Shohin azalea suggestions


Reaction score
Hello, here is a small azalea i have been working on for a couple years. The red circle is where a bud would be wonderful. What would be the best tactic for forcing this to happen? Also, the branch marked with "1", is that too low, or is that a good position for the first branch? I would like to see some ideas for branch placement. Also, how is this coming along? I think i have nice taper, and the scars are beginning to heal. Any and all suggestions are welcome.


  • IMG_3201.JPG
    73.3 KB · Views: 92
PW, I have no idea if this will work so try at your own risk. I was told this at the Bonsai show I went to in BHam last weekend. Use an ice pick and punch in about 1/4 inch or less, then "pop" it out with an upward motion, leaving a small hole where you want a bud to come out. The person that told me had not done it either, but saw it done in the past and said it worked. I have a few azalea that I collected at few weeks ago and plan to try it on a couple, will let you know if it works.

Keep LOOkin Up!
This CAN work IF there's a resting bud at or below the point where you ice pick the tree (sounds like an episode of The Sopranos...)

Doesn't have to be an ice pick, could be anything that can be pushed into the trunk in a localized fashion and interrupts the flow of sap between the roots and a resting bud. That interruption will stimulate 'resting" buds to extend--it might also kill part of the trunk and a branch above....It's a crap shoot.

It all depends on if there are any resting buds on the trunk, maybe, maybe not.
Getting any non-apically dominant plant to backbud is easy,that's what they want to do. It's our job as bonsaiest to understand what it takes. #1- strong, vigorous tree. Elongate for strength and cut hard. Azaleas love to bud and it may take a growing season or two to get the right "one" but by growing hard and removing any that aren't usable will speed the process.
With all my azaleas(about 6-8), anytime i prune them harshly, i only get backbudding for about 3-4 inches of that particular branch i pruned. This is on thicker branches too, maybe 1-2" inch diameter. I would prefer if it would just backbud all along the trunk after being pruned. Not much left on this tree to prune anyhow. With growing final branches on azaleas, do you let it grow one or two seasons before you cut back to create taper?
There is danger in hard pruning azaleas in containers. They can suffer "sap withdrawal" from branches and sections of the trunk. Be too agressive in removing branches or futzing with the trunk and you could kill the branch or a section of the trunk.

Some trees will backbud readily, that's true. Azaleas aren't really one of those, at least not one that responds like an elm.
Hello pwk5017.. you may have thought about this this.. but maybe you will find it useful. I have seen shohin azaleas where the take the first branch and wire it up and bend it horizontally to fill the space...It can work very well visually because your eye will be focused on the pad, not necessarilly where the branch eminates from..Also, the next branch on the other side is pulled down slightly..

However, this tree seems to be growing many young branches, it may surprise you...

Here is a virt..



  • IMG_3201[1].JPG
    28.2 KB · Views: 14
p.s.. Well, it's not an azalea,,but it demonstrates what I was talking about i nmy previous reply.. Notice the middle branch on the right is going up and then horizontal.. Your eye just seee balance in regards to the pad format..

This is not my tree....



  • AfterPhoto1127673893[1].gif
    86.8 KB · Views: 25
Top Bottom