Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Red azalea bonsai

Azalea are known for their spectacular flower displays in the spring. They are a slow growing semi to full evergreen that have a bushy growth pattern. They enjoy warm temperatures, partial sun, and acidic soil.

Take care to ensure the roots never fully dry out. For optimal results water with rainwater or distilled water and fertilize with fertilizers labeled for acid loving plants.

Learn more about this red azalea here.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mimosa as bonsai

Known for its eruption of flowers in the spring the mimosa can make an attractive flowering bonsai.

The mimosa was brought to the US from parts of Persia and Asia in the 1700s and became popular in many southern states.

The large fernlike leaves give this tree a feminine graceful look. We recommend this drought tolerant bonsai be grown outdoors in full sun in USDA zones 6-9. Learn more about this mimosa silk tree.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Bonsai for Mother's Day

Here is a list of bonsai that make great mother's day gifts. If you are in need of mother's day gift ideas check out this list!

The Powder Puff, calliandra haematocephala, is a pretty flowering tree that loves heat and sun. This tree will be easiest to care for if your mom lives in hot tropical zones (USDA 9-11) such as Florida and Texas. It has a fragrant pink bloom that can appear all year in hotter areas. The powder puff is tolerant of underwatering as well. This tree will do well on a sunny patio.

This jasmine, trachelospermum jasminoides, bonsai is normally a bushy vine, but is trained into tree form here. They have fragrant white flowers that cluster in groups of 3-12. They are also very fragrant and tend to turn pink as they age. This is another good pick for warmer climate zones because they will bloom continuously throughout the year there. This can be kept indoors in very sunny locations although it will have best results outside. Trachelospermum jasminoides goes by the common name of confederate jasmine or star jasmine. This bonsai will do best in USDA zones 8-10.

This rather unique wine grape bonsai (cabernet) is a remarkable gift to help celebrate any occasion. Bearing tiny edible grapes, this stunning Wine Grape Bonsai Tree is a living masterpiece and an endless source of delight. It has been skillfully cultivated, pruned and shaped over the years to produce a classic wine grape which hangs in clusters from this vineyard treasure. This tree is deciduous and should be kept outdoors. Due to its seasonal nature it will not have foliage in the winter months.

Another great outdoor pick, the gardenia (jasminoides radicans), fills with fragrant blooms May through August in the right zones and care. Gardenias very popular in Florida. Try placing in an area with air flow to distribute the fragrance of the flowers for the most enjoyment. They can be grown in sun or partial shade and tend to prefer acidically balanced fertilizers.

Flowering bougainvillea bonsai tree. The navigator Louis Antoine de Bougainville (1729-1811) gave his name to this genus. Originally from tropical and sub-tropical America. Popularly known as the "Paper Flower" with very delicate deep pink flowers that look like paper. Actually, the flowers are bracts of leaves at the tip of the stems that turn a brilliant pink in color. Can bloom for most of the year if given sufficient sun. Can be grown indoors in sunny locations.

Although not really a bonsai, this red anthurium planted in lava rock makes a very nice flowering plant to give as a gift. It does well indoors and the flower lasts a long time. Keep in a saucer or tray filled with water and place in direct sun.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ed Trout Buttonwood Stolen!

I just received word from an email from the Bonsai Society of Florida that Ed Trout's buttonwood was stolen.

"I have some very bad news. Last night, some low life stole my ( our ) logo buttonwood from my back yard. It was no more than 8 feet from my back door. I am sad & sick, and feel like someone has kidnapped a family member. Please help me get the word out. Ed"

This was the signature bonsai of the Gold Coast Bonsai club. I've personally seen Ed Work this tree and it is amazing. Here is a picture I took approximately two months ago of Ed working on this tree at our Gold Coast Bonsai meeting. Get the word out. Let's find who took this tree!

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Chinese Elm, what a great bonsai

The chinese elm grows fast and is easily trainable into bonsai form. It has naturally small leaves and can grow in a variety of different areas and conditions. In warmer climates it is only semi-deciduous and is fully deciduous in colder climates. It is hardy to climate zones 5B-10A.

