JAPANESE BLACK PINE
Japanese black pine is a favorite subject for bonsai in many parts of the world. Its major asset is extreme vigor. It also is able to tolerate warmer winters than many pines. Its major shortcoming is long needles. Reduction of the needle length is not hard but requires a thorough understanding of its annual growing cycle and properly timed removal of new growth (which causes a second growth with short needles). Succesfully growing black pines is a good bit more complicated than growing most other pines but is not difficult once understood. I grow my black pines from seed acquired in Japan from top black pine specialists. When transplanted into individual pots after the first year, taproots are removed and radial roots are pruned to make good nebari for bonsai. I seldom have large plants available due to the time and space required. The vigor of these plants makes it possible to grow very nice bonsai in 4-8 years depending on one's skill and taste. Starting with young plants gives the chance to have total control of the result. It can be very satisfying and educational. The pictures show typical material in October.
4 year shohin literati
Second year transplants (3.5" pots)
First year black pine seedlings
Typical 2nd year transplant $10 each
4 year literati and partially trained 4 year sister seedling. Partially trained seedlings in 3.5" plastic cube $45 each.