Another Year On…

I’ve been reviewing the blog lately and thinking about the progress of my trees and material in the past year.  An ideal scenario would be that everything is a year better in development but unfortunately that’s not the case.  It’s the Belfast City Autumn Show this weekend and I remember thinking last year that I would like to have a few more things to enter in the bonsai classes at the 2015 event.  For various reasons, I don’t, and next year hopefully I can enter more than my same usual 2 or 3 trees.

But there has been noticeable progress with other material still in development and that’s encouraging.  I have to sometimes remind myself that I’m choosing the long route in bonsai and things do take time to transform from garden/seedling material to competition ready bonsai trees.

This shohin sized Serissa Foetida is coming on well after a year of clip and grow techniques.  Another trunk has also unexpectedly popped up and I’ve decided to utilize it so that I now have the beginnings of a twin trunk indoor tree.


August 2014 after a hard prune.


August 2015. A new front and a minor trunk in development.

Hopefully this time next year it’ll look even better in a ceramic pot (anyone got a spare bright yellow oval?) and with taper in the minor trunk.  I’ll continue to clip both canopies to improve ramification.

Another One Bites the Dust

Ah well, there’s normally at least one casualty each year but at least they are getting fewer and I’m trying to learn from my mistakes.  This little serissa foetida cutting from a previous post has died after repotting/rootpruning earlier this year.



It was a softwood cutting from a parent bonsai two years ago and I had hopes to create mame bonsai from it but I must have repotted it too early in the year.  I thought it would be safe because it was an indoor plant but I suppose the house was still too cold for it! I want to repot the parent tree this year but hope I haven’t left it too late as it’s been putting on new growth for a while now.  Any advice anyone hasd on repotting indoor trees would be appreciated!  In the meantime, this one joins the ‘RIP’ folder on my computer.


Any ideas?

how to stop the seemingly terminal decline of this young serissa foetida?  Think I maybe went too far with the rootpruning of this! Leaves curling and turning black/dropping so I’ve put it under a plastic bag to improve humidity.  No signs of improvement yet.



First Repot of the Year

First bit of repotting for this year was at club night on Friday. This is a two year old cutting from a Serissa Foetida , a popular indoor bonsai species.



I gave it a pretty good raking out


Excellent lateral roots

The roots were spread and any upwardly growing ones removed. The thicker ones were shortened.


Into a deeper than normal pot for training purposes. The straight trunk removed. Hope to make a nice wee mame bonsai out of it in future.

Time to come in…

The recent turn in cooler weather hasn’t been good for my Serissa Foetida (Tree of a Thousand Stars) which normally stays in the house but over the summer I like to put it in the greenhouse to get more natural light and sunshine. It’s about four years old and grown from a cutting off my first tree that my wife bought me so it has sentimental value, especially since the parent tree died soon after I was given it!

It was potted into a small mica pot earlier this year and then left to extend in order to recover and thicken up.  This is it before work this afternoon:


It had lost a lot of its colour and leaves were starting to drop.  I hadn’t pruned it all this year.  In order for it to resume its usual place on the windowsill I needed to trim it so I decided to make a few styling decisions now.  As you can see, up to now I have grown this with two trunks and have shaped by pruning alone.  However, the thicker of the trunks (on your right) had two significant cut scars and also a 90 degree bend in it which always bothered me.


The rest of the that same trunk was also very straight.  So I decided to cut it off to create a single trunk tree which would display good taper and gentle movement.  Being developed from a cutting, I knew that the nebari would be promising and before I made the chop I checked to see that the new front I was thinking of would display this.


A concave cut was made slightly bigger in order to hopefully improve the transition from trunk base to the thinner part of it.  As for the rest of the tree, dead and yellow leaves were removed and elongated branches cut back to the first or second pair of leaves.  Any junctions were reduced to just two shoots.  I’m pretty happy with the big change in appearance – the tree can now return to the windowsill in the kitchen and enjoy a return to suitable temperatures.  I’ll give it a balanced feed to encourage the new growth and keep it tightly clipped until Spring and then assess how it’s doing.  It’ll need wiring at some point before the next repot.