The gorgeous yellow-gold needle leaves, quick-growing trunks, and pliable branches of the larch bonsai make it a well-liked bonsai. People love growing these beautiful larch trees in their homes and gardens as they are easy to take care of and look great.
What Are Larches?
Larches are particularly known for their splendor and beauty. These trees are deciduous conifers, and the Larix genus has 14 different species. Larches are native to the cold climates of the North Hemisphere. Mostly, these trees are present in the forests of Siberia and Canada.
Appearance and Characteristics
Larches are tall, 40 to 100 ft, and vibrantly colored trees. In their natural environment, larches receive warm sunlight, cool air, and moisture from the soil. Larches lose their needles in the winter and bloom in the spring season.
These bonsai plants have soft and malleable branches, which makes them great to wire in different directions. You can make different traditional and modern bonsai styles with a larch bonsai tree.
- Plant Type: Deciduous tree
- Natural Habitat: Alpine or temperate region
- Mature Size: 20-30 ft. wide, 40-100 ft. tall
- Soil Type: Well-draining but moist
- Blooming Time: Spring
- Color: Pink to green cones
- Native Area: Northern hemisphere
How to Care For Bonsai Tree Larch
The bonsai tree is typically easy to maintain once it has become well-established in the pot. Here are a few key factors to consider to ensure the larch grows efficiently and correctly.
Bonsai larch trees love full sun. Naturally, larches grow in temperate or alpine regions with mildly hot summers and frosty cold winters. Therefore, try to mimic this natural environment by keeping the trees outside under the sun. However, placing the larches under a semi-shaded area is preferable if you live in the hot regions or during the hottest hours of the midsummer season.
Larch bonsai trees prefer well-drained but moist soil for optimal growth. Due to their inability to tolerate drought, it is imperative to always keep the soil moist. However, refrain from overwatering larch bonsai. Let the top layer of the soil (about half an inch) dry out, and then water the soil. Overwatering can disrupt root growth and may also cause health issues.
In the midsummer season, the trees may require watering twice a day to avoid dehydration. The larch trees require comparatively less watering in the winter than in the summers. Still, it is essential to ensure that the soil does not dry out.
Humidity & Temperature
Larches can withstand a range of moderate environmental conditions. However, the larches bloom the best under the sunshine. These trees cannot tolerate the high summer temperatures paired with high humidity. But the plants can grow normally in the cool summers.
So, you can place these plants under partial shade as well. Concerning the winters, a healthy larch bonsai can withstand long frost periods. However, protecting these trees from the cold, drying wind is essential. Moreover, it is advisable to safeguard the trees from excessive rainwater.
A larch bonsai requires regular cleaning and pruning to maintain its perfect shape and size. It is best to cut large branches every year in early spring or winter before the tree buds start growing. Importantly, using the special bonsai pruning tool kit can make the pruning process efficient.
Fertilizer & Soil
Bonsai tree larches prefer well-draining and medium-moisture soil. In their natural habitat, larches grow in moist soil where the soil particles contain more water content than oxygen. Furthermore, larch trees cannot grow in high pH soil, so it is best to grow them in slightly acidic to neutral (5.0 to 7.4) soil pH for optimal growth.
Therefore, it is best to copy the natural environment of these plants by growing them in moist soil with neutral pH.
Adding fertilizer during the first two growth seasons is not necessary for soil fertilization. If you have used nutrient-rich organic soil to plant the seeds, you do not need to add additional nutrients.
You can add fertilizer after the opening of the buds in the spring. In general, nitrogen-enriched fertilizers are best to boost the growth of the shoots. Later, you can add complete or balanced fertilizer, containing all the required nutrients, to the soil.
The larch bonsai is a fast-growing plant. Therefore, it requires frequent repotting into bigger containers. Generally, the repotting time ranges between 3 to 5 years. Gardeners, however, do not adhere to any strict guidelines about the timing of repotting and instead repot trees based on their growth rate.
The ideal time for repotting is in the late spring or the autumn when the buds have not opened. The larch tree’s roots have a symbiotic relationship with the soil’s microorganisms or mycorrhiza. Hence, during repotting, try to keep a portion of larch roots untouched to keep these fungi attached to the tree.
