Thursday, July 10, 2014

Houseplant Bonsai


I recently (yesterday) went on a garden walk. I love garden walks as I have stated before in a previous post. I especially love seeing people's houseplants which they've placed outside for the summer. One of the gardens we visited had tropical bonsai on the deck. Some of them were protected from the harsh West sun by a latticed area. The ones that could take the sun were in the full exposure, such as the above bougainvillea. It was blooming beautifully.

Ficus grove
I loved this ficus grove. It was beautifully landscaped with bridges and rock outcrops. The details in the landscape made all the difference. The sedum and golden baby tears added additional color and there was even a man boating under the bridge. An overall beautiful vignette and as you can see, a ribbon winner.

The above bonsai is a crested form of a Euphorbia. It is a succulent which is nice when considering bonsai, as watering is a crucial part of growing bonsai. Because of their small root systems, they dry out quickly. Using a succulent means the watering practices are much reduced compared to other varieties of bonsai.

Portulacaria afra
This bonsai above, Portulacaria afra,  is also a succulent and is called elephant bush and dwarf jade. This plant is native to South Africa and is very important to browsing animals, such as the elephant, because of its ability to thrive in dry areas. It can grow 8-12' tall in its native habitat.

Fukien Tea
The Fukien tea, Ehretia microphylla, is a common bonsai plant. It has very attractive leaves and bark and is relatively easy to grow. It is named after its native habitat which is the Fukien or Fujien Province in Southern China. It has an abundance of small white flowers a lot of the time, which adds to its popularity. 

Natal Plum

This cascading bonsai is very attractive and the Natal plum is well suited to this form. It is native to South Africa, and blooms with fragrant white flowers. The fruit formed can be eaten or made into pies, jams, and sauces. It has shiny, deep green leaves and makes a very attractive bonsai.

I love the work and imagination these small plants take to make them look like old, full grown trees. Using houseplants is much easier than using outdoor trees which need a cold dormant season. This means a place to keep them in the winter is essential. With the houseplant bonsai, they are beautiful year round and can be kept in the house. I'd like to try one, and with my schedule, I think the succulent form would be my only choice.

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