Bonsai Seedlings

By Ruth Morgan

It takes many years to grow a bonsai tree from seed but it is an immensely satisfying experience. To be able to nurture tiny bonsai seedlings to grow into mature bonsai trees is a real achievement. But it does require a lot of patience!

A few weeks ago I was at my local bonsai club meeting which was a repotting workshop. During the course of the evening one of the members mentioned that he had some maple seeds to give away.

Maple seeds

So I took him up on the offer and brought some home with me. He said he had used his own method to ensure that they were ready for germination and would not be sharing the secret!

Here is a photo of some of the seeds.

So the next day I placed them on a layer of compost in a seed tray and covered them with some more compost but didn’t press down. I then watered them and left the tray inside the garage by a window so that they would get light but not the unwanted attention of possible predators!

During the next couple of weeks I brought them outside at regular intervals during the day and kept the compost moist.

Bonsai seedlings

After 4 weeks this was the result – the good news is that most of the seeds have germinated and the bonsai seedlings are developing.

I will keep you posted on developments but this is my plan for the next few weeks.

When the first true leaves appear I will gently take the seedlings out of the tray one by one, being careful not to damage them. I will then investigate the root system. If there are sufficient side roots I’ll cut the tap root and plant the seedlings in growing pots. These will be placed in a sheltered area to encourage more growth.

Since the surface roots (or nebari) are very important in bonsai I’ll ensure that the side roots are spread out all around the stem. In years to come these will then be an important feature of the bonsai trees. So thinking ahead is very important even at this very early stage of development!

Comments are closed.