Why are Chojubai Quince so expensive?

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#1
There are many different cultivars of quince, but out of all of them, the Chojubai is the most expensive. Why is this? What is so special about this quince that makes it more prized than the others? I don't mean to bad mouth it or anything. They are beautiful. They have cute little red flowers, tiny leaves, and twiggy branching.

Other than that. What gives? I'd love to try growing one, but I can't see the current price tags being justifiable. Excuse my ignorance, but could someone please enlighten me?
 

Ris

Shohin
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#2
There are many different cultivars of quince, but out of all of them, the Chojubai is the most expensive. Why is this? What is so special about this quince that makes it more prized than the others? I don't mean to bad mouth it or anything. They are beautiful. They have cute little red flowers, tiny leaves, and twiggy branching.

Other than that. What gives? I'd love to try growing one, but I can't see the current price tags being justifiable. Excuse my ignorance, but could someone please enlighten me?

Think of it as a antique only to come across once in a while, that's basically it.
Because of it key factors small compact foliage, cork bark (older specimen) texture it turns to a beautiful flowering bonsai. So this brings the demand at a higher rate and then not many nursery or bonsai supplier has.
 

iant

Chumono
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#3
I figure it's because no one uses them in landscape. They just grow too slowly (the red especially.) So it's really just bonsai people that grow them. So that's a very small group...
I once asked a northwest bonsai grower if he had a chojubai to sell me who told me they grew so slowly in his field that he kept running over them with the mower. The weeds grew so much faster and he couldn't really even see them in the field.
Ian
 
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Poink88

Imperial Masterpiece
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#5
Supply and demand....they're hot right now.
True...complicated by the fact they are rare because they are slow to grow and propagate. Hot or not, the supply is low to begin with. I hope the current demand (and price) drives propagation interest up. Maybe in a few years, I can afford a small cutting. :D
 
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#6
If this is of any interest, I did not see any difference in prices between similar rough material in Japan...so it must be the supply and demand.
 
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#7
I have several I've been working on and love them. I had a good sized stock nursery guy tell me a couple of years ago they don't fool with them because they grow too slowly to 'mass produce', I.e. get an end product that will sell in a short period of time. From my experience in a fairly hot climate they like too much water, so the soil has to be very water retentive, and just when you think it may be starting to get a little fresh air in the pot because its getting just a little dry, the little bugger will wilt because its unhappy and you realize it wants watered 3 times a day. Someone can chime in, but they seem to grow much better in the pacific NW. Michael Hagedorn grows young ones out in 80% pumice and 20% organic (mix of sorts I'm unsure).
 
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#8
You made the arguement for yourself...small leaf, twiggy, flowers, unavailable. They aren't the big quince we use here in American landscape. I bought and 8 year old plant from Don Blackmond. Maybe by the time I retire in 20 years it will be impressive!!
 
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#9
Chojubai is a lovely cultivar of flowering quince. Recently there have been some spectacular photos beautiful of very old Chojubai in Japan, and a couple articles in bonsai magazines and blogs on them. This has rightly re-kindled the interest in this cultivar. It is lovely. It doesn't have to be expensive, I bought a 2 year old cutting for only $12, Spring 2014. Of course a Chojubai with 25 or 30 years of growth and ramification will be roughly 10 to 30 times the price.

All the reasons listed in earlier posts about it not being easy to handle in an in-ground nursery setting are reasons older specimens are pricey.

There are other cultivars of flowering quince that have most of the nice traits of Chojubai, that might be more affordable for older specimens.

Keep a look out for Chaenomeles 'Hime' and Chaenomeles 'Kan Toyo' both have small leaves, 'Hime' leaves can be smaller than 'Chojubai', and they both ramify very nicely. They are both dwarfs, much like Chojubai. 'Hime' is a nice orange-red with small flowers, Kan Toyo has flowers in white, pink or white and pink much like a miniature version of 'Toyo Nishiki', yet 'Kan Toyo' leaves and ramification are similar to 'Chojubai'. Out of bloom you could not separate young specimens of the three by growth habit. The only negative for 'Hime' and 'Kan Toyo' is the fact that their bark stays relatively smooth, like most other cultivars of Chaenomeles. They do not get the rough bark that 'Chojubai' gets. This is not a big negative, because the bark of a 'Chojubai' is not very noticeable until the tree is near 20 years old.

