Does anyone know about shohin bonsai trees?

Katie0317

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Does anyone grow shohin bonsai trees or specialize in them?

The more I look at trees I'm fascinated by the big beautiful bonsai trees but the smaller a full grown tree is the more appealing I find it. I like the tiny pots a Bonsai Nut's member is making on her new small wheel.

It's just a gut sense I have. I bought a small jade crassula bonsai 10 years ago and I treated it like a houseplant. For whatever reason it stayed small and I only recently pruned it hard. If it had gotten big and unruly I would have put it outdoors but it never seemed to grow much which was fine by me. I knew nothing about bonsai. I think because jade's are succulents it didn't need constant watering.

Now that I'm learning about bonsai I have a natural attraction to the very small trees.

Any advice would be appreciated.
 

Katie0317

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As I finish up my 70th trip around the sun I'm rethinking a lot of my trees and rereading my book on shohin bonsai by Morten Albek.
Thank you for sharing the name of that author. I appreciate it. Katie
 

SeanS

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Have a look at the shohin tree thread

 

Shibui

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Welcome to the smaller world of bonsai. The wealth of experience available here and elsewhere now should help speed your journey.

I'm another shohin devotee. Initially most of my smaller trees died. It is much harder to keep tiny trees alive through summer. It is also much harder to design effective looking trees in a small scale. After years of practice with larger bonsai I now have the skills to be able to design and maintain smaller bonsai so that part of the collection is rapidly expanding. Some have been shown in the Shohin Thread above.
 

rockm

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Does anyone grow shohin bonsai trees or specialize in them?

The more I look at trees I'm fascinated by the big beautiful bonsai trees but the smaller a full grown tree is the more appealing I find it. I like the tiny pots a Bonsai Nut's member is making on her new small wheel.

It's just a gut sense I have. I bought a small jade crassula bonsai 10 years ago and I treated it like a houseplant. For whatever reason it stayed small and I only recently pruned it hard. If it had gotten big and unruly I would have put it outdoors but it never seemed to grow much which was fine by me. I knew nothing about bonsai. I think because jade's are succulents it didn't need constant watering.

Now that I'm learning about bonsai I have a natural attraction to the very small trees.

Any advice would be appreciated.
The smaller the bonsai, the more skill required to keep it. Thinner margins for overwatering--and underwatering (which can be a HUGE issue with shohin, since their containers can dry out very quickly because of the small soil volume). Smaller margin for pruning errors--miscalculate and remove too much with a single snip and your tree can look odd for a long time, or even die if you cut the wrong thing.

I've worked very large bonsai for years--like five to six inch diameter, three foot tall, 100 lb trees. I've only recently begun working on shohin trees.
 

Katie0317

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Have a look at the shohin tree thread

Just stunning...I fell down the rabbit hole with that thread.
 

Katie0317

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Welcome to the smaller world of bonsai. The wealth of experience available here and elsewhere now should help speed your journey.

I'm another shohin devotee. Initially most of my smaller trees died. It is much harder to keep tiny trees alive through summer. It is also much harder to design effective looking trees in a small scale. After years of practice with larger bonsai I now have the skills to be able to design and maintain smaller bonsai so that part of the collection is rapidly expanding. Some have been shown in the Shohin Thread above.
More difficult in summer because of the watering or why?
 

Dav4

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More difficult in summer because of the watering or why?
The smaller the tree, the smaller the pot. The smaller the pot, the smaller the volume of soil, which in turn, only holds so much moisture, which allows the soil to dry out faster between watering. Depending on where you live and the climate that you deal with in the summer, you may need to water these smaller trees three or more times a day just to keep them from drying out.
 

Katie0317

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Open this can of trees!


Sorce
Sorce, I'm still meandering through the trees in the above thread. I'm so glad you added another source, I'll look forward to enjoying it. I'm looking for a blue pot with hopes you'll offer the smashing of it for a new pot trade...Just kidding! but that was an awesome offer. Shaking my head that he didn't take you up on it.
Open this can of trees!


Sorce

Welcome to the smaller world of bonsai. The wealth of experience available here and elsewhere now should help speed your journey.

I'm another shohin devotee. Initially most of my smaller trees died. It is much harder to keep tiny trees alive through summer. It is also much harder to design effective looking trees in a small scale. After years of practice with larger bonsai I now have the skills to be able to design and maintain smaller bonsai so that part of the collection is rapidly expanding. Some have been shown in the Shohin Thread above.
I'm taking it slow and realized the water jasmine pre-bonsai I just bought is ready to be potted in a bonsai pot and I'll work with that for a long while and growing the Chinese Elm bigger before I start on it. I have no plans on buying a shohin. But as a matter of planning and plotting...Which types of shohin trees would be the easiest to grow in your experience?
 

