How Much Sunlight Does a Juniper Bonsai Need?
Junipers are evergreen and aromatic coniferous trees of the genus Juniperus. There are about 60 to 70 species of juniper, mostly found in the Northern Hemisphere. Chinese Juniper and Needle Juniper are easy to grow as bonsais for beginners. You can keep junipers indoors as well as outdoors. Make sure that they receive enough sun exposure. Typically, a juniper needs more than four hours of sunlight every day.
Positioning and Sun Requirements
A juniper bonsai needs ample sunlight and thus, keeping it indoors isn’t a good idea. Ideally, you can place it somewhere cool and where it can get full sun exposure in the morning and partial shade in the afternoon. Extreme sunlight in the noon could be fatal to the leaves and burn them. Depending on your climate and geographical location, you can plant the ground covers in full sun or partial shade. Full sun is suitable for cool-summer areas.
Junipers are tolerant of various conditions, but a full shade isn’t suitable for them. Heavy shade can make them susceptible to fungal diseases and cause them to have spindly growth. Certain varieties that have been adapted for partial shade wouldn’t thrive when kept in full sun. Similarly, those bred for hot and dry climates can get growth problems or diseases when kept in the shade.
Creeping Juniper, aka Juniperus horizontalis, and Savin Juniper, aka Juniperus sabina, are suitable varieties for hot and dry climates. Some creeping junipers have blue foliage, while others have yellow one. Savin junipers are taller and usually have bright green foliage.
If you’re planting it in the shade, Common Juniper, aka Juniperus communis, and Single Seed Juniper, aka Juniperus squamata, are excellent choices. Make sure not to plant them in a dense shade, though. The most shade-tolerant ground cover variety of Juniper is the Blue Pacific Juniper, aka Juniperus conferta “Blue Pacific.”
Although you should keep the juniper outside during the summer months, it’s a good idea to protect it during winter by placing it inside. Temperatures below -10°C aren’t good for its survival. Keep in mind that some junipers will change their foliage color to adapt to the frosty season. That shouldn’t be a concern as they turn back the foliage to green when spring arrives.
Other Factors for Juniper Bonsais
You can leave the soil to dry out completely before watering your bonsai again. It would still help to check the soil each day before ascertaining when to water it next. To check the soil, insert a chopstick to around 1 to 2 inches in the soil and let it stay for 10 minutes. Take the chopstick out and see if it’s damp. You should water the plant only if the chopstick comes out dry.
Proper drainage during watering is essential for the plant to sustain good health. Without it, the roots can rot. Also, use a spray bottle to water the foliage. Some common problems that occur if junipers aren’t watered properly are fungal infections, spider mites, and bagworms.
Junipers don’t need a lot of pruning. When you prune one, try not to cut them all the way back to the bare branches.
During spring, use a fertilizer rich in nitrogen once every three weeks. You must use a balanced fertilizer in the summer and a low-nitrogen fertilizer during fall. Winters aren’t a great time for fertilizing as the tree is dormant.
As with every other plant, junipers require basic care, but they’re usually more easygoing and low maintenance than other bonsais. Always keep in mind two factors, ample sunlight, and well-drained soil.