Looking for good advice about getting started (tamarind)

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Looking for good advice about getting started (tamarind)

Post  elfergos on Sat Sep 06, 2014 9:35 am

To say I'm fairly ignorant when it comes to bonsai trees would be to do a disservice to the fairly ignorant.

Several years ago my sister moved out and she left me several plants to look after as she couldn't take them all, she did tell me what they were but the names were soon forgotten, I eventually tracked down their names: an African violet, an orchid, a peace lily, and a cyclamen. I watered them as she told me (except for the orchid, which by some miracle of nature seems to pull moisture out of the air) and they all have been getting along fine. But none of these are trees you may say. On the surface of the soil in which the cyclamen is planted my sister had placed some seeds; I had no idea what the seeds were, they looks sort of like large coffee beans to me, I ignored them and continued to water the plants as instructed, after a year or so the coffee beans started to sprout. When my sister returned she had a quick examination of her plants and continued to berate me for allowing weeds to grow in the pot, as she began to pull them out she noticed however that the little beans were still attached and was amazed that they grew. As it turns out the the 'little coffee beans' were actually the remains of some tamarind fruit she had picked up when she was living and traveling around New Zealand and Asia.

After a while the plants were becoming too big for the pot so we replanted them in to a larger pot of around 17cm x 17cm, only two of the four managed to survive the transition but they have been doing fairly well and have been there for about two or three years now. they are starting to become rather large, at this point they have recognisably woody bark and consist of a single shoot with small green leaved branches towards the top of plant, one measures around 60cm in height and they other around 45cm. After reading up a little on these trees it seems that they simply wouldn't survive the cold English winters, I've become rather fond of them tbh and feel responsible for them at this stage so I can't really let them get any larger so making them in to bonsai trees seems like the solution.

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I am wondering if this is the right stage to try and manipulate them or if I have left it a bit long or not long enough, I have read several guides about trimming but not too many about choosing the ideal pots, root management or growth medium and I am mostly looking for advice about how not to kill them, plants seem very temperamental about being re potted or moved etc when they do start to die as a result of being messed with it seem to be a very long and excruciating process.

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Re: Looking for good advice about getting started (tamarind)

Post  JimLewis on Sat Sep 06, 2014 1:33 pm

Some of our tropical growers can give you the care details, but I've grown a couple of these from seed also. The stems (trunks) need to be a lot thicker before you do any "manipulation." These are very tall and very thin. I think that next spring I would chop them just above the first two branches and continue to let them grow. You will need to find better soil, also.

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Re: Looking for good advice about getting started (tamarind)

Post  Precarious on Sat Sep 06, 2014 3:06 pm

Tamarind growers can tell you specifics, so I will leave that to them. In general, a healthy amount of light will encourage branching- these might need a better window, or some artificial growing light. An adequate soil will encourage faster growth by increasing the rate at which the soil sheds water and gets oxygen- repotting when tamarinds like to be repotted, using a basic bonsai soil available in your area, will accomplish that. Searching on the internet for fertilizing bonsai should yield a plethora of information on healthy, low cost fertilizer. Once you are on solid footing with these three things, you have a start.

I guess the forementioned is already manipulation of a sort. When you use that word in this instance, perhaps you mean manipulating the trunk shape? Those trunks look to me as if one, they are plenty flexible for manipulation now, and two, would probably still be flexible by the time you see that they will survive repotting and begin increasing leaf production and branching with an improved lighting situation.

I hope you enjoy learning the art and horticulture of bonsai. I personally have felt amazement at the depth of meaning that can be found in this pursuit.

David

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Re: Looking for good advice about getting started (tamarind)

Post  beer city snake on Sat Sep 06, 2014 5:58 pm

i agree with david and jim in that the tropical tamarind growers can give you the specific care details...
but unlike them, i have nothing further to ad Razz

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Re: Looking for good advice about getting started (tamarind)

Post  Poink88 on Sat Sep 06, 2014 9:18 pm

I've grown tamarind (not as bonsai though) while in the Philippines and they do very well. Your woes may be due to your colder temperature. That tree doesn't look much yet, I bet in tropical setting you can have that much in about 2 years.

Not sure how they respond to chop where you are but in the tropics, they backbud well. If it does same there, I'll go farther than JKL... and chop that way back to the first couple nodes come spring and have lower branches you can use for bonsai.

Good luck!

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Re: Looking for good advice about getting started (tamarind)

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