Chojubai – Dwarf Japanese Quince

The autumn colours are gone and winter is usually pretty drab in the bonsai garden unless you have flowering Japanese Quince. Also known as Chaenomeles, most of the garden varieties flower later in winter, before the leaves sprout but this variety, called ‘Chojubai’ has occasional flowers all year round and a more concentrated display right through winter.

Chojubai flowers

The brilliant orange flowers are small which is an advantage for bonsai.






Growth habit is a multi stemmed shrub. It appears to be difficult to grow as a single stemmed tree so most Chojubai bonsai seem to be clump style plants.

Michael Hagedorn has assembled some great photos in this post on his website – Diminutive Jewels

I acquired my original Chojubai from Joe Morgan Payler who says he has ‘a healthy obsession’ for this variety. Here’s a link to a post on nichigobonsai with photos he has taken at Japanese bonsai shows.

Chojubai are certainly spectacular in flower but they are slow growing so you should start yours now if you hope to get one into your local bonsai show.





Shibui bonsai has limited numbers of Chojubai in 11 cm pots available now just $15 each for smaller ones or $20 for 3 year old plants similar to the one shown above.

Start a bonsai forest

The trident maples in the garden at Shibui Bonsai produce huge quantities of seed each year. This results in lots of seedlings growing in the garden beds. We usually leave a few hundred to grow on for use as bonsai.

You can germinate your own seedlings under controlled conditions but I find it far easier to let nature do that for me and I just harvest the seedlings I need from our garden beds.

Today I used some to put a trident group together. It will take a few year for this group to develop into show quality bonsai but groups are one of the quickest ways to get good results from immature material. Continue reading