What I have learned about Escambron

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Why are they so blasted hard to find and expensive when you do.
Over here, I remember learning that Pedro Morales from Puerto Rico's Futago Bonsai had an event going on some years back.. I'm wondering if the bonsai nursery here was supplied from their inventory possibly. Imports are most likely to always be more expensive is my guess due to the paperwork and carefully shipping and handling provided.
 

Bingobango21

Sapling
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I am mainly starting this thread because I feel like there is not a ton of information out there on Escambrons, which I feel is a disservice to the species because of how wonderful they are to work with. I hope to share what I know, have I have learned, and let others contribute with their personal experience with this species.

To start off, I own three escambrons; two shohins and one, three-foot-tall literati I call Tall Boi. I have had them since the summer of 2021 with my literati being my newest of the three and I love them to death. They are fast growers with absolutely beautiful bark and small leaves, which is desirable for bonsai as we all know. The only downside to them is that they are tropicals (as they are natives of Puerto Rico), meaning you need a good set up for them to continue to thrive during the colder months. But I personally do not mind this too much since I already have a ficus, buttonwood, and plenty of jades along with them.

Placement:
Repeat after me: Full sun, full sun, full sun, and more full sun. Unlike other tropicals that may not have designated spots to grow along the branch, Escambrons grow in nodes. The less light they receive, the longer the nodes will be which can be difficult to deal with since their leaves are so small. I will go into more detail about the habits of the Escambron nodes later on. Always protect these guys from cold just like any other tropical tree you may have with PLENTY of artificial light.

Watering:
Escambrons are not very thirsty trees. They have the watering needs of bougainvillea from personal experience, meaning they do not like sitting in soggy soil and can go longer without watering (to an extent). Although they may ask for additional water in more porous soil even if it is not completely dry. While they prefer not to have wet feet, missing out on watering will make them droop and drop their leaves like crazy if neglected (I may or may not be speaking from personal experience on that one...).

Fertilizing:
For some reason, they do not seem to like BioGold all that much. But a friend of mine has had a good experience with fish-based fertilizer and his Escamrbons have been doing fantastic. If anyone has any insight on fertilizing recommendations, let me know!

Pruning:
As mentioned, these guys grow nodes along the branches in order to produce leaves and additional branching. So with this in mind, you have to consider dieback while pruning (preferably during the springtime after the last frost date). Now Escambrons will not necessarily dieback like a Brazilian Raintree is known to do, but it does require some space before the next node*. The cleaner the cut, the lesser the dieback. Now it is important to mention that Escambrons love to grow from where they were recently pruned, which is great if you prefer the clip-and-grow technique, but not so great if you already have a long branch without much else to it. The best way to get back budding, according to Bonsai Junky on Facebook, is through defoliation during the springtime so it has time to recover and receive sun during the summer.
P.S. Always wire after defoliating. These guys do not have thorns, but they do have sharp ends that protect the leaves from being crushed. The nodes pave the way for you to wire them with ease. Just make sure you do not wire over the node in the sense of preventing new growth from occurring.

* Additional Note: I have had no encounters with dieback along the trunk nor primary branches while removing limbs. So you should not have to worry about this from my experience so far. It is mainly an issue when trimming back the ends of limbs.

Repotting:
These guys take repotting like a champ. Yes, they will be grumpy for a couple of weeks, but they bounce back very quickly if you handle the process correctly. Just be mindful of the amount of roots you remove (I would say no more than 40%) and not to fertilize too soon after repotting. Of course, always repot during the spring after the last frost date. BUT, if you are in need to repot it sooner rather than later (bad soil has been killer for me), they can handle being repotted indoors and put under a grow light again (as long as the grow light isn't too close). I am still learning the habits of Escambron roots, so this may need some elaboration later on down the line when I repot my Tall Boi.

I hope this helps someone who is still learning about their tree!
Thanks for the write up. I have been debating this species but was finding limited information on how they overwinter indoors. I recognize your user name from r/bonsai btw lol. I did a double take for a sec haha.
 

JuniperSol

Shohin
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Thanks for the write up. I have been debating this species but was finding limited information on how they overwinter indoors. I recognize your user name from r/bonsai btw lol. I did a double take for a sec haha.
I hope the recognition is a good thing haha
 

JuniperSol

Shohin
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Random note: They do not like 100% lava rock. Thanks for coming to my ted talk lol
 

JuniperSol

Shohin
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What I an realizing with cuttings is this:
Oh my gosh they are a PAIN. Older, hardened off wood is more difficult to root and I don’t have much success with keeping them in water. Currently experimenting with older and younger growth cuttings to see how well they take in water vs a soil mixA3B5BBCB-A9CA-49C4-B486-833FA9958C8A.jpeg004E5682-9B46-4C46-9290-8E4FE7CC3261.jpeg
 

JuniperSol

Shohin
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Experimenting with clip and grow:
Nodes can be a pain. Also new growth coming from the tips is also a pain. So I’m going to experiment with removing tips of fresh growth early on to see if it will benefit in the sense of density. I’ve noticed they branch similar to jades (one cut = two new growth spots), so I’ll let you guys know how it goes

Additional note: My trees have not been doing great under the Mars Hydro TS 600w lights. Apparently they don’t produce UV rays because it burns marijuana. I’ve set the trees up higher to see if it helps
Clip and grow is a massive success on this tree species even in green, new growth. Two leaves coming on on both sides which indicates new growth
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JuniperSol

Shohin
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I found out why the slanted escambron was not doing so hot. It had some super super tiny brown bugs on them (no webbing so I do not think it was spider mites) that were killing the leaves. Sevin seemed to have taken care of it.

Also, one of my cuttings after a couple of months have put out roots. It's sort of a challenge to get them to root due to the dieback that occurs in the cutting. Younger growth has higher success than older. Will be attempting an air layer of one of the branches this summer.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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@JuniperSol - you mentioned a ways back that you seemed to have 2 different types of Escambron. So I dug a little. Escambron is the colloquial name for Clerodendron aculeatum, one of new world species of the large genus of mostly old world "glory bowers vines". There's as many as 439 species in the genus Clerodendron. C aculeatum has nice small white flowers, if you have one of the others too, it's flowers will be different.

Your description of what it needs is good.
 

JuniperSol

Shohin
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@JuniperSol - you mentioned a ways back that you seemed to have 2 different types of Escambron. So I dug a little. Escambron is the colloquial name for Clerodendron aculeatum, one of new world species of the large genus of mostly old world "glory bowers vines". There's as many as 439 species in the genus Clerodendron. C aculeatum has nice small white flowers, if you have one of the others too, it's flowers will be different.

Your description of what it needs is good.
Dang good info. I tried looking into it but there just isn’t a lot of info on these trees. Appreciate it a lot
 

JuniperSol

Shohin
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second cutting to take root. I forgot to take pictures of the one I just potted. They sort of remind me of trident maple roots, but seem more stubborn to move. I haven’t messed with them much, though. I’ve broken off roots on accident in the past. I’ve had success in garden soil mix with a bit of akadama and orchid bark and in water. This one I pulled out of the soil to check on then put it in a vase of water with my other cuttings. The cutting that’s now potted was in water.
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JuniperSol

Shohin
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Now that exams are over, this one will receive a haircut soon
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