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The Juniper Bonsai

Juniper bonsai is one of the most recognized species used to create these “little trees.”

Although used for centuries by bonsai artists and hobbyists, it was made popular with the general public through a movie.  Junipers quickly became known as "The Karate Kid" bonsai. 

Pines have been venerated for hundreds of years in the Orient.  Junipers resemble the look of pine trees.

It's not so surprising, many people throughout the world have them as their first bonsai tree.

There are  many varieties available.

It is most likely one will be appropriate for your climate.

Two of the more popular and easiest to grow are the shimpaku and procumbens nana varieties.

juniper bonsai tree styled by Nacho MarinJuniper grouping created by Venezuelan Nacho Marin
Recently styled juniper bonsai.Photo by Bob Yahrling

This newly created bonsai has temporary wire tie-downs to assist positioning of the branches.

The jins (dead wood) were purposely created to give a natural appearance of age.

This is proof bonsai don't have to be big to be beautiful. (Height under 12 inches.)

Read more about very small bonsai.

Creating Your Own Juniper Bonsai

If you’ve decided to create your own bonsai, the easiest way to get started is by using a plant from your local nursery.

Juniper Nursery StockJuniper nursery stock

Experiment trimming the branches and foliage, but leave the roots alone until you get some advice about how much and the time of year in your climate. 

You can learn on your own; however, hands-on lessons will more likely get you started in the right direction. 

Look for a bonsai club near you, and start a passionate journey with bonsai. They can often recommend a good local teacher.

Juniper bonsai start by David ChauvinDavid Chauvin's Juniper after First Styling

This is an "after" picture of the nursery plant above. 

It's now in a training container (actually a cut down nursery pot.)

Look closely to see the wire and notice the nicely shaped jins created by designer David Chauvin. 

When the season is right,When the season is right, the roots will be pruned and it will go into a bonsai pot.

Here's a video of the entire process by another David.  David Cutchin created this time-lapse photography of his juniper procumbens from its beginning as a nursery plant.

After its styling, the juniper in the video was root pruned and now looks like this in a bonsai container.

David Cutchin displayed it at the Appleton Museum, Ocala, Florida in 2014 as part of an amazing exhibit.

Another Juniper Story

Don't miss the ongoing efforts of one artist to perfect a wonderful juniper bonsai. It also started with a nursery plant!

See another  "Juniper Styling from the Beginning"

Tanuki - A Special Technique

The Japanese words 'tanuki bonsai' are used to describe what many refer to as phoenix graft and sometimes "phony bonsai." 

It's not a style, but a unique technique for making bonsai look much older than they are!

Read more about it on tanuki bonsai page.

Where to Go From Here

Don't miss the important Juniper bonsai care page!

  Juniper bonsai is just one of many types of bonsai trees

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Bonsai Classes

Craftsy sent me a copy of this class to review. I was very impressed, became an affiliate and do receive a small commission on purchases. (Which helps support this site.)

Know the basics?  Ready for more? 

Watch these amazing Colin Lewis bonsai class videos on your own schedule wherever, whenever you want ... and the class is yours to keep and revisit forever!

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Bonsai Design Techniques (w/ Colin Lewis)

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