Author Topic: Buying Bonsai  (Read 1733 times)


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Buying Bonsai
« on: October 08, 2012, 07:45 PM »
I am only 2-3 months into the study of bonsai. I feel like I haven't received the best options in purchasing bonsai trees. 

I bought my Brush Cherry and Fukien Tea Tree, which were both 3 years old from Botanical Gardens in Brooklyn. I purchased both of them for $20 each. They were in great condition and seemed to have appropriate soil and nice ceramic pots.

My Trident Maple (7 years old) was purchased online. I bought it from Bonsai outlet. It arrived in a good condition, but I believe the soil was not suitable for maples. The Trident was purchased for $40

I also bought my two Satsuki Azales from the same site. The price was $35 each. They were 5 years old. It arrived in garden soil and the appearance was not bonsai material - it looked like a bush.

The greatest steal was the purchase of my older Fukien Tea Tree. I bought it from home depot for $10 dollars. Of course it was kept in regular soil without proper drainage, but it was quickly replaced. It was a steal because the tree was about 15 years old.

Please share your thoughts about how? where? is the most efficient way to find healthy trees for reasonable prices without spending a fortunate. For example, a certain internet site.

Thank You!


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Re: Buying Bonsai
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2012, 08:18 PM »
To answer your question while being conscientious on "to not spend a fortune" I would recommend checking out landscaping and home garden nurseries and focus on the trunk and nebari(root spread at soil level). You can prune that giant bush into a nice little bonsai tree if the trunk, and the nebari are decent.


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Re: Buying Bonsai
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2012, 06:26 AM »
The first thing is....... JOIN A CLUB. I know you have asked about where they are near you, but find one. I know of a couple in NJ and one on the Westchester/Conn border. Clubs are extremely helpful in many ways.

As for obtaining trees.
1- Wild collecting. You will find local trees and the price is right. My club has a yearly event and we have a ball in addition to finding some outstanding trees. Other club members will be helpful.
2-A true Bonsai Nursery. You may need to travel but you will get the best trees at a fair price. Remember you get what you pay for.
3-Regular nurseries- the trees will be less costly and they will require much more work, sometimes they will never make good Bonsai.
4-Fellow Bonsai nuts who need to thin the heard.....
5-Online.... It is possible to get something but remember it is very hard to see something in 2D, it always best to see it in person.

Price is always important but.... if you are buying by price you are not getting the best and you want the best...... It is far better to have less trees of better quality than more trees of less quality.

just my two cents


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Re: Buying Bonsai
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2012, 08:33 AM »
Brush Cherry and Fukien Tea Tree, which were both 3 years old
My Trident Maple (7 years old)
my two Satsuki Azales ... were 5 years old.
my older Fukien Tea Tree ... was about 15 years old.

Just a word of caution.  Age is (mostly) irrelevant in bonsai.  It is the appearance of age that matters.  Also, stick around long enough and you'll see that often age is one of the first attributes to be exaggerated.

A few pointers:
  • Join a club. Go here.
  • Check out International Bonsai / Bill Valavanis since he's in your neck of the woods (roughly).
  • Buy quality when you find it.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2012, 08:42 AM by bwaynef »


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Re: Buying Bonsai
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2012, 11:34 AM »
 Like Jay said, join a club. do a google search for a club in your area go to the next meeting. Everything will fall into place after that.
  Members of the club will advise you and help you out. Also, find the nearest bonsai nursery in the area and check out what they have to offer. Both the club and nursery will let you know who is giving lessons.
 A word of caution: there is a whole lot of people giving lessons that should not, so check references and reputations.
You can start watching bonsai video's on youtube such as anything with Ryan Neil, Owen Reich, Bjorla bonsai studio and the excellent bonsai art of japan video series
good luck.


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Re: Buying Bonsai
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2012, 05:41 PM »
another shameless plug for my teacher Brent at  high quality, healthy trees.

- bob