New to bonsai- Grewia and Azalea

greenfarmer

Seedling
Messages
10
Reaction score
6
Location
Waitakere, Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand
Hello I’m new(ish) to bonsai.
I had a cypress when I was a kid and It didn’t go too well.
I’m older and much wiser now and have just been gifted an azalea and a grewia(lavender star flower).
The azalea looks hella healthy but the grewia has some yellowing on the leaves and some dried out flowers.
they are staying outside.
It’s summer here in Aotearoa and it gets to around 28 degrees in the day and 14 at night.
Would appreciate any tips on how to look after these!!
I have some wire and want to start shaping them as I read it’s best to do in summer not winter. I have some scissors to prune them. I also have some slow release pellet fert on the to-get list.
 

StarGazer

Yamadori
Messages
81
Reaction score
70
Location
San Francisco Bay Area, CA
USDA Zone
10a
Hi,
adding the location on your profile helps with more precise advice from members based on your specific climate.
Grewia probably needs water... make sure soil does not get completely dry.
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
Messages
31,222
Reaction score
42,974
Location
Berwyn, Il
USDA Zone
6.2
Welcome to Crazy!

We got a place for people like you!


Sorce
 

greenfarmer

Seedling
Messages
10
Reaction score
6
Location
Waitakere, Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand
I have just picked up some pellet fertiliser today, so will sort that out ASAP. I was only just given these yesterday. Should I snip the yellow leaves off or wait for the colour to come back?
Also should I snip off the old dried up flower buds. I can see that there is new growth coming too, I’m wondering if I need to trim the new growth.
Also I’m wondering the best time to wire them and how to get a nice triangular shape
 

Leo in N E Illinois

The Professor
Messages
10,123
Reaction score
19,843
Location
on the IL-WI border, a mile from ''da Lake''
USDA Zone
5b
Both the Grewia and the azalea look pretty healthy. The azalea is"hella healthy", the Grewia is not terrible. Do nothing drastic. A little fertilizer would be great, a LOT of fertilizer would be BAD. Go easy.

Summer is just starting, they both need be outside. But if you just got them, maybe start them with half day of sun, then slowly increase it maybe 2/3 of a day direct sun. Depending on how quickly they dry out. Both do not like to get totally dry to wilting. Wilting is bad. Increase shade if they dry out in less than a day. Your temps sound mild, should be fine for both azalea and Grewia. They will likely need daily watering.

Azalea, it is important to prune right after spring blooming, if you prune late summer or early autumn you will remove next spring's flower buds. Feel ends of branches, if you feel flower buds, already in early summer, that means it is an Autumn blooming azalea. Some "florist type" azalea bloom both spring and autumn. Don't prune branches with buds if you want "max flowers". If you are more interested in developing "bonsai" you can ignore flower buds and prune 2 times, spring and middle summer. Tree like character can be developed more quickly but flowers will be sacrificed. Most of us let azalea bloom, then prune.

Grewia bloom on current years growth. You can prune multiple times a year, just let it grow out to see flowers.
 
Messages
1,803
Reaction score
3,280
Location
Bothell, WA
USDA Zone
8b
Greetings and Welcome Aboard BonsaiNut!

Good to see another Kiwi onboard.

For pruning are a couple things you can do right off to help your azalea. It looks like a nursery azalea, so it needs to be pruned down to ‘bifurcated’ style to get it ready to design and style later.

First and foremost this tree needs to be pruned to clear out the “cartwheel” of branches at the big junction. This means you’ll need to chose one branch to keep that will go roughly horizontal and one that goes up.

Chose any for the horizontal branches mid size and pliable. Cut the rest near flush then use a sharp tool to smooth the cut just off the trunk and cut paste…. But but keep another for the apex.. see below….

There are a couple branches that also have another branch coming off higher up. Keep one of these as the lower of the upper bifurcated branches … preferably one going about 120 degrees from the lower branch… this will be your second level, the other will grow up to be your initial apex.

Afterwards liightly wire your branches down and apex up.

The second item is to replant the tree on an angle. Somewhere 30-45 degrees off the vertical. This is abs item that doesn’t need to be done right away.

