At Shibui Bonsai I have found that the juniper variety we know as Shimpaku is one of the best junipers for bonsai. It has naturally fine foliage and compact growth habit which means you can produce an impressive bonsai with less maintenance.
I try to keep a good selection of shimpaku stock on hand but they are in high demand so availability will vary.
This autumn we have plenty of shimpaku available from small cutting grown plants through to field grown stock in 20 cm orchid pots.
Small cutting grown plants in 15 cm plastic pots: Use these for rock landscapes or to grow on to create a future masterpiece. Priced from $8 each (picture below on the left)
Long stem cutting grown plants. I grow these as a basis for future twisted trunk type junipers. Priced from $10 each. (see photo above). Continue reading for my version of how to create great twisted trunk junipers.
To make a high quality shimpaku juniper take a long stem shimpaku and wire the trunk.
Bend and twist the trunk into suitable shape. Use your imagination but allow for the trunk to thicken in the next few years. Tight bends will eventually grow together as the trunk thickens which can be a good design point if you manage it correctly.
2-3 months later the new bends should be set permanently and you can remove the wire. Some growers leave the wires until it bites into the bark. The spiral wire marks can later be used as a basis for shari on the trunk.
Small twisted trunks: – I have already wired and made the initial bends for you. These are at least 1 year further advanced than the straight stems. Available now from $20 (pictured above) below, another year on – $25
To increase trunk thickness leave sacrifice branches to grow freely. Sacrifice branches can be seen in the picture above and in the following photos.
As the trees grow, continue to wire and bend the parts of the trunk you think you might keep so that the whole trunk of your future bonsai follows a similar theme.
Juniper bonsai look great with jin and shari so when you eventually remove these sacrifice branches, strip the bark and leave as jins. If you like the look of longer jins pre wire the sacrifice branches so they will harmonise with the trunk theme when you strip the bark and make jins.
When the trunk is thick enough you can also add shari so the bonsai looks like it has struggled with the elements in the high mountains.
As the trunks thicken, widen and extend the initial shari. Building shari gradually like this gives texture and character to the dead wood areas.
Field grown shimpaku: – These trees have had up to 5 years in the grow beds to give a great head start to your juniper bonsai. Great material for your next club workshop. These are the last 3 field grown shimpaku I have at the moment. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase these or any other Shibui Bonsai pre bonsai.