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Bonsai from Seed

A quick article on growing a Bonsai from Seed

Tree Seeds

First thing you need to do is select your tree seed. Beginners should try and collect seed from local grown trees before trying challenging native and non-native species. These trees would be used to the locate climate. The easiest to grow is Horse Chestnut.

For those who work with nature, you can wait until the Autumn\Fall before sowing. If you don’t want to wait until then see propagation section. But for those who enjoy working with nature see below.


As described above the best time to sow seeds is in the autumn so we can keep with natures cycle.


1. Pick out a pot approximately 15 cm or a seed tray
2. Place a fine layer of stones on the base
3. Next put together the following soil mixture. For beginners I would suggest using John Innes No:2 with 20% Horticultural sand.
4. Place the soil mixture in your container
5. Use a dibber (gardening tool) or a stick to create small channels on top of the soil
6. Place the seed or seeds on the channel
7. Cover with a layer of soil
8. Next water using a fine rose spray (You don’t want to disturb the seeds)

Also, remember to pre-soak your seed before planting.

So, what’s next?

After your seed has sprouted, place it in a bright location and keep the soil moist.

Never let seedlings dry out

In the summer months feed your seedlings. After a year you can transplant your Tinytree to a bigger pot.

When your tree looks hardy (thick trunk). You can start the early stages of Bonsai training.

Training a Bonsai from seed

jacandra-in-potHave you ever considered training a Bonsai from seed and putting your own style to a tree. It’s not that difficult and it is a great way of developing a collection at a lower cost and most importantly if you are starting out, you don’t experiment with expensive trees.

The only disadvantage is that you will have to wait about 3 years (dependent on species, growing rate etc) before you can start training your tree. The main reason for this is to give the seedling a chance to harden itself.

So what are the best tree’s to start with?

Well, almost any tree can be trained as a Bonsai. I once trained a Horse Chestnut and miniaturised its large leaves. The tree’s I would start with would be Maples, Fir’s or Chinese Elm, the Chinese Elm have naturally small leaves. So the balance between roots and leaf can be easier to achieve. If you live in an apartment try some indoor trees like the ‘Japanese Wax Privet’ , ‘Blue Jacaranda’  with it’s blue flowers and fern like leaves or the ‘Silk Tree’ with its feathery leaves and delicate flowers.

jacandra-beforeOver 10 weeks ago (Jan 2010) I placed ‘Blue Jacaranda’ (Indoor Bonsai) seeds in a pot of vermalite (well watered)  and placed them in a warm location. If best use a propagation unit that can supply bottom heat. These seeds took approximately 6 weeks to sprout.

The next stage is to transplant the seedling into their new home, a pot with good free drainage soil. At this stage I would cut back the tap root to encourage more fiberous roots and begin the miniaturization process.

The best tool to use is a Bonsai trimming shears as this will give a nice clean cut. After this use a dibber to create a whole in the soil, then place your seedling in the holding the stem and backfill the soil. Thenjacandra-after water well and don’t let the soil dry out. Your seedling will require good attention as it develops its new roots.

The images above show the tap root before and after trimming.

As the trees progress I will keep you up to date.