February 11, 2022

What's in a Grow Tent? The Science and Tools Behind Keeping Indoor Bonsai Healthy

Source material: November 21, 2021

        While we're on the subject of my latest Youtube ventures such as the Todd Schlafer demonstration I posted on the Columbus Bonsai Society's new Youtube channel last week, I wanted to also take a moment to share another recording from a recent CBS Meeting. Last November while the final few deciduous leaves were falling in Ohio and the first nightly frosts were appearing, CBS held a meeting focused on preparing trees for winter. One of our seasoned members lectured on how to protect outdoor bonsai over winter and I volunteered to present on preparing an indoor space for your tropical bonsai over winter. Given my background in academia and in science, my lecture focused on the biology of tropical trees, the physical aspects of tropical environments compared to the conditions inside typical homes, and how we can improve those conditions to help our trees grow better. Although many parts of the northern hemisphere are already exiting winter, for many apartment-dwelling bonsai hobbyists or those who otherwise are only focused on indoor growing, this lecture will be relevant at any time of year. A tree growing indoors on a windowsill will simply never grow at its full potential unless we supplement things like light, humidity, airflow, and warmth. You can watch the full lecture below to learn more about how you can improve the health of your indoor bonsai and develop them faster. I'll include some additional details at the end of the article including the exact products I've used in the past just to give you an idea of the possibilities.


  1. Full Lecture - Time-Saving Tools for Growing Tropical Bonsai Indoors
  2. Supplies to Improve Indoor Growing
    1. My starter supplies:
    2. My current supplies with grow tent:
    3. Current setup with pictures:
  3. Blog Announcements
Apparently, I'M in a grow tent! But seriously, read on to see what type of lights I've been using. This picture is from when I first got my grow tent in the fall of 2020. I have definitely noticed it helped my tropical trees stay happier in winter.

February 4, 2022

Todd Schlafer Finds the Trunkline - Columbus Bonsai Society Full Demo

Source material: 10/17/2021

        Hello all! Just wanted to share quickly one of my recent online bonsai projects. Similar to what I did during my time with the Puget Sound Bonsai Association's DVD archive, as part of my role as the librarian for the Columbus Bonsai Society, I'm starting a CBS Youtube channel and uploading their meetings for all to see! Please enjoy the first video on their channel featuring a demonstration by Todd Schlafer of First Branch Bonsai. Based out of Denver, Todd is now one of the most in-demand traveling bonsai artists due in part to his training with Ryan Neil and extensive experience with collecting and styling native species from the Rocky Mountains.

        The before and after photos can be seen in the first 20 seconds of the video. I found myself amazed by the tree that Todd found inside that challenging raw stock. There's a good lesson in there on how to simplify a complicated piece of raw stock, but Todd also discussed many other topics at length during this demonstration such as fungicide use, how he got into bonsai, how he decided to become a bonsai professional, and next steps for this tree such as how to care for a tree styled in late fall as the growing season is ending.