Wisteria

Family: Fabaceae

Genus: Wisteria

Botanical Name: Wisteria floribunda

Wisteria is an elegant and colourful woody climbing deciduous specimen with alternate dark-green pinnate-like leaves. It produces clusters of flowers in white, pink, purple, or violet depending on its cultivar. The Wisteria floribunda, also known as Japanese Wisteria, and the Wisteria sinensis (Chinese Wisteria) are both very popular with bonsai enthusiasts.

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Style

Because the main feature of this tree is the cascading, clustered flowers, any style that accentuates this characteristic, such as informal upright, slanting, semi-cascade, and cascade, will most likely the best display choice.

Location and Position

A full, hardy tree such as Wisteria should be kept outdoors all year round in full sun exposition. But because we will move it to a pot and not on the ground, a little protection during winter, such as being placed under a bench, could be a safe choice.

Watering

This is a very thirsty plant that requires a great amount of watering from spring to summer. In autumn and winter, you can go back to the rule of keeping the soil moist but not soaking wet.

Feeding

This plant has very strong growing habits which require some support in terms of feeding. It is also important to know that Wisteria can produce nitrogen on its own. To allow it to flower regularly, use fertiliser without nitrogen or a very small quantity only.

Pruning and Pinching

Maintenance pinching is best carried out after the tree has flowered while structural pruning is easier during autumn. Pay attention not to remove flower buds.

Repotting and Soil

Repot in early spring every other year in a well-drained soil mix, such as two parts akadama and one part pumice

Wiring

Wiring is best carried out when the Wisteria loses its leaves in autumn

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Ginkgo

Family: Ginkgoaceae

Genus: Ginkgo

Botanical Name: Ginkgo Biloba

Commonly known for its dietary benefits, the Ginkgo biloba, along with the dawn redwood, is a living fossil specimen native to China. The Gingko offers a light-grey fissured bark and can produce areal roots, helping this tree to extend its longevity. It is a deciduous plant with alternating clusters of fan-shaped leaves that turn a beautiful yellowish colour in autumn before falling.

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Style

Another similarity to the dawn redwood for the Ginkgo is the ability to grow quite high, making it suitable for formal or informal upright styles. But it can also be shaped in many other styles, such as slanting, forest, or cascading.

Location and Position

The Ginkgo biloba is to be kept outdoors all year round in a full-sun position. In winter, a little protection by placing it under a bench can be given when the temperature falls below zero to protect the rooting system. Once the tree is relocated in a pot, it will lose a bit of its hardiness against cold temperatures.

Watering

This tree requires a moist, well-drained environment. Do not let the Ginkgo become bone-dry or to be soaking wet; otherwise, the rooting system will suffer, and the tree may perish in the worst-case scenario.

Feeding

From growing season to autumn, I prefer to fertilise the Ginkgo biloba with an organic liquid fertiliser and then apply solid organic pellets once to cope with winter necessities.

Pruning and Pinching

For maintenance, pinch back new growth to two or three nodes once it is fully extended. Structural pruning is best carried in autumn because the foliage will have fallen, and the structure of the tree will be clearer.

Repotting and Soil

The Ginkgo can be repotted every one to two years (especially when it’s still young) or as soon the roots fill the pot in early spring. Use a well-drained bonsai soil mix.

Wiring

Autumn appears to be the best time to wire the Ginkgo because you can easily go through the tree, which will have no leaves, offering better visibility for branch placement

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Gardenia

Family: Rubiaceae

Genus: Gardenia

Botanical name: Gardenia Jasminoides

Found in tropical and subtropical regions, the Gardenia is a genus of over 200 species belonging to the Rubiaceae family. Native to Asia, the Gardenia jasminoides is an evergreen specimen with shiny lanceolate leaves, and it is well known for its beautiful and perfumed white flowers that bloom in the summer. This attractive little shrub with grey bark is excellent indoor bonsai material in temperate zones.

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Style

The Gardenia seems to be adaptable to most bonsai styles, both formal and informal, such as upright, slanting, broom, and so on.

Locations and Positions

From spring to the end of summer, your tree can enjoy being kept outdoors in semi-shade When the temperatures drop below 15 degrees, relocate it indoors by a south-facing window

Watering

The Gardenia has similar necessities as Azaleas or Syzygium. Keep the soil moist, possibly with rainwater, and avoid long periods of dryness or soaking wet conditions.

