Hibiscus shaping help

Kalimasah

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Hi everyone!

I got a Hibiscus cutting maybe 6 month ago. My grandmother has been caring for it, until now.

It has grown really good, but it has gotton no training. It has just been growing freely in a very small pot.

I am now looking to start training it into a beautiful bonsai. But i am unsure about the shape. I have attached an image, showing the branching of the tree as is.

I was hoping some of you would have some input as to how i should go about cutting the tree. I was thinking about keeping the two lower branches at the bottom, and then maybe cut the "main" trunk some where over the small branches, and then keep the "main" branch as the "main" trunk. Sorry i have forgotten the word for the "main" trunk :rolleyes:

Please feel free to mention all inputs you might have. Thanks a lot!

Have a wonderful day
 

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ohiogrown

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It doesn’t seem that you see a lot of hibiscus bonsai. Well at least I don’t. I actually have a few. Pink,red,and peach colored. Nothing very good. I’ve always wondered if you could graft different colors onto one tree. I think that would be great. I think your idea is good for shaping your tree but I would wait for someone with more experience to tell you what to do. Anyways here a picture of one I’ve always admired.
 

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tree3

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IMG_1192.jpg

This is mine. I've just been doing trunk choping to thicken up the trunk. I've been told to chop it even shorter but I'm not sure.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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I believe the photo of the hibiscus bonsai with red flowers is a Walter Pall tree, or perhaps another EU bonsai artist's tree. I recall a photo of the same tree with the owner, it is larger than it looks in the photo, about 1 meter tall, a little over 36 inches tall.

Because of the large leaves that do not reduce easily, and relatively coarse branching, hibiscus is not often used. I think the biggest issue is that it is difficult to get more than 3 levels of branching. Actually beyond 2 levels of branching is normally about it. An elm or hornbeam can have an unlimited number of levels of branching, 4 to 6 is not unusual, and as a result, elms and hornbeams have very fine detailed branch structures.

So it is not impossible to do bonsai with hibiscus, but it is difficult to get a refined look. The startling, disproportionately oversized flowers are fun, shocking even, so many try to create bonsai with hibiscus. In the end very few make it to the awards level on the show circuit. They tend to be something we keep at home, grow for fun and never really put into competition as bonsai. They are fun.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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Oh, it appears the original poster is no longer active on BNut,
@tree3
Trunk chopping won't necessarily thicken the trunk, in fact it can slow down thickening the trunk. However, forcing the tree to produce many branches, and then allowing the branches to carry many leaves, that will thicken the trunk. The more leaves, the more surface area of leaf surface, the more photosynthesis for growth. The more growth, the thicker the trunk. So get it bushy, and keep it bushy until the trunk thickens up. Ideally, even for very small bonsai you want a trunk over 2 inches in diameter for hibiscus. A 4 inch diameter trunk would look even better on a 12 to 24 inch tall tree.

So basically you are on the right track. Keep it growing. Let it get as large a bush as you can physically handle in your set up. The you chop it back.
 

tree3

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Oh, it appears the original poster is no longer active on BNut,
@tree3
Trunk chopping won't necessarily thicken the trunk, in fact it can slow down thickening the trunk. However, forcing the tree to produce many branches, and then allowing the branches to carry many leaves, that will thicken the trunk. The more leaves, the more surface area of leaf surface, the more photosynthesis for growth. The more growth, the thicker the trunk. So get it bushy, and keep it bushy until the trunk thickens up. Ideally, even for very small bonsai you want a trunk over 2 inches in diameter for hibiscus. A 4 inch diameter trunk would look even better on a 12 to 24 inch tall tree.

So basically you are on the right track. Keep it growing. Let it get as large a bush as you can physically handle in your set up. The you chop it back.
Oh, it appears the original poster is no longer active on BNut,
@tree3
Trunk chopping won't necessarily thicken the trunk, in fact it can slow down thickening the trunk. However, forcing the tree to produce many branches, and then allowing the branches to carry many leaves, that will thicken the trunk. The more leaves, the more surface area of leaf surface, the more photosynthesis for growth. The more growth, the thicker the trunk. So get it bushy, and keep it bushy until the trunk thickens up. Ideally, even for very small bonsai you want a trunk over 2 inches in diameter for hibiscus. A 4 inch diameter trunk would look even better on a 12 to 24 inch tall tree.

So basically you are on the right track. Keep it growing. Let it get as large a bush as you can physically handle in your set up. The you chop it back.

I'll keep you all posted. I found the thread by Walter Pall:

https://walter-pall-bonsai.blogspot.com/search?q=hibiscus+bonsai

Yes, I realize it will be more of small shrub at the beginning. I recently bought two more with thicker trunks, so if those survive the initial shock phase, I'll post some images of those too.

I read the two methods for thickening the trunk were: letting them grow really tall with leaves and all, or trunk chopping. So I imagine you're referring to letting them grow tall and full.
 

defra

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To clear this up a bit...
I was the one that said to chop it even lower
The main reason for that was to keep the wounds minimal because they heal the cuts slow to none and it wil get beter taper might take some more time but prettier in the end IMO
 

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