Tropical Bonsai Updates, Part 2, The Bonsai Zone

I’m updating all my tropical trees and working on any that require some pruning or clean up!

Today I work on my Acacia trees, my Princess Earrings bonsai, my Bougainvillea bonsai, my donated Lemon bonsai, my Cityscape penjing, my Grapefruit bonsai, my Sabre leaf Ficus bonsai, my Lemon bonsai, my Ficus elastica, and my Ficus religiosa.

Hi everyone nigel saunders here welcome to part two of tropical bonsai updates this is a series where i’m taking each one of my tropical trees putting it on the turntable here and giving it a spa day giving it a good watering fertilization and any pruning or cleanup work that the tree requires the first trees for today are my acacia trees in fall they kind of started losing all their leaves and then i moved them down into the basement in cold storage and they lost the remainder of their leaves over the winter i gave all the trees of pruning and then i brought them up into the plant room here where they they’re warming up and they began to green up once again most of the trees have come back really nicely but there’s some like this one here it’s a fairly tall tree and the only shoot coming out on it is down low on the trunk here the top of it still looks alive so maybe it’ll come out in the future i’m not sure over here on this other fairly large tree again the same thing is happening i’ve got multiple shoots down at the base of the tree but there’s nothing higher up on the tree i have some trees that have no new shoots on them at all like this one here there’s a thin one over here that has no new growth on it at all but you know right beside it there’s another thinner one that has all kinds of good growth up top so i don’t know if it’s just a matter of time if they will come out or if they’ve died back i do have two varieties of acacia trees in this forest i have sweet thorn and i have fever trees the fever trees have the lighter colored trunks and the sweet thorns have the darker kind of bark on them but yeah i think it might be just a matter of waiting because there’s new shoots coming out on some of these other trees it’s possible you know i’ve lost some of the tops on them but i think generally all the trees will survive i don’t see any trunks that are shriveled up or anything so it may be just a a matter of waiting so today i’ve got a weed in here i can pull out i won’t do any pruning until you know everything’s come out into leaf and i know what’s alive and what may be dead i think today i’ll just give them a good watering with some fertilizer in the water and put them back on the bench all right here i go with the watering so i just have a small amount of 20 20 20 powdered fertilizer mixed in with the water about a pinch like a good pinch and that’s about it so it’s a very very dilute mixture but then i fertilize in water you know pretty well daily if the sun’s out sometimes like lately we’ve had quite a few sunny days in a row and i’ve had to water in the morning and then again at night time but if it’s cloudy out you don’t have to water as much so it all depends on the weather my next update is my princess earrings bonsai so this tree had kind of a bit of a canopy in fall and then you know it started to lose its leaves when it got cooler out and which i hear is quite normal and then i had it down in the basement kind of chilling and then i brought it up and it started to grow again i did have a shoot up higher but it kind of came out green and then it died back i’ve got some really strong shoots down here there is one on this side that kind of looks like it’s dying off but there is still a bud there so i i don’t know um it looks like the tree will live but it’s not very successful let’s say bonsai maybe maybe i’ve got to keep it warmer i don’t know i’ll have to look into it to see what kind of native temperature ranges they they see in nature so yeah a bit more research and maybe i’ll kind of get the care locked down for this tree but at the present moment this isn’t a very good result it’s recoverable i mean you can cut off if this top is dead you can start a new leader from down below and you know you’ll get better trunk taper and movement and it’ll make a better bonsai in the end but uh it would have been nice to continue growing the canopy i got all these nice flowers on it last year which turned to seed pods i’m not sure if there’s mature seeds in the seed pods but i will i will try planting them there’s no harm in planting them this spring uh the tree did survive its root pruning its first root pruning again that kind of set it back um it didn’t like the root pruning but it did survive and i did get a a much improved root system on it so maybe it’s just a matter of you know continue with the root pruning trying to grow a strong tree uh sometimes you know it takes a while to get a good fine fibrous root system that’ll support a good canopy on a tree so i will keep going i’ll research it and i’ll try and improve the care and methods for my princess earrings bonsai the next update for today is my small pink pixie bougainvillea cuttings they were growing really well over the summer and then towards fall their health started to decline and i’m not sure if it was just bad watering in the small pot or if they weren’t getting