Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Growing Lemon Trees From Seed

I'm growing lemon trees! It's wicked easy so far, even from seed. I pretty much followed the instructions from this site except I tossed the seeds into a cup of water instead of keeping them in my mouth before planting. Plus I left them in the water for about two days before I planted them, so it's good to know that that's ok. But basically, this is what you do.

Fill a pot with wet potting soil.
Take a lemon (apparently organic ones have the least chance of being sterile) and take out the seeds. I strongly suggest you use the juice for something like souvlaki, but I'm definitely biased.
Do not let the seeds dry out, they don't like that.
Plant them about half an inch deep in the pot.
Keep the soil moist until the seeds sprout. You can cover the pot with plastic to help this, I just watered it when it started looking dry.
Once they sprout make sure they have ~8 hours of direct sunlight or use a grow lamp. They will enjoy up to 15 hours of light I'm told, I'll do another post about all that when I know more.

But look:
Sprouts! In less than 2 weeks, none the less. I'm going to let as many shoots come up as want to and then pull them together with the goal of having one tree with multiple trunks. I'm not going to bonsai it though, I want it to get big and give me many lemons. Further updates as events warrant.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Wiring a Ficus Benjamina for Shape

Ok, first off please note that my wiring method is not traditional, elderly asian bonsai artists would probably faint if they saw it. But once again, I don't really care about tradition, I guess I'm iconoclastic like that. Also my pictures are kind of cluttered in the background, I need to set up some kind of area for picture taking that doesn't have all my cds, SNES games and Godzilla for the backdrop. I'm going to post it anyway.

Here is what this tree looked like before wiring, branches all over the place.  I'm going to try to shape it into a umbrella/ball shape, we'll see how well it works.

First things first, trunk. I have the wire doubled up because of the size of it, plus I'm going to use one of those wires to also wire a branch. According to many things I've read this is totally the wrong way to do it. However I also read a book that showed the guy doing it with even more wires, I'll dig it up and do a post about it, it's my favorite bonsai book so far. I just formed the end of the wires into a hook and secured it to a large root.
 This is also not the "right" way to do it but since my tree isn't huge I'm not too worried.

Wrap the wires loosely around the trunk, too tight and they can damage the bark, too loose and they won't do the thing you want them to do. I usually leave ~3/4 - 1" or so between the wires.

Once I got the the first fork I shifted one of the wires to the branch and just gently wrapped the end of the other wire around the trunk so I didn't stab myself with it.

One thing to note, always pass the wire over the top of a branch where it comes out of the truck or other branch. If you run it underneath you can choke off the limb when you shape it.

Next I took another length of wire, doubling it again, but this time to send one end up each branch from a split.

Then I just continued wrapping until all the branches I wanted were wrapped (well, most of them. Some were too thin yet) and then bent the branches down into the shape I wanted.

That's pretty much it, it's not very difficult, just time consuming. Don't rush it or you will snap off small branches or leaves, wrap the wire poorly or damage your tree in some other way. Besides, it's supposed to be a meditative activity so relax, take it slow and don't stress yourself. Nothing done while wiring is really permanent you can always reshape it later. Well, unless you snap things off. Oh and don't forget to take the wires off after a couple weeks! Leave them on too long and they'll bite into the bark leaving gouges and possibly hurting the tree.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Spider Plant Flowers

See that?

Apparently spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) make flowers. I had no idea. I wish I knew what happened to make them bloom, they're kind of pretty and I would like to have it happen more often. They appear on the ends of the thick shoots that the baby plants grow from and don't seem to last very long. I had three flowers appear over three days and none saw the sunrise twice. If anyone has any info about this phenomenon I would love it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Unorthodox Root Over Rock... or Skull

I've been growing this bad boy for almost 4 years but it's finally ready for display.
 Well, almost ready, I still need a good pot. It's very much a non-traditional bonsai, I don't think most real bonsai growers would use a skull designed as an aquarium decoration to do root over rock on. But I'm not concerned about that, I just think it looks awesome. It's one of my ficus benjamina cuttings that I rooted in water, so here is proof that they can thrive. I've also wired it and once I go through all the pictures of that I took I'll do a post about it, too. I'm also going to be doing a more orthodox root over rock this spring so I'll do a big how-to post about it then. Lots of fun stuff coming up in the next few months, stay tuned.