Diseases and Pests
Larch bonsai trees can be attacked by different pests, bugs, and aphids. These attacks can ruin the health of a sturdy larch tree and can cause various infections, including fungal diseases. Therefore, using a premium quality pesticide is essential to keep the tree safe from these pests. Still, if the bad condition persists, then it is advisable to consult a professional gardener.
Tools Needed for Bonsai Tree Larch Pruning
Indeed, it is impossible to correctly prune a larch bonsai tree without the proper tools. Here are the five essential bonsai tools to help you keep your larch bonsai clean and in perfect shape.
Scissors or Shears
Sharp shear or scissors are necessary for properly cutting the twigs and branches. Choose the size of the scissors according to the branch size you need to cut. You can take heavy-duty scissors to cut heavy branches, whereas trimming scissors will work fine for final cuts.
Round Edge Cutter
A round edge branch cutter is a multipurpose tool as it can function as a knob cutter and branch cutter. This 2-in-1 tool is great for people who prefer utmost functionality using less equipment. Though concave cutters are great for properly pruning the bonsai larch, they come with an expensive price tag.
Knob cutters have spherically shaped blades that gouge out the branches rather than cutting. This tool is great for deep and hollow cutting without leaving dead wood pieces behind. This tool can sharply cut about an inch thick branches easily.
Concave Branch Cutter
Concave branch cutters have a concave cutter that cuts branches very sharply. This cutter places a sharp and precise cut, leaving behind slight scarring on the tree that heals over time.
After pruning the bonsai larch tree, seal off the cuts. You can use specifically made wound sealing pastes for this purpose. These wound sealers are great for speeding up the healing or recovery process.
How to Prune Bonsai Tree Larch
Regular pruning of larch bonsai is necessary to keep it clean and in proper shape. While pruning, only cut ⅓ or ½ of the branch to maintain the tree’s growth. Remove the badly positioned buds before they open up.
Cut short the twigs to two buds if possible. Larches have a natural ability to seal off these cuts using a sticky resin. This material makes a sturdy callus and helps mend the wounds.
How to Wire Bonsai Tree Larch
Larch tree bonsai have quite flexible branches and thus are easy to bond through wiring. Depending on your preference, you can use copper or aluminum wire. The wiring direction and the angle depends upon the required angle or bend.
Start applying wire along the larch’s branch or trunk at a 45-60° angle. Move clockwise to bend the branch on the left side and anti-clockwise to turn the branch on the right side. Following these directions will result in gap-free and efficient wiring.
How to Make Cuts to Bonsai Tree Larch
Indeed, it is essential to cut the bonsai tree larch regularly to maintain its perfect shape. First, cut the bonsai larch tree’s large or disproportionate branches. Then trim any branches developing in an unnatural direction or overlapping adjacent branches.
Finally, do the finishing cuts by thinning out the foliage. Regular and careful cutting of the larch bonsai tree can give your whole space an attractive and lush look.
Bonsai Tree Larch Styles
Larch bonsai trees have malleable and flexible branches and are super easy to style in different attractive shapes. You can make traditional Japanese-styled bonsai or go for modern styles as well.
Windswept Larch Bonsai
Larch bonsai trees are perfect for creating a windswept look because of their rugged characteristics and rough bark. When in full bloom, the windswept larch bonsai’s leaves and fine branches look utterly beautiful.
Literati Larch Bonsai
Pulling off the Literati style with a larch bonsai is quite challenging. But, the final look of literati larch bonsai looks pleasing and fascinating. To get the literati’s distinctively long and slender appearance, it is imperative to restrict the larch’s strong development. Though the excessive growth is difficult to handle for this style, literati larch bonsai looks splendid in full bloom with lush green leaves.
Larch Cascade Bonsai
Larch bonsai trees typically come in upright form, but by cascading them using the right tools and materials, you may give them a beautiful aesthetic. When a tree is young, you can wire it in a specific cascade pattern to transform it into a cascade bonsai later on.
Larches are lovely trees that enhance your home or yard’s aesthetic appeal, contemporary style, and sophistication. However, to maintain a flourishing larch bonsai, it is essential to adhere to particular guidelines for correct care, styling, and preservation of health and beauty.