A dozen years ago, Jerry received a Fuku-Bonsai Lava Planting as a gift.  He's followed our progress and is getting more involved in True Indoor Bonsai as a member of the Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation. Over the years,  Jerry purchased several plants and visit us in January 2012.  The weather in our two states is dramatically different and I'm learning a lot from him to be better able to assist my customers from the northern states. 
              I asked Jerry to send me a photo of a plant in a picture window so I could get a little feel of his situation.  He sent the photo below and seeing snow and icicles hanging from the eaves really shows the differences and I can understand why True Indoor Bonsai are valued in the northern states!
              But while our outdoor temperatures are dramatically different,  Jerry's indoor temperatures are warmer than Hawaii's winter temperatures.  Here we don't have heating and our tropical homes don't have insulation.  We keep our windows open throughout the year.  So our indoor temperatures are about the same as our outdoor temperatures.  On the coldest night of the year, mercury plunges all the way down to 55°F,  but is up to 70's during the day.  Visitors are amused that we're bundled up against the cold while they are enjoying being in shorts and T-shirts!  Here the hottest day of the year is a warm 89°F in the afternoon but cools down to 70's at night.  So our natural temperatures are close to the interior temperatures throughout the nation as homes are either heated or cooled by air conditioning. 
              Our Hawaii climate and Fuku-Bonsai's exceptional techniques allow us to produce superior small prepared bonsai stock and semi-trained bonsai that already have a lot of bonsai character and interest.  But the trees are really not finished and we're delighted that our customers like Jerry are steadily improving their trees and enjoying True Indoor Bonsai!  The key is obtaining superior growth and Jerry is getting close! 




          Meet Gerald Johnson of snowy Oakdale, Minnesota with his first Hawaiian Lava Planting gift from 12 years ago and one of his newest cuttings.  Note that he follows our practice of cutting the leaves of the unrooted cutting so when full new leaves develop, it indicates the cutting is rooted and time to start fertilizing to get superior growth.     
           Jerry has a lot of good light through his windows when the trees are indoors as an alternative to growing under fluorescent lights.  When the weather allows, the trees are outdoors and this gives superior growth. 
          The same trees photographed from the other side.  Trees grow strongly, have good color, and aerial roots are even popping out of the pots!  His trees are developing nicely and it's a joy to see this level of results!
       From his many plants,  Jerry has rooted a number of cuttings and we compared techniques.  
        He began this controlled trial with the rooted cuttings that are in Fuku-Bonsai's True Indoor Bonsai potting media marked with red tape with those in his mix marked with white.  One strip is a single cutting;  two tapes for a two cuttings per pot.  He is also experimenting with Nutrient Granules.
        This photo taken after one growing season when the plants were brought indoors as the weather cooled.  Fuku-Bonsai's media is producing nice results compared to his mix and he'll develop a combination economical mix in the coming year as he pots up his rooted cuttings.
         This began as two cuttings in a pot.  Note that the lower leaves are cut and are the original leaves of the unrooted cutting.  In one growing season, the plant is about 15" tall and the lower trunk is thickening. 

        This is superior growth that should be the goal of everyone who wants to be successful in growing high quality bonsai!  If plants are growing this strongly, when heavily pruned, it will throw out strong new growth and allow selection. 

        Choose only the growth that is properly spaced and aiming in the right direction and remove the excess growth points.  The roots are working at a high rate and with fewer growth points to support, growth will be stronger!

        Trunks thicken and are the total sum of all foliage that it has ever grown.  Strong growth will thicken trunks. Weak growth produce scrawny thin trunks.

        This is a close-up of the pot with one rooted cutting.  Note that growth points are developing at almost every former leaf position.  This is superior growth.  Note the heaviness of the trunk.  When very heavily pruned, this will be promising superior stock!


               TRUE INDOOR BONSAI is the most successful gift bonsai for anyone, anywhere who can grow houseplants!  Fuku-Bonsai has been training Dwarf Schefflera as bonsai since 1974.  We focus on  customer success which is very possible because: 

       1.     Dwarf Schefflera is the ideal houseplant for bonsai.  It is a very variable plant, but over 50 years, Fuku-Bonsai has greatly improved the genetic selection and have developed a full range of proprietary techniques.  Our culling techniques result only in exceptionally strong plants being shipped.  We sell only highest grade plants and invite comparison with any other professional commercial source.  We are certified for shipping to all 50 states with 48-hour FedEx delivery.  We guarantee satisfaction and safe arrival!

