The Bald Cypress, despite it's very slow growth, is a very popular bonsai tree, grown for its light, feathery foliage and orange-brown fall color. It can be cultivated in a wide range of soils including well-drained sites where it would not grow naturally due to the inability of the young seedlings to compete with other vegetation. Cultivation is successful in both northern and continental climates. It is also commonly planted in Europe, Asia and elsewhere with temperate to subtropical climates. It does require continental climates with hot summers for good growth; when planted in areas with cooler summers, growth is healthy but much slower. Excellent for the bonsai beginner, the Bald Cypress tree is an excellent choice for someone who is just getting started in the hobby, as it is so easy to grow. If you live in the south (USA), you should be able to find the Bald Cypress Bonsai growing prolifically in great numbers outdoors (see my free newsletter for info ion procuring wild specimens). Alternatively, there are a plethora of nurseries that offer Bald Cypress Bonsai starter trees and reasonable prices (both online and off). Interesting to note is that these trees are frequently planted in groups in a single container, forming a "Bonsai forest."
The Bald Cypress Bonsai prefers a very wet almost swampy soil. Water the bonsai tree from overhead to simulate rain falling from above, and fill the pot almost to the rim with water. During the summer months (especially if kept outside - the preferred method for this type of bonsai tree), you may have to water your Bald Cypress bonsai twice a day.
This species of tree prefers full sun and, like most Bonsai trees, also prefers to live outdoors.
Fertilize your Bald Cypress tree once a week during the springtime, tapering off to once every two weeks during the late spring and fall (as dormancy approaches). Cease your fertilizing regimen as fall gives way to winter, so your tree can go dormant until next spring.
From personal experience, I find that the straggly looking specimens are probably a result of not letting the trunk develop before pruning. Bald Cypress grow fast in the ground in their first years (in warm climates) because they grow naturally in a swamp, and must grow out of the water quickly before succumbing to the elements. To get good knees on a bald cypress you need to grow the plant in a wet swampy soil. I've seen very nice bonsai specimens planted in an undrained deep swampy bonsai pot. I recommend allowing the tree to grow tall and develop a thick trunk before cutting back. Good luck.