Big Blue Potato Bush Project - Styling

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I posted about this tree a while back when I was considering digging it out of a yard, but the thread got long so I thought I'd put up a new post now that the tree has been dug up and has progressed.

I had a friend that was clearing an area of his yard and this tree was going to be scrapped, so I got his permission to take it. It was about 15' tall and leggy, but the base looked pretty good.

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Here's the base after I chopped the top 12' of tree off.

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Here's a better view of the root base after I dug it out of the ground. It's big and HEAVY, especially with so much soil/gravel still attached to the rootball. I could have spent time working that soil out, but thought it too risky after so much work.

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I put the tree in a big concrete mixer (drilled holes for drainage) and kept it in pumice. The branches want to grow straight upward, so I wired them to spread them out a bit. I'd let them grow 3-4' long and then chop them back, then repeat that a bunch of times.

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I decided to put the tree into a mica pot and remove a bunch of that heavy gravel-filled soil and reduce the roots quite a bit. I treat this tree like a Bougainvillea generally, and we had a few weeks of lots of heat so I figured it was a good time.
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Here's the base of the tree after the repot. I was probably too aggressive with the root reduction during the repot and the tree looked pretty rough for several weeks. It did snap back though and is very vigorous again.
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Here's the tree as it stands now. I haven't really touched it since the repot other than removing some shooters. The tree is healthy and flowering!
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I'd like some advice on styling this tree. I know it needs to be cleaned up, but what shape should I go for? What size canopy would be fitting for this trunk? Is my pot selection appropriate style and size?
Any thoughts appreciated!
 
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Wow, not one comment or suggestion after 3 days? I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad sign lol. No love for Blue Potato Bush? :)
 

Forsoothe!

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No comments because it's hard to beat a canopy of flowers. I think these flower for extended periods or in a procession rather than having a bloom and done. If I'm right, then your job is to figure out a deadheading procedure that keeps 'em comin'.
 
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No comments because it's hard to beat a canopy of flowers. I think these flower for extended periods or in a procession rather than having a bloom and done. If I'm right, then your job is to figure out a deadheading procedure that keeps 'em comin'.
Fair point! It would be easy to reshape the canopy to be less ciruclar, more of a mushroom top or more circular or angular. It sounds like I'm headed in the right direction though.
I've been watering daily and giving lots of nitrogen lately to get lots of branch growth. I noticed last year that it flowers much more heavily when I give it a low nitrogen blooming fertilizer. Bougain is what I have, which is a bougainvillea blooming fertilizer. I'll shot for early next summer to have a really dense canopy of flowers.
 

Esolin

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I remember seeing this thread earlier. Your tree turned out really well! Love it. I'm working on one of my own at the moment, so this gives me hope it might turn out half decent.
 

Colorado

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Great trunk and beautiful flowers. Awesome tree.

I think the pot should be much more shallow, eventually.
 
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Great trunk and beautiful flowers. Awesome tree.

I think the pot should be much more shallow, eventually.
Thanks! I appreciate the comments.
How long would you wait until moving it to a shallower pot? A year or two?

Is the canopy and pot width appropriate compared to the trunk? I'm not sure what scale to make the tree canopy relative to the trunk thickness. To me it looks roughly correct so I've kept it this size.
 

Colorado

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Thanks! I appreciate the comments.
How long would you wait until moving it to a shallower pot? A year or two?

Is the canopy and pot width appropriate compared to the trunk? I'm not sure what scale to make the tree canopy relative to the trunk thickness. To me it looks roughly correct so I've kept it this size.

I have never worked with this species, so I do not know how long it needs between repots. Being a tropical, yearly repots may be appropriate. But you are doing a great job on the tree so you would know better than me! :)

In my opinion the canopy size is very nice for displaying the flowers!
 

Forsoothe!

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There's nothing wrong with the proportions. I prefer overhanging the edges of the pot 360° as an in-your-face statement. I think it would please me with a more crisp canopy and a brighter pot (Linda Ippel here), but that's strictly a personal thing. Over time, you want the underside of the canopy to be hollow of leaves showing off the ramification. The flowers make this, and the trunk is a serious asset that is almost always wanting on flowering trees, so you can do almost everything wrong and still be People's Choice in any venue when this is in flowers. Period.pot 2.JPG
 

Michael P

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I remember your post when first digging this tree. Thanks for the update, it is stunning! Maybe because I've been reading a lot on flowering quince lately, but you could keep the canopy simple and just emphasize the trunk and flowers.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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I like this tree. As to styling, I would work with what you have. Essentially you have an informal broom, or a non-traditional broom. Your trunk is really a cluster of fused smaller trunks. This is fine, looks great, just keep it. Your trunk is mature, I would make no changes to the trunk. The branches that developed after the initial chop, I would continue to develop ramification. I did not see any awkward clusters of branches, you have been good about thinning those out. I would work on get more fine twigging, fine branches. But other than that is is a fine tree, I would just continue the development.

I would not go for a "mushroom dome". Rather I'd like to see "clouds" or "billows" of green and flowers. You want some small spaces where "birds can fly through". Pretty much continue what you are doing. Eventually an oval pot, or a round pot, about half the depth of the mica pot would be good. Maybe a bit deeper than half the depth of the current mica pot. I'd go with cream, light yellow, or green color glazes, I would avoid brown, red and blue glazes.
 

Katie0317

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It's a stunning tree. I agree with @Forsoothe! about the pot but I prefer the more natural canopy. I think that's a perfect pot for it though. The pot it's in is a bit masculine for such a feminine tree and a round pot works well with the canopy.

The pictures really tell the story. You made it look so easy and I'm sure it wasn't!
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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I wouldn't hesitate to mail this tree to Southern Illinois.

It's All Ham Bruh!

As there is no better way to get everything you need out of life than to give your best stuff away for free, ask GaryVee.

It's @Forsoothe! Fault people confuse potato with tater. He should pay for shipping.

Personally...

I think humans understand flowers in a rigid and strict arrangement so I much prefer the display in the mushroom shape.

It's not about a "natural tree" when it comes to Flowers, hence the division between Azalea and Bonsai. (Thread Graft Points)

Blue Potato Bush = Tax the Rich.

Gross.

Sorce
 

Forsoothe!

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I would steal that tree if it were closer...
 

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