Interesting New to Me Adenium "Bonsai"

ginger9899(10 SW Florida)September 17, 2013

I just acquired this new Adenium. The gentleman said his wife converted it to bonsai style from a small Adenium 3-4 years ago. It's hefty, and about 18 inches tall. He said it blooms red.

I am happy to give it a good home but I know nothing about bonsai and the great big plant in a 1 or 2 inch deep pot is driving me crazy. It seems healthy though, very solid caudex. A few yellow leaves but may be from constant non-stop all day rain around here for a while. It's wired into the pot.

Any thoughts on this? Anybody have an Adenium that is truly (or this close to truly) grown in the bonsai style?

I think it's bigger that this picture makes it look:

Everything not as green as this picture looks, just bad light:

-Heather

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dannie317

I would un-bonsai it. That's just my preference, though. I'd still keep it in a fairly small pot, but a much deeper one that that. The art of bonsai is to restrict growth, leaf size, etc. I fail to see how that will help make this adenium a more interesting plant. The caudex will stop developing, and the leaves & blooms will be smaller and more compact. It may be desirable for some, but for this particular kind of plant, I wouldn't do it.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 5:33PM
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rcharles_gw

I like some Bonsai's and some are not all that good. I believe that it has to do with the balanced appearance. I know that there is a correlation between plant caudex (trunk) size and size of pot.
To me this plant looks out of place.
Seems to be some depressions in the caudex in two places?
I do not want to offend, but if you are going to keep it as a bonsai. I would see if there is a Bonsai forum and they could give very good advice.
Would look nice in a deeper pot as regular potting methods.

There is a gentleman (Robert) in Florida at Lucky Sumo Nursery that specializes in Bonsai Adeniums.
I believe that Chris Durham (Durham Botanicals)also is very adept at Bonsai culture.
Rick
Rick

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 7:49PM
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ginger9899(10 SW Florida)

Thank you both so much for your opinions, no offense taken ever for any advice or observations. I also don't think it makes it a more interesting plant and does look a little out of place. Your thoughts match mine, but I had no experience in this so I wanted to see if I was out of line. I like the idea of unwiring it and giving it a little more space to grow. It will be my weekend project now I think. No need for Bonsai advice I think with this particular plant, although I do appreciate the work that was put into it, I just also think I can take better care of it by treating it as I do my others Adeniums.

Also, not sure about which depressions you mentioned Rick, but the caudex is actually in good shape luckily.

Thanks again Rick and Danielle.

-Heather

This post was edited by ginger9899 on Tue, Sep 17, 13 at 20:16

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 8:14PM
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ilovetogrow z9 Jax Florida

I think it will be happier in a new home and his toes a wiggling with freedom. Bonsai should be a balance with plant size and pot. Interesting caudex shape. Post a shot when repotted.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 9:21PM
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rcharles_gw

Hi Heather,
What I was seeing as depressions may just be shading in photo.
In first photo, just looked as thought there is a lighter green area going up the caudex with shaded areas on either side.
Don't take any notice of me.
You have a nice plant there and I am sure you will make it happy with whatever chosen.
Rick

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 10:26PM
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ginger9899(10 SW Florida)

You actually are right Rick, they are kind of depressions. Especially one side. Very solid though. I am not sure what causes smooth depressions like that. Must not be recent though.

Thanks Paula. I will post a pic for sure.

I am thinking now though, how do I stabilize this plant? I assume I should pot it up in the same leaning orientation it is now, but the only reason it is stable now is because it is wired in. Hmmm, I'll need to stake it or rope it up or something.

-Heather

-Heather

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 8:49AM
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ginger9899(10 SW Florida)

*deleted duplicate post. Hate it when that happens :)

This post was edited by ginger9899 on Wed, Sep 18, 13 at 10:17

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 8:50AM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Ginger,

I agree that it will be happier in a larger deeper container.

I like terra cotta.. That is just me....

I think you could straighten the whole tree and then either use tie downs with twine to keep it secure and or just bareroot the tree and repot it in a good gritty Mix that will help it be stable. I have posted a thread about barerooting and I think it will be really easy for you. I would use a tool ( knife like) that I would take and gently use in between the tree and the container to free it from the original pot after you cut the wire. Have a container ready before you do this and have a good mix ready. If you don't want to get all of the ingredients for a Gritty Mix, you can fine a good fast draining mix or make it yourself . I have also found Hoffman Bonsai mix at local nurseries and that would work well if you are doing only one tree. I make my own mix, so I have the ingredients on hand.

If you want a pic of the Bonsai mix that comes in a small bag, I can post that.

Nice tree!!!

Good Luck!!

Laura

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 11:31AM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Ginger...

Hope this helps...

