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WILD OLIVE (OLEA EUROPAEA SUB AFRICANA)

Wild Olive (Olea Europaea sub Africana)

  • Evergreen tree.
  • The bark is smooth grey on younger branches and flaky on older branches.
  • Leaves are smooth glossy green above and matt dull green below. Leaf stalk up to 10cm long. Can be reduced to 3 mm with constant pruning.

Pruning

  • Essential for small leaves and ramification.
  • Very little die back so tight pruning is possible.
  • Foliage may become very dense and is an ideal place for insects and pests.
  • A good species for “Clip and Grow”
  • Big wounds will not heal, removing a large branch rather makes a feature like a jin or a shari.
  • The extremely hardwood is ideal for carving.



Wiring

  • Wiring before the branches get too rigid ie within 1 year of growth. The shape should be retained with 3 months of wiring.

Repotting

  • Any time of year, but best from August to November.
  • A deep pot is best otherwise branches tend to die.
  • Throughout the year with a general fertilizer. Foliar feed the undersides of the leaves.
  • Does well when fed with bone meal.

Pests

  • Wooly aphids hide under the bark, crevices, dry leaves, and wiring. Control with Malasol from EFEKTO.
  • Scale can be scratched off or killed with Malasol.
  • Psylla is the most common pest and hides in the dense foliage on the undersides of the leaves. The symptoms are yellowing of the leaves and eventually, the leaf falls off. Can be controlled by at least 3 sprays of Malasol over a month. The undersides of the leaf must be sprayed where they can be seen to be hiding.
  • Ants protect aphids from their natural enemies. If ants are seen there are aphids and/or scale.
  • Other reported pests are red spider mite and whitefly.

Soil

  • Grows best in well-drained soil. The olive also appears to like loam- red sand, possibly because of the water retention properties of loam.
  • PH should be alkaline above 7. Bonemeal will raise alkalinity.

Watering

  • Can withstand long periods of drought.
  • Watering well in one season will produce good results in the following season.


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CELTIS AFRICANA - WHITE STINKWOOD
Celtis Africana - White Stinkwood

This is one of the best African trees to use as bonsai. This deciduous tree is fast and easy to grow under a wide range of conditions. The trunk of Celtis Africana is easy to distinguish by its smooth, pale grey to white bark.

In spring Celtis Africana is very beautiful, with its light green, new leaves. The leaves are, triangular in shape with three distinct veins from the base

Celtis Africana is common and widespread in South Africa. It occurs in a wide range of habitats.

Celtis Africana is fast and easy to grow. It is fairly drought resistant and can withstand frost. It does best in good, rich, deep soil with plenty of water in summer.

Repotting

  • Repotting is done in early spring just before the buds begin to swell. Heavy root pruning may be done as long as the top is reduced too
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TRIDENT MAPLE (CHINESE)

Placement

The trident maple likes a sunny airy place, but during the hottest summer weeks better protect it from scorching sunlight in the afternoon. In winter don't expose it to temperatures below -8°C. It is a good idea to protect the trident maple bonsai during frost.

Watering

Trident maples grow vigorously and consume a lot of water during the growing season. Always water in time, but do not overwater. Don't use very calcareous water, rainwater is preferable if it can be obtained.

Fertilizing

During the growing season fertilize the tree once a month with solid organic fertilizer or every week with a liquid product.

Pruning and wiring

The new shoots in spring are usually allowed to grow until they have developed several leaf pairs and then they are shortened leaving just one pair. The apex tends to grow stronger than the lower branches, so balance the tree's growth by pruning the top more and letting weaker branches catch up. New shoots appear during the entire growing season and must be shortened continuously. On mature bonsai, pinching the young shoots very early can be necessary, to prevent the finer twigs of the outer canopy from thickening. Pruning of large branches or trunks should be done in summer when the cut wounds begin to heal immediately. Vigorous trident maples can close even larger wounds within a few years. Always seal wounds with cut paste to avoid fungi entering and to prevent die-back of the bark.

Healthy compact trees can be defoliated partly or totally in summer, in regions with long warm growth periods even several times a year, to promote delicate ramification and smaller leaves and prevent inner twigs from dying from lack of light. On trees that are not defoliated still, the largest leaves can be removed at any time. Autumn, when the leaves fall, is a good time to shorten the twigs and remove those which have grown in odd directions and all but two growing from the same point. The winter buds of trident maple bonsai are tiny and sometimes you might need a magnifying glass to see in which direction they point to decide where to cut, in order to make the new shoots grow into the desired direction in the following year. 