So there are other desirable cultivars of Chaenomeles out there, the "focus" on 'Chojubai' is almost cult like at the moment, but if you can see past the bark, there are many good cultivars of Chaenomeles to choose from.

My favorite is 'Chojubai' but I also love and keep 'Hime', and I have the larger growing quinces 'Toyo Nishiki' and 'Iwai Nishiki'. And in the middle size range I have red contorted, white contorted, and a cultivar Brent Walston (Evergreen Gardenworks) named 'Not Minerva'. All are lovely in their own right.
photo attached of a 2nd year cutting of 'Not Minerva' in a 4 inch diameter pot.
 

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#10
Hi Leo,
Thank You for the good info.
I have been trying to ID this chojubai for some time now. I have had it growing in the ground for 20+ ...not sure what kind of chaenomeles it is. Bark is smooth, the flowers are different shade of light ping.white or lighter base and darker pink at the edges. I brought it during one of my travels abroad.
I dug it out last year, and it had a nebari of 30cm+ composed of lots of suckers as all chojubai are. It had grown to over 1.5m, since it was never cut and it was between some shrubs in total shade.
Here it flowered all year round, and it always had lots of fruits and flowers all at the same time.
I used to pick the fruit and make mango type of pickle from it...it had a lots of fruit.
It sulked for close to 8 month and looked totally dead...I think I root reduced it too much, but it eventually started growing and yesterday I saw the first flower. Many branches died, but still more than enough there.
Leaves are not small. but more like 5-6cm long=2" +.
Do you have any idea what it is ?
 

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#11
For those that are interested Crataegus has posted last week a nice article on Chojubal problems.
http://crataegus.com/2014/08/02/chojubai-notes-part-3-why-is-my-chojubai-weak That made me repot one of mine that was not so vigorous. It was in a tiny pot...and really root bound but no nematodes.
It is a tiny literati, with the most fantastic bark...and it had flowers almost all year round. It was in a tiny 4" pot and I removed a root 1m+
It is a ROR, and I need to style it one of this days.
 

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#12
Another 2 I suspect different varieties, that I will put in larger containers today.
The one that looks like exposed root is actually several cuttings fused together on top made to look like exposed root. Fusing is going well, but still need to fuse a bit more, so I can remove some of the top branches.
Lots of escape branches for now on both trees.
 

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on the IL-WI border, a mile from ''da Lake''
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#15
Hi Leo,
Thank You for the good info.
I have been trying to ID this chojubai for some time now. I have had it growing in the ground for 20+ ...not sure what kind of chaenomeles it is. Bark is smooth, the flowers are different shade of light ping.white or lighter base and darker pink at the edges. I brought it during one of my travels abroad.
I dug it out last year, and it had a nebari of 30cm+ composed of lots of suckers as all chojubai are. It had grown to over 1.5m, since it was never cut and it was between some shrubs in total shade.
Here it flowered all year round, and it always had lots of fruits and flowers all at the same time.
I used to pick the fruit and make mango type of pickle from it...it had a lots of fruit.
It sulked for close to 8 month and looked totally dead...I think I root reduced it too much, but it eventually started growing and yesterday I saw the first flower. Many branches died, but still more than enough there.
Leaves are not small. but more like 5-6cm long=2" +.
Do you have any idea what it is ?
Sorry for the late response. I don't know which cultivar this one is. There are hundreds of named cultivars, and I am only familiar with the very few I've grown. Flowers do remind me somewhat of Kan Toyo, but I have never let mine go to fruit, so I could not say, really would not hazard a guess.
 
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