Juniper Bonsai: Can You Keep The Tree Indoors Safely

  • By: Josh Koop
  • Date: July 10, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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Juniper trees will attract anyone who enjoys growing bonsai.  Its asymmetrical design has an aesthetic appeal that no one can deny. However, nurturing a juniper bonsai can be tricky. You have to know some basic information about them, like, can you have a juniper bonsai indoors?

Juniper Bonsai is an outdoor plant. They do not belong indoors. However, you may take them inside for a few days. Or for demonstration purposes at a party. But you must return them to the outdoors as soon as possible. Juniper trees need direct sunlight. They also require a dormant period of three months in winter. So, you cannot keep them indoors.

This article is for all the bonsai fans who want to know about Juniper bonsai. Here I will elaborate on why you cannot keep juniper bonsai inside a house. You will also learn other relevant and significant information about the famous bonsai tree.

So, let’s get into it!

Why Can’t You Keep Your Juniper Bonsai Indoors?

There is more than one reason to keep your juniper bonsai outdoors. The most important one is sunlight. Unlike most other bonsai trees, a juniper needs a lot of direct sunlight each day.

Here I have listed the reasons for keeping juniper bonsai trees outdoors.

Direct Sunlight

The process trees use to digest food using sunlight is called photosynthesis. Different trees need different amounts of sunlight to perform the job. Some indoor plants require little or no sunlight to survive.

However, that is not true for juniper trees at all. It requires more sunlight than most plants. That is why you should keep them outdoors, or they cannot survive.

Experts say a juniper bonsai tree needs a minimum of five hours of direct sunlight each day to process its photosynthesis process. The demand for sunlight persists throughout the spring, summer, and fall seasons. 

You have to keep the juniper bonsai pot on a patio, balcony, deck, or in the garden, where there is no lack of sunlight. Make sure it does not miss the morning sunlight in particular.

Fresh Airflow

Another good reason to keep a juniper bonsai tree outdoors is its high demand for airflow. Besides, the air needs to be fresh for the sensitive tree. It is only possible when you keep the plants outdoors.

If the airflow in your home is sufficient for the juniper bonsai, you will have to use a small fan beside it. However, the best fresh airflow your juniper can get is from outdoors.

Humidity

Apart from sunlight and fresh airflow, a juniper needs proper humidity to survive. If you leave it outdoors, the moisture in the air keeps the humidity at a satisfactory level.

People living in dry weather with less moisture in the air try to nurture a juniper bonsai by frequently spraying it with water. However, the growth of the juniper tree in those circumstances won’t be great.

The humidity a juniper tree can have from outdoor air moisture is perfect for its natural growth.

Winter Dormancy

Juniper bonsai trees go into a dormant phase in the cold three months of the year. It slows down its growth and does not respond to any stimulant factors during this period. The nature of the tree makes the tree take a complete rest in the winter when there is no sunlight.

If you keep the juniper tree indoors, the tree does not feel the winter season properly. As a result, its natural dormancy procedure gets hindered.

When a juniper fails to realize the winter season, it starts the dormancy process randomly at any point of the year.

It is called forced dormancy. The stress of forced dormancy puts a lot of pressure on the tree. And eventually, it dies.

How To Keep Your Juniper Bonsai Thriving?

All bonsai trees require intensive care throughout the year. However, juniper bonsai trees require some extra effort for ultimate growth.

Still, people love to embrace the extra effort due to the abundant beauty of the bonsai tree.

Do Not Overwater

Like all other life forms in the universe, juniper bonsai also need water. However, you can not give it more water than it can digest. They need very little water to survive.

It is hard to know when and how much to water a juniper tree. You may only water a juniper bonsai when it is almost dry. However, you cannot allow the tree to dry completely.

Use Soil Moisture Meter

If you care about the juniper bonsai tree, you should get a soil moisture meter to monitor the level of moisture in the soil. You need to measure the soil moisture at the root level since excessive humidity may kill the tree.

A soil moisture meter can be handy if you are a beginner in the bonsai field. The common mistake for a new juniper bonsai nurturer is to over-water it.

However, after a few years, you will understand how much water you need without using a moisture meter.

Maintain Balanced Soil Nutrition

The soil of the juniper bonsai needs to be loose so that you can drain the water properly. If water gets stuck in the root area, the bonsai tree cannot survive. You may find high-quality soil for your juniper from a local nursery.

You will need to apply an organic fertilizer to the juniper bonsai tree to ensure proper growth. The tree needs a new fertilizer supply at the end of each month.

The exact amount of fertilizer depends on the weather and the soil quality.

Prune Carefully

Pruning is a common practice to increase the vegetative growth of a tree towards a required direction. Fortunately, the juniper bonsai tree is strong enough to endure even aggressive pruning.

But if you prune the plant without adequate caution, you may kill it.

However, you have to be careful to preserve the growing tips of the branches during the pruning process. Otherwise, you will weaken the tree, and all its green tips will turn brown.

Another advantage of pruning is that it prevents pests from settling in the tree. 

Repotting Juniper With Regular Interval

Another way to boost the growth of a juniper bonsai tree is to repot it depending on its age. The older your juniper is, the less repotting it requires to grow.

A thumb rule is to change the pot of the juniper bonsai tree every year if it is less than six years old. You have to change the bonsai pot every three or four years for older junipers.

Be Aware Of Pests

To keep your juniper bonsai tree healthy, you must have a zero-tolerance policy against pests. Pest attacks are visible in the leaves and the soil.

So, you should check those areas regularly for any pests. You have to be more careful about pest attacks in the winter. 

Some of the common enemy pests of juniper are scales, aphids, needle miners, mealybugs, etc. You can use insecticidal soap once a week.

However, be cautious about excessive use of the soap since it may kill the tree.

Final Words

You will find many online shops selling juniper bonsai trees, claiming they are indoor plants. I believe that is ridiculous. How can you have a juniper bonsai indoors when it kills the bonsai tree? I hope this article will help you grow a beautiful juniper bonsai tree. 

Your juniper can be as beautiful as your imagination. Thank you for making it to the end of the article!