Younger branches and twigs can be wired and shaped quite well during winter dormancy, but check and remove the wire in time. Because the strong growth wire can scar the bark very soon after the spring shoots have emerged. Guy wires are a good option to position stiff older branches.

Repotting

The trident maple should be repotted every two or three years in early spring, large old specimens less often. The roots grow strongly and can be pruned heavily. Use a well-draining soil mix with a pH value between 5 and 7.

Propagation

Trident maples can be grown from seeds, cuttings, or air-layers which root easily.

Pests and diseases

Vigorous trident maples are hardly attacked by pests and diseases. Aphids, scale, caterpillars, or spider mites can sometimes occur and powdery mildew or leaf spot fungi. Use a specific pesticide in these cases. Take care to seal cut wounds immediately to prevent Verticillium and other harmful fungi from entering. Root rot can occur when the tree is overwatered. Frequent watering with calcareous water can cause chlorosis.

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SERISSA FOETIDA SNOW ROSE

Placement

The serissa likes a sunny, wind-protected place outside during the growing season Avoid unnecessary changes of the tree's position, but from autumn to spring the serissa must be placed in the house or a heated conservatory at temperatures between 10°C and 20°C. The warmer the position the more light is needed. Grow lights can help. Try to provide high humidity.

Watering

Keep the root ball moist, but at the same time take good care not to overwater the serissa Bonsai tree. It must never dry out completely. If the tree drops its leaves due to some changes in the growing conditions, continue but slightly decrease watering. The serissa likes a neutral pH value (7), so avoid very calcareous water. When no flowers are on the tree, it is a good idea to often spray the foliage with lime-free water. 

Fertilizing

Apply a small amount of solid organic fertilizer every four weeks or use a liquid fertilizer in a low concentration every week during the growing season. Use a fertilizer with a balanced N-P-K ratio. In winter fertilize once a month with a low dose of liquid fertilizer if the tree is kept in a warm place. Do not fertilize unhealthily or not growing serissas.

Pruning and wiring

The serissa tolerates hard pruning which should be executed in early spring, if necessary. Young trees are trimmed back to 2 leaves when the shoots have produced 4 – 5 leaves. Older trees are trimmed less as long they are flowering but are pruned thoroughly after flowering. Every two or three years the branches must be cut back to old wood in order to keep the tree shape compact. Branches and shoots can be wired at any time, but they are delicate and must be wired with great care. Remove the wire after approximately six months before it cuts into the bark.

Repotting

Repot the serissa every two years and use a standard soil mix. Prune the roots only moderately. The roots smell unpleasant when they are cut.

Propagation

The serissa can easily be propagated from semi-hardwood cuttings.

Pests and diseases

Aphids, root aphids, or spider mites can attack the serissa. Use a specific pesticide and try to increase humidity. Overwatering or bad soil can cause root rot. Then repot the tree, cut off damaged roots and plant it in fresh, well-draining soil. Try to improve the conditions for your tree.

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PYRACANTHA FIRETHORN

Pyracantha Firethorn

Placement

The firethorn likes a sunny or semi-shaded position during the growing season. It needs a certain amount of sunlight to produce fruit but should be protected from extreme heat and sun in hotter climates. Pyracanthas are frost-hardy, but when they are planted in containers it is advisable to protect them from strong frost and cold wind. A cold frame is a good place for winter protection.

Watering

Always keep the rootball slightly moist. In summer, when the tree produces flowers and fruits, it needs a lot of water and must not dry out. But also take care not to overwater the firethorn. In winter it needs less water.

Fertilizing

Apply solid organic fertilizer every four weeks or use a liquid fertilizer every week during the growing season. Use a balanced fertilizer with sufficient phosphorous and potassium to promote flowering and fruit development.

Pruning and wiring

Spring or late summer is a good time to thin out a dense canopy and remove dead parts. New shoots are trimmed back to two leaves during the growth period when they have elongated. Even hard pruning is tolerated and the Pyracantha bonsai will bud willingly from old wood, provided that it is healthy and vigorous. Large leaves can be removed at any time. Most shaping can be done with scissors.

Pruning and wiring

Wiring is possible but beware of the thorns. Older branches of Pyracantha Bonsai are stiff and brittle, but younger twigs are flexible and can be shaped easily. If you want to do a lot of wiring on a firethorn it could be wise to cut off the thorns first. The use of guy wires can sometimes be a better option.

