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 Advantages of Owning a Juniper Bonsai Tree

 By Erik A. Olsen

Have you been thinking about growing a bonsai tree but have no idea what kind to get or where to even begin? Let us start with saying that the juniper bonsai tree is probably one of the easiest to grow, it is versatile, and has unlimited use in the sunny landscape. In addition, this type of tree provides great interest and color in the home and garden. The juniper bonsai tree offers a gift of life with an Eastern flare and has various varieties that will reach its peak of beauty the longer you own it. In addition to the Juniper having showy evergreen leaves that range from deep green to blue, it also has creamy white spring flower clusters that are quite showy, usually completely covering the plant with a slight, pleasant fragrance. A bonsai is an attractive addition to any home or garden, being popular to cut and use for flower arrangements.

There are two reasons the juniper is so easy to grow - it can be raised indoors and it can be raised outdoors. However, the juniper prefers to be outdoors in a container, which can be placed on the patio, deck, or lanai in full or partial sun. Of course, the height and size of the plant should be restricted when it is grown in a container. The juniper bonsai tree is not a demanding plant, so ordinary garden soil is satisfactory. In many older gardens, you will see junipers trained flat against a wall, fence, or fireplace chimney to soften an otherwise uninteresting area, or you perhaps used as free-standing shrubs. With a little pruning, some interesting shapes can be created and it makes an excellent plant to use in landscape borders as well.

If you decide to use a juniper for your bonsai, make sure it is situated in a spot that has plenty of space for growth and with good drainage. Additionally, the juniper actually can thrive on a certain amounts of neglect better than being over-watered or over-fed. During the winter months, the bonsai goes into dormancy like other garden trees. People that live in areas with heavy snowfall during the winter or where temperatures frequently drop below freezing, might want to take the juniper indoors to protect it over the short winter months. However, if you do this, place the tree in a cool room or in the garage where there are no heat vents of any kind.

If the bonsai will be kept outside, which is probably the best option, but you are afraid of it being harmed by the winter weather, place it in a flowerbed, burying it until just the pot is covered with soil. Then, place it in a sheltered area such as under a low-hanging tree or someplace where it will be protected from the weather. Generally, if you live in a warmer climate, you would not have to worry about this kind of added protection. If you have chosen the juniper to be raised indoors, it should be placed in a warm and sunny spot in the summer and a very cool place during the winter months. By keeping your juniper bonsai tree inside permanently could result in a sickly appearance over time and dying if it is not properly cared for.

Remember, the juniper needs to go into dormancy even if it considered an indoor plant. During its dormancy period, make sure there is some light getting to the tree, as it will die in total darkness. However, it should definitely be placed in an unheated room, porch, or cool basement during the winter. For the soil, you want to check this periodically. If the soil feels dry or nearly dry, water it. Most importantly, take extra care not to over water. If the juniper will be kept in a garage or closed-off room, be careful when time comes to reintroduce it to the outdoors. In this case, place the juniper in a location that does not get much sun and one out of the wind. Then over a few weeks, gradually move the tree back to a more open location. The bottom line is that the juniper bonsai tree is a great, hardy plant that is easy to grow. This tree has a long lifespan and makes a great choice of bonsai.

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