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Japanese White Pine Bonsai

White pine bonsai is one of the classics. It’s the daintiest and most graceful evergreen pine tree. Moreover, longevity is one of the best things about white pine bonsai.

Because of their five-needled growth, these trees are sometimes called Japanese five-needled pines.

They have smooth bark that’s grayish black when they’re young. As the tree matures, the bark starts developing small plates.

Japanese White Pine Bonsai Quick Facts

Scientific NamePinus parviflora
FamilyPinaceae (pine) family
Native toJapan and South Korea
HeightBetween 25 and 30cm
Lifespan200 years
LeavesSoft, five-centimeter-long, needle-like leaves
FlowersRed tones
CultivationAs a bonsai tree
SymbolismIt represents resilience and endurance
UsesOrnamental bonsai plants

Japanese White Pine Bonsai Care Guide

The Japanese White Pine Bonsai Tree is almost a carefree bonsai. If you place it in the partial shade location where it can get a few hours of shade, water it once to twice a week, and fertilize it in the growing season, it will keep thriving.

Let’s understand all four aspects of basic care for the White Pine Bonsai Tree in detail.

Japanese White Pine Bonsai Watering

You need to water Japanese white pine bonsai more often as it prefers a lot of sunlight. Ideally, you should provide water once or twice a week. However, there is no set schedule. So, when the topsoil feels dry, water Japanese pine bonsai thoroughly.

Also, most pine varieties die due to overwatering more than any other cause. Hence, avoid watering pine if the soil is damp.

Bonsai watering trick: Place the white pine in a sink of water an inch or two deep. Allow the pine bonsai to absorb water from the holes in the bottom of the pot. Also, to avoid guesswork you can use a moisture meter.

Learn more about Watering a bonsai tree.

Japanese White Pine Bonsai Temperature Tolerance

White pine is a hardy plant in most temperature zones. However, white pine won’t thrive indoors. Hence, they need to be put outdoors in a bright location in the summer. Also, make sure to put them in an area where they can receive full sun throughout the day.

Furthermore, white pine can tolerate moderate shade. However, the needle will grow longer if you do not provide sufficient sunlight to the white pine. And for most bonsai grow long needle look of Japanese white pine is undesirable.

In winter, place the pine bonsai outside. But, make sure to protect the bonsai from the icy wind. You can use an unheated shed or greenhouse to protect the pine.

In general, Japanese white pine can withstand temperatures over 37 °C. But if you have grafted the white pine, ensure it is protected from cold, especially from temperatures below -10°C.

Right Placement for Japanese White Pine Bonsai

Right Placement for Japanese White Pine Bonsai

Like most pine varieties, Japanese white pine bonsai like to remain outside all year long. Moreover, in winter, keep the white pine cool, preferably for 3 months. However, protect the pine from harsh freezes in winter.

In late fall, you can protect the white pine by burying your bonsai tree or mulching.

Repotting Japanese White Pine Bonsai

To ensure your white pine remains healthy it is important to re-pot the pine every 2-3 years. Repotting Japanese white pine bonsai allows the tree to remain healthy and provides enough space to grow. Also, the best time to repot pine bonsai is early spring, just before new growth begins.

To repot the white pine bonsai follow the below guidelines.

Firstly, gather your tools and materials. Get a slightly larger pot than the current one, bonsai soil, bonsai scissors, and chopsticks.

Now, remove the pine tree from its pot by loosening the soil around the edges of the pot. You can use a chopstick or a similar tool to remove soil from the roots.

Take bonsai scissors and start to trim any dead or damaged roots. Also, trim any excessively long roots. However, be careful and cut cleanly and avoid tearing or pulling the roots.

Now, start preparing the new bonsai pot. For this, add a layer of bonsai soil to the bottom. Make sure it covers the drainage holes.

After that, place the pine tree in a new pot. Position the bonsai tree in the center and at the correct height. Add more soil around the roots and eliminate air pockets by gently pressing them down.

Next, water the pine tree thoroughly. Also, to encourage healthy growth, apply balanced fertilizer.

After repotting, place the pine tree in a shaded area for a week. Make sure it gets enough water. After a few weeks, if it does not show any signs of stress, resume normal care of the pine tree.

Best Soil for Japanese White Pine Bonsai

Japanese white pine bonsai needs well-draining potting soil. A good well-draining soil mix contains akadama, pumice, organic potting compost, and fine gravel. You can get such well-draining potting mix in the following bonsai soil mix:

Also, your pine tree will appreciate if you provide it a soil pH between 5.5-6.5.

How to Guides for Japanese White Pine Bonsai

In this section, we will discuss in detail how to carefully prune the pine bonsai along with how to wire it. And best fertilizer to encourage the growth of Japanese white pine bonsai. Moreover, we will discuss the easy steps to grow japanese white pine bonsai. So, let’s get into the detail.

