Rosemary as Bonsai?

edprocoat

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I was in the Home Depot to pick up some screws when I passed by a display of Christmas plants, I brushed by a mini christmas tree looking plant and it let off this wonderful smell like a spice. I looked at the tag and it said it was Rosemary! They also had a rosemary topiary bush formed in the two balls on a stick about 24 inches tall like you see done with boxwoods and some junipers, the little Christmas trees were about 18 inches tall and had woody looky trunks and leaves that looked very much like pine needles, the best part was the aroma though. It looked as if it could be made into a neat little Bonsai as they had great little trunks about a little over an inch thick and tons of branching that formed a very convincing looking pine tree.

I was wondering if anyone has ever tried one as Bonsai? I looked online and seen some set in Bonsai pots, mostly little thin trunks looking similiar to a tree like many of the things they sell as Bonsai online. I could not find out if they grow quick, are hardy or if the take pruning well and as I could not see the roots on any of those they had displayed I wonder if they form good roots. It said on one site they are evergreen though and can withstand drought and be grown indoors.

Just wondering.

ed

ed
 

edprocoat

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I searched the site here, a feature that I either just found or forgot was here, and found a thread by a guy named Behr with a beautiful scene mimicking the Alamo using a Rosemary plant. I hope he still comes here as it was dated in 2007, I would love to know how its doing and if it back buds when pruned or trains well, I would love to try it but I am getting to the point I dislike trying unknown plants for the trouble of my adapting to their needs and trying to keep something alive while wasting time on an unsuitable plant.

ed
 
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Brian Van Fleet

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Peter Warren has one: http://www.saruyama.co.uk/rosemary.php that is pretty impressive.
Their Mediterranean origins mean warm, dry climates, and they're hard to keep happy indoors over winter. It might fit into your category of "wasting time on an unsuitable plant"...although they're great to have growing in the herb garden!
 

Bonsai Nut

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I haven't seen too many used as bonsai, but I have seen a few. Rosemary is used in a lot of landscaping down here. Went for a walk today and walked past a rosemary hedge. Smells great - try crushing some needles/leaves in your hands.
 

Randy

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Rosemary has different varieties where some are more upright bushes and then others are treated like ground cover. I have seen some bush types that look like a tortured juniper with interesting twisted deadwood trunks and have been thinking if they would tolerate the type of treatment Al Keppler demonstrates in the Yamadori Style Junipers thread he wrote up earlier this year.
 

Brian Underwood

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We have a number of rosemary bonsai in the REBS club. I have seen a couple nice demos on the subject, and they prove to be a pretty worthy species. They can be found growing as decorative shrubs and can usually be dug with the owner's permission, and some get quite old. The branches are brittle, and harder to bend, but the twisty trunks are well worth the trouble.
 

capnk

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Rosemary are very adaptable, and are common landscape plants in Oregon and Washington, where they often achieve dramatic size.
Not sure how much cold they would tolerate in a pot.
Good luck,
Chris
 

Attila Soos

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I have a nice one, the trunk has some twisting features and deadwood. I just wired and styled it this summer.

I will have it ready next spring, when the wires come off and the branches are set. The great thing about rosemary is that it can be styled like a pine, since the narrow leaves resemble short pine needles. Add to that a twisting trunk, full of character, and you've got a perfect bonsai subject. Once it's established in a pot, it is easy to keep it healthy. The most important thing is abundant sun and well draining soil. I don't recommend it for cool and wet climates, since that's the opposite of our Mediterranean (warm and dry) weather.
 
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Ang3lfir3

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The great thing about rosemary is that it can be styled like a pine,....

alright I gotta know.... I've seen this said about several species of trees/shrubs before... I want to know what is so alluring or "great" about "being styled like a pine" .... what does that mean or refer to?
 

allanp

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I enjoy most anything to do with plants and i llove learning so no bonsai is a waste of time...and being styled like a pine, whats the importance?
I am bonsaing a mugho pine to look like a flying machine( I dont know if it will turn out , but it will be fun regardless...
 

