Wisteria Bonsai

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Wisteria Bonsai

Postby lmrk » Sun Oct 21, 2007 4:18 pm

My sister has a standard mauve wisteria in her front yard which she said I can have (it is at risk of being subsumed by the ivy surrounding it - yes, the ivy could be cut back, but my sister and bro in law aren't gardeners :( ). It still has a few blooms on it, but you can't really see them in the photos below (apologies for the poor quality, but the pics were taken with my phone camera). It is about 75-80cm tall, and although it is a standard, it has two large branches, both of which have foliage and blooms at the moment (but one is bigger than the other). I've included a picture of the base, and you can see in the last picture that it has outgrown its stake, so it seems very well established and healthy:

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I would like to bonsai it, but have a number of questions:

1. When would be the best time of year to dig it up? I was thinking maybe autumn or winter when it is dormant?

2. When it has been dug up, should I pot it in one of those polystyrene fruit crates?

3. What would be the best way to prune it? Just hack off the top and see what sprouts, or do Wisteria have pruning rules?

4. I don't know anything about Wisterias (particularly bonsaing one), so are there special needs that it would have? I know they can be rather fussy if not given the right environment. Do they need alot of sun?

Thank you for any help you can provide.

Cheers

Leah
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Postby Pam » Sun Oct 21, 2007 6:25 pm

It looks like it has a nice chunky base on it Leah. I will look forward to seeing what you do with this one. :D
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Postby taffyman » Sun Oct 21, 2007 8:42 pm

Interesting find - and a good one Leah. Let's see if I can answer your questions.
1. Repotting can be done in late winter/early spring and it can also be repotted as soon as flowering is over. That also means digging it out of the ground as well.
2. A Styrene box is a very good idea because you will need to dig up as much root as you can. If you dig too close to the trunk you run the risk of cutting off all or most of the feeder roots and it may not survive. Although, Wisteria is a pretty tough tree so it could possibly have time to send out more feeder roots before Autumn. The more roots you can get, the better the chances of survival - and that applies to all trees taken from the ground.
3. I'd limit pruning to just cutting back to two or three sets of leaves on each stem or branch at this stage. In early spring before it starts to sprout you can cut it back quite a lot. By digging it out of the ground you will inevitably lose quite a lot of feeder roots, so you can also cut the compound leaves back to 2 or 4 leaflets as well. By doing that you remove some of the load of the tree having to supply all the leaves with nutrients.
4. Wisteria likes full sun, but in a Bonsai pot (or black plastic or styrene box) make sure it doesn't dry out - it needs to be continually moist, even in winter. It will also need protection from frost during the winter.
When I saw that first photo, I thought 'I've seen that shape somewhere before'. Have a look at the first photo. Without the cross-over trunk at the back of yours it looks very similar to the photo - and it is the same one, Wisteria Floribunda. No, it isn't mine (I wish), I found the photo on the internet some time ago. When you dig this up and it recovers fully, you could separate the two trunks and have two trees from it.
The second photo is a Wisteria grown by Bob Asquith in Perth (sadly not with us anymore). He always managed to get this to flower just in time for the Perth Royal Show. The photo doesn't really do it justice - it is a scan of a photo I took in 1990.


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Postby lmrk » Mon Oct 22, 2007 9:52 am

Thanks Taffy. Yes, it was a good find, and didn't have to go far to get it. Didn't even know she had a wistera until the thing bloomed this year!!

I thought you'd have the answers :wink: Those photos are lovely, and yes, the 1st photo is what I would be aiming for!

So just to clarify, the best time to dig the wisteria up would be around early winter after the autumn feeder roots have stopped growing?

That's a great idea of separating the two trunks. Will have to get some advice later on regarding how to do that (don't want to inundate you with questions all at once. :D ).
Last edited by lmrk on Mon Oct 22, 2007 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Pam » Mon Oct 22, 2007 2:21 pm

lmrk wrote: Will have to get some advice later on regarding how to do that (don't want to inundate you with questions all at once. :D ).


