- 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.
Where to prune?"
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 75°F to 85°F 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.
|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?
Note where the branch was last cut. (This is represented by the dark mark across the branch at the lower left.)
Note that marks on the stem will tell you how many leaves have grown since then.
Note also that the marks are fairly close together near the last cut, but become farther apart as the new stem grows more vigorously and that the leaves become larger.
Note that leaves #2 and #5 are facing up and that the other leaves face outwards in various directions.
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.
So if you want the new growth to aim upwards, and want a compact plant, prune off the branch between the leaf marks of leaves #2 and #3.
If you want the new growth to aim upwards, but want a larger bonsai, prune off the branch between the leaf marks of leaves #5 and #6.
Use a sharp pruner to make a clean cut and spread a little Vaseline petroleum jelly on the cut ends to help the branch to heal.
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!
In this example, only the top branch is growing vigorously and should be pruned. After a branch is pruned, it stops growing for a while and growth shifts to another part of the tree.
Growth tends to be on the side that gets the most light, so for even growth or as a training technique, face the side of the plant where you want stronger growth to the strongest light.
Usually there is a natural apical dominance in which the top of the tree grows more vigorously. If this is allowed, the lower branches get weaker and weaker and may die off. To keep lower branches strong, prune the top more often!
- True Indoor Bonsai is the art of pruning with an appreciation of a plant's natural growth tendencies! (March 30, 2001)
- HERE'S THE SAME PLANT
- NINE MONTHS LATER!
- J. Young, Kapolei, Hawaii
- (December 15, 2001)
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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