Bonsai is one of the curiosities of nature most admired by many since it combines the beauty of a plant with the patience and work of man. It is a spectacular combination of man’s work with a beautiful nature. Making a bonsai is somewhat complicated, and there are a couple of ways to do it: the sexed multiplication, starting from seeds or the asexual or vegetative propagation that takes place from a fragment of the plant. Next, in this article, we will explain how to make a bonsai from a seed.
How to grow a bonsai tree from seed?
The first thing we have to do is get some first quality seeds. We will do it from the fruits. The best time to harvest the nuts is in November: we will choose the largest ones, and they will be well closed, keeping them in a cool place until spring arrives.
Once in the spring, we will proceed to open them until they reach the seeds, if they are hard, for example, the pineapples, an easy way to get it is to approach them to a source of soft heat.
Once opened, we will tap in several directions so that the seeds come off by themselves. We will select the most significant seeds by discarding the badly formed or weak ones, and we will soak them for two days to force them out of the winter lethargy.
The best place to sow and germinate seeds is a greenhouse. Germination is the basis for growing a bonsai from seed. You can do it in other areas but often the temperature changes considerably, and this will lead to the substrate being too cold or too hot. These changes in temperature also change the humidity of the substrate and, if it is too dry, it can cause the death of the seeds. On the contrary, if the substrate is too humid, it can favor the appearance of pests and therefore the failure in the crop. The ideal temperature should be between 18 and 22 C, so it is recommended that you place the seedbed in a greenhouse, but if you do not have one you can look for alternatives to maintain the temperature stable during the germination time.
The seeds need heat, humidity, and air to germinate, and even most need darkness. Once this has been clarified, we explain the way to grow a bonsai from the seed.
The soil that gives the best results to make bonsai is 85% of 8mm shale. And 15% Algarrobo soil, but any standard mix can be used. To carry out the planting of the seeds, we will make some holes in the earth with a 3 cm separation, because if we plant the seeds too close together, we will risk that they will be born tall and thin due to the lack of air.
Here’s how to plant the seeds step by step:
1- Fill a plastic seedbed (you can buy it at any garden store) with soil for seeds. Press it with your fingers, especially around the edges, since that area is the one that begins to dry if not watered correctly.
2- Continue filling the seedbed with seed soil and use a wooden stick with straight edges to level the substrate with the container boundary. Once this is done, use a piece of wood (similar to the container and size slightly smaller than the seedbed and with a bit of wood at its tip to act as a handle) to press the substrate about 12mm below the edge of the seedbed.
3- Once the substrate is prepared, we will place the seeds. Make sure that the seeds are spaced between them, and do not put them in the 12mm near the edge of the nursery because this area is the first to dry if irrigation is neglected.
4 – Once the seeds have been placed, use a plain horticultural sieve to cover the seeds with soil up to three or four times its thickness. If you do not have a horticultural screen, you can use a kitchen one that you no longer apply. Make sure the seeds are covered evenly. Some seeds need more light than others but do not worry, that’s enough.
Once the bonsai seeds are planted, we will water them 3 or 4 times a day with non-calcareous water and always in the morning and at dusk (never at noon) placing the pots in a place as sunny as possible.
After 8 days, we will see the small leaves trying to tear the earth. After 30 days, prepare a vitamin combination consisting of 1 liter of water to which we will add a blister of “Benerva (B1)” that we can obtain in any pharmacy, with this solution we will water every 15 days during the first 2 months.
Once the seeds have germinated, you should reduce the ambient temperature. Excess heat causes small plants to grow too fast, making them thin and weak. The most important step we will explain today is the transplanting of the bonsai shoots to space them so they can grow properly,
You must be especially careful when handling the shoots since their stems are still weak and can be damaged. Also, whenever you take an outbreak do it for one of its leaves (they usually have two sheets although they can also have only one), before grabbing them by the stem. After germination, remove the protective cover of the nursery and continue with the irrigation in a container with a little water. When moisture soaks the substrate to the surface, remove the seedbed and wait until the excess moisture drains.
It prevents the leaves from getting wet because they can get sick, especially if the temperature is low. Remember that humid and cold environments cause diseases in bonsai such as mushrooms. Once the leaves of the buds touch each other, transplant them to another tray so they can be spaced — the day before transplanting the buds, water the substrate.
The following year, in February we can give it shape with wire. Although it seems soon, it is not, because if you have followed all the steps, you will notice that the trees have the appearance of a 3-year-old instead of a year old. The wire can be used to swell the trunk, but with the necessary care not to damage it.
The following year in March, we will proceed to the first change of pot and root pruning. The first thing is to clean the root ball without fear because the real age of the tree is a scant year. We will extract with great care the tree of the “draining board” used as a flowerpot, and we will carefully remove the numerous rootlets that will have become entangled in the drainage holes.
Once the soil is released from the root ball, we will prune the thickest ones and leave the fine roots pinching the ones we think are convenient. In the case of conifers, we should not discard the remaining mother earth since it contains the well-known mushroom “Mycorrhiza” and that we will later reuse. Once the roots are trimmed, we will plant the saplings again in the same pot, where we will have to stay for 3 years in which we will exaggerate with slow organic fertilizer, respecting the months of lethargy and using our techniques of trunk thickening, pinching and modeling.
There are two ways to grow bonsai
You can buy the seed and start the cultivation process from scratch or buy a growing copy. You can begin to your bone from the grain, but you should keep in mind that this may take a long time to achieve results.
The seeds usually take a relatively long time to germinate and become a suitable plant to use. On the other hand, if you want to start cultivating a bonsai from scratch, buy the seeds of the species that best suits your knowledge and the climatic conditions where it will grow.
So, essentially, it is not necessary to make a bonsai from the seed. You can get more immediate satisfaction by buying a young tree from a nursery or garden center. The bonsai specimens purchased in the nursery can provide you with security since it guarantees the health of the tree and even allows you to observe its characteristics before buying it.
This decision will affect the entire process of cultivation of your bonsai so you should raise the pros and cons of each of them.