Juniper trees have about 70 species in its family. They are beautiful trees with foliage colors ranging from light greens to dark bluish greens. They either have scale-like or needle-like foliage.
These very popular trees aren’t low maintenance, but they aren’t difficult to care for. Part of caring for bonsai trees is knowing whether they are kept indoors or outdoors. Some trees are able to be put outside in certain weather conditions and then brought back inside when it gets cold. In this article we will be talking about whether Juniper bonsai can be kept indoors, problems with keeping these trees indoors, and a bit on how to care for Juniper trees.
Is Juniper an Indoor or Outdoor Bonsai?
While some trees can be placed indoors or outdoors, the Juniper is not one of them. Juniper bonsai are outdoor trees that need lots of sunlight. They should be placed in a position outside where they can receive at least four hours of sunlight a day.
In the winter, you may need to protect the tree from frost. When temperatures drop below 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees Celsius), you need to protect your tree by bringing it into a greenhouse or something similar. If you are not able to shelter your tree with a greenhouse, you can try placing styrofoam covers around the tree’s container, which will protect its roots. You can also plant the bonsai, container included, in your garden. Cover in soil until branching.
Problems With Keeping Juniper Bonsai Inside
The problem with keeping outdoor bonsai trees inside is that outdoor trees need to be exposed to the seasons in order to survive. Outdoor bonsai trees have dormancy periods in the winter that indoor trees don’t have. Dormancy periods are times when bonsai trees stop growing in order to survive in the winter and prepare for the following spring. These periods are completely natural and necessary for the tree’s growth.
When placed indoors, trees won’t be able to go into dormancy, and they can die as a result. If these trees are brought out of dormancy unnaturally, by human influence, these trees will try to go back into dormancy. If they can’t go dormant again, they can die.
Juniper’s also like lots of light, and this can be difficult to achieve indoors. Some trees will survive just fine indoors with some grow lights, but juniper’s aren’t that kind of species.
Caring For Juniper Bonsai
Now that you know where to place your tree, we will give you some general care guidelines to keep your outdoor juniper alive!
Watering – Juniper’s do not like their soil to be constantly wet. So, allow for these tree’s soil to dry out slightly before you water. Always check the soil before watering. Misting your tree regularly is also a good idea to improve humidity levels. Also mist after repotting.
Fertilizing: Feed these trees with normal organic fertilizer once a month during the entire growth season. Use a fertilizer with high nitrogen levels if stronger growth is desired.
Pruning – If the development of foliage pads are desired, you can pinch or cut long shoots with scissors at the base throughout it’s growth season. Avoid removing all growing tips, as this will weaken the tree and turn its needles brown. Thin out dense foliage with sharp scissors at the base. While this tree takes pruning very well, bare tree parts will not grow new foliage, so be sure you are leaving foliage on every branch that you want to keep alive.
Wiring – The natural twists and turns that Juniper’s used to possess in the wild can be replicated by wiring branches. Juniper trees also take wiring very well, but be careful when wiring deadwood. You can wrap the wired trees in tape or raffia, but this is not always necessary. Wire foliage pads after thinning or else they will die.
Juniper bonsai trees are beautiful trees that can only be grown outdoors. They need to be placed indoors so that they can be exposed to the elements and go into dormancy. Without a dormancy period, these trees will die. Juniper’s need lots of light during the summer, and cold temperatures above 15 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. Let the soil dry out between watering, and fertilize every month during the growth season. With proper care and love, these bonsai trees will live a long, healthy life outdoors!