Updated: Feb 21, 2020
Native to China, Korean and Japan, its primary habitat is at altitudes between 1000 and 1500 meters in montane ecosystems but can also be found in small pockets between sea level up to 2500 meters. This species grows or rocky, dry slopes and is often found dwarfed. Many of the cultivars have dwarf stock provenance, making it a common ornamental and container plant.
Styles and Sizes: The natural tendency to dwarf and its adaptability to container growing mean that it develops excellent small to medium-sized bonsai in almost any style of bonsai.
Position: It thrives in a full sun aspect, and is not shade tolerant. If you are looking for a well-rounded bonsai with branches on its lower trunk, then grow it in a full-sun, south-facing aspect.
Watering: Pine prefers a dry soil because of its symbiotic relationship with its mycorrhizal fungi. Water thoroughly in the early morning to allow for the bonsai to use the water during the daytime and ensure that the soil has no standing water in it over the night.
Feeding: Fertilise every two weeks from spring to autumn, using a balanced organic liquid fertiliser. During the hottest of summer months discontinue feeding. Supplement with a liquid seaweed + iron tonic a few times a year.
Repotting: It’s not too fussy about its soil type, but need it on the dryer side and well-draining. Younger bonsai may be repotted every year, older bonsai repot when soil shows signs of depleting or bonsai growth has slowed. After repotting best to pace out of direct sunlight, soil surface dries out. Use a well-draining soil mix, 1 part loam, 1 part peat and 2 parts sharp sand. Alternatively, use 1 part Akadema and 1 part Pumice.
Pruning: Prune between early to mid-spring. New candles are pruned when they are 3-5 cm long, leaving only 3 of the smallest candles per clusters. Autumn pruning is carried out to contain all the elongated shoots leaving only two of the smaller shoots per terminal branch.
Wiring: Wire between late autumn and winter. Remove wire when growth gets vigorous again in summer.