These tough trees grow in the mountains of Japan and are known for their twisted and gnarled branches with large exposed areas of "driftwood." Japanese Junipers can be shaped to almost any style of bonsai.
Full sun will encourage your Juniper to have dense, compact foliage. With partial sun your Juniper will have slower growth but richer color.
During the growing season the soil should be kept moist. Keep barely moist in winter to avoid waterlogging and root rot. Junipers are usually drought-tolerant.
A balanced mixture of mild fertilizer (6-6-6) is beneficial in the growing season. In the autumn when growth slows, use a nitrogen-free mix. Bonsai expert Colin Lewis suggests using a slow-release balanced food in midwinter to support spring growth.
To minimize "bleeding," prune branches and old shoots in late summer when the sap is rising more slowly than in other seasons. Pruning in winter is not recommended.
In the wild, Junipers naturally shed branches to maintain balance between root efficiency and foliage demand; this shedding may also occur on a bonsai. The Needle Juniper is extremely difficult to care for; a specimen can be dead for over a year before its foliage dries up and its demise becomes apparent.
- "Bonsai: A Care Manual;" Colin Lewis; 1997
bonsai plant, japanese juniper, prune grow
About this Author
Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.