Starting Juniper Bonsai – The inexpensive way

By July 16, 2017 No Comments


Starting Juniper bonsai might look a very difficult task for a new comer, but if the tree is tackled with respect, and by following some specific rules, everyone can start a bonsai tree.   This is what we will be discussing in today’s blog, how to start a Juniper bonsai from a cheap nursery tree.
Bought this  juniper from a nursery last year for just around €8, and it was not until January 2017 that I started working on it.
Follow the step by step to start your own bonsai.

Step by step – Part 1

  • Styling:
    1. Started by choosing the style of bonsai I wanted.
    2. Since the tree was a thin and tall one, I decided to go for a Literati Style.

Literati Style:  A slender twisted trunk with minimal foliage

 —  TIP 1: Study the tree structure to help you shaping the style of the bonsai tree

  • Cleaning:
    1. Selected the branches I wanted to use.
    2. Followed by removing unwanted lower branches.

—  TIP 2: Start by cleaning dead branches, follow by removing unwanted branches —

  • Wiring:
    1. To help me shape the trunk, I anchored a thick wire in the soil close to the main trunk and wired the trunk.
    2. Once the trunk has been wired, I continued to wire the secondary branches using thinner wire.

    3. At the end wired the apex.

—  TIP 3: Use the appropriate wire size (copper or aluminium) —

  • Bending
    1. Slowly and carefully I started bending the trunk.
    2. Following by bending the secondary branches.
    3. While bending I used an bonsai pliers tool.

—  TIP 4: Make sure the wire will protect the back side of the branch when bending


  • Trimmed
    1. Trimmed the foliage to give an initial style

—  TIP 5: Avoid drastic pruning on juniper trees


From January up to date, I watered and feed this juniper bonsai.  Kept the tree in partial shade, having around 5 hours of morning sun.  This week I decided to do some more work on this juniper bonsai.

Step by step – Part 2

  • Re wiring
    1. Wired the pads, started from the lower branch.
  • Styling
    1. Once wired, I styled each pad, to the desired shape.
    2. I had to trim the foliage that was growing long and out of shape.
    3. Wired and shaped and trimmed the apex.
    4. To form the apex, I ended with one tertiary branch.
    5. By looking at the picture I shot of the finished tree, I noticed that one of the branches was far more bigger and longer than the other branches.
    6. I trimmed it to achieve the desired shape and balance.
As you notice, the foliage style is in the shape of a triangle.  Foliage is more balanced and less vegetation is seen in the apex.  Soon the tree will start to balance itself by having more growth in the apex area than in the lower branches, so I have to keep trimming more at he apex than at the lower branches.


Martin Abela

Author Martin Abela

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