Repotting

Repot the firethorn tree every two years and older trees every three to five years in early spring. It takes root pruning well and has no special demands concerning the soil. Use a well-draining standard soil mix. The firethorn can grow in slightly acidic, neutral or even alkaline soils.

Propagation

The firethorn tree can be propagated from seed, cuttings, or air-layering. Semi-hardwood cuttings can be taken in summer.

Pests and diseases

The firethorn can be attacked by various pests and diseases. Aphids, scale, spider mites, leaf miners, and caterpillars can occur as well as fire blight, which is a bacterial infection, or the fungal infections scab or sooty mold. Use a specific pesticide in case of an infestation. Root rot can occur when the tree is overwatered. 

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PRIVET (LIGUSTRUM)

Placement

The privet prefers a bright position, with direct sunlight at least part of the day. While most Privet species have to be kept outdoor and might only need some protection against hard frost, the Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinensis), for example, is also sold as an indoor tree and should be placed inside the house during the winter.

Watering

On hot days the privet needs a lot of water and must be watered thoroughly as soon as the soil gets dry. In Winter waterless but take care not to let the rootball dry out completely. If very calcareous water is used, the privet can show deficiency symptoms like chlorosis.

Fertilizing

Apply solid organic fertilizer every four weeks or use a liquid fertilizer every week during the growing season. Always apply the liquid fertilizer on moist soil.

Pruning and wiring

The privet takes trimming and pruning very well and can also be defoliated. If you want your tree to flower, don't trim the shoots until summer. When you wire the privet, take care not to damage the soft bark of the twigs and branches.

Repotting

Repot the privet every two or three years. It takes root-pruning quite well. The privet is not very demanding to the soil, so you can use a standard soil mix.

Propagation

The privet is easily propagated from cuttings and can also be air-layered. It is possible to grow privets from seed but those take a long time to germinate.

Pests and diseases

Aphids, scale, whiteflies, and weevils can attack the Privet but can be controlled with a specific insecticide. If wilt or mildew occurs, a special fungicide is needed. For more detailed information on these techniques.

The leaves of most Privet species are ovate and opposite and the small white scented flowers, which appear at the tips of new shoots in summer, are followed by small black fruit which is moderately poisonous. The privet is a strong plant, takes all bonsai styling techniques very well, and is also a good choice for beginners.

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MONKEY THORN APIESDORING (SENEGALIA GALPINII)

Monkey Thorn Apiesdoring (Senegalia galpinii) 

This is a fast-growing, large tree with luxuriant, light green foliage. It is ideal for Bonsai.

Propagate from Seed.

Soak seeds overnight in hot water. Sow in river sand and cover with vermiculite. Keep moist and protect the seedlings from frost in the first few years.

Drought resistant

But always keep your Bonsai trees damp.

Thorn trees prefer full sun, about 4 hours morning sun, a day. 

You are required to constantly trim off unwanted growth. Pruning will encourage new side growth, with branch movement and character, the characteristics of a good bonsai. Cutting too close to the thorn creates a knuckle. So it is advisable to leave a space between the two internodes to allow die back. 

Repotting

The tree may become pot-bound within 5 years and the nutrients depleted. In spring, as the buds start to show and swell, gently remove the bonsai from its container. Uncoil the roots by raking out the roots. You may find that the thorn trees have a very long taproot. Removing this taproot can kill the tree. You need to ensure that there are other feeder roots, that can take over from the taproot. Remove about 30-50% of outer soil and roots. Follow the normal planting routine of bonsai. Place in a shady spot until new growth emerges.

Indoors?

They can only be brought into the home for a week or so at a time - for display purposes - before being returned to their permanent home. Leaving it indoors for longer, will starve it of its natural growing light, and slowly starve it, with possible dire consequences. We recommend organic pellets because as one water the nutrients are slowly released over a longer period of time.

When the tree has lost its leaves, you can stop feeding.

Blogs
JUNIPER PROCUMBENS NANA

Placement

Place the tree outside, year-round, in a bright location with lots of sunlight. The Juniper cannot live indoors. During the winter protect the tree once temperatures drop below 15 °F (-10 °C). Some species change their foliage color during frosty periods to a purplish brown which is a part of their internal frost protection mechanism. Don’t worry they will turn green again in spring.

Watering

Be careful not to overwater, as the juniper’s roots don't like soil wetness. Before you water, the soil should be slightly dry. Misting the tree can be done regularly, especially after the tree has been repotted because it benefits from air humidity.

