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Flowering Bonsai - 3 of the Best

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					Flowering bonsai trees are a firm favourite with many people. The combination of the
miniature size of the tree and the brilliant colours of the flowers create a spectacular
flowering bonsai.

There are many species of flowering bonsai. They include Satsuki Azalea,
Cotoneaster, Winter Jasmine, Crab Apple, Flowering Cherry, Wisteria, Serissa,
Firethorn, Deciduous Holly, Quince, White and Red Hawthorn, Japanese Flowering
Apricot and Pomegranate. Some are suitable for the outdoors whilst others can be
kept indoors. They all produce different displays and are very much valued as bonsai.
Here are some details about 3 of the most popular.

1. Satsuki Azalea (Rhododendron indium) produces magnificent displays of flowers
in late spring / early summer. This explains the origin of the satsuki name (meaning
fifth moon in Japanese - corresponding to the time of flowering in June). The same
tree can produce flowers with different colours and different markings.

The Japanese have been growing these colourful azaleas for over 300 years. A tip for
buying Satsuki Azaleas is to do so during the flowering season when you can see the
splendour of the colours. Azaleas are best kept in semi-shade outdoors. During the
winter they should be protected from wind and frost. It is important to use lime-free
soil and to remove dead flowers quickly.

2. Another favourite flowering bonsai is Crab Apple (Malus species). Many varieties
are available which produce wonderful fragrant flowers of different colours in spring.
The colours range from white to cream to pink to cerise. The small autumnal fruits
also come in different colours. Prolific flowering is encouraged by pruning in late
summer. Crab Apples should be repotted every year in early spring before the start of
growth.

Common varieties include Halls Crab Apple, Common Crab Apple and Nagasaki
Crab Apple. Crab Apples should be kept in full sun. Frost is not a problem, unless the
bonsai are small. They need plenty of water, especially when the fruit is being formed.
Because of this a deeper than normal pot should be used for Crab Apple. The informal
style is popular - with single and multi-trunk forms.

3. The third flowering bonsai is pomegranate (Punica granatum). It is native to the
Mediterranean and China. We have the Romans to thank for the spread of this tree! It
is an ideal bonsai as it has a twisted trunk, gnarled bark, colourful funnel shaped
flowers and yellow / red fruits. In addition, the leaves turn yellow in autumn. This
results in a wonderful bonsai tree, often seen as an informal upright style.

During the growing season it should be placed in full sun - this can be either indoors
or outdoors. But in very hot weather trees that are kept indoors should have their roots
protected from the sun. If winter temperatures are kept above 17 degrees Centigrade
(63 degrees Fahrenheit) the pomegranate will remain evergreen. It should not be
exposed to temperatures below 5 degrees Centigrade (41 degrees Fahrenheit) but
brought indoors to a well lit cool position.

All of these trees are relatively easy to grow and are therefore suitable for newcomers
to bonsai. Experiment and enjoy!

				
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posted:1/21/2011
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