The chinese elm is a recommended tree for beginners to bonsai and can be grown in sunny or shady locations. With proper lighting and care this bonsai tree may also be kept indoors. Learn more about this chinese elm.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Baby Jade (Portulacaria Afra) bonsai

Native to Africa, this succulent bonsai is a fast growing shrub with small green leaves that can be trained into many different bonsai forms. It doesn't need regular watering and can be grown indoors making it an excellent choice for beginners.

Learn more about the jade shown here.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Bonsai Contests

Knowledge of Bonsai is having two major bonsai contests in 2008. The first is a Progressive Styling Contest which this year also includes categories for forest and tanuki designs. Prize categories for the styling contest include best bonsai from collected stock, raw stock, and pre-bonsai stock as well as overall winner, most original, and best solution to a problem.

Entrants need to submit 3 before, 3 progression, and 3 final photos of their entries. The before photos must be received by July 31st 2008. Read the official rule list here.

The other contest is an article contest. Paul at KoB reports that this is the first article contest that they have ever held. The winner may be published in the American Bonsai Society Journal. Entries must be received no later than June 30th 2008 and must be a minimum of 800 words. In addition, the article must not be published anywhere else until after the contest is over.

Prize categories include best overall article, best article dealing with artistic principles, history, or art theory, and best article dealing with collecting, cultivation, or styling. A full rule list is available here.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Burning Bush

This flowering native to Japan, China, and Korea is a deciduous shrub that has distinctive wings of corky tissue attached to either side of its green twigs.

The burning bush's attractive foliage turns red in the fall. It likes a good amount of indirect sun.

Learn more about the burning bush shown here.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Bonsai Proportions

A bonsai tree will look its best if it is proportional. There are certain guidelines for how tall a bonsai tree should be relative to its trunk diameter as well as where the first branch should start on the trunk. MelloBonsai has created a bonsai proportions calculator for calculating these values.

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Monday, February 4, 2008

Aphids suck

Horrible timing for a bug infestation is right when your tree is weakened. I just repotted this gardenia to have it attacked by aphids. I've been lucky actually that this has been my first issue with them.

Fortunately, they were not too hard to get rid of and it looks like my gardenia bonsai is going to make it. Learn more about getting rid of bonsai aphids here.

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Sunday, February 3, 2008

Chinese Fringe Flower as Bonsai

The Chinese Fringe Flower (loropetalum chinensis) has naturally small oval leaves that are dark green to purple in color. It is considered an evergreen shrub and may produce deep pink, fragrant, flowers. It tends to form a wide profile as its branches spread.

It does well in full sun and is cold hardy in temperatures above 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Plant in a bonsai soil that balances toward acidic. The Chinese Fringe Flower does best in soils with large organic content that still drains well.

Learn more about the chinese fringe flower shown here.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hinoki cypress bonsai

The hinoki cypress is a Japan native held sacred to devotees of Shinto. It is hardy in the US in zones 4A to 8A. The featherleaf variety of the hinoki cypress has softer and more narrow leaves. New growth starts as a golden yellow color that matures to green. The species has a red bark that peels in strips.

Although very attractive, this tree can be a challenge for beginners to keep in bonsai form. Additionally, care must be taken to ensure the tree receives full sun and that it is never allowed to dry out completely.

Learn more about the hinoki cypress shown here.

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Monday, January 7, 2008

Things to know and do before buying a bonsai tree

  1. Research the species first
  2. If your tree naturally grows in the shade some will need to be provided (naturally or via shade cloth).
  3. Rotating your bonsai tree several times per growing season will help to ensure all areas receive exposure to the sun.
  4. Try not to handle your bonsai daily. Leaving it alone will allow the root system to develop.
  5. If the tree species you are considering does not grow well in your area in the ground then the chances are it won't do any better as a bonsai.
  6. Using a well draining soil mix is key.
  7. Research common pests and ailments associated with the tree species.
  8. Join a bonsai club.

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Sunday, January 6, 2008

Dawn redwood bonsai

Rediscovered in China over 60 years ago the Dawn Redwood or metasequoia is a deciduous tree with needle-like leaves that turn from yellow to bronze before falling off in the winter.

Enthusiasts enjoy the dawn redwood for its thick trunk that is orange to brown in color. They are extremely hardy and grow well outdoors in full sun.

Learn more about the dawn redwood.

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