Smoke

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Behr Appleby died some years back. He was a great friend and not only a great bonsai artist but also a Stand Up bass player in a couple bluegrass bands. Him and I would email back and forth about our love of bluegrass music and we came in first and second in a bonsai pipe cleaner contest at bonsaiTALK many years ago.

I still miss his respect of all things bonsai. He was not only a stand up bass player, but also a stand up guy.

RIP Behr...your ol friend Al
 

Bonsai Nut

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alright I gotta know.... I've seen this said about several species of trees/shrubs before... I want to know what is so alluring or "great" about "being styled like a pine" .... what does that mean or refer to?

Though I didn't make the original comment, I'll throw in my 2 cents because it was exactly what I was thinking when I saw the bonsai that jquast posted. In my earlier post I used the term leaves/needles because the leaves looks like severely reduced pine needles. So it would give you a similar look to a pine without the work of a pine - and possibly would respond better to hard pruning with tons of back buds, etc.

Since there is no such thing as an "ancient-looking" rosemary bush, you have to use SOME tree species as your mental model when you are styling shrubs as bonsai, I think...

Plus they are alluring in that they have such a nice smell and they bloom.
 

rock

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good stuff everyone.

Like to reiterate what Brian U said about brittle. They will naturally get twisty in the ground but to try a gremelizing//kepplerizing on them is impossible. Save your wire :)

You can find nice little ones in the herb section of your nursery. If you are a seller they are an easy one , you say all the trimmings go in the pizza sauce. win win
;)
Rock...out

ps. AK check you inbox
 

Ang3lfir3

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Since there is no such thing as an "ancient-looking" rosemary bush, you have to use SOME tree species as your mental model when you are styling shrubs as bonsai, I think...

Plus they are alluring in that they have such a nice smell and they bloom.

Ohh i understand the allure of Rosemary as bonsai..... we have a wonderful old one at Elandan Gardens that has gorgeous pendulous branches filled with flowers most of the year.

I also understand that it could be representative of a pine's needles etc .... what I was wondering about is why is it a bonus for some species to have characteristics that lend it to being styled like a pine... maybe I just don't get the same googly eye feeling other people do from seeing yet another helmet head pine...

as for Rosemary they can be styled in many wonderful ways and there are even pink flowering varieties (i have one in the herb garden) .... upright they can have a very oaktree style to them and it you have a weeping variety you can train the trunk up and let it weep like a willow .... they obviously can be styled in wonderful cascades or even like large azaleas .... take your pick ...

here is one looking like a juniper:
http://www.bonsaiinformation.com/01 Tosho.jpg
 

coh

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Can anyone with experience working with rosemary comment on the warning I've often heard/read - that they do not handle repotting/root pruning very well?

Chris
 

tanlu

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I don't really get why people are always trying to attain the pine look. If you want a pine look so badly...get a pine! I'm sure if you go to the Mediterranean you can find some naturally stunted, ancient looking rosemary bushes. I would aspire to get my rosemary to look like that. I've even seen deciduous and azalea bonsai with those overlapping pads of foliage that are so reminiscent of pines. It just looks a bit silly to me.

T
 

bumblebee

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I'm looking for input here as well.

Can anyone with experience working with rosemary comment on the warning I've often heard/read - that they do not handle repotting/root pruning very well?

Chris

I have a rosemary that needs repotting, but I've been leery of killing it.

Libby
 

edprocoat

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I have read on many sites too that a rosemary does not handle root pruning or repotting well. And I have found many pictures of rosemary as Bonsai and have come to the conclusion it can not be that much of a problem, how else could there be so many fine examples such as the one posted above by Ang3lfir3 if this were true? I am certain that specimen was not grown in that pot from a seed or sapling, even it were collected it would have had to be trimmed to just fit in the pot.

ed
 

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