Earlier this year I ordered a one gallon Itoigawa shimpaku juniper from Brent at Evergreen Gardenworks. I didn’t really know what to expect. I was hoping for a single upright trunk, but ended up with a semicascading branch coming from the base as well as the upright trunk.
After asking advice at Bonsai Nut, I decided that to put it in a pond basket and grow it out without making any big cuts to it yet. The soil mix I used is 2 parts pumice, 1 part lava rock, 1 part turface, and 1 part pine bark. Hopefully it will hold enough moisture, but also keep the soil full of oxygen. The pine bark should help with fertilizing since it has a high cation exchange capacity. I didn’t want to put too much of a percentage since it can hold a lot of water. And after all the hoopla about turface creating a bad root system I’m experimenting with a lower percentage. I think the dry spots people find using it for a majority of their soil mixture will be nonexistent with all the other components.
At this point I am going to just let it grow to try to increase the trunk girth. I think I will ground layer the cascading branch, but I feel like I should wait until next year once it totally recovers from repotting.