Cheers
DSD sends
 

greenfarmer

Seedling
Messages
10
Reaction score
6
Location
Waitakere, Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand
Both the Grewia and the azalea look pretty healthy. The azalea is"hella healthy", the Grewia is not terrible. Do nothing drastic. A little fertilizer would be great, a LOT of fertilizer would be BAD. Go easy.

Summer is just starting, they both need be outside. But if you just got them, maybe start them with half day of sun, then slowly increase it maybe 2/3 of a day direct sun. Depending on how quickly they dry out. Both do not like to get totally dry to wilting. Wilting is bad. Increase shade if they dry out in less than a day. Your temps sound mild, should be fine for both azalea and Grewia. They will likely need daily watering.

Azalea, it is important to prune right after spring blooming, if you prune late summer or early autumn you will remove next spring's flower buds. Feel ends of branches, if you feel flower buds, already in early summer, that means it is an Autumn blooming azalea. Some "florist type" azalea bloom both spring and autumn. Don't prune branches with buds if you want "max flowers". If you are more interested in developing "bonsai" you can ignore flower buds and prune 2 times, spring and middle summer. Tree like character can be developed more quickly but flowers will be sacrificed. Most of us let azalea bloom, then prune.

Grewia bloom on current years growth. You can prune multiple times a year, just let it grow out to see flowers.
Thanks heaps for the advice, I will definitely take it easy with the grewia, it is looking pretty great actually with all the flowers blooming, I just flicked the yellow leaves and most of them just fell clean off so probably nothing much to worry about. I did put a tablespoon of pellet fert into the soil on the surface, but I don’t want to poke too hard around In the soil. Would you recommend a liquid fertiliser over a pellet fert for the plant in this stage of its life?

Also for the azalea I am keen to develop bonsai and train it to look even more beautiful Thanks again :)
 
Last edited:

greenfarmer

Seedling
Messages
10
Reaction score
6
Location
Waitakere, Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand
Greetings and Welcome Aboard BonsaiNut!
Good to see another Kiwi onboard.

For pruning are a couple things you can do right off to help your azalea. It looks like a nursery azalea, so it needs to be pruned down to ‘bifurcated’ style to get it ready to design and style later.

First and foremost this tree needs to be pruned to clear out the “cartwheel” of branches at the big junction. This means you’ll need to chose one branch to keep that will go roughly horizontal and one that goes up.

Chose any for the horizontal branches mid size and pliable. Cut the rest near flush then use a sharp tool to smooth the cut just off the trunk and cut paste…. But but keep another for the apex.. see below….

There are a couple branches that also have another branch coming off higher up. Keep one of these as the lower of the upper bifurcated branches … preferably one going about 120 degrees from the lower branch… this will be your second level, the other will grow up to be your initial apex.

Afterwards liightly wire your branches down and apex up.

The second item is to replant the tree on an angle. Somewhere 30-45 degrees off the vertical. This is abs item that doesn’t need to be done right away.

Cheers
DSD sends
Wow! Awesome advice, thanks a lot! I will do everything you have recommended and report back with photos.
I am definitely keen to promote a nice shape so this is very helpful thank you.
:)
 
Messages
1,803
Reaction score
3,280
Location
Bothell, WA
USDA Zone
8b
That would be exciting to see. 😎

As @Leo in N E Illinois basically stated, when developing an azalea into a style one won’t see many blooms.

It would be wise to take some cuttings - to learn this technique, to have stock for grafting and to have free material to learn on in the out years. Timing of the cut back is important only if you have a multicolored variety as its good to wait to see where the appropriate flowering areas to cut are. In that case you might want to read this article by Jim Trumbly a couple times first.

The first hard cutback is always the hardest to do. One has to be somewhat ruthless and also very deliberate at the same time. Once one starts cutting there may be a number of interesting paths to take.

Good luck!
DSD sends
 

greenfarmer

Seedling
Messages
10
Reaction score
6
Location
Waitakere, Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand
That would be exciting to see. 😎

As @Leo in N E Illinois basically stated, when developing an azalea into a style one won’t see many blooms.

