How To Grow Bald Cypress Bonsai | Caring Guideline For Beginners

Are you a beginner bonsai gardener?

Are you struggling to choose the right species of bonsai? 

The bald cypress bonsai can be an ideal choice for you to cultivate it with less care and maintenance because of its exclusive shape and foliage. Though it is mainly an outdoor plant, you can grow indoors by following some basic caring routine.

Here, we’ll discuss every ins and outs of how to make a bald cypress bonsai. So keep reading to learn the easy and simple way to grow the plant. 

bald cypress bonsai
Bald Cypress Bonsai (Taxodium distichum)

Overview Of The Bald Cypress Bonsai

  • Common name – Swamp Cypress
  • Scientific name – Taxodium Distichum
  • Year of Invention – 2000 
  • Country of origin – Southeastern United States
  • Origin of name – Cyprus
  • Hardiness zones – USDA 5B to 9 
  • Plant length – Up to 100 feet from root
  • Plant width – Up to 2 to 4 feet from crown
  • Soil requirement – Neutral soil or ph level 4 – 6.5
  • Pruning session – Autumn or early Spring
  • Types of leaves – Needle-like
  • Preferred temperature –  Native to hot or above 14°f
  • Whether that can’t tolerate – Freezing temperature
  • Growing Season – Winter to Spring

Bald Cypress Bonsai Care Guidelines

Bald cypress is one of the popular spices of cypress, and it takes you to the closer of nature. Mainly the cypress bonsai forest tree, but you can make a miniature version of this tree to enjoy its aesthetic outlook. 

Characteristics

When the tree is younger, the bark color is reddish-brown, and when it reaches its old stage, the bark will turn into grayish brown and furrowed color. However, the foliage is needle-shaped and looks soft and light green. 

The tree will thrive in wet soil, and can stand underwater. The spectacular leaves are autumn color and develop auburn to yellowish smaller twigs before falling the foliage.

Ideal Placement 

This cypress tree requires warm and full sunny areas to survive and thrive. So, balcony, lawn, backyard garden, and patio are some of the ideal places to keep it. These places are open and have enough sunlight, which is worthy of growing the plant. 

The USDA 5B to 9 is the best hardy zone of this plant, and you can keep it outside in summer. But in winter, you have to keep it inside the room and ensure a warm place to avoid its dryness. 

Suitable Temperature And Humidity

It can easily cope with warm and sunny temperatures but can’t tolerate cold or freezing weather. That’s why you have to maintain a balanced temperature level to rejuvenate its beauty. Its survival lowest temperature is 14°f, and below this temperature, it will tend to die. 

That’s why you have to take extra care of this plant in winter when the temperature falls. Because in this weather, air contains excess humidity, which is not suitable for the bald cypress plant. 

  • Watering

This tree prefers to grow in wet and swampy soil. So in summer, when nature is dry, air contains less humidity, you have to water the plant regularly to avoid its dryness. You can water the tree to its pot rim, so the plant’s root system will get enough moisture. 

According to the expert bald cypress bonsai cultivators, you should water the plant twice a day in summer. Besides, you have to protect it from the harsh months of winter. If you live in the southern region, water the plant daily or check the soil moisture level before watering. 

Fertilizer Instructions

Like any other plant, the bald cypress bonsai also needs a good amount of fertilizer to get proper nutrition. The balanced nutrition will make the tree stronger and help to fight against viruses. 

You can use liquid organic fertilizer according to the fertilizer-producing company dosage instructions. The 10-10-10 Phosphorous, Nitrogen, and Potassium (NPK)  ratio fertilizer is the best combination for this tree. 

You can use fertilizer every week in Spring and every two weeks in Summer or late Summer. But, in winter, the plant doesn’t need any fertilizer, because it will go dormant at that time. To know more about bonsai fertilizer, check this post. 

Pruning

Usually, the bald cypress tree will produce many new buds, twigs, branches, and forks, and you have to prune them as this high amount of buds and twigs are not necessary to bring a good shape to this tree. So it’s better to remove them in their early stages. 

Autumn and early Spring are the best seasons to prune the tree. The new shoots are the ideal branches for pruning, and when pruning, you have to focus on its best shape and design. Otherwise, the purpose of this task will not be served. Literati style is one of the best shapes of bald cypress bonsai in the USA. However, you have to use the right tool to prune this bonsai. To know more about bonsai tools you can check the best bonsai tools for beginners. 

Potting and Repotting

The bald cypress growth rate is medium, and grows 13 to 24″ or 2 to 3 feet every year. Because of its robust root growth and fast-growing nature, the tree won’t get enough space in a shallow and tight space pot. 

So, it needs repotting. If your tree is younger, you have to repot it every two years. On the other hand, if your bonsai tree is older, you can wait 3-5 years for every repotting season. 

Soil preparation

No matter in which stage your tree is. You have to repot the tree in Spring, and before repotting, you should wisely prune the root ball of the tree and make the soil. The loamy, silty loam, moist, sandy, acidic, clay, and well-drained soils are the best combination for the plant. 