Feeding

From growing season to autumn, feed your gardenia every two weeks with a liquid fertiliser for ericaceous plants (acidic-loving plants), and reduce it to once a month during the winter.

Pruning and Pinching

Wait for flowers as you would do with the Azaleas. Remove the flowers, and then you can start to shape by pinching back the new growth or attempting structural pruning.

Repotting and Soil

The Gardenia jasminoides can be repotted every two years or as soon its roots fill the pot in early spring. Use acidic soil, such as Kanuma or a soil mix suitable for ericaceous plants. Ensure that the mix you use creates a well-drained environment for the tree.

Wiring

By the end of the summer, the plant will still be quite flexible, and growth will slow down, making it the perfect time for wire application.

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Syzygium

Family: Myrtaceae

Genus: Syzygium

Botanical Name: Syzygium Australe

The Syzygium genus contains 1,000–1,800 species. Belonging to the myrtle family, the Syzygium australe is also known as Brush Cherry and is native to Australia. It is an evergreen specimen with opposing lanceolate green glossy leaves, which produce small white little flowers and dark-red edible fruits.

Syzygium Media

Style

This specimen is suitable for most informal bonsai styles.

Location and Position

The Syzygium is a great specimen for growing as an indoor bonsai, ideally positioned by a south-facing window. If kept outdoors from spring to autumn, a semi shade position will provide a great environment for this tree while protection is required during winter by relocating it indoors or into a greenhouse.

Watering

Keep the soil moist by using rainwater, but don’t let the soil dry completely for long periods or allow the tree to be in a soaking wet environment because it will suffer and perhaps perish in those conditions.

Feeding

As with the Azaleas, Gardenias, and Camelias, the Syzygium appreciates fertiliser for ericaceous plants (acidic-loving plants). During growth, feed the plant every two weeks until autumn, then reduce it to once a month.

Pruning and Pinching

Allow the shoots to elongate up to ten pairs of leave and then pinch back to two pairs of leaves. Structural pruning is best carried out in the spring because large cuts do not heal very fast.

Repotting and Soil

The Syzygium can be repotted every two years or as soon as its roots fill the pot in spring. Use acidic soil, such as Kanuma or a soil mix suitable for ericaceous plants. Ensure that the mix you use creates a well-drained environment for the tree.

Wiring

Early fall may be the best time to wire because the growth slows down, reducing the risk of scarring.

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Dawn Redwood

Family: Cupressaceae

Genus: Metasequoia

Botanical Name: Metasequoia glyptostroboides

Metasequoia glyptostroboides, also known as dawn redwood, is a deciduous conifer specimen with an amazing reddish-coloured bark and bright-green needles. It was believed to be extinct until a living specimen was discovered in China and then exported worldwide to repopulate the globe with this magnificent tree.

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Style

This tree has strong growing habits. In fact, it can grow very tall in nature, making this tree ideal for upright styles. However, it can be trained in other styles, such as forest and slanting, to name a few.

Location and Position

The Dawn Redwood enjoys full sun and appreciates some semi-shade on very hot days. Once in a pot, the tree will be grateful to receive a little frost protection during the winter.

Watering

Intolerant of droughts, the Metasequoia glyptostroboides requires moist soil. To avoid root rot, don’t allow the soil to be soaking wet

Feeding

Feed with a liquid fertiliser every two weeks from spring until late summer.

Pruning and Pinching

Structural pruning is best carried out during the fall because the branch structures will be more visible once the tree loses its foliage. Pinching back new shoots should be attempt during the growing season to maintain the bonsai’s shape.

Repotting and Soil

Repot the dawn redwood every other year or as soon as the roots fill the pot—ideally before the buds swell—in a well-drained soil mix. One part akadama and one part pumice (with bark mulch if extra retention is needed) should do the job.

Wiring

Fall seems to be the best time to wire the Metasequoia glyptostroboides because the tree will be free of foliage, allowing for better visibility for branch placement. Growth slows in the fall as well, so the risk of scars is lower.

