Blue atlas cedar repot

Hi guys, want to get an opinion about root reduction of blue atlas cedars right out of the nursery pot/soil.

I’ve recently styled a cedar in a 8inch pot and when I do repot, can I reduce the roots enough to fit into a bonsai pot? Or should I make gradual reductions.

This is the tree in question.


Hi Mark - I’ve not had much experience re-potting Blue Atlas Cedar, though I’ve heard:

  1. The root system is not particularly vigorous.
  2. They require very free-draining soil, and infrequent watering… coming from the Blue Atlas mountains of Africa, natively.

I’d therefore tend to opt for “reduce very gradually”, and re-pot into a very free draining soil mix.

Hope that helps in the right direction, though don’t take it as gospel, probably there’s another Mirai-er out there with better experience than me.

NB… I’ve actually got quite a large yamidori BA Cedar, but I’ve not had it out of its pot since purchase and probably won’t for a couple of years. But I can confirm the above re water… they’re perkier in winter with less water, I’ve noticed!

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My experience is that they generally don’t like to have a lot of root work done at one time. I have normally potted into an oversized bonsai pot or box when taking them out of the nursery pot to get the root ball flatter. I also try to remove most of the nursery mix that can easily picked out from the outside of the root ball. That allows development of a good domesticated root system so the core can be cleaned out at the next repotting which should get it into a more appropriate container. I have been using a 1-1-1 pumice-lava-akadama mix in the 3-6 mm range.


Thanks guys! That sort of confirms my suspicions. I’ll take out 50% and see how they go. I’m quite sure the roots have not filled the entire pot yet.

Regarding the water requirements, I’ve had mixed results. I have 2 blue atlases that’s in a very wet mix. Mostly pine nuggets. And they are thriving so much better compared to the one I have in the akadama,pumice,lava 1:1:1 mix.

The ones in the nursery mix seems to be doing great as well! So far my observations seems that my BAs leans towards the wet side. But time and time again, I’ve heard that they love to be dry.

Btw, I’m located in Melbourne Australia. Perhaps difference in humidity contributes to our mixed observations?

Ha! Quite possibly. I’m in the direct opposite climate - London, UK.

So possibly yours need that moisture more than mine!

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I’ll keep you posted on the repot in 6 months

In nature they are like cacti and don’t need water. In a pot or nursery container they are not drought tolerant at all and Like to be wet.

Good comment about the C. atlantica being drought tolerant in nature VARD-HUNT. My experience is that they don’t want to be wet in the bonsai container, but rather that they need a good supply of moisture. I grow them in a 1-1-1 akadama-pumice-lava mix in the bonsai container. I use a mesh bottom box with about a 50/50 bark/pumice mix for early development.