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.
Sweet Gum are not thirsty trees so only water when needed. Check the soil condition, before watering. If the soil is damp to the touch, the tree doesn't require any water.
To promote good foliage growth, feed the tree every other week throughout the spring and summer. A fertilizer specific to broad leaf trees or shrubs will promote healthy foliage.
The larger branches of the tree are a challenge to bend, so pruning is the easiest way to shape the tree. Pruning should only be carried in the spring and summer months while the tree is actively growing. Prune shoots back to a pair of leaves wherever branching is not required. It is important to prune top growth so as to strengthen the branches that are lower down.
RE-POTTING Sweet Gum can be re-potted every other year in early spring while the tree is still in its dormancy. At the time of re-potting, prune the roots heavily. A good-quality bonsai soil will get the plant off to a good start, and the soil should be kept moist while the roots become established.
Protect from full sun for a few weeks after re-potting.
Liquidambar tree buds break off very easily. As such, wiring should be carried out prior to budding or after the bud leafs out and hardening of the new growth gets under way.