the right conditions i had them in the greenhouse where you know it was quite humid so the soil didn’t dry out very quickly in the sun and i don’t know they just started to decline in health and i was hoping maybe it was the temperatures too i had them out in some fairly cool temperatures it’s possible they got you know frost on them too it’s quite possible i did have them out in the greenhouse when it was snowing outside while i was finishing the plant room so i don’t know um anyway they are not living anymore is the what it comes down to which is too bad because i really liked both the pot and the the trees so i’m kind of sad to see those go they were just sort of starting to develop nicely but we’ll try again i’ll have to take some more pink pixie bougainvillea cuttings and grow them and try and get more of these small really small trees underway the next update for today is my largest of the donated lemon trees i uh root pruned and repotted this tree into a new pot i gave it a really hard pruning up top here cutting off this leader doing a hail mary cut there’s no growth at all on this section of it reducing the height down and i just waited and the tree is recovering nicely now you can see all the new shoots coming in here and yeah so that was a success that operation uh this tree has a lot of development to go on it but uh that was a good step forward for the tree in this shot you can see the new growth up here is kind of wrinkly it doesn’t have a lot of vigor and i think that’s because the roots are forming i think all these shoots came from the vigor that was within the tree and now the new roots are starting to form and it’s starting to recover and the new leaves are a nicer shape so i think it’s just a matter of time i think that operation drastic pruning and repotting was kind of a borderline operation for the tree it it survived but it struggled a bit in its survival some of the branches on the tree that i didn’t prune as heavily over here have grown quite vigorously and i could probably do a little pruning to those today just kind of knocking the length of the branches back trying to get a little more subdividing and you know encouraging the vigor and the rest of the tree to kind of catch up with this side of the tree so i’ll do that i’ll get out my pruners and i’ll just prune back some of these new shoots to the first set of leaves like that i think that’s good i think that’s got it pruned up so it’s ready to grow again get more subdividing a little more branch density yeah so we’ll give this one a good watering also all right here i go with the water and fertilizer so hopefully there’s a good set of roots growing in at the base of this tree i know i did a good route pruning on it so i think it’ll be a big step forward for this tree getting those roots sorted out hopefully get some really nice surface roots forming under this soil here i’m pretty sure i piled the soil up a little higher than i needed to just so i can let those roots grow and i think we’ll get some nice root flare at the base of this tree yeah i can already see it forming there it’s looking really good yeah so it’s getting a a nice a nice trunk on this tree there’s a little spider up there another one up there they’re doing a good job of keeping this tree insect free so that’s good okay that can go back on the bench now my next update is my cityscape pensing landscape with my chinese buildings let’s fly in and see how it’s doing so let’s start in this corner here’s a tree that i cut back fairly severely at the top quite a reduction and you can see on the tree there’s all kinds of new branches coming off of it so it’s really filling out nicely i think you know in another month it’s going to look really cool i think you’ll see quite a nice canopy on that tree in the corner there here’s an exciting development remember those clay kind of clay bricks i used well they get patina on them quite nicely you can see the moss and algae growing on them they look really good i like that and you could clean it off if you wanted but i think it gives a real kind of natural look and you can see it all along there’s my pathway you can see how it’s greened up looking really cool you can see the surface roots coming from this ficus tree growing across the surface of the soil here so that’s kind of exciting you can see it following the crack at the front here along the edge of the pod in between the clay bricks and the edge of the pot really cool so that corner tree is doing very well it’s got a lot of new growth coming up top here everything’s looking good there’s new buds coming out everywhere on it and again i think this landscape is really going to change in the next month or so as all these trees begin filling out with their new growth i can then take off these older larger leaves like this one which is huge replace them with smaller leaves and make the whole landscape look more miniature i did add that horse to the side here and i really like that it’s about the right size and scale i just whimsical element to the landscape my little japanese garden or chinese garden down there with the bridge i like that the cuttings at the back let’s go around the back here so here’s the tree that’s growing along the side of the house and again that had a fairly