How to Prune Japanese White Pine Bonsai

It is important to prune your Japanese white pine bonsai tree to maintain its health and shape. For the best result, pruning is usually done during the growing season, which is in summer and spring. However, you need to avoid pruning the pine tree in winter as it can cause stress to pine tree.

To begin pruning, look for branches that are growing in the wrong direction, or too long branches and thick branches. Next, use clean pruning shears to make cuts. Also, always keep your tools clean to prevent diseases.

If there are too long branches on pine trees then cut them back to a small size. Make sure to cut just above the bud. Also, ensure no damage is caused to the bud itself.

If you notice too many branches growing in one area, thin them out. Doing this, will create more air circulation and allow more light to get in.

Moreover, prune any dead, weak, or damaged branches that are not contributing to the health and shape of your pine bonsai.

After pruning, step back and check for any imbalances and prune them if needed.

If you’re interested in learning pruning in detail, my colleague and I’ve written this wonderful guide explaining everything in detail.

Learn more about Pruning

How to Wire a Japanese White Pine Bonsai

Wiring is done to maintain the shape or provide a desired shape to pine bonsai. For wiring, autumn or early spring is considered the best time. However, before wring, do the light candle pruning to pine tree. Candle pruning is the act of selectively reducing candle size to reduce or restrict the growth of bonsai.

After candle pruning, follow the below steps to wire white pine bonsai,

  • Train the branch in the desired position using the thinnest wire.
  • Make sure the ends of the shoots are slightly wired upwards. Since White pine grows slowly, the bonsai wire can stay on for a long time. Also, the branches stay flexible for a long time.
  • Depending on how early you unwire the bonsai, the branches slowly bend back to their original position. Also, do not wire a white pine bonsai right after it’s been repotted.

How to Fertilize Japanese White Pine Bonsai

For Japanese pine bonsai, look for a fertilizer with high nitrogen content. You can also apply rapeseed fertilizer throughout the growing season in small quantities. Additionally, you can use balanced, slow-release fertilizers specially designed for pine trees.

It is best to fertilize Japanese white pine from early spring to late summer. At this time, pine trees are actively growing. While using the fertilizer, mix the fertilizer with water (half strength). Also, make sure to follow the instructions given on the package.

You can use a watering can to apply fertilizer solution to the soil. After feeding the pine tree, make sure to water thoroughly. Also, ensure that fertilizer solution reaches the roots.

However, be careful not to overfeed the pine tree. Overfeeding can cause stress to a pine trees and in some cases can lead to death. Thus, always check for signs of stress such as yellow leaves, or wilting leaves. If you notice any of these signs, reduce the amount of fertilizing.

How to Grow a Japanese White Pine Bonsai

You can grow Japanese white pine through seedling and grafting methods. The majority of japanese white pine bonsai is grown by grafting method. However, we will take a detailed look at each method.

How to Grow Japanese White Pine Bonsai from Seed

Typically, white pine is one of the harder varieties to germinate. Since seeds don’t germinate easily and aren’t very vigorous, this method of propagation is rarely used.

However, if you’re using this method, you have to soak the seeds overnight in water. Moreover, you’ve got to do it in the winter.

Remove all seeds that float on the surface, as they won’t germinate. After that, put the seeds at low temperatures for a long time before planting them.

Check this detailed guide on How to grow a bonsai tree from seed?

How to Grow Japanese White Pine Bonsai from Grafting

The majority of white pine bonsai are propagated by grafting. Ideally, use 3-4 mm thick pine shoots that are one year old.

Using a scalpel, cut a flat chisel shape out of the scion for grafting.

Secondly, make a slanting cut in the rootstock about 4 mm deep. This is done so the scion’s cambium matches up perfectly with the rootstock’s.

Third and final step: wedge the scion firmly into the rootstock, and tie them together with raffia or special grafting elastic.

With grafting wax, you can secure the joint. For a few months, keep the plant in a cool shed. Make sure to take extra care when watering the plant so that no water gets in the joints.

Common Japanese White Pine Bonsai Problems and Solutions / Diseases & Pests

White pine bonsai is susceptible to fungal disease such as root rot. Additionally, wooly adelgid and mealy bugs are commonly found on the needles of japanese white pine bonsai. Let’s discuss about these diseases and pests along with solution.

1. Wooly Adelgid

A wooly adelgid is a small oval insect which is usually found on the needles of pine tree.They attack newly opening candles and buds in early spring, before needles emerge. However, insecticides, oils, and beneficial organisms can kill Adelgid pests.

2. Mealybugs

Mealy bugs and other undesirables love sap-rich shoots and needles. To treat this, in water, mix detergent and a systemic insecticide. Put this on them to get rid of them. By using detergent, you’ll be able to get through the waxy coating on the insect.

3. Root Rot

White pines can get root rot if the soil stays too wet. If you want to avoid this problem, make sure the soil drains well and shelters the tree from prolonged rain.

Japanese White Pine Bonsai Images

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