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Giant Sequoia Redwood Pre-Bonsai


I started this tree from seed in May of 2007. Giant Sequoias are the world’s largest trees in terms of total volume. They grow to an average height of 165-280 ft and 18-24 ft in diameter. The oldest known Giant Sequoia based on ring count is 3,500 years old. I don’t expect this guy to grow over 3 feet though.



  1. Heike says:

    Hi! I have a giant sequoia seedling that I want to eventually turn into a bonsai. I would like to have a 1-1.5″ thick trunk (diameter) before I transfer it to a bonsai pot, which means I have a couple of years (I think) before I’m to that point. I am new to bonsai care, so I’m trying to learn as much as possible until it’s time to transfer my tree.

    In your most recently posted sequoia pre-bonsai picture, you said you “Planted her on top of a tile in the ground to induce rapid trunk development and surface roots.” Is this a way to begin training/preparing the tree for a bonsai container? (Is it necessary?) My tree is currently in a regular flower pot and I was planning to keep it in flower pots until it’s time to move it over to a bonsai pot.

    Nice blog! 🙂

    • Steve says:

      Hi Heike,
      Thanks for the nice comment!

      Yes, putting a tile or piece of wood under your seedling will force the roots to go sideways increasing the potential of developing nice surface roots. I learned this technique from browsing the http://www.weetree.com website. They sell bare root trees and use this technique.


  2. mike says:

    wow the young sequoia is very unique in appearance-nice job-hows it doin now-any pics-totally curious

    • Steve says:

      Hi Mike – the sequoia is doing great now. It has some nice new bright green growth shoots popping out now that it has acclimated to it’s new home in the growing bed. I’ll add a new picture when I have a chance. Cheers!

  3. mike says:

    hey thanks steve-really enjoy your site- i think anyone interested in the subject would feel the same-nice work

  4. Chris says:

    How did you get it to grow outwards instead of upwards? In my experience they grow up then fill out and repeat this cycle.

    How did you grow it indoors?

    Did you do the pruning of roots and foliage when it was dormant( say mid winter)?

    Thanks for posting this, the best sequoia bonsai I have ever seen.

    • Steve says:

      Hi Chris,
      I have not pruned the foliage yet at all on this tree.

      I think the outward growth of the branches is a result of the way that it was started in a small pot indoors with relatively little direct sunlight. Maybe it didn’t know which direction to grow toward the sun..?

      I did the root pruning at the end of January.

      I need to post a recent picture soon – it has grown a quite a bit since June.

      Thanks for the nice compliment!


  5. […] Giant Sequoia Redwood Pre-Bonsai | Marin HomesteadJun 24, 2011 … I started this tree from seed in May of 2007. Giant Sequoias are the world’s largest trees in terms of total volume. They grow to an average … […]

  6. Henry says:

    Hey Steve,
    any new development on that sequoia? Everything on here is from 2 years ago. Nice and informative layout you got there! Would really love to see how you’ve built up on that pre bonsai and what it looks like today.

    • steve says:

      Hi Henry,
      Thanks for the prompting – I have this tree still in the ground in the same place – it isn’t much bigger than it was in the latest picture above, but I’ll post a newer one regardless. It wasn’t getting enough water to flourish so I adjusted that recently and I’m hoping it will improve.


  7. Josh says:

    What soil mix did you use when it was shallow potted, and what climate are you in? It looked like it was struggling before you put it in the ground. But it recovered pretty good after 6 months.

    • steve says:

      Hi Josh,
      I used a mix of turface and potting soil when it was potted. Redwoods don’t like to dry out and I recently added another dripper to it since it struggled with the heat this summer. It hasn’t changed a whole lot since the last picture update, but I’ll post new pics when I have a chance.


  8. Dirk says:

    Great !

    I’m currently having my sequoia seedling grown from seed too 🙂
    As my wife doesn’t want a big tree in the garden, I need to shape it as bonsai too.
    Tips and how-to needed!

    • Kati says:

      Hi Steve- great informative pictures! I just brought home my 1-2 year old seedling sequoia. I’d like to keep it indoors. While I love the bonsai look, my end goal is to have a 2-4 foot potted tree. Do you think this is possible? Any advice based on your experience would be appreciated!

  9. steve says:

    Hi Kati,
    The tree will survive for a little while indoors, but ultimately needs to be outdoors.
    They require a cold period in order to go through their dormant phase for around 3 months a year – read this article for more info: http://www.bonsaiboy.com/catalog/redwoodcare.html



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