online store How I Transformed From A Tree Killer Into A Bonsai Hobbyist
How I Transformed From A Tree Killer Into A Bonsai Hobbyist

How I Transformed From A Tree Killer Into A Bonsai Hobbyist

Once upon a time, there was a guy that loved bonsai trees.  He loved them so much, he’d buy one wherever he saw it and google how to keep it alive.  He knew just how much sunlight they should get, their appropriate temperature range, and how often to water them.  On the surface, this guy should have a beautiful and healthy bonsai collection by now.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

You see, this guy was me.  The avid bonsai lover and collector.

The closet bonsai serial killer.

I love bonsai trees, and I always have.  There’s something about this perfectly miniature representation of nature that calms me.  It just makes me happy for some reason…

What a shame I used to kill trees left and right, like it was my job.

Honestly though, it wasn’t my fault.  I just didn’t know what the hell I was doing.

I would read all these articles.  I would read all these books.  Therefor, I was the worlds foremost expert and could do it.

But the trees kept dying.

There were little bits and pieces that no one was talking about like:  When you buy a juniper tree from a mall kiosk, it may be dead already (even though it looks green…)

Or my favorite:  Juniper trees need cold winters or they’ll die.  That makes them awful house plants, so take it out of your office.

After a while, I got so frustrated with it all that I just gave up.

No more bonsai for me…

Thankfully, it didn’t last for long.  I would still see a bonsai tree here or there and wish I had a collection of my very own (that I could keep alive for more than a month.)

I decided it was time to do something about it. 

After some though, I realized my problem was in my teachers.  I was learning from books and videos from well respected gurus and professionals.  On the surface, it seems like a great way to learn — but that’s not really true.

You see, just because someone’s good at something doesn’t mean they can teach.  In fact, the best teachers aren’t always the best players.  Just look at sports…

In sports, you have the absolute BEST players in the worlds — completely unparalleled by anyone in history at their sport — utilizing coaches.  Regular people that know the sport inside and out and, most importantly, can pass their knowledge along with ease.

This is when I decided it was time to start learning from regular people in the real world. 

Wow, what a difference.  Fast forward to now, and I actually know what to do to keep a bonsai tree alive and well.  But that’s not all…

Wiring, shaping, repotting, root pruning, winter care… I can actually do these things.  My collection has over a dozen trees of all shapes and sizes, and it’s growing all the time.  And they’re all alive and well!

If it wasn’t for this sudden realization, I’d probably still be on the sidelines dreaming about having my own bonsai trees and killing every one I brought home from the mall.  Thankfully, that ended a long time ago.

I’m no longer a bonsai killer.  I’m a bonsai hobbyist.  What a transformation.

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John Green - April 8, 2023

I enjoyed reading how you transformed from a serial bondia killer into a bonsia tree nurturer. I’m following a path similar to yours in that I have purchased too many bonsias to count. Ive once again begun collecting bonsia tress, many which I’ve purchased from you because of your straight forward approach of knowledge sharing. I managed to keep 6 bonsia trees alive thus far, only time will tell their duration!



evelyn - April 7, 2022

Always enjoy your pieces. I recently started my bonsai ‘collection’ with one Raintree umbrella tree. My first inclination was to buy from a big box hardware store, you know what I mean. Fortunately by the time I decided to buy, the plants were gone.
then I went to a bonsai only center, where I found knowledgeable people who stand behind their trees. You might mention in your advice to stay out of malls, hardware stores or big box stores. This is the way to get healthy, quality trees and expert help. It will cost more, but is worth it.

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