A versatile, hardy plant, the black pine tree makes an ideal bonsai tree. Native to Japan, the black pine does best in cool climates. Slow growing, the black pine requires a lot of patience since it takes a long time to form into a bonsai tree. Growing black pines as bonsai trees suits those with a lot of bonsai experience. Ideally, have a specific bonsai style in mind and form the black pine at a very young age.
Plant the bonsai tree in soil comprised of 50 per cent pumice and 50 per cent akadama. Though this mixture works well for all black pine bonsai trees, as the tree matures, increase the ratio of akadama to pumice. The black pine thrives in soil that drains well.
Water your black pine bonsai tree judiciously. Avoid soggy soil. In its natural state, the black pine tolerates drought, so ideally allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Check the pH level of the water; ideally keep the pH balance in the range of 5.5 to 6.5.
Provide full sun to you tree. The black pine bonsai tree withstands temperatures greater than 37.8 degrees Celsius. However, if the pot gets too hot, the roots of the black pine bonsai burn. In extremely hot weather, cover the pot to insulate it from heat. Rotate the pot each day so that all parts of the tree receive equal sunlight. Intense sun changes the colour of the needles. Partial shade results in needles dark green in colour.
Prune lightly in the spring. The black pine bonsai becomes stressed with excessive pruning, so do not be in a hurry to shape this tree. It takes many years to shape a black pine bonsai properly. Put the tree in shade for about a month after pruning to give the tree a chance to recover. Gently remove the weak buds in the latter part of the spring season.
Repot your black pine during spring. Gently rearrange the roots when repotting and make sure the pot is large enough. Cramped roots dry out in hotter seasons. After repotting, put the tree in the shade for a couple of weeks.
Things you need
- Soil (akadama and pumice)
- Garden clippers