Autumn bonsai colors

The warm autumn doesn’t seem to stop some bonsai from exposing the wonderful colors of autumn. The shorter day length makes trees prepare for dormancy as does their genetic code clock. A third factor is the cold, but his year is extremely warm for the time of the year. And we heard that song before didn’t we?

The top picture of the post shows an old friend of the collection. a Japanese maple, Acer palmatum, around 12 cm / 4,7 Inches in height.

Korean hornbeam in the training stage. Showing nice coloring despite it misses the cold weather to really push it out.

Autumn preps

It’s too early to do any winter preparations so far. Trees need a kick of cold to be helped to understand they should go dormant. Some trees already dropped their leaves and others cling to them until the dark side, shorter days, and longer nights dominate.  The cold will do the rest.

Having late October temperatures around 20 C / 68 F is a weather record here. Giving warm loving trees like the Japanese black pine and the J. red pine a better life, but will affect Fir that needs that cold to thrive.

All we can do in the bonsai garden is accept it and prepare the trees the best possible for the upcoming winter.

It might be mild and warm. In this case, trees are staying outside and are mostly protected against rain to prevent root rot and fungus.

It might be cold and freezing for periods. In that case, most of the small shohin bonsai are protected in a cold frame.

35 year+ old Hawthorn shohin bonsai. Crataegus laevigata Pauls Scarlet`in a Japanese Tokoname pot.

Despite the warm weather it shouldn’t trick you to think the trees are still growing a lot. One or two branches may be fooled and set new fragile growth that will not last for the winter. but growth will be at a very slow rate, and most roots will still be actively growing. All fertilizing should be ended by now.

Pruning in autumn

When deciduous trees drop their leaves they can be pruned lightly, adjusting branches before winter. It can be done just before spring as well, but there often is more time available in autumn, In spring repotting is the main activity. Also, wiring can be done now, when branches are still flexible.

The leaves change their color from green to yellow and orange..


Else, just enjoy the splendid colors and fruits as long as they are present. The mood of autumn is a mixture of beauty and melancholy. Colors are vivid and then they fade. Leaves drop and paint the floor of the garden.

Here is a recap with a video captured back in November 2020. Showing the feeling of this time of the season.

Remember enjoying these small short moments of beauty in your bonsai garden.

Please leave a comment