Dawn redwood bonsai care
The Dawn redwood is very popular as a bonsai. And rightly so. The care of Metasequoia bonsai is simple. This bonsai tree species grows very fast (>1m per year), reaches heights up to 30m and tolerates pruning very well. A redwood is an outdoor bonsai and is ideal for beginners.
Dawn redwood bonsai care in a nutshell:
- Fertilisation: In the growing season, fertilize abundantly with Biogold, Hanagokoro or Bonsai liquid fertilizer. The dawn redwood grows very quickly and needs a lot of fertilizer
- Irrigation: Metasequoia bonsai need a lot of water in midsummer and often have to be watered in the morning and evening
- Overwintering: The dawn redwood is absolutely hardy. We overwinter the bonsai in an unheated foil tent down to -15°C without any problems worth mentioning
- Repotting: At the beginning of March, repot in a well-drained bonsai soil (e.g. Akadama) with vigorous pruning of the roots
Diseases, Pests |
As fast-growing trees Metasequoia bonsai need plenty of fertilizer during the growing season. If you gives very nitrogenous fertilizers (e. g. Biogold, Hanagokoro) they shoot up literally. So you can quickly develop to quite good raw bonsai. When it comes to the design of finer branches, fertilizers should no longer be used quite as abundantly. Bonsai liquid fertilizers offered in the shop usually contain little nitrogen (approx. 3%). The dosage indicated on the bottles is very suitable for ready-made bonsai.
A redwood bonsai needs a lot of water in the sun and often has to be watered twice a day in midsummer. During the hot summertime you can put a Metasequoia bonsai on a drip tray filled with a little water. The slightly higher air humidity reduces the evaporation of the bonsai and thus the water requirement.
As an outdoor bonsai, the Dawn redwood must stand outside in summer. A full sunny location is well suited. In midsummer a semi-shade location is advantageous as the Chinese redwood needs a lot of water. Place in a bright and cold place in winter, but protected from dehydration. An unheated foil tent, set up in the shade, is a good winter location - even at the lowest temperatures.
In winter, keep light and cold, but protected from drying out. An unheated foil tent, set up in the shade, is a good winter location - even at the lowest temperatures.
The roots of the Dawn redwood grow quickly and aggressively. Already after a few months the root tips look out of the drainage holes of the bonsai pots. Therefore, the Dawn redwood often has to be repotted with a strong root cut. Young trees after 1-2 years, older trees after 2-3 years.
Metasequoia prefers a moist to even wet bonsai soil with pH values 5-7. Akadama is very suitable, but also any other, well permeable but also water-storing bonsai soil.
Sequoia bonsai are extremely uncomplicated. They have no pests or diseases worth mentioning. So far we had only once damage by mouses in the winter quarters.
The dawn redwood can easily be multiplied by tree seeds. Since the seeds are not subject to dormancy, they germinate quickly in early spring after sowing, even without pretreatment. By stratifying the tree seeds for one month (at 4°C in moist sand), the yield of young plants can be increased.
Propagation by cuttings is also easily possible. For this purpose, 15-20cm long head cuttings are cut at an angle in July / August and placed in a well-drained substrate with high humidity and high soil temperature. Under suitable conditions, rooting takes place after approx. 8 weeks. They can be isolated next spring.
Redwood bonsai - Advantages for bonsai design
- Redwood bonsai are hardly infested by pests and have no significant diseases.
- Branches remain flexible for a long time. Thus one can bend also the branches of older Dawn redwood bonsai still well.
- The Redwood is absolutely hardy as a bonsai. We place our bonsai in winter in an unheated foil tent without any problems down to -15°C.
- Wounds close quickly and well. Without wound sealing paste.
- Rapid growth, also as bonsai, enables rapid building of bonsai from young plant
- Good cutting tolerance with extreme bud formation after pruning. Suitable for bonsai beginners. The bonsai care of Metaequoia bonsai is simple.
Dawn redwood bonsai styling in a nutshell:
- Wiring: After application of the bonsai wire, the branches of a metasequoia bonsai can be easily bent and well shaped
- Pruning: Cut back 2-3 times a year with sharp bonsai scissors. The dawn redwood grows very quickly with good fertilization
Bonsai pots |
Flowers, Fruits |
Bark, Roots |
The use of bonsai wire for shaping is possible. The best time to wire a bonsai is in November after the leaf fall. Then the wire can remain on the bonsai until early summer. Then you should check every few weeks that the wire does not crush or grow in. This can happen quickly due to the strong growth of the trees. Often the wire has to be removed and sometimes it has to be put on again in the autumn.
