Exotic Bonsai Choices

Are you looking for something more adventurous in the art of bonsai gardening? If so, you need not stick with the more traditional coniferous, deciduous or occasional fruit trees as the only items in your collection. Your choices can range to the more exotic varieties which will help expand your skills.

An example of an exotic choice is Wisteria, a plant native to Japan, Korea, and China which can reach more than 30 feet in size in the wild. Not conforming to any of the traditional bonsai styles, Wisteria can make for an interesting challenge.

With both beautiful and aromatic flowers that come in a variety of colors, such as, white, pink, blue and purple, Wisteria can be an excellent choice. Wisteria blooms in the Spring at which time they need lots of water but with adequate drainage. Wisteria does well in a wide range of lighting conditions, from partial shade to full sun. To maintain healthy plants, be sure to provide them with ample fertilizer just prior to they bloom in the Spring and once again in late summer prior to losing their leaves.

If you love fragrant flowers, an excellent option is Orange Jasmine which produces a bright red fruit and fragrant white blossoms, bringing both delight to the nose and beauty to the eye.

Starting in early spring and continuing through mid-autumn, feed Orange Jasmine every three to four weeks. Except in the hotter summer months when slightly more water is needed, only light watering is adequate for the rest of the year.

Orange Jasmine is one of the few bonsai that can be and probably should be raised indoors since it does better in moderate shade and filtered sun light.

With lovely puffy flowers and lacy foliage, the Mimosa tree offers another good alternative. They are as fragrant as either of the above choices and due to their long silky filaments they are sometimes called a silk tree.

Moderate water should be provided to the Mimosa during the blooming season which is from late April to early July. However, care should be given to avoid getting water on the flowers themselves, since the flowers will rapidly deteriorate when wet, much like a number of other flowering plants.

Be sure to give your Mimosa plenty of room in your display area as the Mimosa will be one of the larger bonsai in your collection. Because they grow rapidly and have large leaves, they are difficult to sustain in a very small size.

An additional exotic bonsai is the Desert Rose which can turn an ordinary bonsai collection into an exciting full color display. The Desert Rose is a native of East Africa where it grows up to 10 feet tall and produces large, pink, trumpet-bowl flowers.

Requiring lots of fresh air and ample sunshine, the Desert Rose should be kept outside most of the year. However, their very bushy habit makes them a fine complement to the more traditional bonsai set in your collection.

Since they are sensitive to cold, they need to be moved indoors during periods of cold weather below 50F (10C). They will lie dormant but healthy when temperatures are in the range of 50F-60F (10C-15C) and will need very little water during this period.

These beautiful and fragrant flowering plants will challenge your bonsai gardening skills, expanding your horizons. They will provide an ever-changing display as they go through the seasons, blooming in the spring and losing their leaves in the fall, adding interest to your collection and when spaced amongst the more traditional evergreens, such as junipers, pines, and firs, they add a nice contrast.

Source by George Dodge

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