Looking for something different?

I know some bonsai growers stick to the tried and true traditional bonsai species but here at Shibui Bonsai I am always trying new species and varieties. I have had some success propagating some less well known species that should be suitable as bonsai. If anyone else would like to try I have smaller starters only available.Lagarostrobos franklinii – Huon Pine – Slow growing but a real Tasmanian native icon. Young growth droops but seems to become erect as it matures. Try as bonsai or plant it in the ground to grow some fabulous timber. Cutting grown plants in 11cm pots $10 ea.

Huon pines

Huon pines


Podocarpus lawrencii – Mountain Plum Pine. Another Aussie native that occurs on exposed alpine snowfields where it is usually a ground hugging shrub. Known to be very long lived but what sort of bonsai will it make? Cutting grown in 11 cm pots $10 each

Podocarpus lawrencii

Podocarpus lawrencii

Quercus suber – Cork Oak. This is the tree that cork comes from. The bark is very thick and, well, ‘corky’ so they should mature with rugged looking trunks relatively quickly. Or plant them in the ground and harvest your own corks or orchid mounts in the future.

Seedling grown. 11 cm pots and maxi tubes $10. 7cm square tubes only $6 eachcork oak 2

Quercus suber 11 cm pots

Quercus suber 11 cm pots

4 thoughts on “Looking for something different?

  1. Hello Neil,

    I am looking for some advice please. I have a Chinese Quince. It was a gift to me 4 years again and it is very pretty and interesting. I have no idea how old it is. Its pot is approx L8″x W4″ and the tree stands about 12″ high. It lost all of its leaves three weeks ago when Victoria had those couple of extremely hot days, we are in South Gippsland on the coast. Half of the tree has produced new leaves, almost immediately. My gardening bones tell me I should re-pot it into the same pot with some fresh soil and lightly prune its roots when I do that. However, having never done anything to it before other than water it, I’m nervous to go ahead and would value your advice. Kind regards Lynda

    • Hi Lynda,
      It is quite difficult to provide accurate advice from a distance but after having a bonsai lose leaves like yours has I generally avoid repotting and allow the tree to recover. You have told me that the only care for 4 years has been watering. From this I assume it will be malnourished. Constant watering leaches available nutrients so potted plants really need to be fed every few weeks to stay healthy. It is likely that it is also quite pot-bound after 4 years. I’m finding that my smaller bonsai need re-potting every year or 2 because the roots soon fill all available spaces in the mix then water and air cannot penetrate so it becomes increasingly difficult to keep the water up to the plant – this may be why yours has dehydrated even though we’ve had a relatively mild summer.
      Plants in poor health generally recover more slowly from trauma like re-potting. It is also generally held that deciduous trees are best re-potted when dormant (though I am finding that we can re-pot for most of the year here without any problems so far)
      On balance my advice would be to leave your tree to recover its strength. You should fertilise every 2-3 weeks but because it may be pot-bound you’ll really need to monitor watering- I’d recommend dunking the pot into a container of water once a week to make sure the root ball gets properly wet. A humidity tray will slow the daily drying process and give you more leeway in watering – get a container that holds water (large pot saucer is fine) and fill it with sand or gravel. place your bonsai on top of the gravel. When you water the tree the tray below will fill with water but the bonsai roots are not submerged. during the day the water in the humidity tray evaporates, cooling the tree and reducing its need for water.
      If you feel that your tree is well enough for an emergency re-pot I would take it out of the bonsai pot, lightly prune roots but put it into a larger pot (any garden pot will do) for the remainder of the season then do a more thorough re-pot early next spring.

      Good luck,

  2. Hi Neil,

    Thank you for your reply and advice. Sorry I’ve taken so long to say that but I’ve been giving the plant some time. I decided not to re-pot the bonsai and I started feeding it fortnightly as you suggested. I have also exposed it to more light now that the autumn is here and guess what? The part of the tree that I thought has died has new shoots in about 6 different places so it is recovering well.
    So I now plan to re-pot it into a larger pot in July when it should be dormant. I will let you know how I go with it.
    Again many thanks for your advice.


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