Katie0317

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The smaller the tree, the smaller the pot. The smaller the pot, the smaller the volume of soil, which in turn, only holds so much moisture, which allows the soil to dry out faster between watering. Depending on where you live and the climate that you deal with in the summer, you may need to water these smaller trees three or more times a day just to keep them from drying out.
Makes sense. Thank you, Katie
 

Shibui

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The smaller the tree, the smaller the pot. The smaller the pot, the smaller the volume of soil, which in turn, only holds so much moisture, which allows the soil to dry out faster between watering. Depending on where you live and the climate that you deal with in the summer, you may need to water these smaller trees three or more times a day just to keep them from drying out.
Small pots not holding much water is further compounded by root growth. Small pots fill with roots quicker than larger pots. More roots means less space for water to fill and the problem is compounded. Trying to get a very small bonsai through a second summer is even harder because the pot is already half full of roots. I find that repotting every spring helps them survive the summers here. My smaller pots also sit on a water tray to help reduce drying.

Which types of shohin trees would be the easiest to grow in your experience?
I grow lots of trident maples because they do so well in my area.
IMGP3336.JPG
Chinese elms are good as shohin, especially the variety 'Seiju' with smaller leaves and closer internodes.
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Some of the small leaf Cotoneasters like C. horizontalis. C. damerii make great small bonsai.
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Buxus harlandii is proving to be really tough, loves pruning including hard chops, has small leaves and amazing corky bark.
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Juniper chinensis can be good but harder to make defined foliage pads on really small trees.
IMGP0093.JPGIMGP0516.JPG

Japanese maples are always a favorite species but intolerance of dry and long internodes can make keeping these alive and looking good as shohin a real challenge.
IMGP0524.JPG
 

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Shibui

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Small leaf privet is a weed here but is also tough enough to make smaller bonsai.
P1210329.JPG
Azalea is possible as small bonsai, especially the smaller flower species. 'Sao to me' is an azalea variety grown for foliage as it rarely flowers but has nice small leaves and responds to pruning very well.
IMGP6766.JPGIMGP9607.JPG
Dwarf honeysuckle (Lonicera nitens) responds really well to hard pruning and root pruning and has small leaves and appears to be a good choice so far.
Some crab apples are developing nicely but they all try to get bigger if I take my eyes off them and it can be hard to get good initial trunk bends, longer internodes can make ramification more difficult.

I am also trying some of our natives. Smaller leaf Melaleucas look promising so far
P1210327.JPG
Banksia integrifolia has great bark texture but is a challenge to keep really small and still have ramification

The list goes on and on. You will probably find more species that suit your local climate.
 

Katie0317

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Small pots not holding much water is further compounded by root growth. Small pots fill with roots quicker than larger pots. More roots means less space for water to fill and the problem is compounded. Trying to get a very small bonsai through a second summer is even harder because the pot is already half full of roots. I find that repotting every spring helps them survive the summers here. My smaller pots also sit on a water tray to help reduce drying.


I grow lots of trident maples because they do so well in my area.
View attachment 392305
Chinese elms are good as shohin, especially the variety 'Seiju' with smaller leaves and closer internodes.
View attachment 392303View attachment 392304
Some of the small leaf Cotoneasters like C. horizontalis. C. damerii make great small bonsai.
View attachment 392308View attachment 392310
Buxus harlandii is proving to be really tough, loves pruning including hard chops, has small leaves and amazing corky bark.
View attachment 392307
Juniper chinensis can be good but harder to make defined foliage pads on really small trees.
View attachment 392306View attachment 392311

Japanese maples are always a favorite species but intolerance of dry and long internodes can make keeping these alive and looking good as shohin a real challenge.
View attachment 392312
Your photos really took me in, they're beautiful. When I got to the bottom 14 they said 'Shibui bonsai' underneath and I Googled it and it took me to a website with the same name. Does that mean it's where you got them? I'm in Florida and I've begun to grow Brindebella roses which were recently developed in Australia so I think Florida is similar to conditions there. I'm new to bonsai and was intrigued to see that you find Chinese Elm easy to grow as Shohin. How did you go about creating a shohin from a Chinese Elm? That would be an easy tree for me to learn on.
Are some of the trees in your portfolio of 14 photos jade or ficus trees? Which ones? That would be easy as well. Also is that a Serissa?
Thank you so much for sharing these with me. They're beautiful.
I'm not quite sure where i'd start. I've found some jade trees on Etsy and Ebay with small leaves and Serissa's are readily available also. I was very surprised to see Chinese Elm on your list but I wouldn't know where to start with that. Even a one or two year old elm is rather large. Do you just start by chopping it back or is it done in stages? I don't know anything yet about shohin and mame but I love looking at them! Have you ever grown any indoors? My husband has suggested that we don't have the humidity conditions to grow bonsai indoors but I think some can be grown successfully? Jade and ficus for instance.
Any starters you could share would be appreciated. Thank you so much for sharing these.
 
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