hybiscus bonsai

amcoffeegirl

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So at the end of the season i went to lowes and bought a tropical hybiscus and cut it into two plants. i root pruned them and planted then in 2 pots. so far i just have two sticks in pots. They are starting to leaf out and have nice trunks. my question is. how can i begin to male a nice tree? should i just let them grow now without a thought to styling? does anyone here keep them? thanks
 

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I have hibiscus in my yard, but not as bonsai. I love the blossoms, but I'm not sure they're good candidates for bonsai due to the size of the leaves (too large).

By the way, if you love hibiscus, check out this site and see the rarest of the rare (some are no longer available, some are coming available soon).
 

jk_lewis

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Leaves are large, flowers are larger, wood is stiff, with pithy center in twigs. Will not bend. They have been made into bonsai, but would have to be a very large bonsai. Your sticks would have to grow in the ground for 10 years or so.
 
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Leaves are large, flowers are larger, wood is stiff, with pithy center in twigs. Will not bend. They have been made into bonsai, but would have to be a very large bonsai. Your sticks would have to grow in the ground for 10 years or so.

As with any bonsai, working from older material is always best... But with all due respect I have to say your response is somewhat unrealistic in it's hopelessness. Let's examine what can be done with it from a work perspective and let her decide if she wants to try it... (which clearly she does)... and help her to be as successful as she can be until she decides to set it aside or is satisfied.


Leaves tend to large, but can be managed by thinning. In fact hibuscus will blast leaves off in a heartbeat if they get distressed by temp changes or drought. But it'll pop leaves almost immediately. But until these small trunks put on some size, I wouldn't be worried about trying to manage the size of the leaves.

The wood is very stiff... so you'll have to very gently wire new growth shoots... and I wouldn't bend any one too far... Growth tends to be very linear, so you will need to prune a lot to get any movement into it... but again, getting some size first would be helpful... Unless you want a little shohin like the image I showed. Though what makes that one so successful is the obvious age of the material used. Likely it was airlayered off of a old specimen.

It's all about the time one wants to invest... :)

Some practical questions for success... what kind of growing enviornment do you have it in? As an FYI they don't care for low light, or cold temps, and prefer higher humidity though they tolerate less.

Good luck! :)

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Mike423

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It also depends on whether your focus is on a hardy variety or a tropical variety. I have two tropical's (not as bonsai) because of their stunning flowers. I wouldn't work on them as bonsai though due to the fact that like said before have very 'crisp' branching and even new growth has the tendency to crack open or break off when you attempt to manipulate the branch or attempt to wire it. From my experience the stem tissue is also very sensitive to the point that if you were to try to wire it it would indefinitely leave wire marks on the branch, making shaping it best done by selective pruning.

On the other hand I have found that the hardier deciduous varieties, while also difficult to work with are more yielding than their tropical counterparts. I have one grown from a large cutting that is still in the stage of being grown out some before it can be worked on but through some studying it seems like the new branch growth can be more easily manipulated compared to its tropical counter parts. While they also have more sensitive branching and outer tissue than most species they can be wired even slightly more drastically on a few years old growth if rafiia is used.

I generally wouldn't have been interested in a hibiscus myself due to reasons already mentioned but wanted to give it a go since the cutting was given to me by my grandfather.
 
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I have a deciduous hibiscus I have been keeping as bonsai, which is likely to hit a flower bed next year.... the problem I've encountered with them is random die-back. Which I find vexing to say the least. :confused:

But you make an excellent point, I was focused on tropical varieties... not the deciduous Rose of Sharon types. Thank you for that...

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jk_lewis

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It also depends on your experience in bonsai.
 
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We all start somewhere... Better she starts with a species she is fond of, and which is exceptionally tough, within its enviornmental requirements. If we were talking about a big leaf maple or something, I'd steer her towards something with actual potential in that family. Hibiscus is not easy to form into bonsai... But it can and has been done convincingly. Walter Pall has a lovely one as well. (tropical variety)

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If we were talking about a big leaf maple or something, I'd steer her towards something with actual potential in that family.

Hey now :) I'm still waiting for someone to make an amazing Sugar Maple bonsai. My favorite domestic tree :) I'm sure they're out there somewhere, but have yet to see a big one :)
 
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My husband would tell you I don't know a sugar maple from a sweet gum. Lol and in fact I was tempted to show you his sweet gum... But only for a moment. Lol

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amcoffeegirl

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I have no real experience with bonsai. i do love them but have never actually worked with them. usually i kill anyone i try. i want an indoor tree type that i can keep alive and so far the hibiscus are doing ok. i chopped em down and one is about 8 inches the other is about 11 inches. they were heavily root pruned and are still alive. we will see if i can keep them allive. thanks everyone.
 

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