Manzanitas - Arctostaphylos as Bonsai?

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Manzanitas - Arctostaphylos as Bonsai?

Post  ho2cultcha on Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:59 am

i am knew to the Internet Bonsai Club / Bonsai Forum and although i've always loved bonsai, i've never really done a real one. i have a california native plant nursery in Oakland, CA and i give classes in native plants for containers and landscaping with natives around California. I'm really interested in using native plants as bonsai, and i know i have a LOT to learn.

I did a search through the archives and haven't come up w/ anything about using Arctostaphylos species as Bonsai. I've been growing them in containers for years now - about 35-50 different species with mostly good results, but i don't know much about the Bonsai process yet. i aim to fix that and would like to study with someone - preferably here in Oakland, CA. Manzanitas are extremely varied in their needs. While some can tolerate lots of water, others die immediately when watered in hot weather [in the ground]. Although they have the reputation of being somewhat slow, most of them get a very old and twisted appearance in a relatively short time [about 5 years]. While some manzanitas grow into medium-sized trees [up to 36' tall], others are tight ground-hugging carpets. Some have tiny leaves and others have 2-3" round leaves. Many of them have glaucous leaves and a beautiful cinnamon-red to dark purple bark which peels to reveal a bright, lime green 'skin' underneath once per year. Some of them have leaves which turn firey colors in the wintertime.

i have some photos of my favorite manzanita - an unknown sport i found - for containers here:

http://flic.kr/s/aHsjyuAPbP

it's an unknown variety i found near Fort Hunter Liggett and it flowers for a super long time, looks good year-round and appears to love container life - so far [about 3-4 yrs]. one of the best things about it is the way the leaves change color throughout the year.

for more photos of manzanitas, check these out: http://flic.kr/s/aHsiDmrgBc

i'd like to know if others have experimented w/ manzanitas or even Madrones as bonsai and what were they like for you? are there any other folk out there who have been experimenting with California native plants for bonsai?

another favorite plant i've been growing in a semi-bonsai way is Eriogonum crocatum - Conejo Buckwheat. here's some photos of an eleven-year old plant i've been working with:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/eastbaywilds/7157346163/in/photostream/lightbox/

i'm glad i joined this group and have spent lots of time reading many of your old posts in the last few days - and soaking up the group knowledge as much as i can. Thanks!

ho2cultcha
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Re: Manzanitas - Arctostaphylos as Bonsai?

Post  Andrew Legg on Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:53 am

Hey man,

Welcome to IBC. It's great to see people trying new material, so kudos to you mate! There should be more people experimenting out there with their native flora! I can't see your photos from my office as Flikr is banned here, but I'll check 'em out from home!

Cheers,

Andrew

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Re: Manzanitas - Arctostaphylos as Bonsai?

Post  Andre Beaurain on Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:23 pm

Welcome mate, what shall we call you? hort2culcha? Nice to have a fellow Horti on board.

As you would know, the Erica family doesnt like fiddling with their roots.
Here they are part of the Fijnbos family, and most fijnbos doesnt tolerate root disturbance.

But I do know that they do grow well in pots. Your Manzanita looks like a variety of Arctostaphylos pungens? It is Awesome ...Well done !!

Coleonemas also falls into this group, I've seen unbelieveble Coleonema Bonsai @ the Houtbay Bonsai Nursery in, Hout Bay , Cape Town.
I've tried it myself, and have only two left....I've never trimmed their roots.. maybe I do it at the wrong time, who knows?

Does anyone else have Coleonema or Erica, Heathers Bonsai?

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Re: Manzanitas - Arctostaphylos as Bonsai?

Post  Andrew Legg on Thu Feb 28, 2013 12:37 pm

Andre Beaurain wrote:Welcome mate, what shall we call you? hort2culcha? Nice to have a fellow Horti on board.

As you would know, the Erica family doesnt like fiddling with their roots.
Here they are part of the Fijnbos family, and most fijnbos doesnt tolerate root disturbance.

But I do know that they do grow well in pots. Your Manzanita looks like a variety of Arctostaphylos pungens? It is Awesome ...Well done !!

Coleonemas also falls into this group, I've seen unbelieveble Coleonema Bonsai @ the Houtbay Bonsai Nursery in, Hout Bay , Cape Town.
I've tried it myself, and have only two left....I've never trimmed their roots.. maybe I do it at the wrong time, who knows?

Does anyone else have Coleonema or Erica, Heathers Bonsai?

Andre,

Rumour has it that Colo's are best repotted after the first big winter rain - usually in late March of early April. That said, I have a buddy here who dug two in August and both survived with lotsa Superthrive and good after-care. We need to work more and experiment more here to understand these indigenous species!

Cheers,

Andrew

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Re: Manzanitas - Arctostaphylos as Bonsai?

Post  Andre Beaurain on Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:27 pm

...I'm flabbergasted.... Coleonema yamadori!! Get out!

You say repot after the first winter rain, but what about trimming the roots?

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Re: Manzanitas - Arctostaphylos as Bonsai?

Post  Andrew Legg on Thu Feb 28, 2013 1:39 pm

Andre Beaurain wrote:...I'm flabbergasted.... Coleonema yamadori!! Get out!

You say repot after the first winter rain, but what about trimming the roots?

I've heard root disturbance is not tolerated, so I'd repot with care and try not to disturb too much. That said, I don't have one, so probably not the best guy to ask.