Fertilizing

Use normal organic fertilizer pellets every month during the growing season or liquid fertilizer every week. If you’d like to see strong growth you can apply some higher nitrogen levels in the spring.

Pruning and wiring

To develop the foliage pads, long shoots that stick out of the silhouette can be pinched or cut at the base with sharp scissors throughout the growing season. Do not trim the juniper like a hedge because the removal of all growing tips will weaken the tree and the cut will turn the needles brown. When the foliage pads become too dense they must be thinned out with sharp scissors at the base. The Juniper Bonsai is generally a strong tree that also withstands aggressive pruning very well. But it cannot bud again from bare tree parts, so take care that there is some foliage left on every branch you wish to keep alive. 

Junipers produced for Bonsai are often heavily wired when they are very young. Dramatically twisted shapes are very popular and correspond with the natural shapes that used to grow in the Japanese mountains. Junipers can be bent aggressively, but be sure to wrap branches with raffia or tape for protection. Use caution when bending areas with deadwood as those parts do break easily. If they are large and old, you can split the deadwood to bend the more flexible living parts. The foliage pads should be wired and fanned out after thinning, to let light and air get in, otherwise, the inner parts of the foliage pads will die, and dense pads also increase the risk of pest infestation. Aesthetically, we want unobstructed structures to avoid the juniper from looking like broccoli.

Repotting

Repot the Juniper Bonsai tree once every two years using a basic, or slightly more draining soil mixture. Very old trees can be repotted at longer intervals. Do not prune the roots too aggressively.

Propagation

Use seeds or cuttings for propagation. Many well-suited juniper species in different sizes can be found in most nurseries. You can usually find good raw material for Bonsai there. Old junipers can be found in gardens, concrete pots, and on cemeteries, with old graves that will be cleared, and if you are lucky the owner will allow you to dig one out for little money or a new plant. Specialized Bonsai traders offer everything from young plants, pre-Bonsai, and pre-styled juniper trees up to high-value Bonsai in various styles and shapes.

Pests and diseases

If junipers are well cared for and placed in an ideal location they are very resistant to pests. Make sure not to allow foliage pads to get too dense otherwise, pests can settle in them more easily. During winter the junipers must be kept in a place with enough light and they must be checked for pests regularly even in winter.
Junipers can sometimes get infested with spider mites, juniper scale, juniper aphids, and juniper needle miners as well as juniper webworms. Traditional insecticide/miticide sprays will help but if you want to get rid of pests, you should investigate why the tree was prone to infestation.

Fungal rust diseases are a big problem. Juniper species have different levels of susceptibility to rust fungus. Some are even considered resistant to fungal rust diseases. As a rule of thumb, the blue-green junipers are more resistant than those with yellowish-green foliage. The Japanese junipers are also not infested often. You can find files that list many juniper species and cultivars and their susceptibility/resistance level to rust fungus on the internet. The rust fungus infests the junipers permanently and cannot be cured. It causes swellings that erupt with brown galls.

During winter, particularly in rainy weather, the galls produce large, orange, gelatin-like tendrils, full of spores that infest the leaves of pear trees or hawthorn/crabapples. You can identify the fungus when you see orange spots on the pear leaves. In late summer brownish proliferations grow from the bottom-sides of the leaves which release spores that infest junipers.

While the pear trees in most cases are not fatally affected – they are newly infected each year, and they can even be treated successfully with a fungicide. An infected juniper normally cannot be cured. The visibly infested branches die in most cases and the fungus can emerge on other tree parts. Removing the parts with the swellings and galls is no guarantee that the fungus will not reappear. Some people have a different opinion, but it’s best to burn rust-infested juniper immediately or put it into the garbage instead of your compost heap.

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JAPANESE MAPLES

Placement

Japanese Maple Bonsai do really well in sunny and airy locations, but when temperatures rise to 30 °C or above, it should be placed somewhere with indirect sunlight to prevent damaging the leaves. The Japanese Maple is frost-hardy, even when trained as a Bonsai.

Watering

A Japanese Maple Bonsai must be watered daily during the growing season. During the hotter days in the growing season, it's sometimes necessary to water your tree several times, if the soil is well-drained and the tree is healthy and vigorous. Avoid watering with calcareous water as the Japanese Maple prefers a neutral or slightly acid pH-value.

Fertilizing

Solid, organic fertilizers contain all the required micronutrients, and they take effect slowly and gently. They are very well-proven, especially for more mature Japanese Maple Bonsai. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully for the proper dosage. If you'd like a stronger growth on young plants or raw material, you can combine your regular dosage with a liquid fertilizer once a week. Avoid fertilizers with a high nitrogen concentration to avoid unnecessarily large leaves and internodes.

