Growing a young Jacaranda

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Growing a young Jacaranda

Post  Mira-Ju on Wed Jul 24, 2013 7:05 pm

I have some Jacaranda mimosifolia that are about 6 months and I'm wondering if I'm doing it right. They are about 10-15 cm so they are still small and quite fragile I think.  I've looked a lot through the internet and there is a lot to find but not when it comes to young jacarandas.

They have sunlight on them about 8 hours a day and i got lights on for another 4-5 hours since
I've read they require a lot of sunlight. Observe that im in Sweden so the sun isn't that strong here so i thought
id compensate with lamps.

I had some problems with watering since I overwatered at first. but then  I gradually reduced how often i watered, now I water every 3-4 days. But is it still too much?
I also started feeding them with fertilizer and the npk is well balanced, 5-5-5, I thought about watering them 4 times every year?

I use 1/3 akadama, 1/3 gravel and 1/3 suitable growing soil.

Any tips and help would be well appreciated since I want them to grow strong and be as beautiful as they can be. Thank you!




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Re: Growing a young Jacaranda

Post  Mira-Ju on Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:00 am

So im either doing a great job and doing nothing wrong or nobody here have any experience with Young jacarandas. Considering nobody has answered out of 50 people Razz  Laughing 

im really new at this and its my first bonsai, thats why i could really need some advice and tips are Always welcome.. ive gone through alot of material on the internet but its hard to find anything on bonsai this Young.



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Re: Growing a young Jacaranda

Post  fiona on Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:49 am

Here are some thoughts and opinions of my own based on general bonsai trends rather than anything specific to this tree.

1.  a tree this young would probably not be considered as a bonsai at this point.  You have very young raw material (seedlings) which have a good three years growing to do before you even start to think about creating bonsai out of them. After that time you may very well decide they are not suitable candidates.

2. you have chosen a tropical tree which means it can't withstand low temperatures and you should google the precise tree to ascertain exactly what temperatures it can handle.  Generally this means that in your climate it will need special treatment - i.e. winter protection.  

3. you are kind of mixing your methods in having it in direct sunlight for part of the day then lamps for another.  I'd suggest that even in Sweden at this time of year natural sun and daylight will be fine. You don't mention if the "sunlight on them about 8 hours a day" is indoors or outdoors.  I would suggest they need to be outdoors.  You could then consider using your lamps as part of your winter care regime. I don't know if you will do any harm by your mix and match but I do think you are not actually achieving anything by using the lamps in the summer as well as natural light.  After all, in Sweden you are probably getting far more daylight than a large number of the people on this forum. 

In short, you aren't necessarily doing "anything wrong". You just need to realise that those plants are a long way away from being bonsai. Let them grow naturally for a couple of years - I'd pot them up in large containers, put them outside then bring them into shelter when the temperature in your area falls to the lower limit of a J. mimosifolia's range. 

In the meantime, can I suggest you do what a lot of us do - find a decent piece of native tree and work on that while you're waiting for the seedlings to come through.

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Re: Growing a young Jacaranda

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Thu Jul 25, 2013 12:54 pm

This family of plants have rather large, compound leaves and need to be larger bonsai to carry off the leaf size. When I first stated in bonsai 40 plus years ago, I tried a tree known locally as Silk Oak, it was an Australian native in the bottlebrush family. It also had large compound leaves and I was able, for a while at least, to carry it off using each large leaf as a branch.

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Re: Growing a young Jacaranda

Post  Mira-Ju on Thu Jul 25, 2013 3:51 pm

fiona wrote:Here are some thoughts and opinions of my own based on general bonsai trends rather than anything specific to this tree.

1.  a tree this young would probably not be considered as a bonsai at this point.  You have very young raw material (seedlings) which have a good three years growing to do before you even start to think about creating bonsai out of them. After that time you may very well decide they are not suitable candidates.

2. you have chosen a tropical tree which means it can't withstand low temperatures and you should google the precise tree to ascertain exactly what temperatures it can handle.  Generally this means that in your climate it will need special treatment - i.e. winter protection.  

3. you are kind of mixing your methods in having it in direct sunlight for part of the day then lamps for another.  I'd suggest that even in Sweden at this time of year natural sun and daylight will be fine. You don't mention if the "sunlight on them about 8 hours a day" is indoors or outdoors.  I would suggest they need to be outdoors.  You could then consider using your lamps as part of your winter care regime. I don't know if you will do any harm by your mix and match but I do think you are not actually achieving anything by using the lamps in the summer as well as natural light.  After all, in Sweden you are probably getting far more daylight than a large number of the people on this forum. 

