It would be nice if all the seeds in existence would make it easy on us, and have the same growing requirements. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. Bonsai seeds come from all different locations, climates, and may have special stratification methods to ensure germination. When learning how to grow Bonsai seeds, it's important to try to replicate their natural environment.
Growing a tree from seed requires patience and lots of TLC, keep in mind you are growing a tree! There will always be trial and error, especially if you are just starting on your Bonsai growing adventure. This is your all-in-one, get down to the nitty-gritty, how to grow Bonsai seeds care guide.
How to grow Bonsai seeds properly starts with using the correct soil. Only use soil specifically for seed-starting when planting these seeds, and skip on using bonsai soil until they have matured and have a substantial root system. Using any other type of soil, other than seed starting soil, can result in poor germination.
How To Grow Bonsai Seeds: Watering Requirements
Monitor the average hydration of the soil, and make sure it stays damp but not soaking. Soaking wet soil can lead to rotten seeds, mold, and other undesirable soil conditions. All soils are different, so never rely on watering every day or on certain days. The water requirements for sprouts can vary from day to day, depending on their growth rate! You typically will do a deep watering a couple times a week, and mist the top soil whenever it looks dry.
How To Grow Bonsai Seeds: Light Requirements
As soon as your seeds have sprouted, they will need lots of light to continue to grow past the cotyledon stage! If you're using an LED grow light, you'll need to make sure that it runs for at least 10 hours a day. If you're using a conventional "bulb-type" grow light, you can run it from 8-10 hours. Failure to supply your sprouts with enough sunshine will deprive them of their primary source of energy.
If you're relying on the light of the sun to get your sprouts to thrive, be prepared for temperamental little plant babies on cloudy days. The cooler varieties (spruces, pine, elm, redwood) won't like hot sunlight/grow lights, so may sure they get plenty of light, but stay nice and cool.
*If you are using a windowsill/natural sunlight to grow your sprouts, rotate the pots daily to help them grow straight and not leaning to one side!
How To Grow Bonsai Seeds: Plant Food
Once your sprouts have developed their second set of leaves, they'll be getting hungry. It's time for plant food! A water-based, low-dose organic plant food is the best route to go, as this will reach the roots the easiest. Make sure it low in nitrogen, and has lots of micro-nutrients. We recommend using Joyful Dirt Plant Food.
How To Grow Bonsai Seeds: Thinning out your sprouts:
When learning how to grow Bonsai seeds, it's important to aim for the strongest, healthiest sprouts. To do this, you'll want just one seedling per pot or cell. Thinning is challenging for many gardeners; who wants to destroy sprouts you've worked so hard to grow? But it has to be done. Select the strongest, healthiest seedling and use a pair of scissors to snip off the others at the soil line. You can try to transplant the extras into different pots, but you risk disturbing the roots too much and killing them all!
How To Grow Bonsai Seeds: Transplanting
Now that you've learned how to grow Bonsai seeds, let time take over before transplanting! Some sprouts can stay in the starter pots for up to a year! Replanting too soon can disturb the tender roots and kill your sprout.
Do you have more questions on how to grow Bonsai seeds? Ask our team of greenhouse experts in the comments below!
How To Grow Bonsai Seeds - Seed Germination Simplified was written by Garden Republic