew will join me to help pack the seedlings and pre-bonsai for shipping.

Good luck to everyone with your bonsai this season!



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