In short, you aren't necessarily doing "anything wrong". You just need to realise that those plants are a long way away from being bonsai. Let them grow naturally for a couple of years - I'd pot them up in large containers, put them outside then bring them into shelter when the temperature in your area falls to the lower limit of a J. mimosifolia's range. 

In the meantime, can I suggest you do what a lot of us do - find a decent piece of native tree and work on that while you're waiting for the seedlings to come through.

Thanks alot fiona, appreciate your answer. I will keep in mind that its a tropical tree and be aware of how temperature will affect it now and during wintertime.
I have the plants indoors for now since i dont have anywhere to put them outdoors but ill keep them outside when i can and when the weather is right.

But im concerned about how i water them, is it ok with watering them every 3-4 days or is it too much??


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Re: Growing a young Jacaranda

Post  Mira-Ju on Thu Jul 25, 2013 3:58 pm

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:This family of plants have rather large, compound leaves and need to be larger bonsai to carry off the leaf size. When I first stated in bonsai 40 plus years ago, I tried a tree known locally as Silk Oak, it was an Australian native in the bottlebrush family. It also had large compound leaves and I was able, for a while at least, to carry it off using each large leaf as a branch.

hi Bill, i was actually concerned about the compound leaves, i thought it had something to do with the watering or something else. But now that you mention it then its logical that they simply cant carry their weight when they're this small. Should i do something about it or maybe it doesnt matter? Since they probably will be replaced as time goes.

Any other tips you can give me when it comes to these seedlings or that i should think about? Should i keep having the lamps on a couple of hours or are they only doing damage? Because its not always that the sun shows itself here in Sweden

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Re: Growing a young Jacaranda

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Thu Jul 25, 2013 3:59 pm

Water when the soil is dry at least one inch down. DO NOT water on a schedule.

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Re: Growing a young Jacaranda

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Thu Jul 25, 2013 4:01 pm

The lamps will not hurt, just make sure that the plants don't get too close and get burned, those lamps generate a lot of heat,

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Re: Growing a young Jacaranda

Post  Ashiod on Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:56 am

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:Water when the soil is dry at least one inch down. DO NOT water on a schedule.

An easy way to monitor this is to stick a wooden chopstick down into your soil mix. It's pretty quick and a lot less messy than using a finger while you learn how long your soil takes to dry.

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Re: Growing a young Jacaranda

Post  Xavier de Lapeyre on Fri Jul 26, 2013 9:50 am

Fiona said it all I guess.
The little I can add:
In my climate, the plant sheds its leaves in winter.
If you want to give it a specific shape, do it while the stems/branches/trunks are still flexible and soft.
Once the branches starts to harden off it very hard to bend and shape without breaking it.

You won't be able to make a convincing shohin out of it IMO.
You should go for a medium [ two hand ] size bonsai at least.

Branching and ramification can be tedious, not really the best starter material if you've never done bonsai.


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Re: Growing a young Jacaranda

Post  Mira-Ju on Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:21 am

Ashiod wrote:An easy way to monitor this is to stick a wooden chopstick down into your soil mix.  It's pretty quick and a lot less messy than using a finger while you learn how long your soil takes to dry.
Great tip thx alot!

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Re: Growing a young Jacaranda

Post  Mira-Ju on Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:25 am

Xavier de Lapeyre wrote:Fiona said it all I guess.
The little I can add:
In my climate, the plant sheds its leaves in winter.
If you want to give it a specific shape, do it while the stems/branches/trunks are still flexible and soft.
Once the branches starts to harden off it very hard to bend and shape without breaking it.

You won't be able to make a convincing shohin out of it IMO.
You should go for a medium [ two hand ] size bonsai at least.

Branching and ramification can be tedious, not really the best starter material if you've never done bonsai.


Hi Xavier, ok thx for the info!  I guess they have a long way to go Before i should consider wiring. But you said they wont make a convincing shohin, how do you mean?  
Do these species become too large or what make's you think that?  I had no idea about the size of this plant, it looked beautiful and i read they could grow up as bonsai aswell.
By the way, u wrote that the branching and ramification is kind of tedious, why is that? is it because of the structure of the leaves etc?
Tell me more please Smile thx!



Last edited by Mira-Ju on Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:43 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Growing a young Jacaranda

Post  Mira-Ju on Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:30 am

fiona wrote:Here are some thoughts and opinions of my own based on general bonsai trends rather than anything specific to this tree.

