How To Care For Your Western Red Cedar Bonsai Tree

How To Care For Your Western Red Cedar Bonsai Tree

Thuja Plicata Bonsai Care

About The Western Red Cedar Bonsai Tree

The Western Red Cedar, or Pacific red cedar (thuja plicata) is a native to the western United States, and is not a true member of the Cedar species (cedrus.)

It is known to grow quite tall, quite thick, and has a beautiful and stark red bark.

The largest Western Red Cedar alive in nature is 195 feet tall!

And, like other cedars, the Wester Red Cedar is a cone bearing evergreen.

Placement

Like most cedar trees, a western red cedar bonsai should remain outdoors all year long.

It must stay cool or cold during the winter (about 3 months), but should be protected from harsh freezes.  In the late fall, protect your tree by burying your tree, or mulch over the pot in the ground. The tree should be protected from strong wind and sun (but not snow or rain) throughout the winter.  If you must, it can be placed in an unheated garage or shed.

Do not forget to water your tree in the winter!

In the early spring, when the chance of freezing is gone, it can be placed back in its normal location.

For the rest of the year, the tree should be outside with a few hours of sun (morning sun, with afternoon shade is best.)

Watering

Never let the soil completely dry out.  Whenever the soil seems dry, thoroughly water your tree until the water runs clear from the bottom.  In the growing season, this can be daily.

If you need help, a good moisture meter will guide you.

Humidity

If you ever need to take your western red cedar bonsai tree inside, including into a garage for the winter, using a humidity tray is recommended.  It will prevent the water from running on the floor, and can help keep the tree somewhat moist in the dry season.

Fertilizing

Since your western red cedar bonsai is in a small pot, and not the ground, it needs nutrients.  A slow release (pellet based) fertilizer is perfect for this, and can be added sparingly every 1-2 months during the growing season.

Pruning & Trimming

Trim back the new growth to the farthest safe point that looks good to you — but never remove all of the new growth.

A regular trim will help keep your western red cedar bonsai tree short, while helping the trunk grow thicker.

Repotting

Repotting must be performed periodically on your bonsai, western red cedar, when its root system has filled the pot.  If you can clearly see the roots coming out of the bottom of the pot, it’s time to repot your bonsai.

Generally, this means every 2-3 years for a deciduous tree and every 4-5 years for an evergreen.

Repotting should be done in mid-summer, when the tree is at it’s least fragile state.

The cedar bonsai tree, along with all of its soil, should be removed from the pot.  From there, you can trim away no more than 1/3rd of the root mass (1/4th is preferred.) 

Then you can repot the tree in the same pot, or give it a newer / bigger pot to thrive in.

After repotting, your western red cedar bonsai should be thoroughly watered.

Diseases, Insects & Other Pests

Your western red cedar bonsai can be treated for pests like a normal western red cedar tree.  Just remember, your tree is miniature and will need a much smaller and more gentile dose of treatment. 

Would you like to SEE these instructions as a series of videos, instead of just reading them?

If you want to demystify the art of bonsai so you can become a master of this relaxing hobby in just a few days, you need the right training. I’ve build a digital video course that mixes classroom style instructional videos with “over the shoulder” style training videos to make bonsai simple to understand, and easy to start.

In this digital video course, you'll discover:

  • How to create a bonsai tree from scratch that will help you experience true inner-peace and calm.
  • How to keep your tree collection alive and well so you can enjoy their benefits for a lifetime.
  • How to shape your bonsai like a professional, allowing you to design it however you like.
  • What bonsai tools you really need and how to use them so you’ll never buy a tool that you don’t need again.
  • How to cultivate your own trees so you never have to buy another tree from a store again.
  • How to use all of this to create your own bonsai collection so you enjoy this relaxing hobby for the rest of your life.

Previous article How To Care For Your Sago Palm Bonsai Tree
Next article How To Care For Your Natal Plum Bonsai Tree
Loading...