Wintering Bonsai in Utah

Asked September 14, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

I recently moved from Florida to Utah and brought a dozen of my bonsai with me. The ficus will be grown indoors when cold weather hits. The several juniper procumbens nana, a red maple and an dwarf elm need to stay outdoors but have to be prepared for and maintained during the winter. Do you have information on wintering hardy bonsai?

Salt Lake County Utah trees and shrubs indoor plants bonsai horticulture

3 Responses

The roots and soil have to stay moist (they can be frozen), and warm temperatures must be avoided. You can keep them potted or not, but either way if they are outdoors the pot needs to be sunk in the ground or in some other way heeled in so it won't warm up. Or you can remove them from the pot and heel the root ball in. I would have any evergreens protected from light, wind, and warmth. If you have an outdoor unheated garage or shed they can go there, but again you have to keep the root systems from drying out and fluctuating a lot in temperature. However you heel in the roots, water regularly unless the root ball is frozen.

Michael,
You answered my question perfectly. I was trying to figure where I'd build a cold frame. I've a shed with a north and west exposure. Small windows on the north side. I figure if in the shed I fill two potting trays with unscented kitty litter (calcinated clay which I use in my bonsai potting mix), bury the pots of the 4 junipers, one elm and 1 maple bonsai, into the clay and keep the clay moist, that will work. There will be some ambient light in the shed. Am I on the right track?

Thanks,
Tom

It should work as long as the shed doesn't get too warm on sunny days.