"Upon finding that I work as a professional bonsai artist, many people will remark that they once had a bonsai, but it died and with some regret, they gave up".
Based on the Bonsai Basics section of the hugely successful Bonsai4me.com website and an e-book of the same name, 'Bonsai Basics: The Foundations of Bonsai', written and developed over the past 15 years is out now!
All copies are signed by the author.
Cedrus is a genus of 4 species of monoecious, evergreen coniferous trees found in forest areas of the Western Himalayas and the Mediterranean. Needle-like foliage is arranged in clusters on short shoots, which develop new whorls each year.
Species and varieties suitable for bonsai include:
Cedrus atlantica / Atlas Cedar
Fissured, silver-grey bark, produces roughly 4-sided darkgeen /glaucous blue pointed leaves to 2.5cm long. Has a conical habit becoming more open as the tree matures. Native to the Atlas mountains growing up to 40metres in height.
Cedrus atlantica glauca / Blue Atlas Cedar (above)
As C.Atlantica but with vivid glaucous blue foliage.
Cedrus brevifolia / Cyprus Cedar
Open crowned coniferous tree when mature, fissured silvery-grey bark. Sharp pointed needles/leaves to 1.5cm are green-grey to mid-green and borne in whorls of 20-30. Native to Cyprus growing to heights of upto 25metres.
Cedrus deodara / Deodar or Indian Cedar (above)
Conical tree with spreading, drooping branches and pendent shoot tips. Dark brown or black bark, needles are bright to mid-green upto 4-5cm. Native to West Himalayas where it grows to heights of 40metres.
Cedrus libani /Cedar of Lebanon (above)
Slow growing coniferous tree with wide-spreading branches and flat apex. Bark is black or brown with scaly fissures and ridges. Slightly flattened 4-sided sharply pointed dark-green to grey-green leaves to 2.5cm are borne in whorls of 10-20. Native to area running from the Lebanon to Turkey where heights of 30metres are reached.
Bonsai cultivation notes
Position Full sun. Protect from extremes of temperatures.
Watering Cedrus like to be kept on the dry side, use a free draining soil mix.
Feeding Every two weeks through growing season.
Repotting Cedrus dislike repotting and can drop older needles, but these are soon replaced. Repot carefully every 3 or 4 years in April. Use free-draining mix.
Pruning Pinch back new shoots throughout the growing season. Hard prune in Autumn to avoid bleeding. Pruning scars heal very slowly, if removing branches, stubs can be left to Jin.
Propagation Sow seed in Spring after 21 days moist pre-chill at 0-1°C.
Pests and diseases Few problems
Styling Formal and informal upright forms in single or multiple trunk styles. Medium to extra-large sizes.