Laura

Here is a link that might be useful: Did a few barerooting of trees...

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 11:43AM
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ginger9899(10 SW Florida)

Thank you so much Laura, I am already on the same page as you and have found much comfort in your posts when you bare root your plants.

I do plan on using terra cotta, and a gritty mix. I can't find the right bark to save my life (even the repti-bark I get seems huge) so I have been using a bonsai mix that I think is a good substitute, Seems to be working great for a ponytail palm. sansevieria, and adenium adult and seedlings so far. It is equal turface, pine bark, and crushed lava rock. I plan on not going too deep with the new pot, as there is almost nothing below the caudex it looks like now. I don't want to give it an ocean right away lol. I will definately have to secure it, I was looking at some old posts of Al's for securing ideas. Not sure about straightening it up though, with the "canopied: braches it might look might funny if the caudex was straight lol.

I will see this weekend when I tackle it. Thanks again!!

-Heather

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 12:10PM
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ginger9899(10 SW Florida)

On second thought, If I straightened the caudex up and pruned that branch on the far right it might look perfectly normal. Hmmm.

-Heather

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 12:11PM
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ilovetogrow z9 Jax Florida

Ginger I find my pine fines either at Walmart in a purple bag or also at Ace Hardware here in Jax. Hope this may help. Paula

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 5:09PM
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ginger9899(10 SW Florida)

Thanks Paula, that does help actually. I'll double check the Aces and Walmarts here. If not, my brother and his family live in Jacksonville and I make it up there at least once a year so I will certainly look and stock up next time!

-Heather

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 8:41PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Ginger,

I agree with you... You will see it as a different tree once you take it and set it upright and decide to trim a limb or two to balance it, or shape it as desired. That is why this is so much fun to work with.. It is you that makes the tree beautiful in what we can add and change to make it better for the tree as well as to our eye...

As far as containers, the roots will grow and find the room added to be so much more beneficial.. These trees will be fine in a shallow container, but the one it is in now is just a little small.

Make sure you seal your areas that you trim with some sealant. I like to use a waterproof wood glue on my Adeniums. You can find this water proof wood glue at Michaels or at Lowes.

There are so many pretty Terra Cotta containers and I have found a few at Michaels Arts and crafts. Check there as well..

Here is a way that I tied down a tree I was working on as a Bonsai. I barerooted and root pruned then repotted into this new container. I have used Al' s method of securing some of my trees. I use twine and clamps.. This pic might helps you see how I did mine...

This tree was and still is in the process of being trained and pruned, so don't look at it as the final look.. ;-). It is always a tree in training in Bonsai...at the time of the picture, it was trimmed after the pic was taken. ( very top heavy and needed a good trim..)
Portulacaria afra

Hope this helps...

Laura

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 9:02PM
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ginger9899(10 SW Florida)

Thanks again Laura, your Bonsai is beautiful and looks just right in your pot. It just goes to show how out out of proportion mine looks. Yikes. The twine and clamps you show are exactly what I was thinking of doing after seeing a pic of Al's.

I'm so glad you wrote what you did about the wood glue....I actually picked some up (after hearing about it probably from you in this forum) in anticipation of another pruning I'm going to have to do but just looked and I got interior - easy cleanup with water! Doh! I know exactly where there is a Michaels here and am going to stop tomorrow and pick up some waterproof and look at their pots. I have no less than 20 terra cotta pots already but darned if they aren't all way too small or way too big.

-Heather

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 10:41PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Lol... Sorry Heather.

I keep seeing Ginger.. Sheesh!!!

You are more than welcome!!

Good luck!!

I know you will have fun and I'm sure it will look wonderful!!!

Have a great night, Heather!!! ;-)

Laura

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 10:50PM
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ginger9899(10 SW Florida)

Lol no worries, Ginger is fine, too. Its actually my cat's name that I have used on various internet endeavors for the past 6 years.

-Heather

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 9:19AM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi Heather,

Here is another source to check out.

Tropical Plant Products, Inc
PO box 547754
Orlando, Florida. 32854
tel:407-293-2451

They carry huge bages of Fir Bark Fines in 1/4 to 1/8 inch size. Perfect for gritty mix... No need to screen .

They also mail. Ask for Fir Bark fines.

Laura

This post was edited by loveplants2 on Thu, Sep 19, 13 at 10:10

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 9:52AM
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adeniumrose(South Florida)

Good day:

When you re-pot adeniums you do not want a deep pot. You want a wider container to give the root system and exposed roots (caudex) room to expand. I would recommend a pot no more than 5" deep and a width of 2..3" greater than the current reach of the roots. Expand the roots before you select the pot to determine the correct size. The plant can be left bare root for up to 2 weeks. Also, dip the pant in superthrive before potting. Make sure you use the correct type of soil or you will have problems! we specialize in adenium and all our specimen plants are in pots no more than 5" deep but some are over 30" wide! The larger the caudex the more valuable and interesting the plant.

