Dwarf schefflera pre-bonsai tips please!

kale

Sapling
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Hello,

I have this house plant I’ve been considering it’s potential for future bonsai. It has some inverse taper unfortunately so looking for advise how to correct that, and any other advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Some background: Just kept in an eastern window. Doesn’t do much in winter. Last summer it was put outside and got probably too much sun but seems to be doing fine. Still in plain organic potting soil. Thinking of fixing that this summer but hesitant to because of the increased watering needs.
 

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Cypress187

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I think you air-layer the good part (above the taper), or grow a sacrifice branch (but it takes superlong).
 

GSCarlson

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This is 4 years of work. It started about where you are now. Get it into some we’ll draining soil, and don’t be afraid to cut back hard. A little reverse taper isn’t a big deal.

EE34C342-0B9F-463E-AFB1-76450916835D.jpeg008BD050-487B-4F38-AFAA-CAA8C6B6A3D9.jpeg
 

kale

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This is 4 years of work. It started about where you are now. Get it into some we’ll draining soil, and don’t be afraid to cut back hard. A little reverse taper isn’t a big deal.

View attachment 279772View attachment 279773
Thanks GSCarlson! I also live in Longmont, super new to Bonsai. So far, napa 8822 seems to make the most sense. I saw the Flower Bin has some crushed lava rock among a few other things. What do you use? Also, how often do you have to water these in the winter? Very impressive, thanks for sharing those pics.
 

GSCarlson

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Cool, another Longmonster! I use the Napa oil dry stuff. I might throw in a little potting soil, if it’s a plant that might dry out quickly in the summer. Some pearlite also helps to hold some moisture. In the winter I water maybe every 3 days? I keep it pretty cool in my apartment and it doesn’t get a lot of direct sun.
In the summer I water everything at least once a day.
 

Michael P

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The great thing about this species is that you can cut back drastically to get a short, thick trunk. This can be done when the tree is healthy and actively growing. Here in Texas that would late May or early June after it has gone outside for the summer. Your tree looks healthy now, so you could do a lot of work on it this year.

Drastic pruning is needed because these grow very quickly and are difficult to wire. Grow and clip is the method I use. And all the branches you cut off will root with little trouble, so you can quickly have many trees to experiment with or combine into a forest.
 

kale

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Here is one about 15years old. It sits in a 22” pot and is just about 5’ across the canopy. Keeping it tight and wet in the pot will get you a lot of aerial roots.
Wow that's nice! I have seen a lot of people mention humidity plays a big role in aerial roots too. I don't know if I can achieve what you've done in my climate but I will sure try your suggestion. Is yours a forest of several trees or just one with lots of the aerial roots?
 

amatbrewer

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Wow that's nice! I have seen a lot of people mention humidity plays a big role in aerial roots too. I don't know if I can achieve what you've done in my climate but I will sure try your suggestion. Is yours a forest of several trees or just one with lots of the aerial roots?
Not sure where in Colorado you are but I doubt it is much like Florida. ;-)
Yakima's weather, while not quite as extreme as Denver is similar (hot/dry and cold/dry, not much in between). My Sheferlas are outdoor in the summer in partial shade to protect them from the worst of the heat, and when really hot (+90F) get watered twice a day. I won't say they thrive, but they do seem to remain healthy. I am sure they would prefer more humidity.
When temps get below 50F at night I bring them in and keep them in a makeshift in-door greenhouse (tented south facing window with a heat pad) where it remains above 70% humidity. That they seem to love, as I get lots of growth and some aerial roots. And I have had 100% success at rooting the 12 or so softwood cuttings I have tried (but to be fair they are one of the easiest trees to propagate).
Hope some of this is helpful.
 

Davevall

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Wow that's nice! I have seen a lot of people mention humidity plays a big role in aerial roots too. I don't know if I can achieve what you've done in my climate but I will sure try your suggestion. Is yours a forest of several trees or just one with lots of the aerial roots?
It started out as one small tree.
 

Michael P

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High humidity is the key to developing the banyan style with numerous aerial roots, as in Davevall's nice expample. Misting the tree several times a day helps, especially under the canopy to wet the branches. Most of the aeriall roots on my schefflera grow during late spring and early summer when our humidity is high. This summer I will try a plastic curtain enclosing the area between the pot and the underside of the canopy to increase growth of aerial roots.
 

kale

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High humidity is the key to developing the banyan style with numerous aerial roots, as in Davevall's nice expample. Misting the tree several times a day helps, especially under the canopy to wet the branches. Most of the aeriall roots on my schefflera grow during late spring and early summer when our humidity is high. This summer I will try a plastic curtain enclosing the area between the pot and the underside of the canopy to increase growth of aerial roots.
I wonder if I achieved the aerial roots using those techniques if I'd have to continue to maintain them or if they could survive in my dry climate once established. Do you know?
 

Michael P

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Once they hit the soil, grow into it, and develop bark like the rest of the tree, they will not need any special treatment. This should happen within 3 months.
 
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