I would - it would keep him out of trouble! :twisted: :lol:
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Postby taffyman » Mon Oct 22, 2007 4:28 pm

Pam wrote:I would - it would keep him out of trouble! :twisted: :lol:


Image Image Image

Leah, you can dig it up as soon as it stops flowering - no need to wait till winter. If you dig it up after flowering it will still have plenty of time to grow new roots before winter. Just don't forget to reduce the amount of foliage. I wouldn't separate it when you dig it up - might just be a bit too much of a shock for it. Keep it all in one piece until next spring and then it can be 'de- siamesed'.
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Postby The Estate » Mon Oct 22, 2007 5:26 pm

Taffy both my white wissy never flowered again this year, one was an old one and the new one in the box from my previous thread :cry: :cry: :cry:



WHY :shock: :shock: :shock: lots of growth ect....
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Postby taffyman » Mon Oct 22, 2007 8:20 pm

I don't have a decent answer to that question TheE. I've just looked it up in a couple of my Bonsai books and this is what I've found:
1. "It is a species that most growers (Bonsai) find difficult to make flower, either consistently or at all. Every Bonsai book suggests a number of approaches to encourage flowering, but when grown from ungrafted nursery stock, the specimen will not flower, no matter what is done, unless it is of a certain age. Whatever the case, fertilizers low in nitrogen must be applied for most of the year to encourage flower bud production."
2. "There are several reasons why wisteria will not bloom. Here are a few reasons:
1. Do not let the tendrils grow wild. Cut them back by leaving one or two buds.
3. Do not overfeed nitrogen, otherwise the leaves and tendrils will grow, but no flowers.

There seems to be a lot of conflicting information regarding growing and the flowering of Wisteria. Some say they require a ph of 6.5 - 7.5 and others say thy require a more acidic soil mix. Nearly all the advice I've been able to find say to use a low nitrogen fertilizer (apparently they are able to take in nitrogen from the atmosphere). A fertilizer high in nitrogen will encourage foliage and root growth to the detriment of flowers. This link gives what I think is about the best information I've found so far:

http://www.bonsaigardener.org/wisteria-bonsai-care.html

Hey, I know - ask Mr Wisteria, he's got a huge one growing in front of his place :D
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Postby Pam » Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:50 am

While I was waiting for the forums to come back up this morning, TheE, I came accross a post *somewhere* (don't ask 'cause I don't remember .... maybe gardenweb?) by a chap who says he gives his a whack. :shock:

Will have a look later and see if I can find it for you again.
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Postby Pam » Tue Oct 23, 2007 9:01 am

Sorry TheE, have searched everywhere I can remember going this morning, but no luck. :cry:
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Postby The Estate » Tue Oct 23, 2007 9:13 am

tHANKS ANYWAY, will prune back all the new tendy thingos :twisted: :twisted: :twisted: too bloody well fed I thinks :cry: :cry: :cry: always next year :roll: :roll:
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Postby lmrk » Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:42 pm

Which are the low nitrogen fertilizers? I thought all fertilizers contained nitrogen, being the magic ingredient and all! :D
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Postby taffyman » Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:07 pm

Now that's a very good question Leah - I've no idea on a low nitrogen fertilizer. Yes, all plants require nitrogen but too much in Bonsai can lead to very long internodes between leaves. A lot of commercial fertilizers are very high in nitrogen because people want their plants to have a lot of lush growth. Natural animal manures seem to have more of a reasonable balance between NPK. This link was posted on another topic and shows the differences between animal manures:

http://www.plantea.com/manure.htm

Does anyone know of a commercial brand of fertilizer that is low in Nitrogen?
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Postby The Estate » Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:20 pm

do you have a wissy Taffy and if so what fert you use :roll: :roll:
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Postby taffyman » Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:46 pm

Yes TheE, I have a miniature one growing in a black plastic (not had it long, so not a Bonsai - yet) and we have one we took as a large cutting from one of our visits to Kathy's relatives in Condobolin about 10 years ago. I planted it in the ground in Sydney trailing over her arch (I posted photos on another topic showing it - but I've no idea which one). Before we left Sydney, I dug up a piece with a bit of root on it and put it in a styrene box. It's still in the styrene box waiting for her to decide just where she wants it - and it flowers every year. They both get chook and cow manure, and a bit of blood and bone.
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Postby The Estate » Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:52 pm

maybe the white ones are fusyy :roll: :roll:
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Postby taffyman » Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:01 pm

Could be TheE.
I found the topic with the 'Sydney' wisteria on it - it's one of your topics! It's got the normal coloured flowers:

http://www.gardenexpress.com.au/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5173&start=0
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