Bonsai tree supplies and bonsai trees - Bonsai of Brooklyn
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Tip of the Week


Tip of the Week  #24


Welcome to our next installment of  "Tips Of The Week".

This feature is for the benefit of visitors to this site, I would be happy to hear from you if there is something you would like to see covered here in future weeks. Please direct your E-mail to

Please let me know if I can include your first name and city If your topic is chosen.

Interested in past articles? There's a list at the bottom of the page.

Wendy from Tulsa, OK wrote in about bonsai seeds, among other things.
My reply was as follows:

In browsing through our site, you may have noticed that we do not sell seeds. This is because of past experience. Since 1976 when my business began I have spoken to literally hundreds of people who have tried to grow bonsai from seeds and failed. Very often only a small percentage will sprout, and in almost all cases, the seeds will "damp off" in 3 to 4 weeks.

Damping off is very common. It's where a fungus attacks the seedling at the soil line. The stem will get thinner and thinner until the sprout falls over and dies. In the handful of cases where there was success, the people who had that success felt that the results were not worth the trouble.

Remember, the goal of bonsai is to have something which looks like a full size, mature tree in miniature. In most cases, a seedling will need many years (if not decades) to achieve this goal. The photos you see on the pages of companies selling seeds are usually of trees many hundreds of years old. I don't know about you, but I don't have that kind of time.

As an example, a seedling would take 4 or 5 years to reach the size & maturity of one of our $4.99 pieces of pre-bonsai material. Considering that most trees live for centuries, starting from scratch may not be the best way to go. Besides the above, the fact is that many people believe that once their seeds sprout, they should live and grow. Seeing them die usually makes people think that they killed them, leading to feelings of failure. Nothing is further from the truth. In nature, trees produce thousands of seeds a year. If they all germinated & lived, trees would have overrun the planet millennia ago. Nature makes sure this does not happen. If the survival rate under natural conditions is low, imagine the odds of raising them at home, and especially indoors.

This said, if you already have the seeds, please try growing them. The soil should never dry out, but should not be kept sopping wet either. To survive, they'll need direct sun, for at least a few hours a day. Transplanting will need to be done in 2 to 4 months, depending on the species. If the above described things happen, PLEASE don't abandon the art of bonsai, just rethink your approach.

Interested in past articles? Click for your choice below.

#1-Things to do in the spring

#2-Forest Plantings

#3-Planning a trimming schedule

#4-Trimming Japanese Maples (And other trees with opposing Buds)

#5-Trimming Chinese Elms (And other trees with alternating Buds)

#6-Trimming Conifers (Such as Pine, Juniper and Cypress)

#7-Improving Your Bonsai Skills

#8-Things to Remember During the Winter Months

#9-Some Thoughts About Tree Roots. Their Strengths & Weaknesses

#10-Potting Medium: The Foundation of a Bonsai

#11-Growing Bonsai Under Artificial Light.

#12-The Importance of Moss, How To Get It & Put It On a Bonsai.

#13-The Right Tool For The Job.

#14-Root Over Rock Planting.

#15-Wiring - Copper or Aluminum?

#16-Wiring - Basic Techniques

#17-Using A Cold Frame, Garage, or Tool Shed For Wintering

#18-Making A Cold Frame For Wintering Temperate Bonsai.

#19-Wintering Temperate Bonsai Indoors.


#21-Sunlight - Some Further Thoughts.

#22-Is It Really A Tree?

#23-Repotting a "Department Store" Bonsai

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