re-potting Callistemon ‘waterswept’

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.





spent flowers


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.


after re-potting

After root pruning it was re-potted back into the same pot.
Potting mix is my standard mix with standard osmocote added.
I forgot to take a picture of the rootball after root pruning but the pile of old mix and roots I cut off will give you an idea how much the root ball has been reduced.

after pruning

After potting the tree back into its pot it has been given a final trim to remove the old flowers and any excess branches.
To get flowers next summer I must now leave the new shoots to grow and mature because Callistemon flower only on the shoots that grew the previous season.
Finally the tree is given a good soak in water then put back on its stand which is in full sun most of the day.


2 thoughts on “re-potting Callistemon ‘waterswept’

  1. I’ve not seen too many waterswept styles around where I am….. and this has just inspired me to give it a shot 🙂 what would be a good species to start one with? I’m in Sydney so not a vastly different climate to where you are

    • Hi Mark. Thanks for your interest.
      ‘Waterswept’ is not a traditional bonsai style but because I saw trees like this in my local rivers and liked the look and the story they told I grew the tree. Some other native bonsai growers have started to develop more trees now which is great.
      While you could probably use any species for this style I think you need to look at the species that grow in conditions where they naturally damaged by frequent floods to create waterswept bonsai. Callistemons naturally grow beside and in rivers and it was Callistemon that I first saw but other riverside species could be used. I have seen flood damaged Alocasuarinas and red gums. What other species can you think of that grow alongside and in rivers?


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