bald cypress bonsai

Bald Cypress (Taxodium Distichum) Bonsai: A Beginner’s Guide

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Native to the southern portions of the United States as well as areas in Guatemala and Mexico, the Bald Cypress bonsai is one of the most illustrious bonsai specimens you can grow at home. It is occasionally planted in parks, where it rarely reaches its full height of 100 feet.

In fact, this plant likes the more confined conditions of bonsai growth, and as long as you provide it with the right care, it can live for hundreds of years. 

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Interesting Facts about Bald Cypress Bonsai

Height: 29”

Width: 22”

Sunlight: Full sunlight 

Flowering Time Length: Does not flower

Lifespan: Up to 1000 years or more!

Scientific name: Taxodium distichum


Types of Taxodium Distichum

Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) is a gorgeous plant with reddish-brown bark that is fibrous at first and later becomes furrowed and pale. It has needle-like foliage that is a soft, pale-green color. A hardy plant, it looks a lot like the Dawn Redwood but is a superior bonsai species

There is only one type of Bald Cypress bonsai, as it’s a bonsai cultivar of the standard-sized Bald Cypress tree. This long-lived deciduous tree is known by many names, including swamp cypress, bald cypress, tidewater red cypress, gulf cypress, red cypress, and white cypress. 

The plant is often confused with the Mediterranean Cypress. The main difference between the two? Bald Cypress is native to North and Central America, while the former is found in the Mediterranean Region. 

Growing Bald Cypress Bonsai from Seed or By Propagation

Bald Cypress bonsai can be propagated from both seeds and cuttings. Whichever method you choose should yield good results. 

How To Care for Bald Cypress Bonsai

Sunlight

Bald Cypress requires quite a bit of warmth and light, as you might expect by considering the plant’s native region. Therefore, you should plant the Bald Cypress in direct sun during its growing season.

If you live in a naturally warm climate, you may be able to get away with growing the plant outside year-round. However, if you experienced colder winters, keep the Bald Cypress inside. It cannot tolerate low temperatures and will not do well with any amount of frost, even when grown in a container.

Watering

You really can’t overwater the Bald Cypress bonsai – this plant loves being wet! If you aren’t vigilant about watering on a regular basis, you can always grow this bonsai plant in a pot that is placed inside a shallow saucer filled with water. 

You won’t have to water quite as often in the winter as you will in the summer. During the growing season, water once a day. In the winter, you can get away with it once every few months, as the leaves will have fallen. However, you should make sure you never let the plant dry out at any point throughout the year. 

Fertilizing

You can use any kind of liquid fertilizer on your Bald Cypress bonsai. Ideally, it should be a fertilizer that is well-balanced. Fertilize any time from spring to autumn, ideally about once a week or once every two weeks. Check the dosing instructions on your specific fertilizer for more information. 

You don’t need to rely on synthetic fertilizers, either – a liquid compost tea or another organic option is also acceptable. 

Potting and Repotting 

You will need to repot your Bald Cypress bonsai about once every two years. You should repot young trees more often on this schedule, although old trees can be repotted every three to five years. 

Repotting serves several benefits. Not only can you get your Bald Cypress into better soil that is more balanced and well-draining (which it prefers) but you can also loosen up its compacted roots. Young trees, in particular, are prone to become rootbound as the developing root ball pushes itself upward inside the pot. 

Well-draining soil is a must for the Bald Cypress bonsai. Since it likes to be watered so frequently, it is easy for waterlogged soil to lead to root rot. Therefore, you will want to use a ready-mixed soil that is designed specifically for bald Cypress bonsai. This will save you time and money.

Pruning a Bald Cypress Bonsai

Ready to prune your Bald Cypress bonsai? The plant is best pruned once its shoots begin to produce lateral ramification. Prune too soon, and your shoots will die back in the fall. However, if you prune in early spring, you’ll likely have good results. 

You’ll notice lots of new buds on the trunk, forks, and branches during the early spring growing period. You can get rid of any buds that don’t add to the overall aesthetic of the tree. You can shape young twigs into a desirable form by wiring them up, but remove any older branches, as they can become brittle and stiff. 

Pests and Diseases

Bald Cypress bonsai is immune to most diseases and pests. You can keep your plant healthy by providing it with the level of care it needs, as described above. 

Where to Buy Bald Cypress Bonsai

Bald Cypress bonsai can be purchased from many nurseries and plant distributors, including common shops like Amazon. It is usually sold as a starter tree up to 10 years old. It is often shipped with no foliage, during its dormant stage in the fall and winter.

*Photo by Feverpitch/depositphotos

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