severe chop at the top and the branches and it’s leafing out all over now so it’s really really looking good around the back here this is where i planted a lot of cuttings this was one of the original trees at the back and you can see the root going across the surface of the soil here yeah the roots are really going wild here’s a cutting that didn’t make it all the leaves fell off so i can i can pull that one out yeah no roots on it at all so that one didn’t make it this is a weed growing up here i’m going to pull that out there’s some more roots going across the surface of the soil there um there’s a couple this was a cutting there’s a weed there this was a cutting and you can see it’s leafing out it’s doing well this cutting leafed out the older leaves are dying off on it and it looks kind of sickly i don’t know if it’ll make it this other cutting here looks really healthy the leaves are green the new ones it’s got all kinds of new green growth on it so that cuttings made it so i’ve got two out of my two out of my four cuttings that look like they did well now let’s go back here and look at some more trees so the other tree that’s growing beside the house here it’s getting all kinds of new branches up top it’s looking good that’ll fill in quite nicely the one behind it is doing the same thing lots of new branches coming in getting a canopy the trees in the front garden here they’re doing quite well no complaints they’re all growing really well getting all kinds of new branches it’ll be really fun developing those and the small one back here beside the smaller house also doing really well yeah and the moss is greening up nicely there’s some areas here that i guess it doesn’t get a lot of light that they’re not the moss is kind of staying dark but generally you know the moss is spreading growing everything’s greening up in the landscape so it’s kind of fun um this whole landscape looked kind of barren when i was you know done all the planting it was just like a bunch of a couple of houses with some sticks around it and now it’s starting to grow look more natural and i think that’ll continue in the future uh with some careful pruning of these trees i think we’ll get a real sense of a little miniature village i think it’ll be fun to explore to look at and explore with your eyes all the garden centers are open in this area now so i can search around for little plants to put out front to make these gardens a little nicer maybe some little flowering plants or something trying to keep it all in scale with the buildings but uh yeah i don’t think there’s anything much more to do to it today uh it’s watered well i watered it this morning i missed it um everything’s doing well on it i i did a bit of weed clean up there and cleaned up some of the dead leaves so i can go back on the bench now and we can get out the next tree next up is my grapefruit tree i can still remember back that day at work where i was eating a grapefruit and i picked out some seeds from the uh the fruit and on one of the seeds there was a little root sticking out so i stuck it in a pot at work and this is the tree many many years later in the last video i gave it a severe pruning on this branch sort of a hail mary cut i didn’t get much develop up top but i did get a new shoot coming from the base there so i’ll be replacing this really thick branch with a thinner one here i did a lot of pruning up top shortening the height of the tree down um and it it’s growing in really nicely um yeah it’s it’s doing quite well it looks really healthy i’ve got to get a better pot for this and i’m thinking sort of one of those square sort of semi cascade pots i think i need this part of the tree to kind of be overhanging the edge of the pot so it looks like it’s going on the side of a hill or something there’s that sunshine oh that’s so nice yeah so i i think aesthetically this tree needs a lot of work to get the right size pot for it and the right shape of pot and the right kind of planting but uh developmental-wise it’s coming along it’s got a nice basic branch structure lots more work to go on it in the future but it’s a good start the roots had a bit of damage from squirrels chewing on them but they’re starting to heal over nicely hopefully it’ll add to the character of the root base someday i’ll uh think back and laugh about it but i wasn’t too happy to see that on my nice my nice roots that i developed however things like that happen so yeah that’s the root system yeah i think that’ll look really good in the right pot someday next up is another one of the donated lemon trees this is the one that i had this big y shaped root i cut the one root off of it planted it as a semi cascade and i i was developing this branch out here and a crown here in the middle i haven’t had any new growth on this branch yet it looks fairly weak um a lot of people have suggested tilting that up so it’s more vertical and get more strength so i may do that as i’m growing it i did get a lot of new growth on the apex here and i pinched it back to take some of that vigor out um i could reduce you know the leaves at the top here just to take some of that leaf mass off so they’re not quite as vigorous at the apex here i don’t want the apex becoming too dominant i don’t want this leaf shading out