Dawn redwood bonsai - Pruning
The shoot tips of the fast growing Dawn redwood Bonsai must be drastically cut back 2-3 times a year to obtain a compact shape. A strong pruning of the Metasequoia Bonsai promotes a denser branching. New buds emerge everywhere. More than sometimes desired.
Most bonsai styles are possible, with the exception of the broom shape. This species is particularly suitable for strictly upright shapes (natural growth habit). Also free upright looks good. With Metasequoia young plants group of trees (forest form) can be realized quickly.
Matching bonsai pots
Both rectangular and oval bonsai pots are suitable for metasequoia bonsai. Oval bonsai pots are preferable for bonsai with a harmonious, balanced crown. Drip trays for bonsai pots are normally not required because this tree species cannot be cared for in the apartment.
Metasequoia bonsai are hardy and should therefore be potted in frost-proof pots. The handmade bonsai pots are particularly suitable here. The inexpensive bonsai pots in our shop can usually withstand frost well. These pots are mainly produced for indoor bonsai and we do not guarantee that these pots are frost-proof. In our experience, with these pots about 1-2 from 100 pots will be damaged in the first winter. For larger trees you can find suitable handmade pots under: Large bonsai pots.
Glaze or unglazed ? As with all conifer bonsai, metasequoia trees should be potted in unglazed bonsai pots. Dark brown pots would go well with the dark bark of the dawn redwood tree. Glazed bonsai pots are usually too conspicuous and dominate the bonsai. A viewer would look more at the pot than at the bonsai. The metasequoia bonsai are often seen in glazed pots is because they are imported in these pots.
Metasequoia bonsai are easy to grow yourself. Plastic bonsai pots are suitable for prebonsai. The dark brown color of the pots goes well with the dark trunk of the redwood. The plastic trays are impact-resistant, UV-stable and very cheap. For 2-3 year old young plants to be grown, it is best to use plastic plant pots. These are much cheaper.
The dawn redwood forms flowers in March and later cones. Both the flowers and the fruits do not play a major role in the design of the bonsai. This is mainly due to the fact that most metasequoia bonsai are not old enough to produce flowers. In nature, the metasequoia forms flowers from around 30 years of age.
The bark is green in the 1st year, but quickly turns gray to brown. After a few years, a red-brown bark forms, which peels off in narrow strips in older trees.
The dawn redwood forms a lot of roots very quickly. Therefore, repotting usually has to be carried out more frequently than with other conifers. A root cut can also be made when repotting.
There are 3 species of redwood that still exist today: the coastal sequoia (Sequoia sempervirens, very tall and slender), the giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum, very thick trunk) and the dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides, living fossil). The latter is mainly designed as a bonsai. If you want to buy a metasequoia bonsai, we recommend this type of tree. It is often offered in shops, is cheap and absolutely suitable for beginners.
The dawn redwood (also Chinese redwood, metasequoie, botanically Metasequoia glyptostroboides, cypress family - Cupressaceae) has existed on earth for millions of years. It is a living fossil and was thought to be extinct. In 1941, the first living trees were rediscovered in China. It lives up to 400 years.
The Chinese redwood is summer green, i.e. the needle-shaped leaves fall off together with the short shoots in autumn. Before that, the lush green pinnate leaves turn golden yellow.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
My redwood bonsai drops the needles - What can I do ?
The Dawn redwood (Metasequoia) is one of the few coniferous bonsai that naturally let fall down the needles and smaller shoots in autumn. Then the Dawn redwood goes into hibernation and sprouts out strongly in spring again.
That if your Metasequoia bonsai drops the needles in autumn this is completely normal and no cause for concern.
A sequoia bonsai needs a lot of water. In midsummer, on hot days, it may happen that the bonsai soil dries out completely if not poured in time. Then the needles quickly dry up too. But a Dawn redwood bonsai tree quickly compensates for this with its stormy growth. Just water the bonsai well and wait a few weeks. In most cases, it quickly replaces the dried up shoots.