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Ilex Crenata

Family: Aquifoliales

Genus: Ilex

Botanical name: Ilex crenata

Evergreen or deciduous, the Ilex genus belongs to the Aquifoliales family, which has over four hundred species. Native to Japan, China, and Korea, the Ilex crenata (also known as Japanese holly) is an evergreen specimen with glossy alternate dark-green leaves. It produces small white flowers and black drupe fruits. Its small, dense, spiny foliage makes the Ilex crenata a desirable material for bonsai enthusiasts.

Ilex media

Style

Commonly displayed in formal and informal upright or broom styles, is worth mentioning that Japanese holly can be trained in most bonsai styles.

Location and Position

This plant can be kept outdoors all year round, with full sun exposition in the spring and semi-shade in the summer. It’s naturally a very sturdy tree, but if placed in a pot, it will benefit from a little protection, such as being placed under a bench when the temperatures drop below zero.

Watering

Ilex crenata appreciates moist soil. Don’t let the soil dry out or become soaking wet for long periods of time, or the tree will suffer and eventually die.

Feeding

Feed Japanese holly with liquid fertiliser every two weeks during the growing season and feed once with solid slow-release pellets in the fall.

Pruning and Pinching

During the growing season, allow the new shoots to elongate, and then pinch them back to two or three leaves. Structural pruning is best carried out from early summer to mid-fall.

Repotting and Soil

Repot every two years or when the roots fill the pot. Repot in the spring with a well-drained soil mix, such as one part Akadama and one part Pumice

Wiring

Ilex crenata’s branches are very brittle, which means that wiring requires close attention so you don’t snap them. I prefer to wire in the mid-summer to fall.

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Juniperus Chinensis

Family: Cupressaceae

Genus: Juniperus

Botanical Name: Juniperus Chinensis

Native to China, Japan, and Korea, the Juniperus chinensis is one of the many Juniperus used for bonsai purposes. This specimen is well appreciated by bonsai enthusiasts thanks to its great trunk shapes (gnarled and twisted), scale-like foliage, and capacity to resist while looking very attractive and natural to Jins and Shari (deadwood features).

Media

Style

Juniperus chinensis are suitable for all styles and look amazing when displayed with sinuous movements along with touches of deadwood.

Location and Position

Juniperus chinensis are hardy trees and can withstand low temperatures effortlessly; however, a little protection under a bench when the temperature is below ten degrees is appreciated. These specimens are to be kept outdoors all year round in full sun or semi shade.

Watering

Keep the soil moist. Water it regularly while avoiding soaking wet or extremely dry soil.

Feeding

A balanced liquid feed every two weeks during the growing season and solid slow-release pellets in autumn should sustain the tree well.

Pruning and Pinching

In late summer, the sap flow should be less vigorous, making it a good time for structural pruning. Pinching new shoots to maintain good pad foliage should be carried out during the growing season. The pads need to be thinned from time to time when they get too heavy to permit air and light to pass through the foliage and avoid exhaustion or dieback of the lower and inner branches.

Repotting and Soil

Late spring to August seems to be the best time to repot Juniperus chinensis, but avoid this task on extremely hot days. Repot your tree in a free drainage soil mix every two years or when pot-bound.

Wiring

Juniperus chinensis respond well to wiring, as they are very flexibles. This specimen takes longer to settle in position (sometimes up to one year). Keep an eye on the branches to avoid scarring.

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Podocarpus Macrophyllus

Family: Podocarpaceae

Genus: Podocarpus

Botanical Name: Podocarpus macrophyllus

Native to China and Japan, the Podocarpus macrophyllus is also known as Buddhist pine. This specimen is a slow-growing evergreen conifer with dense, pointing, elongated foliage, and it bears small berry-like fruit. In Feng shui, this tree is used to improve the energy flow of wealth.

Media

Style

Commonly shown in formal or informal upright styles, the Podocarpus macrophyllus can also be trained in most bonsai styles.

Location and Position

This tree likes temperatures above ten degrees, making it suitable as an indoor bonsai. It can be kept outdoors from spring to autumn and will appreciate full sun exposure. If kept indoors, a south-facing window is the best place for the Buddhist pine.