1.  a tree this young would probably not be considered as a bonsai at this point.  You have very young raw material (seedlings) which have a good three years growing to do before you even start to think about creating bonsai out of them. After that time you may very well decide they are not suitable candidates.

2. you have chosen a tropical tree which means it can't withstand low temperatures and you should google the precise tree to ascertain exactly what temperatures it can handle.  Generally this means that in your climate it will need special treatment - i.e. winter protection.  

3. you are kind of mixing your methods in having it in direct sunlight for part of the day then lamps for another.  I'd suggest that even in Sweden at this time of year natural sun and daylight will be fine. You don't mention if the "sunlight on them about 8 hours a day" is indoors or outdoors.  I would suggest they need to be outdoors.  You could then consider using your lamps as part of your winter care regime. I don't know if you will do any harm by your mix and match but I do think you are not actually achieving anything by using the lamps in the summer as well as natural light.  After all, in Sweden you are probably getting far more daylight than a large number of the people on this forum. 

In short, you aren't necessarily doing "anything wrong". You just need to realise that those plants are a long way away from being bonsai. Let them grow naturally for a couple of years - I'd pot them up in large containers, put them outside then bring them into shelter when the temperature in your area falls to the lower limit of a J. mimosifolia's range. 

In the meantime, can I suggest you do what a lot of us do - find a decent piece of native tree and work on that while you're waiting for the seedlings to come through.

I forgot to ask Fiona, you wrote that they might not be suitable candidates as bonsai but how can i tell? Are you referring to how they will grow up or if some of them might be weaker individuals?
Also, what can i do to make sure they become suitable, i mean they are growing quite rapidly considering they are only 6 months. Ill search more on the internet because i think i've read somewhere
how you can slow down the growth so it doesnt become too large.

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Re: Growing a young Jacaranda

Post  Xavier de Lapeyre on Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:06 pm

Mira-Ju wrote:
Hi Xavier, ok thx for the info!  I guess they have a long way to go Before i should consider wiring. But you said they wont make a convincing shohin, how do you mean?  
Do these species become too large or what make's you Think that?  I had no idea about the size of this plant, it looked beautiful andi read they could grow up as bonsai aswell. Tell me more please Smile

Shohin is a size classification in bonsai.
You have various sizes in bonsai and you have names for each size or height if you prefer.
But for simplicity lets say there are 3 main categories : miniature, medium and large sized bonsai.
More here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonsai#Size_classifications

In general we use mame or shohin for small/miniature sized bonsai that you can hold in one hand.
One criteria to make it look like a small tree would be the size of the leaves.
Jacaranda does not seem fit for so small a size because of its compound leaves.





In your case you would need to make at least a medium sized bonsai out of a jacaranda.
Something this size :


The main issue I found with Jacaranda are the leaves.



The whole stem is part of the leaf or depends on the small leaves.
Most of the time they die off when the plant sheds its leaves in winter. At least mine is.
I've had mine since 2008 and I have not been able to do much with it since.
No real ramification, very slow going. Even within a tropical context.


Mira-Ju wrote:
I forgot to ask Fiona, you wrote that they might not be suitable candidates as bonsai but how can i tell?  Are you referring to how they will grow up or if some of them might be weaker individuals?
Also, what can i do to make sure they become suitable, i mean they are growing quite rapidly considering they are only 6 months. Ill search more on the internet because i think i've read somewhere
how you can slow down the growth so it doesnt become too large.

You won't be able to tell at first but over time and with some practice you can tell at a glance what shape can be obtained out of a tree.
What can you do to make them suitable?
Well... that implies lots of things... I wrote an article in my blog on starting from seed.
Not the best article out there, and I'm kind of biased to not let a newbie start from seed.
Its here : http://maubonsai.blogspot.com/2012/11/growing-bonsai-from-seed.html

There's also this nice video from Graham Potter on starting from a seed:


In your case, you should concentrate on growing it large or thick rather than too small and too thin.

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Re: Growing a young Jacaranda

Post  Mira-Ju on Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:34 pm

Xavier de Lapeyre wrote:
Shohin is a size classification in bonsai.
You have various sizes in bonsai and you have names for each size or height if you prefer.
But for simplicity lets say there are 3 main categories : miniature, medium and large sized bonsai.

okey, thanks alot for the answers and the help, really appreciate it.
Ill read your article so i can get a good Picture of what can be done to get a suitable shape on it.

Did you get your jacaranda while it was seedling or was it a mature plant?


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