FAQ #2:  Training Keiki Bonsai & True Indoor Bonsai
                This section is to show photos, compare notes, and research better ways to grow True Indoor Bonsai™.  In this FAQ, I'll print photos of special interest that can serve to illustrate comments, suggestions or recommendations. All customers are invited to send photos with specific questions and the most pertinent will be posted to help others.
Joni's KB mar 2001.jpg (11696 bytes)  
"Is it time to prune?

  Where to prune?"

 
J. Young, Kapolei, Hawaii
(March 1, 2001)

            I was VERY impressed with the growth of this Keiki Bonsai as the photo was taken just two months after it left the Kurtistown nursery! There were 5 or 6 new leaves and the size of the plant had doubled!  That's great!  The plant is being grown in the warm part of Honolulu and grows within 12" of a window that gets full sun for much of a day. Just a thin white cloth curtain prevents it from being in the direct sun. During the two months, the estimated day temperatures ranged from about 75F to 85F with night temperatures 10 to 15 degrees cooler.  Anyone able to get this quality of growth will likely be successful. Large leaves are a good indication of strong growth. Notice that the main stem is beginning to stretch.  Don't try to get small leaves at this point. It is more important to build the structure and to do this, the plant must be growing vigorously enough to throw out 2 or 3 new growth points when growth is pruned back.

Pruning sketch mar 2001.jpg (18862 bytes)           IS IT TIME TO PRUNE?  You could, but you can also allow the plant to grow another 3 to 5 leaves to really help thicken the trunk.  That will also help enlarge the root system so when you do cut, there will be new vigorous replacement growth.  At our nursery, for the larger bonsai, we'll let plants grow 2' to 3' tall and cut back hard.

WHERE TO PRUNE? 

PRUNING PRINCIPLE #1:  A new growth point will develop nearest to the cut end at the joint of the leaf stem and the branch. It will be aimed in the same direction of the leaf stem.

                Dwarf Schefflera grows quickly so pruning is the most effective training technique. By carefully selecting where the cut is made, you can determine where the new growth point develops. If your tree is growing VERY strongly,  it will likely throw out more than one growth point. It's a nice little plant with a lot of trunk and root character. I'd keep it as a compact bonsai and prune off just about 1/2" pass the last cut. This will add a 1/2" stub and there likely will be 2-3 new shoots. Select the one or two that are facing in the right direction and rub off any excess.  By doing so, top growth will slow down and one or more of the other branches will become more vigorous.

PRUNING PRINCIPLE #2: Prune only the portion growing vigorously

        True Indoor Bonsai is the art of pruning with an appreciation of a plant's natural growth tendencies!       (March 30, 2001)
Joni'sKB82002before.jpg (12643 bytes)
HERE'S THE SAME PLANT
NINE MONTHS LATER!
 
J. Young, Kapolei, Hawaii
(December 15, 2001)

   BEFORE,  and

Joni'sKB8jan2002after.jpg (13188 bytes)   AFTER PRUNING!

        The height was reduced, extra leaves taken off to expose the thickened trunk, and the cut off top section being rooted to form a new plant to train as bonsai! This cutting has rooted. (See below)

                NOTE:   This FAQ section once included correspondence with Loredana Quadro and including detailed information about rooting cuttings.  Her cutting has rooted and the entire series is now posted on a seperate LOREDANA'S PAGE.

                Rooting cuttings for the first time is a real thrill! This is a pre-bonsai horticultural area.   Generally,  bonsai professionals will only root and train cuttings taken off from outstanding culivars.  While more difficult,  training from seeds produce the highest quality.  But whether you grow it from seeds, cuttings, or air-layers,   training a bonsai trained from plants that you've propagated yourself is a fascinating satisfying hobby!  To see a bonsai created from a cutting rooted in 1976, go to Cross-Country

                Based upon the increasing number of workshops at the Fuku-Bonsai Cultural Center and by our retailers,  we will be amending the Keiki Bonsai Handbook, creating a Teacher's Manual, and make bulk quantities of workshop components available for classes.   Please write for more information.  ~~~ David

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