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Bonsai – Repotting

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Bonsai Ficus retusa - Thick trunk and roots.jpg

Just finished re-potting a Ficus microcarpa (retusa?) bonsai this morning. It was quite easy to take it out of the pot and it did not have too many roots. Few roots but they are very long, so I trimmed them shorter.  More images

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Ficus Bonsai

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Ficus Bonsai 1: Our oldest bonsai after I cut the branches much shorter in an attempt to grow more leaves. It used to be lanky and the foliage only grew on the end of the branches, now it looks much better.

Ficus Bonsai March 2015 1

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More About Bonsai

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Japanese Maple – Acer palmatum: Sunburn Leaves.

Not enough water and sunburnt leaves

Not enough water and sunburnt leaves

Bonsai trees are grown in shallow pots, and because they do not contained a lot amount of soil, they will be easy to get dry especially in hot sunny days. I just repotted all my bonsai early spring this year and all of them were doing well. In the last few weeks, the temperature went up and down and few days reach above 25 deg. C. There were quite a bit of rainfalls that soaked the ground. Because of these rainfalls and only few hot days, I assumed that the bonsai trees would be alright without watering for several days. This assumption had proven to be wrong. It has damaged three Japanese Maple bonsai trees. I should have checked them to see that the soil was not too dry and I should have moved them in shady place.

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Bonsai

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It has been a long time since the last time I posted about our Bonsai trees. It has been up and down…. I find it a little bit hard to take care of bonsai plants to look like those done by professionals. However these are some of them taken this spring with a couple taken  during autumn few years ago.

Japanese Maple - Acer palmatum Bonsai 2 - autumn jpg

Japanese Maple – Acer palmatum Bonsai 2 – autumn jpg

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Jade Plant – Bonsai Ideas

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Big cuttings of jade plant (Crassula ovata) are ideal to grow as bonsai. The fat and rough look of the fleshy stems and trunks are ideal for bonsai. They are easy to maintain and to keep them alive. The soft branches and stems are easy to shape and bend.

Bonsai - Variegated Jade Plant

Jade Plant Bonsai

Bonsai idea - Jade Plant

Bonsai Jade

Jade - Bonsai Idea

Blazing Autumn in Small Sizes

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Autum colours are better around Melbourne this year. Cold temperature and lesser rains this month of May, make the colourful foliage last longer. To see bright golden, orange and red leaves that dominate a landscape is a rarity here in Melbourne. Many trees with showy burnt red and orange hues in autumn were once brought in here from the northern part of the world. To be able to enjoy these colours you have to go to certain places where most of the deciduous trees were planted.

As for me, my family can also enjoy the colour of Fall at home. Most of our maple bonsai trees are showing canopies of red amber foliage. This year is exceptionally beautiful . I was so excited to take some photos this morning. Yes, we are really enjoying autumn this year.

The Art Of Bonsai

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WHAT IS A BONSAI

Bonsai is a miniature tree. It is kept small by planting it in a shallow pot and by regular trimming of the roots, branches and new growth.

 

HISTORY

Chinese first began to transplant naturally dwarf trees from mountain and cliff terrains into ornamental containers, as early as the Han Dynasty in 206 BC. However, it was the Japanese who perfected the art of cultivating bonsai plants. Bonsai itself means a dwarf tree in a pot.

 

BONSAI STYLES

The most common styles are:

  • Formal upright: Straight trunk with evenly spread branches.
  • Informal upright: The trunk is not perfectly straight which has unevenbranches.
  • Slanted: The main trunk grows slightly bending sideway.
  • Semi Cascade: The tree grows cascading down to the side of the pot. The pot usually is high (not flat).
  • Cascade: The cascade is lower than the height of the pot.
  • Roots over rock: The roots of the tree are exposed and they clasp tightly around the surface of a rock.
  • Group planting (Sakai): More than one plant are grown in one pot, usually are in odd numbers.

 bonsai-collections

THE SUITABLE PLANTS

Basically almost all plants which are suitable for bonsai     

can be grown in Australia. For those from cooler

climate, the trees need protection from summer heat

and for tropical plants, they will need protection from

frost.

 

Plant examples commonly used for bonsai are:

  • Maples : Trident maple, Japanese maple
  • Ficus: Choose those with smaller leaves like for example F binjamina, F benghalensis
  • Azalea: A kurume, A satzuke
  • Conifers: pines, spruce, junipers
  • Elms: Chinese elm, English elm
  • Oaks
  • Birch
  • Cotton-easter
  • Lilli pilli

 

CARING FOR A BONSAI

 

Like any other trees, a bonsai needs water, nutrients and sunlight to survive. All bonsai plants have to be kept outdoor preferably in the position where they receive morning sun. Caring for bonsai trees will include all these procedures:

  • Training: A good bonsai will have a certain look and it is achieved by shaping the trunk and branches. Special wires in different sized are used for this purpose. Deciduous trees should be wired after the leaves have matured and the wires have to be removed in autumn to avoid damage to the bark.
  • Feeding: Use a weak liquid organic fertilizer at the intervals of two weeks during spring and summer. Solid organic fertilizer may also be used.
  • Pruning/Trimming: It is done to create and preserve a desired shape. It makes leaves grow smaller and compact. Heavy pruning is done in autumn, winter or early spring. While general pruning is done through out the growing season, by cutting back new growth.
  • Repotting: Generally it is done yearly, every two or three years late winter or early spring. For an easy guide, lift the plant from the pot and inspect the root once a year. A pot of the same size or slightly larger should be used. Root ball has to be loosened and it has to be trimmed to get rid of the excess. Repotting is done by always using fresh bonsai soil.
  • Watering: In summer, the watering is done at least once a day. In the winter, it will depend on the dryness of the soil. Avoid watering in the heat of the day.

 

I’ve found that growing bonsai trees is relaxing and it teaches you patience. Bonsai also makes you learn that “GOOD THINGS COME IN SMALL SIZES” 🙂