You can easily prepare heavy soil like mushroom compost to understand the soil properties ratio. The soil should retain enough water to avoid root rot.

You should choose a shallow and flat pot that will match with earth tone. You often have to submerge the pot in water so that a smooth finish pot will be the best option for this as it won’t dirt quickly and needs less time to clean. Click here to learn more about repotting. 

Pests and Diseases

Fortunately, it won’t usually be attacked by pests and diseases. But, Twig Blight is one of the common fungal diseases of this tree. Usually, you’ll find it on dead or injured tissue. If you over prune the tree, it can’t bear the stress, and this time the fungus attacks the branches to kill its tips. So, avoiding over-pruning can prevent this issue. At the same time, efficient and regular pruning is needed to shape the tree. 

Propagation

Sowing seeds or cutting stems are the way of The bald cypress bonsai progression. If you like to propagate the tree from seeds, you have to learn the entire process from where you purchase the seeds. 

Or, if you have a minimum knowledge, we will suggest you go to stem cutting propagation. 

Bald Cypress Problems And Solutions

When you start to cultivate the bald cypress bonsai, you may have to face some common problems with your tree. Let’s see what they are

  • The Cypress bark beetles are one native insect. Once it attacks your plant, it can harm and even kill the tree. However, if Cypress bark beetles attack your tree, spray effective insecticide on the plant to remove the Cypress bark beetles.
  • Turning the foliage brown and yellow is another common problem of this tree. It happens due to a lack of water in the summer season. Regular irrigation is the ultimate solution to this problem.
  • Different sizes of Mites may attack the plant and pierce foliage with their sharp mouths. So the plant needles will turn pale. Using insecticide like dicofol may help you recover the plant from its attack. 

Where To Buy Bald Cypress Tree Bonsai?

If you are confident that you can identify the best bald cypress bonsai, you can buy the tree from your nearest nursery. Otherwise, online e-commerce platforms can be the easiest option to buy it. There you’ll find many bald cypress bonsai for sale. eBay, Bestbuy, Walmart, Amazon are some e-commerce sites to find bald cypress bonsai trees. 

The cost of bald cypress for sale depends on many aspects, such as its size, old, and shape. According to its quality, you can buy a bald cypress bonsai from $7-$39.95. 

FAQs

Why is my bald cypress yellow?

Your bald cypress is becoming yellow because of dry and chlorotic weather. If you don’t water your tree regularly in this harsh weather, it won’t get enough moisture and nutrition to elevate its growth. So it’s mandatory to properly water the tree to soak the soil and recover the yellow leaves. However, adding peat moss or coffee grounds near the roots may also be helpful to increase soil moisture and acidity level. 

Where do bald cypress trees grow?

The Bald Cypress bonsai is a southeastern United States native tree. It will grow best in the Gulf Coast, mid-Atlantic states’ coastal plain area, and Mississippi Valley. It needs average soil, and a poorly drained system to thrive. The bald cypress bonsai grows in water, where most plants can’t survive. So the pond, lake, and river edge are the most suitable spaces to plant the bald cypress tree. 

How fast do bald cypress trees grow?

The growth rate of Bald Cypress bonsai is medium, and it takes 15-25 years to reach 40-50 feet long. It will be 60-80 feet long at a mature age, and its maximum height is 100 feet. 

Do cypress trees change color?

Most cypress trees have evergreen foliage, but the bald cypress bonsai will drop its needle-like leaves in winter. Usually, the bald cypress fall color is cinnamon, orange, tan, and fiery.

How long do bald cypress trees live?

The Bald Cypress has a long lifespan, and it will live 600 years. Even some bald Cypress species will live up to 1200 years. 

When to plant bald cypress?

Winter is the ideal season and wet soil is the ideal soil combination to plant bald cypress bonsai trees. You may need to wait 30 to 90 days for seed germination. You have to water the plant and protect it from wildlife in this period. 

How far apart to plant bald cypress trees?

You should plant the bald cypress bonsai at least 15-20 feet apart so that the tree will get enough space to grow freely. However, you should also consider the plant’s specimen and size to maintain the space.  

Where do cypress trees grow?

The complete sunny area, wet soil, and warm weather are the most required criteria to grow Cypress bonsai. North America’s southern coastlines areas will match all those criteria, so these are the best places to grow it. But, the United States’ eastern regional areas are also suitable for cypress cultivation. Delaware and Florida are such famous areas to grow this bonsai. 

Final verdict

Though by consuming these words, you have an overall idea about Bald Cypress bonsai care and maintenance. But, it’s really tough to make you a pro bonsai gardener with this short time. 

But, never mind. There are many efficient and experienced bonsai gardeners who share their years and years of experience through pen. If you like to read books, the bonsai books can be the best way to pursue this hobby with them. You can check the best bonsai books to know more about it.