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.

About Paul Masterson

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  1. Hello I’m a Japanese and living in Dublin for years. I want to buy a bonsai tree for a present to my friend. I have no idea where can I get one. Please tell me if you know somewhere to get it. I found your blog by internet search. It’s a good fun to read your blog!

  2. Hi Aki

    The main Bonsai shop is in Dublin’s Powerscourt Shopping Center on Clarendon Street. Other online options would be and



  3. da best. Keep it going! Thank you

  4. Hi, good post. I have been wondering about this issue,so thanks for posting.

  5. RT @bonsaiireland: training a bonsai from seed –

  6. Hi
    Just checking if Im doing the right thing…
    First I have a 15 cm pot,
    Fill the “Bonsai Potting Soil” up to 12 cm,
    then put my Chinese Elm Seeds spead around,
    Then Put “Bonsai Potting Soil” 0.5cm or less on top of the seeds
    then water spray gently when its soak,
    I put a plastic bag on top then put away in a very dark hot-press

    Am I doing the right thing?

    • Johnny

      The Chinese Elm seeds will need to be stratified before sowing in soil. Place them in a small ziplock bag with some damp vermalite and place in the fridge for six weeks. After this place in a light location in soil.

      Hope this helps


  7. RT @bonsaiireland: training a bonsai from seed

  8. RT @bonsaiireland: training a bonsai from seed

  9. RT @bonsaiireland: Training a Bonsai from seed

  10. I would like to know more about the blue jacaranda trees and how suitable they are for bonsai-ing.

  11. Hi Pol

    Are you still in the Powerscourt Shopping Centre, and if so, are you still selling those boxed bonsai seed kits that were around a few years aago?

    With thanks in advance,


    • Hi Ross

      We dont own the Bonsai Shop in Powerscourt. They do have a blog with some information bonshopireland .

      If you are looking for tree seeds as a present, yes I believe they do have some kits. If you are interested in buying tree seeds for yourself I would recommend Sandeman Seed in France and the UK.

      I have bought many specialist tree seeds from Sandeman and at a very reasonable price. e.g. Acer palmatum 10g of seeds for €7… They are sold in zip lock bags.

      Other options would be.

      Got Bonsai seed kits @ €27. Includes two pots, peat pellet, scissors, potting stones, seeds, flexible wire & a 96 page book on your bonsai.

      If you do decide to buy from Sandeman I have some good guides on growing trees from seed. Stratification information etc…

      If you need help, just let me know.



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