Here is a link that might be useful: AdeniumRose Company

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 11:11AM
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ginger9899(10 SW Florida)

Thank you Adeniumrose. I think I have some good pots picked out - terra cotta soaking now. I also have my Superthrive ready :)

I value your advice and have a couple plants from you in my collection,.

-Heather

    Bookmark   September 19, 2013 at 10:18PM
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ginger9899(10 SW Florida)

Here it is, the big repot! After buying 3 new pots I used one I already had :/ the new ones just seemed too tight. Like barely an inch around the caudex. I always have trouble judging that. This pot is 5" deep at the deepest part and 3" from caudex to edge. There was a screen embedded into this plant with roots growing through it. I tried very hard to cut it out but it was in there tight. I had to cut the roots (less than an inch) twice to free it from the screen. The roots (they weren't long but there was a ton of them!) were all in great shape except one close to the top had rot. I cut an inch up to the caudex until I saw clear white. The poor thing has gouges in 2 places where the wire was cutting into it. Now, how to prune? It is canopied so branches are curved down. I'm not seeing a clear vision of how to prune yet. Any ideas are welcome. For now it is resting in the shade. I haven't tied it down yet, as it is more secure than I thought it would be. I probably will though when I move it out to be blown around in the wind. Thanks again for all of the advice here.

Fresh out of the pot:

Freshly cleaned:

Front View:

Back View:

Top View:

-Heather

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 9:28PM
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rcharles_gw

Heather,
It looks great in the pot you chose. Looks so much more balanced and very well suited to it's new pot.
You are following Laura's technique with perfection.

Cannot wait to see it in bloom. Will look amazing.
Rick

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 9:59PM
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dannie317

It's gorgeous! It looks so much better sitting straight up in that pot. Now that it has room to grow, I'm so curious to see what that crazy network of roots does by this time next year!

My only suggestion for pruning would be to take off that branch that's growing downward, right where it begins to curve down, which looks to be 1-2" away from the trunk. Everything is growing up and out, so pretty ... but that downward growing branch is really unnatural-looking to me.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 11:56AM
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ginger9899(10 SW Florida)

Thanks Rick and Danielle! It does look more natural like this. I agree, pruning that one down-growing branch is a must do that I think I will do now.

-Heather

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 1:48PM
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Loveplants2 8b Virginia Beach, Virginia

Hi heather ,

I love the look of it now.

If it were mine, I would leave the branch that is lower. That branch makes the three point look to a bonsai .. Heaven( sky) Earth and Man . Three different levels and or points to a bonsai look. Just a thought. ;-)

Another thought is to trim all the branches in the spring after it gets used to its new home . When and if you do trim ( which I probably would. ) I would trim to suit the look of the total tree. I mean for example .. If you want a more rounded tree with the canopy being fuller, you would trim down about two inches on each stem before it hits the main stem. This will encourage branching and it will have a fuller head.

Or you could trim a little in the spring if you are. Nervous about cutting to much off. I would cut at least the branches in the middle. This would give a nice healthy look instead of lanky looking branches. IMO of course!! ;-)

It looks awesome now!! Love it!!!

I trimmed one close and I will post for you tonight. A few years ago, I was terrified to trim until a good friend told me to more or less. " get going... ". Well. It was kind of like that!! Lol

Again.. Awesome job!!!!

What ever and how ever you choose to trim, it will be beautiful!!

Take care ,

Laura

This post was edited by loveplants2 on Mon, Sep 23, 13 at 17:00

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 4:53PM
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ginger9899(10 SW Florida)

Thanks Laura! I'm actually not at all afraid of pruning....I have pruned most of mine, some so very harshly and all have come out great and spring into action no matter how I did it, so I have great confidence in that. I usually have a vision though, but with this one I'm kind of puzzled lol. I like your advice, and I think I will just wait until spring and let it adjust to its new spacious home in the interim. The rest of my Adeniums are budding again (although very sparsely this time) I wish this one would also lol. I would be pleased with just with a happy, healthy adjustment now though.

-Heather

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 9:05PM
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fakechuchi(7)

Heather, I feel the relief of that magnificent plant all the way to here! It's probably a bit dizzy. Is it an arabicum?

Pagan

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 10:57AM
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ginger9899(10 SW Florida)

Lol I'm have no info about it except that it blooms red. If only it's as red as yours that just bloomed.....lol. I don't think it's arabicum though, doesn't feel like that to me anyway.

-Heather

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 8:56PM
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