Pruning

Trimming shoots and twigs can be done year-round. Strong branches should be pruned in autumn or summer, when callus growth is quick, to prevent excessive bleeding. When pruning thick branches we advise using a cut paste product to prevent fungal diseases that can enter through pruning wounds. The Maple is particularly vulnerable to some fungal infections and diseases. New growth should be pruned back to one or two pairs of leaves. Mature Bonsai with a delicate ramification can be pinched in order to keep the twigs thin. After the first leaf pair has unfolded, remove the soft little tip of the shoot between them to prevent the twigs from thickening. This method weakens the tree in the long run and should be applied specifically and thoughtfully.

Repotting

The Japanese Maple Bonsai should be repotted every two years. It has strong roots that grow quickly and usually fill the pot in a short time, so be sure to prune the roots efficiently as per the instructions in the repotting Bonsai section. Use a well-drained soil mixture.

Propagation

The Japanese maple can easily be propagated by planting seeds, cuttings, or air layering in the summer.

Pests and diseases

The Japanese Maple is a very sturdy tree species, but it can be affected by sap-sucking insects known as aphids in spring. Get rid of aphids with a standard insecticide spray, and follow the direction on the label. Verticillium wilt is a fungal disease that can cause the Japanese Maple Bonsai to partially or completely die. This disease is not treatable and can be transmitted to other trees via your Bonsai tools. You can identify it on fresh cuts as black spots in the wood. If you suspect Verticillium is present in your tree(s) be sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect your tools.

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FICUS NATALENSIS – NATAL FIG

An evergreen or semi-deciduous tree native to Southern Africa with distribution stretching from Senegal to South-Eastern Africa. Ficus natalensis has a wide-spreading crown and can reach a mature height of 30m when growing conditions are conducive. This tree can withstand very dry conditions and is able to tolerate low temperatures.

The leaves of the Natal Fig are elliptic are arranged spiral manner and the bark is smooth.

As the tree grows older, it produces a few too many aerial roots 

This tree has small foliage and will reduce even more with pruning.


Full Sun is not a problem as long as the tree is kept damp

This tree bears small figs in spring and summer.

This tree has invasive roots that turn to Greyish barks, most suitable for Root over rock Bonsai 

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COTONEASTER

Cotoneaster

Placement

Depending on the exact species, most of them prefer a place in full sun during the growing season, but they should be placed in semi-shade on the hottest summer days. Although Cotoneasters are frost-hardy when they are planted into the ground, they should be protected from frost when they are planted in small containers.

Watering

The Cotoneaster needs a lot of water in summer, but it can survive short droughts. Even plants whose leaves have died due to lack of water can recover in some cases and produce new leaves. In winter the roots should be kept only slightly moist. Overwatering can cause root rot. Cotoneasters are not demanding in regard of water quality.

Fertilizing

During the growing season feed the tree every week with liquid fertilizer or apply a solid organic fertilizer every four weeks. Use a balanced product with sufficient phosphorous, potassium, and micronutrients to promote flowers and fruit.

Pruning and wiring

Cotoneasters take constant pruning very well. Older branches are best pruned in spring. Young shoots are constantly trimmed during the growing season. Cotoneasters can be wired at any time of the year. Younger branches are quite flexible, older ones become quite stiff and can snap when you try to bend them heavily, but in most cases, they can be shaped with guy wires.

Repotting

Young trees can be repotted yearly, in early spring. Older cotoneasters are repotted every two or three years. The roots can be pruned considerably. Use a well-draining standard soil mix. Cotoneasters can tolerate a wide range of pH values between acidic and alkaline.

Propagation

Cotoneasters grow easily from seed in spring or from cuttings in mid-summer. Air-layering is also possible.

Pests and diseases

Cotoneasters can be bothered by aphids, scale, caterpillars, borers, spider mites, fire blight, bacterial blight, powdery mildew, and diverse leaf spot and root rot fungal diseases. In some regions, fire blight is a great problem. Cotoneaster horizontalis and some cultivars of Cotoneaster microphyllus seem to be less prone to fire blight. If pests or diseases occur, use a specific pesticide or ask a professional gardener for help in severe cases.

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CHINESE ELM (ULMUS PARVIFOLIA)

Chinese Elm (Ulmus parvifolia)

The Chinese elm thrives in either full sun and/or partial shade. In temperate climates, it can be left outdoors even during the winter months.

