Potentilla 6 years of progress

Potentilla fruticosa `Kobolt´. Height: 17cm / 7 inches. Age app. from year 2002. Pot: Bikoh Horie, Japan.

Six years ago I started this Potentilla fruticosa `Kobolt´from a raw nursery material. A simple method of developing shohin-bonsai is to collect a already grown tree or bush, cut it back hard and start from the basic building up branches from scratch. This is only possible this way with specimens coping with such a treatment one must have in mind before taking the chainsaw (or smaller equipment) from the self.

By simply cut back – let grow – cut back again, a branch structure is achieved in a few years. The delicate task with flowering bonsai is to time the flowering and this is the main challenge with Potentilla´s as shohin bonsai. Potentilla´s  develop their flowers on this years growth, therefore they can be trimmed up to two or more months before they need to flower.

The P. f. `Kobolt´ flowers from the summer until late autumn. The trick then is to keep a compact tree that needs the branches to be left growing freely to form flowers, without having these growing too long. It is necessary to wait until the first strong growth have developed, and then trim back hard the branches. This next flush of growth will then bring the flower buds without being with too long branches. It gives a little later flowering than normal, but in perfect time to be usable at autumn exhibitions if needed.

The way it is with flowering specimens like this one, is that one have to accept that the look of the tree will be slightly untamed. The necessity of letting branches grow freely especially at small trees, makes it both acceptable and adding a certain mood to the trees, that they have a less sharply trimmed canopy. A great charm and good to add to a shohin display.

Below a few different stages of the development of this shohin-bonsai. Next task is to refine the deadwood in autumn.

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