this side of the uh you know i don’t want anything blocking the sun getting to my cascading branch so i’m just taking out some of these really large leaves where they’re blocking other branches and the rust can stay so at the back of the tree i took a big huge cut out of it there was a kind of a big lump there um i can see it’s starting to heal over at the edges that’ll take quite a while and a lot of growth out you know this end of the trunk before that heal is over but it’ll get there someday it may just leave a nice interesting wound someday as it starts to callus and roll over but someday it will heal over completely especially if i allow this to grow so yeah so i think it’s quite an interesting looking tree i’ll give it a watering and just lift my rock up here that should do it and back on the bench it goes the next update is my saber leaf ficus i gave it a really hard pruning chopping all the trunks back and it’s growing in really nicely so i’m really pleased with the results it kind of made the trunks look a little thicker starting to get a canopy up top yeah it’s starting to look like a miniature tree i think for the maybe you know the first time in its it’s life it’s always just looked like a tall stick before the roots are developing really nicely yeah so everything’s going well on it uh it’s a fairly large leaf bonsai but i like that i i think it’s kind of unique having these long saber leaf leaves on it so makes it kind of special here’s a shot of the roots so you can kind of see them from the front there the roots out the back they’re not too bad i’ve done a lot of corrective work i took a huge route off there at one time i split a route here there was a crossed one i think fused to it some new roots growing across the surface here which are quite amazing yeah this tree certainly likes to grow roots i’ll give the tree a good watering and then get it back on the bench give it its spa day today or gets pampered a little and that should do it here’s a look at the top of the tree so it’s getting a canopy up there next up is a bougainvillea and i was actually trying to grow this tree straight the tree didn’t want to grow straight it it just naturally bent around and i did as much pruning as i could to try and get it to grow straight there was a a branch that came out and another one here i’m trying to keep it upright but it just wants to twist all over the place which gives it a really nice look i think it uh it’s got a nice form to it so it can use a watering i could i notice the soil is a little dry but other than that it’s just just going to grow for the next while all right here i go with the water a little dry so we’ll let that soak in really well let that soak in and then i’ll water it again there we go until it’s coming out the drainage hole these bottle cap watering nozzles you can find them online just type in bottle cap watering system and you’ll see where to buy them there’s lots of places that sell them now okay that’s coming out the drainage hole now so that’s thoroughly watered it’ll be nice to see this tree flowering once again in the summer they just look beautiful when they’re in flower the next tree is also a bougainvillea and this is a cutting off julian’s bougainvillea the one that gets the really pale kind of purplish pink flowers really nice flowers on it um it’s doing quite well i i thought i planted it more upright last time i repotted it just seems to want to grow on a slant this this tree it looks like i lost the branch up front here everything else looks good on it i do have some sad news about julian’s bougainvillea bonsai i’ll show you that here’s a look at julian’s bougainvillea i brought it in from the greenhouse and it still had green leaves on it and i thought okay it’s doing well i put it in the cool basement and it started to lose its leaves and i thought well some of my other bougainvilleas were too i didn’t really worry about it too much and then i brought them all back up into the plant room to warm them up and get them growing again and all the other bougainvilleas were covered except this one never did it never leafed out i kept watering it i gave it the best of care and it just never came back so i’m afraid i’m quite certain it’s dead i’m not giving up on it yet but it shows no signs of life no new buds yeah it doesn’t look good for it so i’ll have to give him the cutting that’s taken from this tree and that’ll be his new bougainvillea next up is my lemon bonsai the one that floured and it’s growing a lemon on it so let’s go in and have a look at the lemon today here’s a look at the lemon now it’s getting larger each day it started off as a little tiny thing it’s probably grown about four times its original size it’s still got a long ways to go before it ripens up to be to become a lemon but hopefully it’ll make it there hopefully it won’t get you know it won’t fall off the tree or anything the root base on the lemon tree is doing really well it’s looking good it’s getting getting more radial all the time every time i repot it it gets a little better i’ll give the lemon tree a nice watering and fertilizer here to keep it growing nicely into the future the leaves are quite large on it because it doesn’t have a lot of branching at the moment but it’s got an interesting