The Chinese Elm can not endure prolonged drought or constant moisture. Wait until the topsoil is dry, and then water generously, making sure the entire root mass is watered. 

The Chinese elm thickens rather quickly and requires frequent trimming in order to produce a dense network of fine branches. Allow the shoot to extend 3 or 4 nodes before pruning it back to 1 or 2 leaves. The tree buds well from old wood after strong pruning. The best time to prune larger branches is in late autumn. The Chinese elm is ideal for shaping with standard wiring


Chinese Elm trees should be repotted every two years when they are young. As they grow older and larger they can be repotted in longer intervals. No matter what the age, the best time to repot is during the spring. The elm's roots tend to grow crooked and intertwined, so it's important that root pruning be done carefully and with precision to create a nice nebari. It has no special soil requirements, but it's best to select well-draining soil. 


The Chinese Elm is often infested by spider mites or scale when humidity is low. Appropriate pesticides should be used, and frequent spraying with water helps to deter pests and diseases.

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BUDDLEJA SALIGNA (WHITE OLIVE)

Buddleja Saligna (White Olive)

The bark is fissured and flakey with branches at 4 angles. It is more grey than brown.

The old trunks are fluted appearing muscular due to their vertical sap flow. The stems can also be twisted with damage caused by termites.

Leaves are oblong, green on top with pale grey below.

The wood is tough and hard making it good for jins and sharis. 

Propagation

Propagation is easily done through seed and cuttings.

Pruning

Constant leaf removal is essential for small leaves and ramifications. There is very little dieback, so tight pruning is possible. Foliage may become very dense leaving a hiding place for pests.

A good species for Clip and Grow Bonsai

The tree has a vertical sap flow. Two branches may be living on the same vein. By removing a lower branch too close to the trunk may stop the flow to the upper branch. A lower thick branch must be removed in stages.

Due to vertical sap flow, each branch will have a specific root. The idea is not to have two or more branches developing on the same vein being fed by the same root.

Idea for carving. The bonsais are watered regularly which causes rot. So sealing deadwood is very important. A better solution is wood glue, which gives a good brown aesthetic appeal to the deadwood This needs to be reapplied every 1 and half years.

Wiring

The branches are brittle and break easily.

When wiring on regular pruned, the growth rate is slower, the wire can be removed after 2 to 4 months. Where the tree grows fast the shape should be retained after 1 to 2 months from wiring.

Repotting

Any time of year, if the roots are not being cut, but best from May to September. Be careful of removing roots as the root is feeding a specific branch. 

A deep pot is best otherwise branches tend to die.

Repot young trees every 2 years and up to every 6 years for old trees.

Watering

Can withstand long periods of drought in the wild. In a pot, you will lose branches. Keep the tree damp.

Placement

Love full sun. Leaving them in full sun miniaturize and thickens the leaf compared to trees in full shade.

Are frost-hardy.

They do not tolerate indoors. 

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BOUGAINVILLEA

Placement

The bougainvillea needs full sun and high temperatures for producing flowers and for that reason it should be placed outside in a sunny place during the growing season. Bougainvillea flower continuously from spring to autumn in warm-hot regions. As bonsai, the flowers should be removed when they fade to encourage a second blooming period.

During the winter months, the plant should be kept on the dry side but must be watered copiously as soon as the buds start swelling and when the plant is in bloom.

Watering

Water the bougainvillea thoroughly when the soil gets dry, but avoid constant soil wetness which will lead to root rot, fungal problems, insect susceptibility, and death. The species prefers a pH value of 6 to 6.5, so avoid using highly calcareous water.

Fertilizing

Apply solid organic fertilizer once a month or use a liquid fertilizer every week during the growing season and every two weeks in winter.

Pruning and wiring

Cut the shoots after flowering, leaving two leaves on each, and prune twigs and branches in autumn or winter. The bougainvillea can bud from old wood after hard pruning. If you want the tree to flower, don't pinch and trim it too much in summer. Use cut paste on larger cut wounds. Those heal over slowly. Wiring is possible on young shoots and twigs but older branches are very stiff and break easily. Beware of the thorns when you are wiring bougainvilleas. 

Repotting

Repot smaller bougainvilleas every two or three years. Larger specimens can be repotted every three to five years. A well-draining standard soil mix is fine for this species. The roots of the bougainvillea are yellow, thin, and delicate. Take good care not to tear off the roots when you remove the rootball from the pot! Untangle the roots tenderly and don't use the root rake with force. Root pruning is tolerated well. 

