Common Name Juniper Bonsai
Botanical Name Juniperus 
Family Cupressaceae
Plant Type Evergreen tree
Mature Size 3–6 ft. tall, 1–3 ft. wide (or as desired)
Sun Exposure Full sun
Soil Type Well-draining, bonsai soil
Soil pH Neutral to acidic
Hardiness Zones Varies by species, 3–11, USA
Native Area Europe, Asia, North America


Juniper Bonsai Care

Generally, juniper bonsai trees are easy to care for and thrive on neglect. They make perfect beginner bonsai trees for inexperienced growers as they are forgiving, easily shaped, and well-suited to bonsai growing techniques. 

As with most species chosen for bonsai, juniper trees take well to wiring, although it should be done slowly and carefully. Wiring is the practice of wrapping a wire around the branches of the bonsai tree in order to bend and reposition to achieve the desired shape. It is best to wire a juniper bonsai throughout the winter months when the tree is dormant. Once the branches have set in their new shape, carefully remove the wire with wire cutters so as not to damage the tree.

There are two main categories of juniper trees—trees with scale-like foliage and trees with needle-like foliage. Identifying which type of juniper bonsai you have will help to determine how to care for it properly. Juniper trees with scale-like foliage include the Chinese juniper and the California juniper, while juniper trees with needle-like foliage include the Japanese needle juniper, green mound juniper, and the common juniper. 


Juniper bonsai require bright, direct sunlight for the majority of the day. The plant will need at least six hours of full sunlight daily to grow. For this reason, most species of juniper bonsai are best-suited to being grown outdoors year-round.


Use a commercially available bonsai soil mix for juniper trees for the best results. Bonsai soil mixes are well-draining—allowing both air and water to reach the roots—and are typically a combination of akadama (clay granulate from Japan), organic potting compost, pumice, and fine gravel or grit. They can be found at most garden centers or plant stores, or online from specialty bonsai retailers. 


As with most bonsai, juniper bonsai require regular watering to keep the soil consistently moist. However, they cannot tolerate being waterlogged. As a general rule, allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings (but avoid letting it dry out completely), then water deeply. Additionally, ensuring that the bonsai has adequate drainage is imperative in preventing the soil from becoming waterlogged. 


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