The flowers have finished on the Callistemon so it is time to prune. Follow this link to an article about how and why to prune Callistemon bonsai.
The branches look a bit untidy at the moment. Callistemon flower on the tips of the shoots that grew last year. For many years I kept it well trimmed but, of course, was cutting off all the potential flowers every time I pinched the shoots. With advice from Derek, a master with Aussie plants as bonsai, I learned to allow the shoots to grow and mature so it can produce flowers. After flowering it is pruned quite hard then new shoots are again allowed to grow and mature for the following year’s flowers.
You will note that the flowers on this species are rather less impressive than many we see in gardens but I think the pale pink blush is nice on this bonsai. Flowers are also smaller than many which fits in well for a bonsai sized tree.
December is summer in Australia so here at Shibui Bonsai it is time to re-pot some of my native bonsai and potensai.
I started the day with my Callistemon ‘ waterswept’ bonsai. This one was slip potted into the current pot a few years ago but has not had a proper re-pot for quite a few years. It has finished flowering so it was time to stop procrastinating and get on with it.
Here is the tree before. The design is based on trees that grow in the bed of the nearby Ovens river with roots clambering over the rocks in midstream and all the growth battered downstream by frequent floods.
This one only produced a few flowers at the top of the tree this year. All the flowers have finished so it is a good time to re-pot.
Summer is also time for repotting many of our Australian native plants. I was repotting some banksias and came across this interesting phenomenon.
We hear so much about Australian Native plants being allergic to phosphorus and needing very careful fertilising. the truth, however, is that only a very few Aussie natives are sensitive to phosphorus and there are also a few plants from other parts of te world that are phosphate intolerant as well. I give most of my Australian natives the same fertiliser that I use on the exotics and they grow very well on it.
The exception is Banksias and here is the reason
That white patch that looks like fungus is actually a patch of specialised roots called proteoid roots that have evolved in some of the proteacea plants to help them extract phosphorus from the nutrient poor soils they tend to live in.
Banksias are iconic Australian plants – the fact that they also adapt well to bonsai is a bonus. I have seen some really great banksia bonsai on display at shows in Melbourne and Canberra and cannot understand why we have not been growing more of these. Continue reading