Bonsai Trees

Case Histories

Lonicera Nitida - (dwarf honeysuckle)

Lonicera Bonsai Style: Formal Upright

Having a single, well tapering trunk, this lonicera showed real promise. The foliage was sparse although the roots were reasonable, and so it was potted into a large flower pot, being positioned in full sun to aid bud development. A few weeks later weak buds began to emerge in several places and the growth was poor.

Most of the buds had developed on the top half of the tree and if this lonicera was ever going to make a good bonsai it needed a back branch low down, where no buds had appeared. As the tree grew more I fed lightly with a weak liquid fertiliser and the lonicera started to grow more strongly, although it did not bud further. I let the tree grow for the rest of the year and hoped that it would produce more buds, but to no avail, although it looked very healthy.

Lonicera Bonsai History: Training

When I had finished repotting my trees the next spring I was left with a large, round pot with a pleasant green glaze. I felt that with some styling this lonicera could become quite presentable and so, after deciding that it was now fully recovered, it was root pruned, repotted and styled. It looked rather flat as the main back branch was half way up the trunk. I noticed a small shoot at the base of this branch and decided that if it was allowed to grow straight down and tied in tightly to the trunk, I might be able to use this growth to create the lower back branch that was needed.

A small groove was carved in the trunk and the shoot tied tightly with raffia. For that season all other growth was kept trimmed as I wanted the energy to be channeled into my new possible back branch solution. That year shoots developed from it into a definite branch and I was happy that this had resolved the problem. Even from the back it looked like this branch emerged from the trunk and the raffia was removed at the end of the season. To ensure a good contact with the trunk the branch was glued into the groove and as it continues to swell it will eventually become part of the trunk.

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