        2.    ALL Fuku-Bonsai prepared bonsai stock and semi-trained bonsai have character, low branches, multiple trunks, trunk taper, all within 1" of the soil line with a shallow compact root system within 1/2" of the soil line.  Our youngest plant shipped is after at least two years of intensive training under ideal conditions with a skilled staff.  We have a full inventory of plants in all stages of training up to and including Custom Collection that are over 40 years in training! We offer beginner, intermediate and advanced workshop packages by mail-order.  Members of the Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation are invited to do their workshops at the Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center in Kurtistown.  Workshop packages are priced the same as mailorder but you get to pick your specific plants.  You also get free supervision and assistance and when completed, we can ship it to you after you arrive home!

        3.   We've done as much as we can and now it's up to you!  Can you grow these exceptional durable plants and obtain superior growth?  If you can, you'll likely be very successful growing True Indoor Bonsai.  These trees have a very high potential as successful gift bonsai for anyone who can grow houseplants.  We'll help and invite you to discover the serenity of nature, the beauty of bonsai, and the spirit of Hawaii!

              I asked Jerry to put together a short report which follows.  The Fukumoto family has been very fortunate to  devote 50 years to work our passion and to bring True Indoor Bonsai to this point.  Now with the partnership of Fuku-Bonsai and the Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation,  we are launching the Journal of Tropical & True Indoor Bonsai to assist everyone. 

              Please forward this information to anyone who may be interested in growing houseplant bonsai.  We hope to one day have qualified bonsai teachers in every major city throughout the country.  We would be delighted to assist bonsai clubs to introduce new members to a successful form of bonsai.  We will assist in forming new bonsai clubs where none now exist.

             Mahalo Jerry for proving growing Fuku-Bonsai's True Indoor Bonsai is very possible in Minnesota.  We hope to have more such stories in the future.  Please contact me if there are questions or if I can be of assistance!   ~~~David W. Fukumoto  (


By Gerald Johnson (Oakdale, Minnesota)

          I have been interested in plants as long as I can remember. I bought my first bonsai, a small juniper, at a garden tour at the home of a local bonsai expert. That plant died after a couple of years as I didn’t have a good way to overwinter it. I then took a bonsai class and learned some basics and started to collect some starter plants. During this time, my daughter and her husband visited Hawaii and sent me a dwarf Schefflera in a lava rock from Fuku- Bonsai. We still have this after 12 years.

          Later I started seeing articles by David in the bonsai magazines and became quite interested in his techniques. I then purchased the 3 small Sumo, Dragon, and Roots from Fuku-Bonsai and was very impressed with them. A couple years later we were able to plan a trip to Hawaii for January of 2012. My priority for the trip was to visit Fuku-Bonsai. We did this and I met David, who spent a very informative couple of hours with us. My bonsai interests were immediately rekindled and we picked out 3 plants to be shipped home. Since we were staying on the other side of the island we had to leave the nursery before I wanted to; but, it was the highlight of my trip.

          Back home, I put the 5 plants (one was a gift for a friend) in the sunniest spot I had, watered them once every day and they really took off. By the end of summer I had 21 pots of  rooted cuttings, (10 of these had 2 – 3 cuttings in each pot) from the 5 original plants. I even took cuttings from the cuttings. I could not believe how well they grew.

          During this time, I had asked David about buying some of his soil mix and he suggested I do a test between his soil and the mix I was using with my other bonsai. This sounded like a good idea, so I picked out some rooted cuttings that were all about the same size. I potted 2 pots in each mix and sent pictures to David. After 5 months I sent pictures of them and noted there was a distinct difference between the 2 mixes. The Fuku-Bonsai mix plants were greener, more robust, and held moisture better. This summer I will change my own mix and see if it works better.

          I overwinter the plants under fluorescent lights in a well lit room in my basement where the temperature ranges from 60 to 80 degrees and the lights are on for 14 hours. I did get regrowth after pruning, but the growth was quite elongated. I had very little luck rooting the cuttings so I decided to wait until spring to prune, if that is possible.

          I am very impressed with these plants. They are very easy to grow and reproduce. While most of the Dwarf Schefflera are under lights, the original 12-year old plant in a rock has always been in a kitchen window with no auxiliary lighting, does not go outside in the summer and is still growing well.

         With all these cuttings, I now have many plants to experiment on. I have wired and bent one more than 90 degrees to start Dragon training. This summer I will be able to try many techniques and also will have plants to donate to my grandchildren’s annual charity carnival and auction. They have been doing this for several years and raise around $2000 each year.

         Thanks for reviving my interest in bonsai.


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