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How to Propagate Bonsai and Make Cuttings

Spring is almost here, and while working in the greenhouse here at Herons I spotted a few things that might be of interest to you.
sowing seeds
I’ll start with these orange pips which I actually collected from an orange I ate yesterday. Orange trees are one of the easiest things to grow from seed.
orange pips
I also have here needle juniper seeds and lychee seeds. To sow the seeds, start with any compost (I usually use a peat type compost) and place the seeds deep into the soil. It’s a very simple process! The same process applies to the lychee seeds, simply put one seed in a deep pot of compost.
juniper berry and seeds
orange pips
sowing lychee seeds
I don’t have any examples of orange trees because when I do sow orange seeds I tend to give them away as gifts. I do however have some examples of needle juniper which were grown from seed. Needle junipers grow easily from seed, whereas Chinese junipers grow better from cuttings.
juniper seedlings
You will find the seeds of the needle juniper inside the berry of the plant. If I open this berry, you will see it has two seeds inside. You can bury the whole berry into the soil and it will easily grow.
juniper seeds
Moving onto some other examples, here I have a cotoneaster which still has its fruit.
cotoneaster
If you collect these fruits and sow them, you will get something like this:
cotoneaster seedlings
These are cotoneaster seedlings which germinated last year. At this stage, the seedlings can be planted into individual pots. They have some very interesting roots already.
cotoneaster seedling
Another example of seedlings I have here with me are these Japanese and Korean Hornbeam plants. These seedlings are around one year old. You will see that the seedlings of the Japanese Hornbeam are thinner than a needle.

This is a Zelkova plant grown from seed. The zelkova grows very slowly; this plant is around four or five years old.
zelkova
This is an example of a plant ready for the bonsai stage. It has been produced by sowing an acorn. Usually we don’t have to sow acorns as the squirrels do this for us. This plant was about twice this height and so I cut it down to create this charming little tree.
small oak tree
Some of you may recognise this as the humble conker tree. This horse Chestnut plant is only one year old but already ready for wiring.
conker plant
This is a red Japanese maple, another plant that sows easily from seed.
red maple
This is a group of rowan seedlings I put in a pot and it makes a beautiful display. It is one of my exhibition pieces and it is around twelve years old.
rowan seedling display
Here I have some crab apples. These seeds were sowed late last year and over the past couple of weeks these shoots have sprouted.
crab apples
crab apple sprouted
On this crab apple tree, you can still see remnants of the fruit leftover after it has been eaten by birds. The birds pick and eat the fruit straight from the tree and these remnants left behind are full of seeds.
crab apple tree
crab apple fruit
crab apple seeds
Crab apples make beautiful little plants. Here I have an example of a crab apple plant that’s about three years old. We keep them in small pots so that the tree stays small. If we were to plant it in the ground it would become about four or five feet tall.
small crab apple plant
Propagating plants is a subject in its own right, there is so much information on the subject I could talk about. When you propagate plants you can either sow from seed which is nature’s preferred way or propagate from cuttings. Using cuttings is a little bit more difficult however I do have a few videos out already on this subject.
seedlings
If you plan to have a go at sowing seeds then now is the best time! Spring is the best season for sowing seeds although they can be sown at any time of year.
small plants