House Plants/redwood burl


I bought a piece of redwood burl (about 2.5in by 4in piece) while visiting the redwood forest last summer. When I moved into my new apartment I put it in a small dish with about a quarter inch of water as the directions said. At first it was growing rapidly and looking very healthy. I went out of town last weekend and it dried up. I refilled it when I got back but all of the sprouts are laying down and have not perked up at all. That weekend was also the first time it got cold and the plant was by the window and the heat was off. Could the cold have killed it? The sprouts are still very small, an inch to an inch and a half long. It has not sprouted any roots that I can see. I have read conflicting things online about what to do. Do I need to fertilize it? Does it need more or less light? Do I need to move it into soil? Can it be saved? Also I've read that you can grow a redwood burl as a bonsai tree. What steps would I take, if it is savable to accomplish this? Thank you so much for your help!


A redwood burl needs to be kept constantly moist. The wilted sprouts may eventually perk back up or the may whither. If they whither continue to keep it wet and you may get new sprouts. I would not throw it out unless it starts really getting rotten or soft and mushy. If the burl is 2 1/2 inches thick I would increase the water to 1 inch deep. If you go out of town move it to a larger bowl or even a cake pan for the weekend so it will be less likely to go dry.

To grow it as a bonsai tree you will need to wait and see if the sprouts grow roots. Then you can remove them and plant them in shallow bonsai pots as either individual specimens or as a forest planting. They will require a lot of pruning as a bonsai. I would suggest that you join a bonsai club in your area if you are really interested in starting a new hobby or you can get books at the library on bonsai. There are also a lot of videos on You-tube on the subject of bonsai. If you have more questions feel free to write again. Good luck!  

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Darlene K. Kittle


I have been an Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years and I raise around 300 houseplants and bonsai trees a year including tropicals, succulents, and cacti. I have also been a professional plant care person for businesses in the Fort Wayne, IN area and currently professionally care for bonsai trees for my customers.


I am also studying the Japanese art of bonsai with tropical plants and is President of the Fort Wayne, IN Bonsai Club.

Fort Wayne, iN Master Gardeners. President of the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club. Allen County Master Gardeners

I am not a hortculturist. I am a Purdue University Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years. I have studied plants on a personal level by growing hundreds of plants annually for the last 35 years. I have also studied under several nationally known American Bonsai experts.

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