Re-potting bonsai seems daunting, but it really isn’t!

Check out Helen’s re-potting bonsai question below;

Firstly I would like to thank you for the two indoor trees that I bought a few months ago. One is a serissa and the other a plum tree (exact names I’m not sure!). I took a chance with this serissa because it is the fourth one that I have bought , I have lost all others. Although still early days, this tree is looking good , has shed a load of leaves but I think this is normal. I have pruned it quite a bit in the past week or so and was quite nervous with what I had done, but it is still looking good. The other tree is also looking good.

I have a Japanese maple in that garden which I bought as a bonsai some years ago but it was literally a stick with a few leaves on the top. The man advised me to plant it in the garden for a few years to thicken the trunk. I have done this and it is now time to dig it up and train it as a bonsai. It has just started to bud and I wonder if it is okay to do this now, because we may still be in for frost. Also, please could you advise on a suitable soil mix for the acer? Also, what soil would you recommend for repotting a juniper and a black pine?

I would really appreciate your advice,

Kind regards,
Helen bowman

Bonsai Direct Reply:

Dear Helen,
Thank you for your e-mail.

I am glad your indoor bonsai are doing well.
I would recommend feeding these now if you are not already doing so.
The serissa and the Chinese Sweet Plum are hungry bonsai and would benefit from weekly feeding with a liquid bonsai feed now (particularly the Serissa). This maybe the reason for the leaf drop on your serissa.
Regarding the Japanese red Maple , you need to lift this whilst still dormant ie. Before the buds break. When you have repotted it, you would need to protect it from harsh weather in an unheated greenhouse of very sheltered location.
I would recommend potting it into akadama (Japanese bonsai soil) or a mixture of John Innes no 2 and course horticultural grit.
The juniper and black pine need to be kept very free draining.

I hope this helps
Happy potting!
Kind regards

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