It would be wise to take some cuttings - to learn this technique, to have stock for grafting and to have free material to learn on in the out years. Timing of the cut back is important only if you have a multicolored variety as its good to wait to see where the appropriate flowering areas to cut are. In that case you might want to read this article by Jim Trumbly a couple times first.

The first hard cutback is always the hardest to do. One has to be somewhat ruthless and also very deliberate at the same time. Once one starts cutting there may be a number of interesting paths to take.

Good luck!
DSD sends
Ok so I just went ahead and gave it a pretty big prune, I’ve chosen my main apical stem which will be the thick one in the middle, and then the two horizontal branches. Should I chop off the other two small lower branches? I’m thinking I now just chop all the minor branches that don’t have wire..
 
Messages
1,803
Reaction score
3,280
Location
Bothell, WA
USDA Zone
8b
Ok so I just went ahead and gave it a pretty big prune, I’ve chosen my main apical stem which will be the thick one in the middle, and then the two horizontal branches. Should I chop off the other two small lower branches? I’m thinking I now just chop all the minor branches that don’t have wire..
Good to hear!

Not so sure about the rest until you post a couple photos so we can see what’s there. Without seeing these I’d say keep whatever remains.

However if the branches you are mentioning are what remains of the ‘cartwheel’ of branches on the bottom, take everything off you don’t need for the next phase of the design.

cheers
DS sends
 
Last edited:
Messages
1,803
Reaction score
3,280
Location
Bothell, WA
USDA Zone
8b
Ok, nice photo.

One of the keys to setting the structure by pruning is to not have branches coming out near the same spot on the trunk. There should be vertical separation, first larger spaces, then successively smaller separation as one progresses the trunk. Also the branches should have rotation around the trunk. For example one would choose the front view, from there the branches will come rotate in an order around the front, i.e. right branch, left branch higher, back branch higher, etc.

So one has to be ruthless and choose one branch and eliminate all the rest at that level, move up the trunk and choose one branch in the next direction and eliminate the rest, etc to the apex. The good news is once one is done pruning, if the tree is cared for properly azaleas, especially satsuki, will provide many buds up the trunk to fill in spaces where no branches are.

Here’s a basic example of an azalea pruned and wired.
CF8E3B9A-B9BB-4FF2-847E-D96C4CB4DF8C.jpeg

At the end of summer with wire removed.
0098851A-BA18-4EF1-9EC1-3465A11DC473.jpeg


That is a good first wiring job. However for azaleas the wire must be laid out properly and in contact at all times. Otherwise the branches will not bend properly or even. Here are two really good videos on wiring that helped me immensely.

Structural wiring

Detail wiring

cheers
DSD sends
 
Last edited:

greenfarmer

Seedling
Messages
10
Reaction score
6
Location
Waitakere, Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand
So meanwhile, my Grewia has welcomed a little scale insect to move in. It is a tiny black mite thing that is causing black spots on the leaves and flowers. Wondering the best way to treat this? I have this bug oil, but some people have told me to use soapy water6DFCB29F-8E61-44A3-B150-330E09115E43.jpeg
The petals also look a bit wilted
EC4F9FCE-E2B0-4AA2-BBCF-2A58D0743502.jpegE65C6BA9-D5D0-4AD4-A109-ADA61E415810.jpeg
I’m pretty happy with how the azalea is looking but am thinking I should trim the top of each branch so that instead of having 4 or so shoots I just have 1
A827ED59-FF23-40FC-A073-3CF9DB83CE87.jpeg
 

Attachments

  • 1A9EAA10-BF9F-4AF3-A709-79D351615E17.jpeg
    1A9EAA10-BF9F-4AF3-A709-79D351615E17.jpeg
    159.4 KB · Views: 4
Messages
1,803
Reaction score
3,280
Location
Bothell, WA
USDA Zone
8b
Either would work if the infestation isn’t too bad. I have bad luck spraying oil on my trees and then exposing a tree to the sun. They resent it and the leaves get burnt. So perhaps mostly shade for 3-5 days afterwards? Never tried it on grewia, but azaleas have not liked it.

