I love flowers…So when I first got interested in Bonsai some of my first questions were about flowering bonsai.Things like:
- do bonsai trees flower and if so
- which trees have flowers
- and finally when and how many times do they flower.
There is a wide section of Bonsai trees with flowers. You can find both outdoor and indoor Bonsai Trees. Some Bonsai trees flower only in certain times of the year while others do so all year round. I think both the indoor and outdoor Flowering Bonsai Trees are truly beautiful. Flowering Bonsai require proper care just like the non-flowering ones. However special care should be taken with them. For flowering trees I would say your goals are twofold;
- Grow a healthy tree
- Nurture it for flower blossoms
Styles of flowering Bonsai
Most flowering plants will be of either ;
- The informal style (Bunjin) where the top end of the tree is wider than the trunk
- The classic style (koten) where the top end of the tree is smaller than the trunk which tapers off towards the top.
Examples of trees
Below are a few examples to show you how marvelous these trees can be
This evergreen plant is native to various parts of Africa and Arabia and is known by different names including Desert Rose, Mock Azalea, Impala Lilly, kudu and sabi star.
Prefers a sunny location-the more sun light it receives the better. During the cold winter months, keep your plant indoors if possible in a location where it still had access to the natural sunlight (facing)
Being a desert tolerant plant, it does not require excess amounts of water but a fair amount
Potentilla (Potentilla Fruiticosa)
This hardy shrub is often used for Bonsai. During flowering, it will have yellow and orange flowers which add to its appeal.
To encourage flower growth, do not prune new growth since the flowers appear at the end of the new shoots.
I came across this article that shows amazing growth and progression.See a master at work.
Are tropical plants with stunning flowers that come in different colors, shapes and sizes that will generally thrive in warmer climate. The brightly colored flowers are actually modified leaves.
This plant is in its element in warm climates and should therefore be protected from very cold/freezing temperatures.Although it will do better in tropical climate but with proper care can also do well in other climates if they are protected from the cold.
Regular watering (not too much).The plant needs to be repotted every 2-3 years with roots trimmed during the summer
Dwarf crab apple
There are so many varieties of this tree This tree, found in Europe, Asia and North America is very popular as a flowering bonsai.Will develop beautiful fragrant flowers in the spring of varying colors depending on the variety.If possible they should be placed outside in direct sunlight.
Will have flowers of different colors depending on the variety including red or white flowers.
Fertilize and water plant.
To improve on aeration you can add some lava rock during transplantation.
Rhododendron indicumThis evergreen plant has beautiful flowers. The color and size of the flowers depend on the variety of tree chosen including red, pink and purple.It is well suited for beginners who are looking for flowering bonsai. It is also a good indoor plant
Will do well in acidic soil and water
Below is an example of a Kurume Azalea bonsai in the US National Aroberetum that has been trained since 1982.
Common species include Tamarisk chinensis, Tamarix juniperina, tamarix pentandra.
A native to China and Korea that has been introduced to different parts of the world.This ever green tree has beautiful pink flowersThis coastal plant is truly beautiful with its fragile looking and feathery foliage and plume colored flowers.They are commonly styled with a weeping foliage
Known by various names including Frangipani, Pagoda tree, Temple tree and West Indian Jasmine
This tree is native to the West Indies but is found in other parts of the world with warmer climates. It has beautiful flowers of various colors and scents. It is also gaining favor as a bonsai plant
Taking care of Bonsai that flower
Flowering bonsai require the same treatment with regards to styling them and caring for as other trees.
However in order to get to enjoy flowers on your tree and also to maintain the general health of the tree you need to pay attention to the following.
Flowering trees need access to adequate sunlight
Fertilizing: For beautiful flowers, use fertilizer with low nitrogen and higher phosperus and potassium
Pruning plays a big role in whether a plant will produce flowers or not since various plants will have different growth and flowering patterns. I was surprised when I found out that that some species including my 2 favorites (bougainvillea and potentilla) flower at the end of new shoots while others will flower on shoots of the previous year like the flowering quince and crab apple.
If you do not want fruits or for flowers that do not bear fruit. Flowers should not be left on the tree too long.
In situations where the tree has too many flowers some of them should be removed since they use so much energy that the plant will become weak
To enjoy the flowers longer, protect them from water, keep them away from the rain and care should also be taken when watering that they do not get wet because firstly this will make them wilt faster but will might also encourage fungus growth
Remove the flowers before they become seeds
Remove flowers before they start to fade/wilt since sometimes when these petals come into contact with water, can encourage fungal growth.
Here’s a link to one of the blogs that I find myself going back to again and again for valuable information.