It’s just the best time of year for bonsai, spring. Everything is putting on a fresh set of growth, meaning opportunities for the bonsai artist to make his or her trees better. No matter if you’re styling or restyling or refining, these next four to eight weeks are going to make a big difference for your bonsai.


This Chinese elm, Ulmus parvifolia, is one of our featured Progressions. I grew it from a cutting, then grew it out in the ground for a few years, and then lifted and started the process of making it into a bonsai. You’ll see just how far it’s come in the Progression update I posted today.

This photo is after the first flush of spring growth and the first trimming. I’ve also shortened the leader, and will let a new one grow out for a while before repeating that process.

This Sweetgum, Liquidambar styraciflua, was slip-potted in March so I could continue its development as a bonsai. It hasn’t missed a beat, and it now throwing strong shoots that will set into branches before long. You can see it’s been wired out completely; this round of wire will be coming off by June, at which time I’ll have secondary branching in development. It’ll also be time to rein in the growth, in order to maintain the correct proportions in the tree. If you’d like to take on that chore, this tree is available at our Sweetgum Bonsai page and can be shipped next month. (You can search in the Bonsai Files for this or any other tree; use the search tool at the top right of this blog).



Have you ever grown Blueberry, Vaccinium species, for bonsai? There are many Blueberries native to North America, and eight that grow in my home state including the so-called Tree Huckleberry that can grow to 30 feet in height (it’s the tallest of the Blueberries, as you might imagine).

This one is another of the species, which I haven’t made a precise identification on. I decided to direct-pot in in this nice Chuck Iker round, to speed up the development process. It had a nice trunk line with little need for tapering in the apex. That only left branch development and some crown work.

A little time and a little wire, and now we have a nice little Huckleberry bonsai-to-be. The trunk base is 1″ and the finished height will be about 14″. It’s got nice bark and trunk character. I’ve posted it for sale at our Miscellaneous Bonsai page. (Use the Bonsai Files search tool to find Miscellaneous Bonsai.)