My first line of defense for bugs is a healthy spray of water on the underside of the leaves…. the last so far is imidicloprid after flowering only.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder for one’s trees, if you like what you’ve done, then that’s great.

Trimming back to one set of leaves is one way to increase back budding along the inner part of the branches, something you’ll need to fill in your pads

Cheers
DSD sends
 

greenfarmer

Seedling
Messages
10
Reaction score
6
Location
Waitakere, Auckland, Aotearoa, New Zealand
Ok, following up, I really have butchered my azalea, but I hope that it will grow into a beautiful shape. I’m wondering why it’s looking so sad though, it’s leaves are drooping and going brown. I’m wondering if it has been overwatered, or it needs repotting?57096D1C-CB7E-401E-875D-BCE5A86B5C8D.jpeg
I know it looks bad, please don’t roast me
37A0E663-C2B4-443B-9079-97FF75403DA5.jpeg

now for the good news, my Grewia is absolutely loving life, it’s had some pretty amazing flowers popping up and then falling off and there is plenty more buds on there where that came from. But there is so much new growth, I keep nipping off the new shoots but I’m thinking I should possibly keep some on to shape the grewia into a nice canopy. Anyone have any ideas on good shapes or advice on which shoots to leave and which to cut?42FD895E-4A30-4884-B280-3F1CDCAD08B1.jpeg
D4D487D5-F254-4A20-83E1-A4BBA6441139.jpeg
Now for my less conventional bonsai…
It’s kinda illegal and I’m wondering if you guys now a good thread for it, it’s leaves look like a maple a little bit….
 
Messages
1,803
Reaction score
3,280
Location
Bothell, WA
USDA Zone
8b
Gosh, sorry that’s not looking so good…. there looks to me to be several things going on.

Consider the tree admitted to your azalea ER.

It almost looks to me like the tree was put in lots of sun and-or high temperatures after you worked on it. If so that’s causing the diffuse browning on the leaves, which is very unusual.

Azaleas are mostly part shade plants. After working a major cut back and wiring azaleas need to be put in high cool shade for a week or more or until one is absolutely certain the tree has fully recovered. That’s true of many other trees too, especially broad leafed trees.

So please find a cool high shaded spot to put the tree in. Not inside.

Second I can’t tell for if the media is wet, which causes root rot, but check the media and if ifs wet, not moist, stop watering until it gets mostly dry. If it is wet, put a rock or something under the pot to tilt it. This will help the media dry. Then water evenly, but sparingly. Better too dry then too wet. It sort of looks wet to me.

Next, get a spray bottle and start misting the leaves at least 2x a day, Misting helps keep the leaves firm and helps in most adverse situations.

Next, the lower left section looks like at least one of the branches was overtorked and is dead somewhere back from the leaves, leaveing a section limp, unable to pass nutrients and water. Let the leaves die back and prune back to where the branch is firm. Otherwise you should cut the branches off flush to the trunk as the other old cuts should be.

Also please do not fertilize the tree until it gets healthy again. Then do it sparingly with something like Miracid..

obtw: please be sure to use cut paste on azaleas. Other trees you might get away with not doing so, but azaleas, especially smaller ones after a major cut back can get dehydrated. Consider the total amount of surface area on a little tree like yours and how much surface you pruned back. That’s a lot.

The top section and right branch still look fairly healthy. That’s good news. Even if you can stabilize the tree and lose all the branches except 5-6 healthy leaves on top, the tree has a good chance to survive. Don’t even worry about losing all the lower branches. If you can get the tree healthy, it will backbud to beat all.

In fact some of my whips are 30” tall, robust and only have 6 leaves on top. I sacrifice the branch’s as soon they push out so the trees grow vertically.

Good luck and keep us advised!

cheers
DSD sends

PS The Grewia looks nice you should give it it own thread for sure!
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
tanlu grewia as bonsai Tropicals 19
BISTEK Oak bonsai New to Bonsai 1
Migs Pre-Bonsai Shaping Ideas Tropicals 10
Cable Florida bonsai nurseries General Discussion 12
S My newest bonsai (Ficus religiosa) Tropicals 6

Similar threads

Top Bottom