Cheers,

Andrew

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Re: Manzanitas - Arctostaphylos as Bonsai?

Post  Just Mike on Thu Feb 28, 2013 3:58 pm

YAY!!! someone else from the bay!!!

so...carefull with manzanitas as far as collecting goes around here...i think they are protected in some areas...and, i have also heard they dont like their roots messed with...at all...you might get away with it once or twice, but every re-pot will be a dice roll...coyote brush grows around here like a weed, and some of them have really nice trunks with tons of character...ive been debating now for a couple seasons, but havnt found enough information to have any kind of confidence in attempting it as bonsai...i personally dont like to "experiment" on things that are doing just fine where they are...because "experiments" usually dont end well in bonsai. at least not for me anyway lol.

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collecting manzanita

Post  ho2cultcha on Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:48 pm

that's cool that there's some people from here in the bay on the list.

i don't ever collect manzanitas from the wild - just an occasional cutting. the one i have is from a friend's land near fort hunter-liggett and it's from a cutting i took about 4 years ago. it may be an A. pungens. i can't remember why i ruled that one out a long time ago - i think it has to do w/ the hairs on the stem. i'll look it up now.

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Re: Manzanitas - Arctostaphylos as Bonsai?

Post  dorothy7774 on Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:20 pm

ho2cultcha wrote:
i have some photos of my favorite manzanita - an unknown sport i found - for containers here:

http://flic.kr/s/aHsjyuAPbP

it's an unknown variety i found near Fort Hunter Liggett and it flowers for a super long time, looks good year-round and appears to love container life - so far [about 3-4 yrs]. one of the best things about it is the way the leaves change color throughout the year.


Hi ho2culktcha (funny name btw!), your unknown manzanita looks so much like the one (unknown) described in this article:
http://www.sfgate.com/homeandgarden/article/Mysterious-manzanita-baffles-homeowners-3215614.php#photo-2358304

Best,
Dorothy

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Re: Manzanitas - Arctostaphylos as Bonsai?

Post  dorothy7774 on Thu Feb 28, 2013 6:39 pm

http://www.sfgate.com/homeandgarden/article/Mysterious-manzanita-baffles-homeowners-3215614.php#ixzz2MDinInvI


When you read the article posted above, Alice Eastwood is mentioned to be standing (1938) in Laurel Hill Cemetery. Quote:' At her feet is a prostrate manzanita, probably the extinct Franciscan subspecies. Behind her is an erect, bushy specimen. Could it have been a relative of Hillson's plant?'

This is the photograph:



This is the download the photograph is from with additinal interesting info:

www.sfnps.org/download_product/2340/0

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Manzanita

Post  Bruce Winter on Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:21 am

I love Manzanita and it was all over Sonoma county (Glen Ellen) where I used to live. But I've seen very few bonsai. Once at a show in Japan Center in San Francisco I asked the owner of one what it was potted in and he said, "feel." I did and it was straight sphagnum moss. I've always wondred if it could be air-layered. That would solve the touchy roots problem, at least for a while.

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unknown manzanita

Post  ho2cultcha on Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:09 am

thanks for the links. i'd seen those before and i do grow the franciscan manzanita. the new unknown one from sf is superficially similar to the one i have, but we haven't done a genetic test yet - but will do so sometime soon [i hope]. i say 'superficial', because you have to look very closely at them to see the differences. it appears that the one i have is going to stay very short like it's parents. it is probably a hybrid - part of a swarm.

yes, manzanita can be air-layered, but they are slooooooow! that's interesting that the manzanita you saw at the show was growing only in sphagnum. i've heard of people who grow them in just felton sand and finely grated sphagnum. i use that sometimes for rooting them, which seems to take care of their susceptibility to fungal pathogens.

thanks for all your feedback. it looks like we have lots of experimentation to do w/ beautiful manzanitas.

here's some photos of me w/ the largest one on record. some of these were published in the SF Chronicle around 7-8 yrs ago.

http://flic.kr/s/aHsju9YHao


ho2cultcha
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Re: Manzanitas - Arctostaphylos as Bonsai?

Post  dorothy7774 on Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:21 am

ho2cultcha wrote:..

here's some photos of me w/ the largest one on record. some of these were published in the SF Chronicle around 7-8 yrs ago.

http://flic.kr/s/aHsju9YHao


What an awesome tree! I saw some great Manzanitas in Yosemite, absolutely stunning. Thanks for the pics!

Best,
Dorothy

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how do i ....

Post  ho2cultcha on Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:27 am

i mistakenly clicked on the link to stop following this topic. how can i continue to follow it?

thanks!

ho2cultcha
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soil mixtures - suggestions?

Post  ho2cultcha on Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:38 am

i have a zillion soil mixture questions, and i'm sure i'll find most or all answers when i get to that section of the forum. but meanwhile, i have an urgent question about what would be the best mix to use for repotting a couple of manzanitas tomorrow. they've been growing in my regular nursery mix for manzanitas which is essentially coir plus pumice and lava [1/4-1/3"] and some felton sand [#2 sand], w/ a timed-release osmocote 1/2 strength. i want to try my hand at growing them as bonsai and have some pots all ready for them. any soil suggestions? thank you.

ho2cultcha
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Re: Manzanitas - Arctostaphylos as Bonsai?

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