Growing Bonsai from seed is a real test of patients but is very rewarding. It can take up to 3 years before you have a tree you can start working on, but growing your own bonsai from seed gives you complete control over the health and development of your tree. It is also much cheaper than buying one that may become a sickly plant due to incorrect feeding and training when it was younger.
SOW OUTDOORS: from August to November or March to June.
Do not sow seeds when there is a risk of frost!
Sow seeds aprox 4cm deep, cover over and water well.
SOW INDOORS: throughout the year. Place on a warm windowsill in a bright area which is not located next to a heat source such as a radiator.
Pines prefer a dry soil. Water regularly but only when the soil surface has dried out. Never allow the soil to dry out completely.
Feed every two weeks with a liquid bonsai food or organic fertiliser during the cooler months. Over the summer pines don't require food but misting with water using a spray bottle at the end of the day when the temperature is at its coolest will keep the tree hydrated. Provide an iron supplement several times a year to prevent the growth from yellowing.
New growth should be pinched, not clipped, several times in spring, when shoots are about 1 inch long. Completely remove the strongest of the new growth leaving only 2-3 branches per cluster. Do major pruning in early autumn. Never remove all needles.
RE-POTTING Younger trees should be re-potted every 3-4 year in spring or early autumn. Older specimens (+10 years) may be re-potted every 5 years. Gently remove from their pot and prune roots to a 1/3 of their length. Use bonsai compost or fast-draining soil mix made up of 1 part loam, 1 part peat, 1 part sharp sand.
Protect from full sun for a few weeks after re-potting.
Wire between late autumn and winter to train into shape.