FBnews.2017.Issue no. 1

REVISITING THE 10:1 PROJECT:  SMALL BONSAI

                 As we move into a new era,  we are running trials and re-evaluating all areas.  We took a stab into switching to ceramic bonsai pots and decided not to as they really are not suitable for us.  The pots do not match our plants as suitable designs are either not available or too costly.  They are heavy and break in shipment.  So we'll keep trying.  There's interest in high-quality small bonsai and this article shows the difference when a small bonsai is potted into a shallow 5 1/2" diameter plastic plate that has had a total of 13 holes 1/8" size with 6 holes in the outer ring, 6 holes in the inner ring, and one in the center.  Shallow containers benefit from multiple holes for good drainage. 

 

          Customer Douglas Edwards visited and enjoyed my experimental mini-bonsai.  He offers a premium for highest quality and requested a mini-dragon.  But my best was in a deep ceramic pot and I suggested potting it in a 5.5" diameter x 1/2" deep plastic dish.  I drilled the drain holes, but instead of just one set of two twisted wires to make 2 tie-downs, I used one set of thin aluminum wire and two sets of paper-covered iron wire that will rot away in a few months.  With a total of 6 tie-downs, a lot of the potting media would be held in place.  Note the difference in container depth.
            It was relatively easy to remove all media above the major surface roots and the larger aggregate drainage layer to result in a nice root ball just 1/2" thick. Aerial roots were arranged and secured and the media above the root ball was removed to to expose the roots. In a sense,  the shallow container fits the classic pot guideline that the depth of the contain equals about the thickness of the major structural trunk. 

             The container was prepared with 1/4" aggregate,  Hawaiianite non-burning, ultra controlled release fertilizer and 1/8" gravel/organic layer.

              The 6 sets of tie-downs worked beautifully and in cris-crossing over most of the surface, the tree was well secured to the dish and it was easy to pick up all by the trunk with no movement at all!  Multiple tie-downs makes sense when potting in ultra shallow containers.
             This is a view of the "back" of the Dragon with addition of fine 1/8" to 1/16" aggregate (shown on the right side) that was covered with that aggregate mixed with equal parts of fine coconut husk that goes through a 1/16" screen. Normally I use a full surface foil cover with a lot of air holes and a network of fine root hairs will firm up and hold the media in place if you carefully water by placing it in a pan of water. But Douglas grows his trees on a lanai so I'm using moss gathered from a deep shade area.      
            Three views of the finished tree. It's been cut back recently and will be a nice tree when the new growth fills out!
 
 
 

REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE AND INVITATION TO SET UP A MINI-BONSAI STUDY GROUP

               In the past two years,  I've begun to start more research and training of TRUE INDOOR MINI-BONSAI and am enjoying the challenge.  There's been a number of discoveries to benefit and improve Fuku-Bonsai's products.  As a major advocate of highest-potential "NURSERY BONSAI" grow from seeds and cuttings with training begun as early as possible,  the mini-bonsai research and experiments start training when plants are younger and smaller. 

               The training pots are smaller too.  For my smaller plants, I use standard 2" square nursery pots that are normally about 2.5" tall that are cut down to about 1" or even 1/2" high.  I also like to use the smallest clear plastic sauce containers and just cut three drain holes in the bottom corners.  These are great for first pots and after they are one or two years old, I may move them to 4" diameter x 1/2" deep "water-catching plastic saucers" used under round nursery pots.  I drill a large number of 1/8" or 1/4" drain holes on flattish containers to assure good drainage and like the example above, the holes are great for multiple tie-down wires.  But I want a better selection of pots for my collection and other True Indoor Mini-Bonsai!

THE FUKU-BONSAI POTTER CHALLENGE!

               I seek several potters to collaborate with Fuku-Bonsai to create suitable shallow pot design on either a limited custom or as a larger production supplier.  I will trade premium True Indoor Mini-Bonsai plants at a negotiated exchange rate or purchase at quoted prices.  I am especially looking for one or more potters willing and able to produce pots to my specifications.  As my interest grows,  a fair number of visitors to Fuku-Bonsai really want to purchase my mini-bonsai.  I also like the idea of having a range of suitable pots available for a Fuku-Bonsai Mini-Bonsai Workshop Package or for sale here.  Please email me at david.f@fukubonsai.com if interested.

MINI-BONSAI STUDY GROUP?  Again, please email me at david.f@fukubonsai.com if interested!  It is more costly and requires more skill to produce high-potential mini-bonsai prepared bonsai stock.  So these may not be cheap, but they'll be higher quality than anything currently available on the Internet!

 

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