Watering

As with most bonsai trees, this specimen prefers moist soil. Water it regularly all year round, but avoid soaking wet or extremely dry soil. The Podocarpus macrophyllus enjoys a humid environment and will benefit from a spray of water on the leaves from time to time.

Feeding

Feed the tree every two weeks from growing season until autumn with a liquid fertiliser and one application of solid slow-release pellets to help it cope with the winter months.

Pruning and Pinching

Structural pruning can be done all year round, and pinching the elongated shoots back to six leaves with a sharp pair of scissors can occur during the growing season.

Repotting and Soil

This tree grows slowly. The best time to repot is when the roots fill the pot or every three to four years. A well-drained, slightly acidic soil mix is the best choice for the Podocarpus macrophyllus. A mix of akadama, pumice, and pine needle mulch in a ratio of 1:1:1 should do the trick.

Wiring

This task can be carried out at any time of the year. The only requirement is to make sure you do not leave the wires on for too long to avoid scarring.

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Satsuki Azalea

Family: Ericacea

Genus: Rhododendron

Specie: Rhododendron Indicum

Botanical Name: Satsuki Azalea

 

Satsuki Azaleas are native to Japan and originate from the Rhododendron indicum specie, which is part of the Rhododendron genus (Rhododendron is a genus of over a thousand species). Satsuki Azalea produce small glossy dark green leaves, which are appreciated in Bonsai art. However, what makes azaleas so popular are the magnificent flowers that this specimen produces during the summer in a variety of colours (white, pink, red and purple).

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Style

This plant material is suitable for all formal and informal styles.

 

Location and Position

Satsuki Azaleas enjoy semi shade expositions. It needs protection from the sun, rain and wind, which could easily contribute to the deterioration of the beautiful flowers. This specimen tolerates light frost, but it needs some shelter during the winter.

 

Watering

Satsuki Azalea will require soft water (rain water) as it can’t tolerate lime deposits in soil, or it will perish. Soil must be kept moist at all times as this shrub dislike drought.

 

Feeding

Use fertiliser for ericaceous plants every two weeks from the growth period until flowering (feed needs to be suspended during this period). After flowering, return to feed once a month until autumn.

 

Pruning and Pinching

As soon the flower petals start to wilt, remove the central ovular stem to prevent fungal issues and avoid exhaustion. Structural pruning can be addressed after flowering. Pinching needs to be moderate during summer or it will cause no flowering for the following year.

 

Repotting and Soil

Repot every two years after flowering or as soon as the roots fill the pots. Use lime free soil such as ericaceous compost or Kanuma.

 

Wiring

Attention is required as branches are very brittle and can easily snap. To avoid scars, I prefer to wire in autumn.

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Pinus Parviflora

Family: Pinaceae

Genus: Pinus

Botanical Name: Pinus Parviflora

 

Pinus Parviflora, also known as Japanese white Pine (as white lines are visible across the centre of the needle), is an evergreen conifer specimen part of the five needles Pines. Japanese white Pines are extremely popular with Bonsai enthusiasts, thanks to their beautifully elegant movements and colours. As their light grey bark is quite smooth while still immature, they are usually grafted onto Black Pines to highlight a more fissured bark.

Pinus Parviflora media

 

Style

Apart the broom they are suitable to all styles.

 

Location and Position

Pinus Parviflora enjoy a full sun exposition. It will require good ventilation during the winter period if it is protected from the frost to avoid fungus and insects. Shelter is advised if the weather is rainy.

 

Watering

Avoid waterlog and bone-dry soil, since this specimen prefers moist soil.

 

Feeding

My preference is to feed with liquid fertiliser from spring to summer every two weeks. In autumn I use slow release organic pellets once.

 

Pruning and Pinching

In spring candles begin to sprout, and by early summer pinching the strong one on strong area first (usually apex) and strong from medium areas after (middle part of the tree) is part of the tree maintenance to distribute energy. Structural pruning can be done in late summer to autumn along with needle plucking or trimming of old needles to allow air and light.

 

Repotting and Soil

Early spring or late summer seem to be the best time to repot. A very well drained soil mix is required, and since Pines are Mycorrhizal dependant, it is a good idea to add it into the soil mix to provide the beneficial Fungi that this specimen relies on.

 

Wiring

My inclination is to wire during fall to avoid the risk of scars.

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