Via Voyage Tampa

Today we’d like to introduce you to Larry Naeder.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My bonsai journey started seven years ago when I first saw a small tree in person and was instantly mesmerized. From that point forward, I wanted to know everything and anything I could learn about the art. I’ve since turned my hobby into a full-time business and now own/operate the only bonsai nursery in St. Pete, where I cultivate and practice the art of bonsai on multiple species of tropical trees!

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Surprisingly, yes it has been pretty smooth. Although my biggest struggle would definitely be keeping up with the demand and constantly creating new trees for customers.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
First, I’d like to explain what bonsai is because there is a common misconception. Most people think bonsai is the small little Juniper tree that Mr. Miyagi made so popular through the Karate Kid franchise. While that is true, it does not end there. Bonsai is not a specific tree or species, it is the art and technique of creating the illusion of a small tree in a pot. With that being said, living here In Florida, I tend to use mostly tropical species that are native to our climate. Specifically, I prefer to use unwanted and or neglected local landscaping to create my trees. I seek out material through various ways and will go and dig stumps out of neighbor’s yards and work on them for a few years to turn them into living pieces of art!

We’d love to hear about how you think about risk taking?
The first thing that comes to mind is certainly when I decide to pull a tree out of the ground, chop it down to a stump and put it in a pot with the hope of keeping it alive in order to turn it into bonsai. It is definitely a risk every time I do this because there’s always a chance of the tree dying and the last thing I want is to lose that tree by not properly caring for it during its recovery process. There are many things I do to minimize shock and get the tree back to a healthy point but there is always a risk! You have to realize that you are taking on the care and responsibility from that point forward for the rest of the trees existence and no longer Mother Nature.


  • Trees range from 25$-7,000$

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Original article courtesy of Voyage Tampa: http://voyagetampa.com/interview/meet-larry-naeder-of-pinellas-park-st-pete/