Propagation

The bougainvillea can be propagated from cuttings. Best results are achieved in spring and summer with semi-hardwood cuttings or root cuttings. Air-layering is also possible.

Pests and diseases

The bougainvillea tends to be pest resistant as long as is kept healthy and free from wet soil conditions or lack of light. Weak plants can be attacked by powdery mildew, aphids, scale, mealybug, whitefly, or caterpillars. In that case, use specific pesticides and try to improve the conditions for your tree. When the flowers wilt, cut them off to prevent rot. 

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BLACK MONKEY THORN SWART APIESDORING

Black Monkey Thorn Swart Apiesdoring (Senegalia burkei)

This is a fast-growing, large tree with luxuriant, light green foliage. It is ideal for Bonsai. The Black Monkey Thorn may be adapted to stay indoors in a well-lit and airy room.

Propagate from Seed.

Soak seeds overnight in hot water. Sow in river sand and cover with vermiculite. Keep moist and protect the seedlings from frost in the first few years.

Drought resistant

But always keep your Bonsai trees damp.

Thorn trees prefer full sun, about 4 hours morning sun, a day. 

You are required to constantly trim off unwanted growth. Pruning will encourage new side growth, with branch movement and character, the characteristics of a good bonsai. Cutting too close to the thorn creates a knuckle. So it is advisable to leave a space between the two internodes to allow die back. 

Repotting

The tree may become pot-bound within 5 years and the nutrients depleted. In spring, as the buds start to show and swell, gently remove the bonsai from its container. Uncoil the roots by raking out the roots. You may find that the thorn trees have a very long taproot. Removing this taproot can kill the tree. You need to ensure that there are other feeder roots, that can take over from the taproot. Remove about 30-50% of outer soil and roots. Follow the normal planting routine of bonsai. Place in a shady spot until new growth emerges.

Indoors?

They can only be brought into the home for a week or so at a time - for display purposes - before being returned to their permanent home. Leaving it indoors for longer, will starve it of its natural growing light, and slowly starve it, with possible dire consequences. We recommend organic pellets because as one water the nutrients are slowly released over a longer period of time.

When the tree has lost its leaves, you can stop feeding.

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BAOBAB

Germinating from Seed

Seeds need to be removed from the fruit and cleaned, seed can then also be placed in boiling water for 24hrs - do not boil the seeds. It is very important that the soil mixture has good drainage. Do not overwater during the first few weeks to prevent rotting. Seeds take between 5 - 365 days or even longer to germinate.

Watering 

Once the leaves start turning yellow at the beginning of autumn - gradually reduce watering. Stop watering when plus-minus 35% of leaves turn yellow. Do not water trees during the winter. However, in hot areas, you can give the tree a little bit of water once a week, but according to our knowledge chances are very good that trees will rot and may die.

Only give a little bit of water when the trees are sprouting new buds, usually mid-September.

Do not overwater during this period but gradually increase water and fertilizer (preferably organic) as more and more leaves develop. Only once the tree is in full leaf can it receive as much water and fertilizer as other trees.

Allow surface soil to dry out a bit before watering again. Reduce watering during rainy periods.

Where to Keep your Baobab

Baobabs like direct sunlight for as long as possible during the active growing period. The more sun the better they grow. Never keep the tree indoors during the growing period. During winter the tree MUST be kept indoors. The tree does not need sunlight during the winter months. Protect the trees from cold below 5 degrees.

Transplanting your Baobab

Baobabs are easy to transplant just stick to the basics. Baobabs can be transplanted from September to December. Baobabs have potato-like roots. Always make sure the cut through the root is done with a sharp knife cut should at a right angle 90 degree with the root to keep the surface of the scar as small as possible. Let the cut dry out place in direct sunlight to dry out for about 2 to 4 weeks. Transplant in a deep bonsai pot and make sure the tree is anchored if a lot of roots were removed. Do not water for 7 to 14 days, keep in full sun, thereafter water sparingly in the beginning until the tree is full of leaves. Baobabs prefer a well-drained soil mixture.

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AZALEA

Placement

Azaleas thrive in a sunny spot, but during the hottest time of the day in summer it is better to provide some shade. When flowering, azaleas should be protected from rain and hot sun to make the flowers last longer. Healthy, mature azaleas can endure some frost but should be protected from colder temperatures than -7° C.

Do best in a humid atmosphere and are drought-sensitive.