trunk and i’m i’ve enjoyed growing it from a young lemon tree to something that’s beginning to look like a bonsai okay that’s good it’s running out the drainage holes now so my lemon tree can go back on the bench next up is my ficus elastica or indian rubber plant i’ve grown a whole bunch of cuttings together at the base to create a clump style and as they grow they’ll fuse together and create kind of a single base to the tree so they’re getting a lot of new shoots coming in on them now some of the shoots are growing really well the ones i didn’t prune yeah everything’s looking really nice and healthy on it so these trees can get really nice root systems just like you know any other ficus tree you can get all these nice aerial roots and get this really fantastic buttress root base to them so as these roots develop we’ll raise the tree up and expose some of those surface roots it’ll be quite interesting today i’m just going to give the tree a good watering with some fertilizer i’ve got a few aloe pups growing in here those are off my giant aloe bonsai and they’re doing really well all right here i go with the water now yeah it’ll be exciting to see how this looks after the end of the summer i think it’ll grow a lot the trunks will thicken up should look pretty good and then i’ll cut it back again and just keep repeating that process getting more and more branching and eventually i’ll get this big canopy on it and there’ll be aerial roots that’ll drop down it’ll look really cool i think next up is my forest of ficus elasticas they’re doing really well also i don’t see any problems with them um there’s a shoot here that could maybe be pruned it’s getting a little long the rest seem quite balanced yeah so i’ll cut that tip off there all right here i go i’ve got two leaves that are fanning outwards here so if i prune just above there i’ll get two branches growing in more horizontally so i think that’s what i want so i’ll take this shoot off from the top here like that everything else looks good it’s growing in nice and compact getting some nice small leaves on it everything’s growing well so i’ll just give it a watering with fertilizer and put it back on the bench each one of these trees has a playlist on the channel if you go to the channel main page there’s a playlist tab and you can click on the playlist tab and then find the tree in the playlist there’s over a hundred of them so you’ll have to search for the right tree click on that and then you can watch all the progression videos of each tree or forest right back from when i first started the channel so some of them are you know eight years in the making and that’s been my goal for the channel is to hopefully someday these will all be nice looking bonsai and you can go back and see how they were started and all the work i did to them to get them to that stage okay that’s coming out the drainage holes now the last update for today is my ficus religiosa my little tiny one that is in the pot that gary sent me this tree is over 20 years old and it’s just this high so um that one leaf is kind of hanging right down blocking the entire trunk i’m going to remove that the tree looks plenty vigorous so that comes off there’s also a leaf facing inwards here i’m going to remove that so all the leaves are kind of fanning outwards i can clean up that stub there this pruning stub here so i’ll do that to make it flow a little nicer and i’m going to remove that leaf that’s facing inwards here again just to clean it up a bit i just noticed there’s some aphids on it on the back of this leaf i don’t know if you can see the small dots there there’s a close-up of that leaf and you can see the aphids there so that’s going to have to get sprayed with a bit of soap and water so here i go the aphids don’t like soap and water i’ll spray the rest of the tree just as a preventative this tree is getting a shampoo on its spa day shampoo the works okay so that’s covered in foam that’ll kill any aphids on the leaves and this soap mixture is just liquid dish soap and i mix it one part dish soap to 40 parts water shake it up and spray it on your tree let it sit for a few minutes and then rinse it off make sure you rinse your soil out well too you don’t want soapy water in your soil it may kill the fine root hairs yeah it looks like there’s a new shoot coming out the back here too and maybe one here yeah so a nice little nice little tree it’s got a lot of movement in the trunk for such a small tree and it’s getting some nice bark on it because of its old age all right it’s sat for a few minutes i’ll rinse it off now just with rain water flush out there flush out the soil here get rid of any soap that’s in it i’ll give the tree a good thorough watering before i put it back on the bench just to get some fertilizer in the pot let that soak in repeat it a couple of times make sure everything’s thoroughly soaked in here i think this tree will need a repotting this summer also it’s been quite a while since i’ve repotted it and that should do it i should keep the tree happy for quite a while i’ll have lots more tropical tree updates coming in part three of this series but that’s all for today i’m nigel saunders thanks for joining me in the bonsai zone

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