Juniperus Chinensis Shimpaku
The Shimpaku Juniper is a dwarf variety of the Chinese Juniper and one of the most used plants in bonsai creation. Juniperus Chinensis Shimpaku originates from the mountainous regions of Japan and has dense, soft, dark green foliage. Its irregular, gnarled growth habit makes it a favorite collector’s item in bonsai design. Since it is a dwarf form of the Chinese juniper, it only reaches a maximum height of 1 meter when growing wild, as well as a maximum width of 2 meters.
The Chinese Shimpaku Juniper is extremely frugal and is considered very hardy. It can cope with almost all climates, is insensitive to frost, heat and wind and thrives even in poor soils. Even though the Shimpaku juniper is considered relatively undemanding, it should nevertheless be offered as sunny a location as possible in order to thrive optimally. The soil substrate should never dry out completely, nor should waterlogging form at the roots. There are two more popular varieties of Shimpaku, which grow naturally only in small and different areas of Japan.
Juniperus Chinensis Itoigawa
The Itoigawa juniper is similar to the regular Shimpaku but with finer, denser and light green foliage. The Juniperus Chinensis Itoigawa variety was first discovered in 1910 by Mr. Tahei Suzuki , a Japanese shimpaku collector in the mountainous region around the Japanese city of Itoigawa. Soon the Itoigawa was one of the most popular collector’s items for bonsai enthusiasts and by 1950 there were hardly any specimens left in the wild. The Chinese Itoigawa Juniper is called the king of bonsai by many because of its beauty.
Juniperus Chinensis Kishu
The Kishu juniper is similar to the Itoigawa juniper but slightly darker in color.
Care of Juniperus Chinensis
As already mentioned, Chinese Juniper are considered very hardy and are not particularly demanding in terms of care. The plants can cope with just about any climate and do not have high soil requirements. However, to ensure optimal growth, the plants should be given as sunny a location as possible and should always be kept moist without overwatering, as they do not tolerate waterlogging very well. Please keep in mind that Juniperus Chinensis are outdoor plants. To develop optimally, they need the change of seasons. This is important for the development of the fruits and seeds of the plant, and also for the development of new shoots.
The best time of year to prune plants is late winter or early spring before new shoots emerge.
Botanical information about Chinese Juniper:
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