Watering

Azalea Bonsai trees must not dry out but they also don't like permanent wetness. Because of this, it is necessary to check the moisture of the soil very carefully. A root ball that has gotten too dry temporarily should be dunked in a bowl of water to get thoroughly moistened again. Azaleas need slightly acid soil and hard tap water is not appropriate for them. You can use rainwater, mix rainwater with tap water or filter your tap water for the azalea Bonsai. 

Fertilizing

During the growing season, azalea Bonsai should be fed with a special azalea or rhododendron fertilizer. There are liquid azalea fertilizers which are used weekly and organic products to strew on the soil surface in longer intervals. While the trees flower quit feeding or use only half the normal dosage.

Pruning and wiring

Azalea wood is brittle, styling is preferably done via the clip-and-grow.

The azalea is one of the very few tree species that are basally dominant. This means that the lower branches grow stronger than the weaker top, which leads to the shape of a shrub in nature. Therefore prune the branches at the base harder than the top. The Azalea withstands strong pruning very well and even produces new shoots from branches on which no leaves are left. Immediately after flowering the wilted flowers and ovaries are cut off or pinched by hand. This point of time is also favorable for all other pruning and trimming works because in summer the new flower buds for the next year will develop. If you prune your tree too late there will be no or nearly no flowers in the following year. Unwanted shoots from the trunk or the base of the branches can be removed at any time of the year. Extensive styling works on raw material are often done in spring and in that case, flowering is omitted consciously. The wood of the azalea is brittle so that wiring and bending should be done with great care.

Repotting

Every two years, either in spring or after flowering, the azalea should be repotted. Prune the roots with great care because they are very thin and matted and can easily be torn when you try to disentangle them. It is important to use special soil for azaleas that is lime-free. 

Propagation

Azaleas are propagated from cuttings in spring and summer. Depending on the cultivar the success rate can differ, but many customary cultivars produce roots easily and quickly. In the hot time of the year, transparent sheets can be useful to protect the young cuttings from excessive evaporation.

Pests and diseases

Azaleas are not often infested by pests. But low humidity can support spider mites which should be treated with a suitable pesticide and improved humidity. Vine weevil can eat the leaves and their grubs cause great damage to the roots. With special pesticides or nematodes, the beetles and their grubs can be eliminated. Root rot, caused by a fungus, can occur when the soil of the azalea is too wet and compacted. There are appropriate fungicides to pour into the soil that are effective against root rot. Another fungal disease causes leaf galls. In spring and summer leaves and possibly stems become thickened, curled, fleshy, and turn pale green. In the later stages of the disease, the galls become covered with a white powdery substance and finally they turn brown and hard. Leaf galls are also stimulated by wetness and they appear most often on cultivars with plain-colored red and purple flowers. The best way to handle this disease is to remove the galls as soon as they are discovered and protect the azalea from too much rain. For more detailed information on these techniques.

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AMERICAN SWAMP CYPRESS

Placement

The Bald Cypress needs a lot of light and warmth and should therefore be placed in full sun during the growing season. In a warm climate, it can be kept outside all year round. In areas, with colder winters the Bald Cypress must be protected against very low temperatures as it tolerates hardly any frost when it is planted in a container.

Watering

During the summer the Bald Cypress needs a lot of water and if you can't water it often enough during the day it can be a good idea to put the bonsai pot into a shallow bowl filled with water. In winter, when the leaves have fallen, the Bald Cypress needs less water but should never dry out.

Fertilizing

Use liquid fertilizer from spring to autumn every week or every two weeks regarding the dosage instructions. During the growing season, solid organic fertilizer can also be applied.

Pruning and wiring

New shoots can best be shortened when they begin to produce lateral ramification. If they are pruned too early, they often die back in autumn. In autumn or early spring branches can be pruned. The Bald Cypress tends to produce a lot of new buds on the trunk, branches, and forks. All those buds which are not useful for the design of the tree should be removed at an early stage. Young branches and twigs can easily be wired and shaped, older ones become stiff and brittle. Lowering the branches is done best by using guy wires.

Repotting

Bald Cypresses have strong root growth and the roots become thick very quickly. They are not hard, though, and can be pruned easily. Younger trees should be repotted every two years with root pruning, especially if the growing rootball pushes itself upward from the pot. Older trees can be repotted every three to five years. 

Propagation

The Bald Cypress can be propagated by seeds and cuttings quite easily.

Pests and diseases

Pests and diseases hardly ever attack the Bald Cypress. For more detailed information on these techniques.